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Telephone system

This page shows the value of the Telephone system information field for all countries in the Country Guide.

Notes on this field are available at the Information Field Notes page.

Angola

telephone service limited mostly to government and business use; HF radiotelephone used extensively for military links

Argentina

12,000 public telephones; extensive modern system but many families do not have telephones; despite extensive use of microwave radio relay, the telephone system frequently fails during rainstorms, even in Buenos Aires

Armenia

system inadequate; now 90% privately owned and undergoing modernization and expansion

Australia

excellent domestic and international service

Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan's telephone system is a combination of old Soviet era technology used by Azerbaijani citizens and small- to medium-size commercial establishments, and modern cellular telephones used by an increasing middle class, large commercial ventures, international companies, and most government officials; the average citizen waits on a 200,000-person list for telephone service; Internet and e-mail service are available in Baku

Bahrain

modern system; good domestic services and excellent international connections

Belarus

the Ministry of Telecommunications controls all telecommunications through its carrier (a joint stock company) Beltelcom which is a monopoly

Belgium

highly developed, technologically advanced, and completely automated domestic and international telephone and telegraph facilities

Belize

above-average system

Bolivia

new subscribers face bureaucratic difficulties; most telephones are concentrated in La Paz and other cities

Bosnia and Herzegovina

telephone and telegraph network is in need of modernization and expansion; many urban areas are below average when compared with services in other former Yugoslav republics

Botswana

sparse system

Brazil

good working system

British Indian Ocean Territory

separate facilities for military and public needs are available

British Virgin Islands

worldwide telephone service

Brunei

service throughout country is excellent; international service good to Europe, US, and East Asia

Bulgaria

more than two-thirds of the lines are residential

Burkina Faso

all services only fair

Burundi

primitive system

Cambodia

adequate landline and/or cellular service in Phnom Penh and other provincial cities; rural areas have little telephone service

Cameroon

available only to business and government

Canada

excellent service provided by modern technology

Central African Republic

fair system

Chad

primitive system

Chile

modern system based on extensive microwave radio relay facilities

China

domestic and international services are increasingly available for private use; unevenly distributed domestic system serves principal cities, industrial centers, and many towns

Colombia

modern system in many respects

Comoros

sparse system of microwave radio relay and HF radiotelephone communication stations

Congo, Republic of the

services barely adequate for government use; key exchanges are in Brazzaville, Pointe-Noire, and Loubomo; intercity lines frequently out-of-order

Costa Rica

very good domestic telephone service

Cote d'Ivoire

well-developed by African standards but operating well below capacity

Cyprus

excellent in both the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot areas

Denmark

excellent telephone and telegraph services

Djibouti

telephone facilities in the city of Djibouti are adequate as are the microwave radio relay connections to outlying areas of the country

Egypt

large system by Third World standards but inadequate for present requirements and undergoing extensive upgrading; Internet access available

Equatorial Guinea

poor system with adequate government services

Estonia

foreign investment in the form of joint business ventures greatly improved telephone service; Internet services available throughout most of the country; about 150,000 unfilled subscriber requests

Ethiopia

open wire and microwave radio relay system adequate for government use

Faroe Islands

good international communications; good domestic facilities

Fiji

modern local, interisland, and international (wire/radio integrated) public and special-purpose telephone, telegraph, and teleprinter facilities; regional radio communications center

Finland

modern system with excellent service

France

highly developed

Germany

Germany has one of the world's most technologically advanced telecommunications systems; as a result of intensive capital expenditures since reunification, the formerly backward system of the eastern part of the country has been modernized and integrated with that of the western part

Ghana

poor to fair system; Internet accessible; many rural communities not yet connected; expansion of services is underway

Gibraltar

adequate, automatic domestic system and adequate international facilities

Greece

adequate, modern networks reach all areas; microwave radio relay carries most traffic; extensive open-wire network; submarine cables to off-shore islands

Greenland

adequate domestic and international service provided by cables and microwave radio relay; totally digitalized in 1995

Grenada

automatic, islandwide telephone system

Guadeloupe

domestic facilities inadequate

Guatemala

fairly modern network centered in the city of Guatemala

Guinea

poor to fair system of open-wire lines, small radiotelephone communication stations, and new microwave radio relay system

Guinea-Bissau

small system

Guyana

fair system for long-distance calling

Haiti

domestic facilities barely adequate; international facilities slightly better

Holy See (Vatican City)

automatic exchange

Honduras

inadequate system

Hong Kong

modern facilities provide excellent domestic and international services

Hungary

the telephone system has been modernized and is capable of satisfying all requests for telecommunication service

