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Communication - advice on postage, Internet and telephones


"Tenerife Communication" deals with the four methods of keeping in touch with people: by post, email, instant messaging and phone calls. This page will be aimed more at the holidaymaker, who may want to keep in contact with people back home. You'll need to know the best - and cheapest - ways of going about it.



tenerife communication



By Post (yes, writing a letter or postcard)

I know this first section is the one everyone will probably skip over, but, in the interests of full information, you're going to get it anyway.


Spanish post box



Letters. Anyone can write a letter, right? But, what to do when it's written? Well, obviously you need a stamp, so you go to the Post Office. Known as Correos and distinguished by a bright yellow colour, they are dotted about the various towns in much the same way as any other country.




The Spanish Correos offers a bewildering array of options for sending mail. I suspect you'll only be interested in the first one and the last.

  • Ordinary letter
    This is for letters under 2kg in weight that do not require urgent delivery. Like the post office, these days, in the UK, the size of the envelope, as well as the weight, is important and, at a post office, they will measure and weigh it before telling you how much it costs. The time from posting to delivering at the other end is estimated, for European destinations, at two-four business days. Other countries will, naturally, take longer. As for postage price, they have two zones: one is Europe, including Greenland(!) and two is all other countries. Zone One ranges from 64 centimos for a weight up to 20g, to 18.1 euros for 2kg. Zone two's prices for the same weights range are from 78 centimos to 38.5 euros.
  • Registered letter
    As anywhere else, this service ensures the delivery of your letter by requiring a signature from the recipient. Prices range from 2.88 euros to 20.34 euros for Zone One and 3.02 to 40.74 euros for Zone Two, according to weight. Delivery is between two and four business days.
  • Urgent Mail
    This service offers an extra-speedy delivery of between one and three business days and is, of course, more expensive. Rates are between 4.74 euros and 22.24 euros for Zone One and 5.25 to 42.35 euros for Zone Two.
  • Postal Express
    Believe me, this service is far too complicated to explain. As I don't think anybody reading this will ever use it, I'll leave it at that. (It's veryexpensive anyway.)
  • Urgent letter
    This, you might think, is pretty much the same as the previous one. One major difference is that you can't, for some reason, use this service to send mail to France, Austria or the USA. Mailings to Europe are guaranteed delivery between one and three business days. Prices range from 2.80 to 19.53 euros for Zone One and 3.15 to 39 euros for Zone Two.
  • Postcards
    These operate along the same rules as those for the "Ordinary letter". Delivery times are supposed to be between two and four business days for Europe. Prices range from 64 centimos to 18.1 euros for Zone One (though it's unlikely that a postcard would weigh 2kg) and 78 centimos to 38.5 euros for Zone Two.

Places that sell postcards, such as newsagents, tourist shops and even hotel receptions, will usually have the appropriate stamps to sell you as well, so you'll probably never need to approach a post office. I've given you all the details anyway.


Letters. Anyone can write a letter, right? But, what to do when it's written? Well, obviously you need a stamp, so you go to the Post Office. Known as Correos and distinguished by a bright yellow colour, they are dotted about the various towns in much the same way as any other country.

The Spanish Correos offers a bewildering array of options for sending mail. I suspect you'll only be interested in the first one and the last.

  • Ordinary letter
    This is for letters under 2kg in weight that do not require urgent delivery. Like the post office, these days, in the UK, the size of the envelope, as well as the weight, is important and, at a post office, they will measure and weigh it before telling you how much it costs. The time from posting to delivering at the other end is estimated, for European destinations, at two-four business days. Other countries will, naturally, take longer. As for postage price, they have two zones: one is Europe, including Greenland(!) and two is all other countries. Zone One ranges from 64 centimos for a weight up to 20g, to 18.1 euros for 2kg. Zone two's prices for the same weights range are from 78 centimos to 38.5 euros.
  • Registered letter
    As anywhere else, this service ensures the delivery of your letter by requiring a signature from the recipient. Prices range from 2.88 euros to 20.34 euros for Zone One and 3.02 to 40.74 euros for Zone Two, according to weight. Delivery is between two and four business days.
  • Urgent Mail
    This service offers an extra-speedy delivery of between one and three business days and is, of course, more expensive. Rates are between 4.74 euros and 22.24 euros for Zone One and 5.25 to 42.35 euros for Zone Two.
  • Postal Express
    Believe me, this service is far too complicated to explain. As I don't think anybody reading this will ever use it, I'll leave it at that. (It's veryexpensive anyway.)
  • Urgent letter
    This, you might think, is pretty much the same as the previous one. One major difference is that you can't, for some reason, use this service to send mail to France, Austria or the USA. Mailings to Europe are guaranteed delivery between one and three business days. Prices range from 2.80 to 19.53 euros for Zone One and 3.15 to 39 euros for Zone Two.
  • Postcards
    These operate along the same rules as those for the "Ordinary letter". Delivery times are supposed to be between two and four business days for Europe. Prices range from 64 centimos to 18.1 euros for Zone One (though it's unlikely that a postcard would weigh 2kg) and 78 centimos to 38.5 euros for Zone Two.

