If you don’t have a phone line let, you need to contact China Telecom to get one installed (or connected if the lines are already there). Setting up a phone line costs around US$ 25, monthly fees are around US$ 3.
In most cities you won’t be charged for the calls you make, you simply receive a phone bill with a flat rate for all calls at the end of the month. In some cities, however, phone calls are measured and you are charged for each call you make (don’t worry about this as they are very cheap). In premium housing such as villas or serviced apartments, phone bills are usually already included in the rent.
International calls from China
Although local and national calls are generally quite cheap in China, international calls are often not. If you want to reduce your bills for international calls, you should consider using an international calling card (like the I.C. or I.P. cards), which allow you to make cheaper calls by dialling a specific prefix from the card provider. Alternatively, you can use a Voice-over-IP provider such as Skype or their Chinese partner TOMO.
Making a call in China
The international access code for China is +86. The outgoing code for international calls is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 00 44 for the United Kingdom). The city code for Beijing is (0)10.
There are also specific hotlines that you might need at some point. The most important ones are the following:
114: Operator and information