Iceland

adequate domestic service

India

mediocre service; local and long distance service provided throughout all regions of the country, with services primarily concentrated in the urban areas; major objective is to continue to expand and modernize long-distance network in order to keep pace with rapidly growing number of local subscriber lines; steady improvement is taking place with the recent admission of private and private-public investors, but demand for communication services is also growing rapidly

Indonesia

domestic service fair, international service good

Iran

inadequate but currently being modernized and expanded with the goal of not only improving the efficiency and increasing the volume of the urban service but also bringing telephone service to several thousand villages, not presently connected

Iraq

reconstitution of damaged telecommunication facilities began after the Gulf war; most damaged facilities have been rebuilt

Ireland

modern digital system using cable and microwave radio relay

Israel

most highly developed system in the Middle East although not the largest

Italy

modern, well-developed, fast; fully automated telephone, telex, and data services

Jamaica

fully automatic domestic telephone network

Japan

excellent domestic and international service

Johnston Atoll

13 outgoing and 10 incoming commercial lines; adequate telecommunications

Jordan

service has improved recently with the increased use of digital switching equipment, but better access to the telephone system is needed in the rural areas and easier access to pay telephones is needed by the urban public

Kazakhstan

service is poor; equipment antiquated

Kenya

unreliable; little attempt to modernize

Korea, South

excellent domestic and international services

Kuwait

the civil network suffered some damage as a result of the Gulf war, but most of the telephone exchanges were left intact and, by the end of 1994, domestic and international telecommunications had been restored to normal operation; the quality of service is excellent

Kyrgyzstan

poorly developed; about 100,000 unsatisfied applications for household telephones

Laos

service to general public is poor but improving, with over 20,000 telephones currently in service and an additional 48,000 expected by 2001; the government relies on a radiotelephone network to communicate with remote areas

Latvia

inadequate but is being modernized to provide an international capability independent of the Moscow international switch; more facilities are being installed for individual use

Lebanon

telecommunications system severely damaged by civil war; rebuilding well underway

Lesotho

rudimentary system

Liberia

telephone and telegraph service via microwave radio relay network; main center is Monrovia

Libya

telecommunications system is being modernized; mobile cellular telephone system became operational in 1996

Liechtenstein

automatic telephone system

Lithuania

inadequate but is being modernized to provide an improved international capability and better residential access

Luxembourg

highly developed, completely automated and efficient system, mainly buried cables

Macau

fairly modern communication facilities maintained for domestic and international services

Madagascar

system is above average for the region

Malaysia

international service good

Maldives

minimal domestic and international facilities

Mali

domestic system poor but improving; provides only minimal service

Malta

automatic system satisfies normal requirements

Marshall Islands

telex services

Martinique

domestic facilities are adequate

Mauritania

poor system of cable and open-wire lines, minor microwave radio relay links, and radiotelephone communications stations (improvements being made)

Mauritius

small system with good service

Mayotte

small system administered by French Department of Posts and Telecommunications

Mexico

highly developed system with extensive microwave radio relay links; privatized in December 1990; opened to competition January 1997

Moldova

inadequate, outmoded, poor service outside Chisinau, some effort to modernize is under way

Monaco

automatic telephone system

Mozambique

fair system of tropospheric scatter, open-wire lines, and microwave radio relay

Myanmar

meets minimum requirements for local and intercity service for business and government; international service is good

Nauru

adequate local and international radiotelephone communications provided via Australian facilities

Nepal

poor telephone and telegraph service; fair radiotelephone communication service and mobile cellular telephone network

Netherlands

highly developed and well maintained

Netherlands Antilles

generally adequate facilities

New Zealand

excellent international and domestic systems

Nicaragua

low-capacity microwave radio relay and wire system being expanded; connected to Central American Microwave System

Niger

small system of wire, radiotelephone communications, and microwave radio relay links concentrated in southwestern area

Nigeria

an inadequate system, further limited by poor maintenance; major expansion is required and a start has been made

Norway

high-quality domestic and international telephone, telegraph, and telex services

Oman

modern system consisting of open wire, microwave, and radiotelephone communication stations; limited coaxial cable

Pakistan

the domestic system is mediocre, but improving; service is adequate for government and business use, in part because major businesses have established their own private systems; since 1988, the government has promoted investment in the national telecommunications system on a priority basis, significantly increasing network capacity; despite major improvements in trunk and urban systems, telecommunication services are still not readily available to the majority of the rural population

