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Telephones

Many convenience groceries and packaging services sell prepaid calling cards in denominations up to $50. Many public pay phones at airports now accept American Express, MasterCard, and Visa. Local calls made from most pay phones cost either 25¢ or 35¢. Most long-distance and international calls can be dialed directly from any phone. To make calls within the United States and to Canada, dial 1 followed by the area code and the seven-digit number. For other international calls, dial 011 followed by the country code, city code, and the number you are calling.

Calls to area codes 800, 888, 877, and 866 are toll-free. However, calls to area codes 700 and 900 (chat lines, bulletin boards, "dating" services, and so on) can be expensive -- charges of 95¢ to $3 or more per minute. Some numbers have minimum charges that can run $15 or more.

For reversed-charge or collect calls, and for person-to-person calls, dial the number 0 then the area code and number; an operator will come on the line, and you should specify whether you are calling collect, person-to-person, or both. If your operator-assisted call is international, ask for the overseas operator.

For directory assistance ("Information"), dial 411 for local numbers and national numbers in the U.S. and Canada. For dedicated long-distance information, dial 1, then the appropriate area code plus 555-1212.

Mobile Phones

AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile are the largest U.S. cellphone network providers. Sign up with any of these companies, and you can count on decent reception throughout the city. GSM reception has improved in recent years; no need to switch providers when traveling in or around Philadelphia.

Philadelphia International Airport has three Airport Wireless stores (www.airportwireless.com) that sell mobile phones, Palms, PDAs, laptops, and accessories. Find them in Terminal B (tel. 215/937-1065), C (tel. 215/937-9620), and A-West (tel. 215/365-2755). One of the nation's largest cellphone rental companies is based in Center City. AllCell, 1528 Walnut St. (tel. 877/724-CELL [2355] or 215/985-CELL [2355]; www.allcellrentals.com), rents standard cellphones, satellite phones, pagers, and two-way pagers by the day, week, or month.

Internet & Wi-Fi

You'd be hard pressed to find a Philly hotel without Wi-Fi access or a computer-stocked business center. Most local cafes -- including myriad Starbucks -- offer free Wi-Fi, too. There are three FedEx Office locations (www.fedex.com) in Center City, one at 2001 Market St. (at 20th St.; tel. 215/561-5170), another at 216 S. 16th St. (btw. Walnut and Locust sts.; tel. 215/732-2033), and a third at 1816 Spring Garen St. (btw. 18th and 19th sts.; tel. 215/567-2679). The Free Library of Philadelphia has free Wi-Fi and computers for guests. The library on Rittenhouse Square is called "City Institute" (closed Fri) and is at the corner of 19th and Locust (tel. 215/685-6621). The Central Branch is at 19th and Vine streets (along Ben Franklin Pkwy.; tel. 215/686-5322). Closer to Old City is the library's "Independence" branch (closed Sat), 18 S. 7th St. (btw. Market and Chestnut sts.; tel. 215/685-1633). And, although it's not officially sanctioned, I've seen plenty of people checking e-mail and browsing the web at the Apple Store at 1607 Walnut St. (btw. 16th and 17th sts.; tel. 215/861-6400; www.apple.com/retail/walnutstreet). The Philadelphia International Airport has free Wi-Fi access and 100 workstations near boarding gates equipped with outlets, pay phone, and desk space.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.