People use telephones as one of the most common means of communication. Individually, most people in NL use mobile phones (cell phones), and many Island households and businesses have landlines (fixed lines).

In NL, three major local telephone companies, Bell Aliant, Rogers, and Eastlink, provide landline service. They offer bundles or packages that may include a fixed telephone line, Internet service, and cable or satellite television. They may also offer cell phone service as part of a bundle. There are several other companies that offer mobile phone services.

A landline basic monthly service charge includes all local calls to locations in your immediate geographical area.

Making Phone Calls

  • Even inside the Province some long-distance charges may apply if you are calling outside your town or community.
  • Your landline service provider does not have to be the company that handles your long-distance calls. You can choose your long-distance service provider based on your needs and phoning habits.
  • There are cheaper or free alternatives to the traditional long-distance calling if you are using the Internet.

To make a call in NL you have to dial a 10-digit number (3-digit area code and the 7-digit individual number). Locally, You do not have to include the area code.

Long-Distance Phone Calls

Calls outside of your local area cost extra are charged based on duration in minutes. These charges will appear on your monthly telephone bill, or separately if you have a different company for the long-distance calling service. Telephone companies offer various long-distance savings plans and services within Canada, the USA, and elsewhere in the world.

To make a long-distance call within North America you have to dial ‘1’, the 3-digit area code, and the 7-digit number.

If you want the person you are calling to pay for the call, in Canada it is generally possible to make a collect call from a landline by dialling ‘0’ and following automated prompts or using operator assistance. The person you are calling must agree to the charges (usually after being informed of the name of the caller) before the call can continue normally.

To call outside of North America, you need to dial 011, then the country code, the local area code, and finally the phone number.

Calling Cards

When you hook up your home long-distance service, you can ask the phone company for a calling card. This calling card will allow you to make long-distance calls when you are not at home, and the calls will be charged to your home phone bill.

Another way to make long-distance calls is to buy a prepaid long-distance calling card. Most cards offer cheap long- distance rates and can be bought at some stores or online. The cards may come in a virtual format, i.e. be delivered to you via email.

Prepaid long-distance calling cards are purchased for a specified amount. Once the funds on the card are used up, it will no longer work. Check the conditions of the service with the card before you buy it. For example, you should verify if there is an additional connection fee and if there is an expiration date.

Cellular Phones

If you are considering getting a cell phone, it is a good idea to think about why you need it and how much you will be using it. Once you know what you need, research and compare service packages from different providers.

The cell phone industry is changing rapidly, and new options are available almost every day.

Cellular, ‘cell’, or ‘mobile phones’ can be used almost anywhere in NL. There are many options when choosing a cell phone.

With a prepaid cell phone, when you use your phone you are charged for each call until the prepaid amount is used up. You do not receive a monthly bill.

Companies offer discounts with contracts, but you are usually bound by the contract for a certain period. You will receive monthly bills for the duration of the contract. Make sure that you understand the conditions of the contract before you commit to it.

Most cell phones in use nowadays are so-called ‘smartphones’ capable of much more than voice communication. Cell phone packages offer different combinations of services for calling, texting, and data usage. It is a good idea to think about your needs before you choose your phone and your plan.

Phone Apps

Most people who have a cellphone already have video-chatting apps.

If you have an iPhone, you already have FaceTime installed and can make a video call with other Apple phone users.

If you have Google set up on your phone, you likely already have an app called Google Duo.

You will need to check with the person or people you want to talk to about what they have. (For example, if you’re an Android user and the person you are speaking with is an iPhone user, the FaceTime app won’t work.

Before downloading a new app, it’s important to check to see if you already have an app on your phone that will work for all parties. For example, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp have video call options (although WhatsApp only works for one-on-one conversations).

Some Numbers to Remember


1-900 numbers are NOT toll-free. If you dial such a number, you will be charged a high fee for each minute of the call.


The area code for Newfoundland and Labrador is 709.


Dial zero (0) for the local telephone operator if you are having trouble making a call.  is the number to call for directory information, to find out phone numbers of people or businesses. There may be a charge to your telephone bill for use of either of these services.


311 is a free and confidential telephone service that helps you find information about programs and services offered in St. John’s by community groups, non-profit organizations and the government. Telephone interpretation services are also available.


611 is in the event of any disruption due to trouble with your telephone service to contact Bell Aliant


811 is the number to call if you need health care information related to non-emergency health problems. This service is provided by Registered Nurses who will give you advice and help you navigate the NL health system. 811 operates 24 hours a day seven days a week.


911 is the emergency number for police, ambulance or firefighters. Do not call 911 to ask questions or make inquiries. Call 911 only if:

  • there is a serious accident
  • someone is hurt or being hurt
  • a serious crime is being or has been committed


Toll-free numbers are long-distance phone numbers that do not cost anything to call. In Canada, they start with 1-800, 1-866, 1-877, or 1-888.

If you are considering getting a cell phone, it is a good idea to think about why you need it and how much you will be using it. Once you know what you need, research and compare service packages from different providers.

It is illegal to type, dial, chat, email, or search using a hand-held communication device while driving in NL. Drivers who use a hand-held communication device while driving could face fines and demerit points to their driver’s licence.

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