Places that sell postcards, such as newsagents, tourist shops and even hotel receptions, will usually have the appropriate stamps to sell you as well, so you'll probably never need to approach a post office. I've given you all the details anyway.



A Tip About Posting Parcels
Submitted by Cristina, from Spain

It is not always necessary to buy the Correos green boxes, which are quite expensive. The important thing to remember is that your box must not have bar codes or advertising on it. If you blank these out, a strong supermarket box or shoe box is acceptable. This might help cut the cost of Christmas posting.



tenerife communication



Email and Instant Messaging

Many people, these days, take a laptop on holiday with them. (I keep trying to get my other half, Alison, to let me take mine, but she's having none of it. That's why this website is put on hold from time to time.)

If you intend to access the Internet from a mobile cellphone or smartphone, rest assured - using the device while abroad, when it has to go into "roaming" mode, is ridiculously expensive.

For laptop users, Tenerife has a selection of WiFi hotspots offering free or cheap Internet connection. Here's a list:

Las Americas

Hotel Las Dalias
Hotel Jardines De Nivaria
Hotel Bouganville Playa
Hotel Grand Anthelia
Cafe Epoca
Hotel Zentral Center

Los Cristianos

Subway sandwich bar - buy a coffee and the boss will let you use your laptop as long as you like
Rah Rah's bar, Apolo Center - either free PC use or free WiFi use for customers
Hotel Gran Arona - free WiFi for guests

Callao Salvaje
Callao Garden Apartments

Valle San Lorenzo
Cafe Alex


WiFi Mundo

This is a company offering free WiFi throughout the southern resorts of Tenerife and gradually expanding.

All you do is turn on your device and search for available wireless networks. If "Free WiFi Mundo" appears in the list, you can connect to it and obtain a dial-up-speed Internet connection, free.


Canaries Wireless

This is another company providing wireless Internet access in the southern resorts of the island. You have to pay for this one, however and prices are 19 euros for a week and 31.50 euros for a month.

All you need is a PC that is wireless-enabled. You register with the company, pay the fee and are online pretty much immediately.

The website is currently down, so this company may have ceased trading. I have found no other contact details.


Internet Cafes

Tenerife has a smattering of Internet cafes, where you can access the World Wide Web for quite a reasonable cost. I can't give you a full list of island-wide cafes, but there are two I know of and have used.

Mundo.net is in Los Cristianos and used to be found on the first floor of the little complex of shops just to the right of the Arona Gran Hotel. Unfortunately, this no longer exists and the premises have been turned into an estate agent's (of all things). The nearest alternative is a place called "The Euro Shop", found amongst the small collection of shops, restaurants and bars to the left of thePrincesa Dacil hotel. It functions as a money exchange, but also houses several phone booths and computers for Internet access...and it's British run!

"L@ V@v@ Pipi", on Calle Dionisio Gonzalez Delgado, in Las Galletas. In this one, you can get a coffee while you're browsing.

Many hotels and complexes also have PCs available to access the Internet, but they're usually a lot more expensive.

Emailing or IM on your mobile phone (cellphone)

If you can access the Internet on your mobile in your own country for free or for a nominal fee, rest assured that it will cost a fortune while abroad. One option to avoid! (I know I said this further up the page, but I thought I'd say it again, so it sinks in!)



tenerife communication



Telephones

The most direct way to keep in contact with loved ones back home. As usual, there are several options.

Public Phone Booths

Called cabinas, these distinctive blue and green open phone booths are dotted liberally around the island.

Their one disadvantage is that, if you're making an international call, you'll need loads of coins, as the machine will eat them up very quickly. Most euro coins are accepted.


Spanish phone booth



Pick up the receiver and insert a low value coin, say 10 centimos and wait for a dial tone (which is a long burr). This ensures that the phone is working without risking a lot of money. Then insert more coins before dialling. (For international calls, it will cost at least 60 centimos just to get through, then you need more coins for the rest of the call.)




Dialling code for the UK is 0044. You have to dial the 00 then wait for another dial tone, after which you key in the 44, then the number, minus the initial 0. For other countries, even though you're likely to know the dialling code for your own country, in case you don't, you can look them up here.

As the machine will only refund whole unused coins, it is a good idea, towards the end of the call, to use small value ones.

International calls are cheaper after 10pm on weekdays, after 2pm on Saturdays and all day Sundays.

You cannot receive calls or do reverse charge calls on these phones.


Public Phones - other options

Some cabinas have a slot for a phone card and these can be purchased from such outlets as newsagents and post offices and are in units of six and 12 euros. Ask for a tarjeta telefonica (tar-HETT-a tellay-FON-ica). There are several other, private companies offering these pre-pay cards, too, at slightly cheaper rates.

You could also use a "call shop". These can be found here and there on the island (quite often in Internet cafes). They consist of a row of phone booths. You check with the receptionist, go in a booth, make your call, then are told how much you owe afterwards.


Skype

"Skype", in case you've never heard of it, is a system for making either free, or very very cheap, phone calls to anywhere in the world. Both you and the call recipient must be registered with the company. On your PC, just search for www.skype.com.


