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You see them advertised everywhere in India. They’re posted on banners outside shops, lining highway roadsides, in towns and in busy cities.
To travelers, the abbreviations are misleading. They’re not what we know them as in the U.S.
In India, STD is short for Subscriber Trunk Dialing or when you dial any number within India, without operator assistance.
ISD is International Subscriber Dialing and is meant for dialing internationally, outside of India.
The abbreviations are advertised at shops, where you can place phone calls at cheap rates,… not contract “Sexually. Transmitted. Diseases“. If you don’t have a phone, you can make a call from these shops and it can be cheap.
Sometimes, it’s as low as a rupee per minute to a number outside the area or free if you’re calling a local landline number!
Why do I know this?
It’s hard not having a phone in India, especially when you need to want to meet up with friends or call guesthouses to book reservations. I was forced to hit the streets in search of an STD shop (aka calling shops), because my Vodaphone SIM at the time, sucked.