Buy a local SIM card to reduce your roaming bills.
Estonia is one of Northern Europe’s most cultured nations, but at the same time it’s well-priced for travelers. If you plan to use your phone there, make sure you check out local SIM card deals, because they could reduce your bills. You can buy 1GB of data from one of Estonia’s leading telco provider for as little as EUR2 (AUD$3). So, whether you’re planning a week-long holiday or a long-term trip, check out the best SIM card options available on finder.com.au.
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Telco providers in Estonia
There are three main phone operators in Estonia: Telia, Elisa and Tele2. All operators go through a strict approval process before being allowed to operate in the country, and each one competes with the others to offer the best deals. They have all been tried and tested by locals and visitors, and can be trusted. Their deals are among the best in world, and according to OpenSignal, Estonia has great all-over network coverage.
Estonian operators offer great phone coverage, providing good 2G, 3G and 4G wireless services. All operators sell prepaid credit, which allow users to take advantage of cheap offers and deals. The locals call their SIM cards “Kartes” or “SIM”, and they can be purchased from official stores and approved resellers after showing a passport. Credit can be also be purchased from those official stores and supermarkets, or at Tallinn Airport. Top-ups can be purchased online by using a credit card. Below, we have broken down each telco provider to highlight exactly what they can offer you during your visit to Estonia.
Telia is owned by the Swedish telco provider of the same name. Telia has an extremely large market share of 42% and offers a 4G/LTE service to most of the country. Prepaid SIM cards can be purchased from official stores or approved resellers. They have two prepaid packages available under the kõnekaarts banner, called Super and Simpel. Credit can be purchased from official stores or online. You can also transfer money from any European bank account into the Telia account by setting up the service online or by using their app. SIM cards can be purchased for EUR1 and credit must be purchased to activate. The Simpel SIM card can be purchased for EUR2.95 which includes the same amount of credit and 50MB of data. The standard default data rate is EUR1 for 1GB data per day, and that 1GB of data can be purchased by texting “DATA” to 9123 for just EUR1.
|250MB||EUR1||Dial *147*250# to activate|
|1GB||EUR2||Dial *147*1# to activate|
|3GB||EUR3.99||Dial *147*3# to activate|
|5GB||EUR5||Dial *147*5# to activate|
|10GB||EUR8||Dial *147*10# to activate|
Telia’s APN: internet.emt.ee
Elisa is run by a Finnish company, and they offer 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE services. Prepaid SIM cards can be purchased from official stores or approved resellers. The "Elisa Kõnekaart" start-up SIM card can be purchased for EUR1 and includes that amount of credit. The entry PIN is automatically saved as 1234. Credit vouchers can be purchased from almost anywhere.
Dial *135*CODE# to activate the credit voucher.
Dial *135*1# to check your balance.
Dial *135*3# to check the expiry date of the plan.
You can also register for the “My Elisa” self-service account by adding your details online.
In addition, there are three combo plans available:
- Basic.Unlimited calls to other Elisa numbers, 3 hours to Telia and Tele2
Call 95003 to activate
- Standard.Unlimited calls to other Elisa numbers, 6 hours to Telia and Tele2, 100 SMS, 1GB domestic data
Call 95006 to activate
- Premium. Unlimited calls to other Elisa numbers, 9 hours to Telia and Tele2, 1 hour to the EU and Russia, 100 SMS, 5GB domestic data
Call 95009 to activate
The following data packs are also for sale:
|500MB||EUR1||Text “NET4G1” to 95000|
|1GB||EUR5||Text “NET4G7” to 95000|
|4GB||EUR7||Text “NET4G30” to 95000|
|10GB||EUR10||Text “NET4G30L” to 95000|
|25GB||EUR20||Text “NET4G30XL” to 95000|
A prepaid SIM card called Zen Kõnekaart can also be purchased for EUR3, with that amount of credit uploaded. The above-mentioned plans plus extras can be added to this SIM. Check stores for the latest deals at time of purchase as they update these on a regular basis.
