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Phones and the Internet:

Getting a Telephone Line and Intranet
To set up a landline at your apartment you will need to go through Chunghwa Telecom as they are the monopoly provider in Taiwan. However, their rates are actually cheaper than most of our teachers’ home countries, and even better deals are available through calling cards.

To get a landline you will need your ARC and a second form of I.D. such as health card, credit card, or passport. You will also need to bring a Taiwanese national to sign as a guarantor; they need to be over 20, and bring their own I.D and name chop (this requirement is sporadically enforced). In any event, bringing your Taiwanese friend will help as the form is only in Chinese. The cost of setting up your telephone line is about NT$3,000.

However, if you get ADSL set up at the same time the connection fee is only NT$500, but with ADSL you must sign a two-year contract. There are also other ADSL suppliers on the market (such as So-Net and Seed-Net) but two-year contracts seem to be normal practice. Make sure that if you have a Taiwanese friend or colleague sign as your guarantor, you know the penalty for breaking the contract and you compensate them if you do break it. Please note that the ADSL cable is not available in every apartment and installing the lines costs extra.

Telephones themselves are easy to find and can be much cheaper than the NT$1000 initial cost plus $10/month Chunghwa Telecom asks to supply you with a rental. If you want to buy a cheaper telephone go to your local RT Mart or Carrefour supermarket. Prices range from upwards of NT$300.

International Calls:

Calling home from Taiwan is not difficult! For an international line, dial the International Dialing Code (002) and then the country code followed by the area code and number. If you want to make a collect call or charge it to a credit card number, call 100 for the international operator.

Country codes
+61 Australia
+1 Canada and USA
+64 New Zealand
+27 South Africa
+44 United Kingdom

What Time Zone is Taiwan in?
Taiwan Standard Time is 8 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+8). Twelve o’clock noon in Taiwan corresponds to the following times in major cities around the world (daylight savings in some countries will effect these times).

City Time
12:00 Taipei
16:00 Auckland
06:00 Johannesburg
04:00 London
23:00 New York (previous day)
20:00 San Francisco (previous day)
14:00 Sydney
21:00 Vancouver (previous day)

Area Codes Within Taiwan
You don’t need to use these if you are on a land line and in the same area. However, you must always use the area code first if you are calling from a cell phone.

Cell phone number prefix (09)
Taipei & Keelung (02)
Taoyuan, Hsinchu, Ilan, Hualian (03)
Taitung (089)
Miaoli (037)
Nantou (049)
Taichung (04)
Penghu (06)
Changhua (04)
Kinmen (082)
Yunlin (04)
Matzu (0836)
Chiayi (05)
Tainan (06)
Kaohsiung (07)
Pingtung (08)

Phone Booth Cards
If you want to call from a phone booth, you can get these cards at most convenience stores such as the ubiquitous 7-11 for either NT$100 or NT$200. There are usually public phones (card or sometimes coin) outside the 7-11s.

Mobile phones
A mobile phone is very handy living in Taiwan, especially for non-Mandarin speakers. If you want to meet your friends at a restaurant, but you don’t know how to say the address, call the restaurant from your cab and put the driver on the line. The restaurant staff will tell your driver where to go.

As mobile phone contracts in Taiwan are two-years long, we advise against signing a contract and going with a prepaid card plan instead. If you want to buy a phone and use a prepaid card, you will need to present two forms of internationally recognized identifications. This can be your passport, your 60-day visitor visa, and some times (depending on location) your driver's license. Sometimes, however, the salespeople will ask to see an ARC first. If you do not have an ARC yet, simply explain to them you have recently arrived and present two other forms of IDs to them. There are plenty of mobile phone shops, so check with the vendor whether you have the right documentation or not. Prepaid has slightly higher rates than a contract, but you can buy recharge cards at all convenience stores.

Going to Taipei Main Station in the heart of Taipei City you will be able to find many vendors who sell mobile phones, sim cards and calling cards.

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The default setting for phone menus is Chinese, so ask the vendor how to change it to English when you purchase your phone (they will do it for you if you ask).

Taiwan has three major English language newspapers: the Taipei Times, the Taiwan Times and the China Post. These newspapers offer an interesting weekend entertainment guide, work opportunities, apartments for rent, second hand items, personals and all those things you expect to find in a Western newspaper. These newspapers cost NT$15 and can be purchased at convenience stores.

Keep an eye on the Friday and Sunday entertainment advertisements and cut out and collect anything that looks interesting. The advertisements have Chinese addresses which can be used to show taxis drivers for a convenient drop-off. If you want to read the papers online, check out these sites.
China Post | www.chinapost.com.tw
Taipei Times | www.taipeitimes.com
Taiwan News | www.etaiwannews.com

FM Radio
At 100.7 FM you’ll find ICRT-International Community Radio, a station whose content is primarily English (ICRT is FM 100.1 in Taichung). Also, on 93.1 FM you can get BBC news live from the UK for one hour at 8am & 10pm.

If you want a taste of home and you have the Internet you will probably find many of your favorite radio stations also have an online show.

While broadcast TV is almost exclusively in Chinese and Taiwanese or other Asian languages with Chinese subtitles, you can get cable television connected relatively easily. There are several English language channels, such as Discovery, CNN and HBO, so there is still a good selection for those of use who don’t speak Chinese. There are also a plethora of service providers, so ask a local buddy to help you get in contact with one of these.

Cable Channels in Taiwan
05 CNN
18 Nat. Geographic
19 Discovery
21 Travel & Living
53 English News
65 HBO
66 ET Today
67 AXN
69 Star Movies
70 Videoland Movies
71 Cinemax