The process of privatization of the telephone services in Brazil gave way to a complex system of companies and codes. As a result, the simple act of making a phone call has become a complex and bewildering operation.
Local calls. Just dial the number.
Long-distance calls. Dial 0, then the two-digit code that identifies the company you want to use to make the phone call, and then the number you wish to talk to.
Often you will see the phone numbers expressed in the following fashion:
0XX11 3333 3333
The number 0 identifies a long-distance call.
The XX must be replaced by the number of the company you want to use to make the phone call (a two-digit number). Number 15 belongs to Telefonica; number 21, to Embratel; number 31, to Telemar; and so on and so forth.
International phone calls.
Dial 00. Then, the two-digit code that identifies the company you want to use to make the phone call, then the country code, and then the number you wish to talk to.
Although phone boxes/phone booths are widespread, you should not despair if the one you are trying to use won’t allow you to make international or long-distance calls. It happens. It’s an irregular practice by phone companies attempting to reduce losses – fraud is as widespread as the phone boxes/booths.