In Mother, telephones are the only method of contacting Ninten's father, which is vital to saving the player's progress. There are two types of phones; normal phones and payphones. Payphones require a single dollar to be used, and are generally located in drugstores alongside the ATM, while normal telephones are only located in select locations, notably Ninten's house and Healer's houses. The Phone Card allows for 50 free usages of the payphone before reaching the credit limit and becoming unusable. When using the phone in the healer's house in Snowman for the first time, Ninten's father will register the player's name. The Mysterious Mimicker functions nearly identically to the telephone.
Telephones in EarthBound have a somewhat expanded role from their original appearance. While functioning similarly, Ness must have registered a phone number in order to make a call, with his father and mother registered at the beginning of the game. In addition to calling his family, telephones can be used to call multiple services, such as Mach Pizza and Escargo Express. Similarly, the receiver phone is used to receive calls from many people, including Apple Kid, Orange Kid, and Tony. Similarly to in Mother, there are payphones and normal phones. Normal phones are now somewhat more common, appearing in hotels and various other places.