Wifi is everywhere in Sweden but if you want to use Google Maps to get around, keep track of your social media feeds, or Snapchat some sexy selfies, you might want to get a Swedish sim card.
You could stick with the sim card you use at home but, unless you’re arriving from another EU country, prices can be pretty high. The good news is that switching to a Swedish sim is easy – you don’t have to register any personal details and should be up and running within a few minutes of buying the sim.
There are a few different networks to choose from but in reality, there’s little between them in terms of price and coverage. Mobile signal is generally excellent in southern Sweden, central Sweden and all along the east coast, with strong 3G and 4G reception in almost every town and city, including Stockholm and Gothenburg.
Coverage drops off considerably in the north and northwest of Sweden, especially in national parks. That being said, if you stick to the main roads and towns, you’ll rarely have any trouble making a call or loading a simple webpage.
Do you really need a Swedish sim?
If you’re only staying in Sweden for a few days then you might not need to bother getting a local sim card. And if you’re travelling to Sweden from another EU country you don’t need to worry either, as roaming charges have now been dropped.
Some non-EU networks also offer the chance to use your regular data allowance for limited periods of time in selected countries – the best advice is to check the charges and allowances carefully before travelling.
For most people visiting Sweden from outside the EU, getting a Swedish sim will almost certainly be the cheapest option.
So, what are the options?
1) Get a sim card before you arrive
If you want to be able to catch up on emails as soon as the plane’s tyres hit the tarmac, you can order a sim online before you leave home. Some sites require a Swedish social security number, but a couple – including the New Europe Sim Card – do not. Those companies will send a Sweden-ready sim card to your home address, either pre-loaded with credit or ready for you to top-up online ahead of your arrival in the country.
2) Wait until you land
If you’re staying in Sweden for a long time the best option is to wait until you land. Pay-as-you-go sim cards are available for sale at most high-street mobile phone shops across the country. The main brands to keep an eye out for are:
– 3 (pronounced ‘tre’ in Swedish)
There are also other virtual networks that piggyback on those listed above. These include Halebop, Lycamobile, Comviq and Hallon. As deals change all the time, the best option may be to ask the retailer what they recommend, based on how long you’re staying. Shop around.
Need a recommendation for a cheap and easy sim?
We use Mobal’s New Europe Sim, which comes with 1GB of data and lets you receive unlimited calls and texts for free. You have a whole month to use up your data, and you can also top up with more data at a rate of $10 per gigabyte. There’s no contract to worry about, and you can buy extra credit if you decide you want to text or call from Sweden.
The Mobal sim fits in any device, including Android phones and the iPhone, and can be used in 100 different countries worldwide (so you can always use up any leftover data later). Delivery is free within the USA and you can have the sim delivered to other countries for around $10. Order online and have it delivered to your door! There’s also a money-back guarantee.
If you’re staying in Sweden for a longer period of time you can pay a one-off fee of around 999 SEK – that gives you 1GB of data per month for an entire year, plus a year’s worth of Spotify Premium. You can just turn up to any Telia shop in Sweden (map here) and ask for one of these sim cards without needing a Swedish social security number.
There’s no need to register your details, either. We’ve used the Telia service all over the country and the signal has always been reliable. If you need more juice, top ups for the Telia network are sold at kiosks, supermarkets and convenience stores across Sweden.
Alternatives to getting a Swedish sim
The cheap alternative to buying a local sim is to turn off your mobile network and rely on wifi. This gizmo gives you unlimited access to roaming, 4G wifi everywhere in Sweden for one fixed price.
You should be able to at least see where you are on Google Maps without having an internet connection, provided that you download the maps before setting off (this guide explains how). You will always need an internet connection to get directions, though.
If you’re planning to visit Sweden, our Stockholm guide is available to download in PDF format and does not require an internet connection.