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IWCP - International Women's Club of Paraná

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Telephone

Just about everything to do with telephones is expensive in Brazil. You provide the phone - either buy them here or bring them with you (phone plugs are readily available in shops that sell phones). You then need to obtain a telephone line, which you can rent or buy, either through the telephone companies or privately.

In Curitiba there are two telephone companies. The availability of lines varies and you may wait from 1 to 4 months, depending on area/district in which you live, but the prices are lower than buying privately.

Telepar, phone: 3305-1200
GVT, phone: 0800- 052-0025

Telepar is the oldest company and covers the largest area, GVT is just beginning so covers a limited area but please check this on arrival as the situation is constantly changing. If you hold a tourist or business visa you will not be able to buy a line from Telepar/GVT or privately as a CPF number will be required to transfer the line into your name. If you do not have a residence visa you have the option to rent.

To rent, check the classified ads in the newspapers. Occasionally rental properties come with the option to rent a telephone line from the owner, and some of the real estate agencies have lines for rent. To rent you may need a fiador (guarantor), someone who will guarantee that you will pay your bill (for more information on fiadores see the Housing section). Prices are volatile but you should compare buying costs with rental costs and, if you expect to be here for a long period, consider the buy option.

Whether you rent or buy a telephone line you will also pay a monthly service charge to the telephone company (this service charge includes a free limited time for local calls) and the charge for local calls that exceed the free limit.

If you rent your line remember that the telephone bill will be issued in the name of the owner of the line, even if it is mailed to your address. Also, be careful about renewing your rental contract - if it is not renewed, your telephone will be cut off even if you have paid the bill. Finally, be sure to request a telephone book; you may have to pick up your first one at the telephone company, but annual updates are delivered to your residence.

Most of the telephone lines in Curitiba are automatically set for tone phones. However, in some areas the lines can be set to pulse phones. To obtain more information about your line configuration you can call to the telephone company.

If you have a Telepar line, you need to dial 104 plus the first four digits of your phone number - so if your phone number is 1234-5678, dial 1041234. You will need your contract (account) number. The GVT lines are all set for tone phones.

If tone service is not available in your area, you will have to set your phones accordingly. Remember that on most new telephones you can press the * key and switch temporarily (for that call only) to tone, so that you can use direct dial, etc. If you have a modem for your computer remember to set it for pulse if you don't have tone service.

Call waiting and call forwarding are also available, but in limited areas. You can obtain information about these facilities at the phone companies.

If you are dialling out of Curitiba, whether for a call within Brazil or internationally, you must dial 021 first. For example, to call São Paulo, you dial, 021 + 11 + tel. no. To dial the United Kingdom, you dial 00 21 + 44 + tel. no.

International phone calls are expensive, so you may wish to consider using an international phone card or a call back service. In both cases there is no monthly fee, and the actual costs of your calls are billed directly to your credit card or to your home country telephone bill depending on type of service. Due to currency rate fluctuations it is possible that calls dialed directly out of Brazil through one of the Brazilian companies may actually at times be cheaper than call back services and it is therefore worth reviewing the alternatives from time to time.

The international phone card is a calling card system, you dial a local access number and either direct dial or go through an English-speaking operator. Try AT&T (0008010 in Brazil), MCI (0008012), Sprint (0008016) and ICN (toll free 0800265197) which also has a representative in Curitiba (Robert Judson, 3244-6327) e-mail judson@mais.sul.com.br

With a call back service you are given a US telephone number to call; when you call it you let the phone ring once, then hang up. Within a minute your phone will ring and you will hear a dial tone; you then dial exactly as if you were dialing in the US. It takes longer, but the prices are low. Call back services are advertised extensively in international publications. Some of the better known ones are: Telegroup (phone 1 800 338-0225, fax 1-641-472-4747), New World (phone 1 973 438-1800, fax 1 973 438-1476) e-mail help@cust.newworldtele.com; Kallback (phone 1-206-479-8600, fax 1-800-479-0009) e-mail info@kallback.com.