For roaming and calls in other European countries, a Reisi nuttipaket plan can be added:
200 mins, 50 SMS, 5GB EUR12 Text “ReisM” to 95000
500 mins, 100 SMS, 10GB EUR19 Text “ReisL” to 95000
2GB EUR7 Text “Reis7” to 95000
10GB EUR15Text “Reis30” to 95000
Check the list at time of purchase as the deals change from time-to-time.
Elisa’s APN: internet
Tele2 sells prepaid SIM cards under the Smart label in Estonia. This provider has some of the best rates and good coverage, offering customers 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE services. Prepaid SIM cards and credit can be purchased from official stores or approved resellers. Dial *245# to check your balance. Dial *109*2# to activate English messaging options. The Smart SIM card can be purchased for EUR0.95, which comes with that amount of credit and 100MB data, valid for 30 days. Bonuses will be added for topping up more than EUR4 in the first week.
The following data packs can be added:
|500MB||24 hours||EUR0.99||Text “DATA50” to 95002|
|1GB||30 days||EUR1.99||Text “DATA1GB” to 95002|
|5GB||30 days||EUR4.99||Text “DATA5GB’ to 95002|
Tele2 also sells prepaid SIM cards under its own brand name, along with Smart. There are two SIM card starter packs available, valid for 30 days:
EUR4.95 500 domestic minutes, 500 domestic SMS, 2GB domestic data
Text “495” to 95002
EUR9.951000 dom. mins, 1000 dom. SMS, unlimited calls and texts to Tele2, 5GB domestic data
Text “995” to 95002
Data add-ons can also be purchased:
EUR1.99 1GB Text “1GB” to 95002
EUR4.99 5GB Text “5GB” to 95002
You can change a Smart SIM card to a Tele2 SIM card by texting “SMARTKAART” to 95002.
If you prefer, there is a data only SIM card called Ettemaksuga Internet which is distributed through the Tele2 brand. The SIM card can be purchased for EUR3.99 and comes with 5GB data valid for 7 days. The following data packs can be added:
|5GB||Valid for 7 days||EUR3.49||Text “DATA5” to 95001|
|15GB||Valid for 30 days||EUR9.49||Text “DATA15” to 95001|
|30GB||Valid for 30 days||EUR14.99||Text “DATAXL” to 95001|
Tele2’s APN: internet.tele2.ee
- Estonian is the language of Estonia, so if you don’t know that language you may want download Google Translate onto your phone before you travel.
- Locals call a SIM card a “Karte” or “SIM”.
- Ask the sellers to set up the SIM for you, because they will know how to do it. If not, follow the instructions we have highlighted above or go to the official operator website to seek advice.
- Try and get to the shops early to avoid the crowds.
TripAdvisor tips for the best SIM cards and where to buy them
TripAdvisor has many user comments that can help guide you through which SIM cards have been tried and tested in Estonia.
“You can buy phone cards from any newsstands, petrol stations, post office or mobile shops. One of the cheapest is the Smart SIM card sold by Tele2.”
“The only problem I could foresee for you is if your phone is locked so make sure it's unlocked before you travel. That can cost but once it's done you'll be able to buy cheap SIM cards almost everywhere in the world.”
“You need to have your passport with you to buy a SIM. Make sure your phone is unlocked. You will be given an option in the menu to change the settings to English.”
Pros and cons of telco providers in Estonia
All networks require you to have a SIM-unlocked GSM compatible international phone. To double check you have this phone, or to find out whether it’s possible to unlock your device, contact your provider before you leave home.
- Good value for money
- Estonia has good coverage
- Prepaid credit when required
- No in-store contract needed
- Could be compatible with your current phone
- Cheap handsets are sold in-store
- No phone devices offered with the SIM card packages
- Can only be used on SIM-unlocked GSM phones