Mobile Phones (cellphones)

Ah, now we get down to the nitty-gritty. As nearly everyone in the world has some sort of mobile calling device, this is the means by which most people will try to call home. If you're not careful, it can be an expensive business.

Referring back to "Skype", above, most modern mobile phones and all smartphones have a Skype option. You, and whomever you're going to call, should both register with the company. You just need to find a place with free WiFi access and you can call for free. There is also a company called Jajah, offering a similar service.

If you're intending to simply use your device in the normal way whilst abroad and accept the exhorbitant charges on the chin, you need to make sure that it has "roaming" enabled. This means that the device will search for an available network in the foreign country. You may need to contact your network provider for this.

You'll need to browse your network provider's website for international charges and remember - you get charged for receiving a call, too!

There have been new EU regulations enforced recently to cap the price of roaming calls. Making calls from one EU country to another is around 38.2 pence per minute and receiving them is around 19 pence per minute.

Cost Saving Strategies

Get loved ones to text you, rather than call. Receiving texts is free. Sending texts is a lot cheaper than calling, too.

Before you leave on your holiday, sign up with your service provider for a special discounted call package. (Your provider may not be overtly advertising this option, but it should exist - ask them.) These packages incur a monthly charge until you cancel them, so don't forget to do that on your return!

You could change SIM cards. One option is to purchase a local SIM when you reach your destination. Your phone will, of course, have to be unlocked for it to work and, for the duration of your stay, you'll have a different number, but at least the card will come with some pre-paid time on it, so you'll be up and running immediately. Alternatively, purchase a super-basic phone that doesn't need unlocking to use whenever abroad.

Another option is to purchase a Global SIM, which will work, whatever country you're in.


Whichever way you look at it, it's going to be an expensive business and the best advice would be to leave your phone at home. But that's not going to happen, is it?


Spanish phone booth


Pick up the receiver and insert a low value coin, say 10 centimos and wait for a dial tone (which is a long burr). This ensures that the phone is working without risking a lot of money. Then insert more coins before dialling. (For international calls, it will cost at least 60 centimos just to get through, then you need more coins for the rest of the call.)

Dialling code for the UK is 0044. You have to dial the 00 then wait for another dial tone, after which you key in the 44, then the number, minus the initial 0. For other countries, even though you're likely to know the dialling code for your own country, in case you don't, you can look them up here.

As the machine will only refund whole unused coins, it is a good idea, towards the end of the call, to use small value ones.

International calls are cheaper after 10pm on weekdays, after 2pm on Saturdays and all day Sundays.

You cannot receive calls or do reverse charge calls on these phones.


Public Phones - other options

Some cabinas have a slot for a phone card and these can be purchased from such outlets as newsagents and post offices and are in units of six and 12 euros. Ask for a tarjeta telefonica (tar-HETT-a tellay-FON-ica). There are several other, private companies offering these pre-pay cards, too, at slightly cheaper rates.

You could also use a "call shop". These can be found here and there on the island (quite often in Internet cafes). They consist of a row of phone booths. You check with the receptionist, go in a booth, make your call, then are told how much you owe afterwards.


Skype

"Skype", in case you've never heard of it, is a system for making either free, or very very cheap, phone calls to anywhere in the world. Both you and the call recipient must be registered with the company. On your PC, just search for www.skype.com.


Mobile Phones (cellphones)

Ah, now we get down to the nitty-gritty. As nearly everyone in the world has some sort of mobile calling device, this is the means by which most people will try to call home. If you're not careful, it can be an expensive business.

Referring back to "Skype", above, most modern mobile phones and all smartphones have a Skype option. You, and whomever you're going to call, should both register with the company. You just need to find a place with free WiFi access and you can call for free. There is also a company called Jajah, offering a similar service.

If you're intending to simply use your device in the normal way whilst abroad and accept the exhorbitant charges on the chin, you need to make sure that it has "roaming" enabled. This means that the device will search for an available network in the foreign country. You may need to contact your network provider for this.

You'll need to browse your network provider's website for international charges and remember - you get charged for receiving a call, too!

There have been new EU regulations enforced recently to cap the price of roaming calls. Making calls from one EU country to another is around 38.2 pence per minute and receiving them is around 19 pence per minute.

Cost Saving Strategies

Get loved ones to text you, rather than call. Receiving texts is free. Sending texts is a lot cheaper than calling, too.

Before you leave on your holiday, sign up with your service provider for a special discounted call package. (Your provider may not be overtly advertising this option, but it should exist - ask them.) These packages incur a monthly charge until you cancel them, so don't forget to do that on your return!

You could change SIM cards. One option is to purchase a local SIM when you reach your destination. Your phone will, of course, have to be unlocked for it to work and, for the duration of your stay, you'll have a different number, but at least the card will come with some pre-paid time on it, so you'll be up and running immediately. Alternatively, purchase a super-basic phone that doesn't need unlocking to use whenever abroad.

Another option is to purchase a Global SIM, which will work, whatever country you're in.


Whichever way you look at it, it's going to be an expensive business and the best advice would be to leave your phone at home. But that's not going to happen, is it?



tenerife communication



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