Though landlines are a dying breed, many houses and apartments come supplied with a working landline, and when you move in you’ll simply assume responsibility for the bill from the government telecommunications agency. The line will remain in your landlord’s name but the bill will be presented to you monthly for payment. Your landlord will help you install a line if necessary.

Direct international calls can be as cheap as a few cents a minute. A great way to call is with an international phone service such as Planet Numbers that provides a number to dial before calling for the best rates.

Alternatively, Skype or another internet-based phone system allows you to call almost any phone in the world for just a few cents per minute or another computer for free. Visit for details.

Mobile Phones

The vast majority of ex-pats (and locals) use pre-paid mobile phone cards. When you arrive in Vietnam you can buy a SIM card for around VND 250,000 at any corner shop and be talking within minutes. Once you have chosen a mobile company, you can recharge your mobile account by adding money at thousands of shops throughout Hanoi.

VINAPHONE, MOBIPHONE and VIETTEL are the big three in mobile phones here, and there’s little effective difference—rates are all about the same, and they all offer similar bonuses and specials. Check with your friends and co-workers to see what they use since it’s cheaper to make calls within the same network.

Calls are inexpensive, and with a VND 100,000 recharge, you get at least 160 minutes of talk time.

You can buy a SIM card and recharge your account at thousands of locations around Hanoi–you’ll see the company names and logos displayed outside most sundry shops. Mobiphone has the best customer support services in English.

23 Nguyen Du street, Hanoi

If you prefer to be billed monthly for your mobile calls, take your passport and a VND 1,000,000 deposit to the main post office, on Dinh Tien Hoang street right next to Hoan Kiem Lake. There you can sign a contract with any of the big three providers and receive a monthly bill at your address.