Panama

domestic and international facilities well developed

Papua New Guinea

services are adequate and being improved; facilities provide radiotelephone and telegraph, coastal radio, aeronautical radio, and international radio communication services

Paraguay

meager telephone service; principal switching center is Asuncion

Peru

adequate for most requirements

Philippines

good international radiotelephone and submarine cable services; domestic and interisland service adequate

Pitcairn Islands

party line telephone service on the island

Poland

underdeveloped and outmoded system; government aims to have 10 million telephones in service by 2000; the process of partial privatization of the state-owned telephone monopoly has begun

Puerto Rico

modern system, integrated with that of the US by high-capacity submarine cable and Intelsat with high-speed data capability

Qatar

modern system centered in Doha

Reunion

adequate system; principal center is Saint-Denis

Russia

the telephone system has undergone significant changes in the 1990s; there are more than 1,000 companies licensed to offer communication services; access to digital lines has improved, particularly in urban centers; Internet and e-mail services are improving; Russia has made progress toward building the telecommunications infrastructure necessary for a market economy

Rwanda

telephone system primarily serves business and government

Saint Kitts and Nevis

good interisland VHF/UHF/SHF radiotelephone connections and international link via Antigua and Barbuda and Saint Martin (Guadeloupe and Netherlands Antilles)

Saudi Arabia

modern system

Sierra Leone

marginal telephone and telegraph service

Singapore

good domestic facilities; good international service

Somalia

the public telecommunications system was completely destroyed or dismantled by the civil war factions; all relief organizations depend on their own private systems

South Africa

the system is the best developed and most modern in Africa

Spain

generally adequate, modern facilities

Sri Lanka

very inadequate domestic service, particularly in rural areas; some hope for improvement with privatization of national telephone company and encouragement to private investment; good international service (1999)

Sudan

large, well-equipped system by regional standards, but barely adequate and poorly maintained by modern standards; cellular communications started in 1996

Suriname

international facilities good

Sweden

excellent domestic and international facilities; automatic system

Switzerland

excellent domestic and international services

Syria

fair system currently undergoing significant improvement and digital upgrades, including fiber-optic technology

Tajikistan

poorly developed and not well maintained; many towns are not reached by the national network

Tanzania

fair system operating below capacity and being modernized for better service; VSAT (very small aperature terminal) system under construction

Thailand

service to general public adequate, but investment in technological upgrades reduced by recession; bulk of service to government activities provided by multichannel cable and microwave radio relay network

Togo

fair system based on network of microwave radio relay routes supplemented by open-wire lines and cellular system

Trinidad and Tobago

excellent international service; good local service

Tunisia

above the African average and continuing to be upgraded; key centers are Sfax, Sousse, Bizerte, and Tunis; Internet access available

Turkey

undergoing rapid modernization and expansion, especially cellular telephones

Turkmenistan

poorly developed

Turks and Caicos Islands

fair cable and radiotelephone services

Uganda

seriously inadequate; two cellular systems have been introduced, but a sharp increase in the number of main lines is essential; e-mail and Internet services are available

Ukraine

Ukraine's telecommunication development plan, running through 2005, emphasizes improving domestic trunk lines and international connections, and developing a mobile cellular system

United Arab Emirates

modern system consisting of microwave radio relay and coaxial cable; key centers are Abu Dhabi and Dubai

United Kingdom

technologically advanced domestic and international system

Uruguay

some modern facilities

Uzbekistan

antiquated and inadequate; in serious need of modernization

Venezuela

modern and expanding

Vietnam

while Vietnam's telecommunication sector lags far behind other countries in Southeast Asia, Hanoi has made considerable progress since 1991 in upgrading the system; Vietnam has digitalized all provincial switch boards, while fiber-optic and microwave transmission systems have been extended from Hanoi, Da Nang, and Ho Chi Minh City to all provinces; the density of telephone receivers nationwide doubled from 1993 to 1995, but is still far behind other countries in the region

Wake Island

satellite communications; 1 DSN circuit off the Overseas Telephone System (OTS)

Western Sahara

sparse and limited system

Yemen

since unification in 1990, efforts have been made to create a national telecommunications network

Zambia

facilities are among the best in Sub-Saharan Africa

Zimbabwe

system was once one of the best in Africa, but now suffers from poor maintenance; more than 100,000 outstanding requests for connection despite an equally large number of installed but unused main lines
 

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