Multiple 4G options can reduce your roaming rates in Scandinavia.
Whether it’s to get a glimpse of the Northern Lights or take in the sights of Stockholm, there’s something for everyone in Sweden. If you’re travelling to this Scandinavian destination, you can cut down on roaming charges by investing in a prepaid SIM card from a local dealer. You can purchase a prepaid SIM card with 1GB of data, unlimited domestic SMS and 100 minutes of domestic calls for SEK149 (AUD$23.17). The following is our guide to Sweden’s mobile network operators.
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Mobile network operators in Sweden
There are four mobile networks in Sweden:
- Telia (and its subsidiary Halebop)
- Tele2 (and its subsidiary Comviq)
- 3 (Tre)
All four networks share their 2G, 3G or 4G space with at least one other network. Telia is the only operator with its own 4G network. All four carriers support 4G/LTE currently. Telia has the best coverage overall, but NetMobility and Tre have better speed options in major cities, so it’s important to think about where you will be spending the most time while visiting Sweden.
We’ll review all four providers separately, as well as the mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) Lycamobile.
Telia has the biggest market share in Sweden and is generally thought to have the best coverage in the country for 2G, 3G and 4G. 4G/LTE is available on prepaid with speeds up to 20 Mbps.
The starter SIM card is called Telia Kontantkort Startpaket. It’s free if you order it online or buy it in an official brand store. Otherwise it costs SEK100 in various convenience stores. As will be explained later, the international top-up website IHaveLanded is a good way to top-up with a foreign credit card. Otherwise you can buy top-up cards in most convenience stores such as supermarkets and petrol stations. Cards will expire after 13 months without being used. Telia offers data-enhancement packages as well as multi-service bundles as top-ups. All plans are listed below.
Telia data feature bundles
Telia Fastpris combo bundles
|Price||Data||Domestic SMS||Domestic calls|
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IHaveLanded starter packs
If you use the third-party website IHaveLanded to buy a Telia SIM card, you can pick from three starter packs. For an additional fee, the IHL card can be mailed to your address prior to your trip to Sweden. The starter packs are:
S: For SEK185, you get 500MB valid for 1 month, renewing on the first day of each month for a period of 12 months.
M: For SEK244, you get 1GB and unlimited domestic calls for 30 days.
L: For SEK478, you get 6GB and unlimited domestic calls for 30 days
Halebop is a subsidiary of Telia and has 4G/LTE up to speeds of 100Mbps for prepaid. The starter SIM card, Halebop Kontantkort, is available for free at Telia stores. You can also buy it at retail locations such as 7-Eleven, The Phone House, Media Mark and Coop for between SEK50 and SEK100. All three sizes of SIM cards are available. Top-up vouchers are available at the same locations. Balances and SIM cards will expire after one year. There are two programs available: Rubbet, which bundles data, voice and texts, or Halebop Go, which is a pay-as-you-go service. The cost and features of both are listed below.
Halebop Rubbet bundles
All bundles are valid for 31 days. Unused data will carry to the next month, but once you run out of data, you cannot get more without renewing.
Halebop Go packages
All data packages are valid for six months.
Comviq is a subsidiary of Sweden’s Tele2 and uses the networks of other companies. Tele2 itself not longer sells prepaid cards except through Comviq. Its prepaid SIM is called Comviq Kontantkort and is sold at convenience stores like 7-Eleven for SEK45. Previously you could only buy SIM cards online if you had a Swedish phone number and address, but it’s now possible to select a data package from the company website and use certain foreign credit cards as well. Check here to see if your credit card of choice is accepted. You can check your balance at any time by dialling *111#.
Comviq offers four different data plans, all of which are good for 30 days.
Fastpris has free domestic calls, domestic SMS and MMS. Its data can be used in the European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) as well as Sweden.
|SEK295||20GB (EU cap 8GB)|
|SEK45 (per week)||400MB|
For SEK95, you get 2GB domestic data, 200 minutes to Swedish numbers, free SMS and MMS. Data cannot be used for roaming in the EU/EEA, and once your minutes are exhausted, you are charged at the rate of SEK0.45/minute.
Surf’s options are limited. No calls or SMS/MMS are available, and the data only works when you are in Sweden.
The starter pack is called Telenor Kontant, available at its own stores and other outlets for SEK49. There are two starter plans available. You can only top up online if you have a Swedish credit card. Otherwise, you’ll have to use the top-up service in kiosk stores that take international credit cards. There are three plans available, detailed below.
Calls are SEK0.69/minute, SMS are SEK0.69/message and data is SEK19/100MB.
The following data packages are available for 31 days.
|SEK499||20GB for 6 months|
|SEK999||60GB for 6 months|
The following data bundles are good for 31 days.
|SEK699||2GB/month for 6 months|
|SEK999||4GB/month for 6 months|
Tre does not have a 2G network or 2G roaming but is solid on 3G and 4G. For prepaid SIM cards, international roaming is blocked, so you can only use these products in Sweden.
Tre’s data-only SIM card is called 3Kontant Bredband and can be purchased from any of its stores. There are three starter packs available:
- SIM card only: up to SEK99 for 500MB, valid for 7 days.
- SIM card and 4G modem: SEK199 for 5GB, valid for 7 days along with a Huawei E3372 4G USB modem.
- SIM card and Mobile Wi-Fi: SEK249 including 5GB for 7 days and Huawei 3G mobile Wi-Fi.
You can top up in three ways:
- The first is with coupons available at supermarkets, convenience stores and similar venues.
- The second is online using a credit card. If you have run out of data, you can get a bonus 20 minutes in order to top up online a maximum of three times. The website accepts both Visa and Mastercard.
- The third is by using Tre’s mobile app, Mitt3.
Tre data bundles
Tre voice and data SIM cards
Tre also offers SIM cards known as 3Fastpris that include unlimited calls and texts inside Sweden for 30 days. Their top-ups include:
British-based Lycamobile operates an MVNO in Sweden using Telenor’s 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE networks. Lycamobile’s SIM cards are free at its outlets on condition that you make a top-up of SEK50-SEK200 immediately. Lycamobile has the advantage of being the only network operator in Sweden that allows you to top up with a credit card online. To check your credit, dial *103@. To check your data balance, dial *137#.
Lycamobile’s default data rate is SEK0.99 per MB. The following data bundles are also available.
|Price||Data volume||Activation code|
Text the activation code to 3535. All packages renew after one month. To stop them, dial *190#.
Advice from TripAdvisor about SIM cards in Sweden
In addition to being an online review platform for hotels and attractions, TripAdvisor has an impressive online community of members. Here’s some advice from recent visitors to Sweden:
“If you want to use it within the EU as well as Sweden, Telenor is the best option. You can buy a prepaid start package from a number of convenience stores, grocery stores, phone stores and petrol stations.”
Pros and cons of Sweden’s top SIM card operators
Sweden has several SIM card providers. Here are some of the positives and negatives about these companies.
- Network speeds appear accurate as advertised.
- Many operators allow for online top-ups with traditional credit cards like Mastercard and Visa.
- Many prepaid plans do not allow roaming outside of Sweden.