Since 1999, private companies started to provide services in Brazil with different prices for regional and international calls (21 Embratel,  23 Intelig and 25 GVT). You do a call by dialing 00 + XX (carrier code) + country code + area code + the telephone number. Please note that the bill will be sent separately from your main telephone bill.

Cellular (mobile) phones are everywhere in Brazil. You can bring one with you, or buy locally, direct with the cellular phone companies. It is very important to have the papers for the phone unit when you sign up the service - you must have them in order to get service. If you bring your cellular phone with you, you MUST declare it in customs when you arrive or you will not be able to connect it for service. One important thing that you MUST observe is your cellular phone technology because in Curitiba only TDMA and CDMA technologies are available (GSM cellular phones cannot be connected for service).

There are currently two companies providing service in Curitiba:

TIM, phone: 0800 41 4505
VIVO, phone: 0800 44 1000

As there are different prices for different levels of services provided by the two companies, it is recommended to check before signing up.

Public (pay) phones use phone cards, both widely available at newsagents, pharmacies, etc.

You can also call any number collect. If you want to call a local number you need to dial 9090 + the phone number. If you want to make a long distance call you need to dial 90 + XX + area code + the phone number, where XX is the carrier code (there are four possibilities to use - Telepar (regional cover - 14); Embratel (national cover - 21), Intelig (national cover - 23) and GVT (national cover - 25). In these cases there will be an announcement that asks you to identify yourself after the beep. This is so the recipient can hang up and not be charged for the call if they don't want to accept the charge.

Mail

Mail service in Brazil can be a little unreliable with mail taking from 2 days to 2 weeks to get to the other side of town. In some areas mail is not delivered daily - it may be every other day or not on certain days. This is a good reason to have as many of your bills as possible on direct debit: if the bill arrives late you will have to pay the penalty. There is an express delivery service Sedex toll free (0800- 41443) and a telegram service (phone 135). For information on the postal service (Correios) you can call 310-2159. Post Offices are generally open 9-5 Monday to Friday. However, most branches are privately run franchises, so hours can vary. Watch out for strikes, especially around Christmas.

International mail service is more problematic. When sending any mail of importance it is much safer to send it registered (registrado). International fast delivery services Federal Express {under the local agency name, WS Serviços Aéros}, 3225-4239; DHL, 3362-2720 and Sedex International (through your local post office, or call 159 for information) are available, but both are slower and more expensive than you may be accustomed to (in fact, depending on how the days fall, it can take as long as a regular air mail letter). Incoming international mail is erratic. Average delivery is about 10 days from the US or Europe, but varies considerably, especially for non-first class mail.

Incoming international packages are subject to customs charges (currently 40% of the value of the goods for packages worth more than R$50, but subject to change at any time). Small personal-type packages are not generally held up, but larger packages, or mail-order packages will be sent to a holding center. You will receive a notice in your mail box that will briefly describe the package, the amount of duty you will have to pay and where to go to for collection. You will need proof of ID, the slip, and the payment (cash or cheque) in order to collect the package.

E-mail and Internet

There are various Internet service providers in Curitiba offering different services and packages, with prices ranging from R$ 9,00 to R$ 80,00 per month and also a free service provider also offering Internet e-mail. The better known ones are:

Paid Providers

Terra www.terra.com.br phone, 0800- 7017777
SullBBS
www.sul.com phone, 3332-9779/3225-5424
BSI
www.bsi.com.br phone,3322-1700
Matrix
www.trix.net phone, 0800-481155
Onda
www.onda.com.br phone, 0800-437878
America On Line- AOL
www.americaonline.com.br phone, 0800-999950
UOL
www.uol.com.br phone, 0800-175757

Free Providers

IG www.ig.com.br

There is also an Internet cafe situated within Saraiva (a bookshop) in the shopping centre "Shopping Crystal".

The IWCP is a non-profit, non-secretarian, non-political organization whose main purpose is to provide a forum through which international women can meet in Curitiba.