Getting a Swedish sim card

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’re going to need a Swedish sim card.

Advice on getting a Swedish sim card

Decisions, decisions

You could stick with the sim card you use at home but even if 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. Some European networks (like O2 and Vodafone in the UK, for example) offer add-ons for folks travelling within the EU – simply pay a couple of pounds extra for each day that you’re away and you’ll be able to use data as usual.


Other networks offer the chance to use your regular data allowance for limited periods of time in selected countries, regardless of whether or not they’re in the EU – the best advice is to check the charges and allowances carefully before travelling.

For most people visiting Sweden from outside the EU or staying for a week or more, getting a Swedish sim will almost certainly be the cheapest option – but don’t dismiss alternative options like this device that gives you unlimited wifi for a set number of days.

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 Lycamobile – 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

To get a deal that really suits you, the best option is to wait until you get to Sweden. 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)
– Tele2
– Telenor
– Telia

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?

We use Telia’s ‘Surf Refill’ package, which comes with a brand new sim card and costs 49 SEK for 1GB of data (you have a whole month to use it up). There’s no minimum term, and you can buy extra credit if you decide you want to text or call.

If you’re staying in Sweden for a longer period of time you can pay 599 SEK – that gives you 2GB of data per month for an entire year. 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. 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 very handy gizmo gives you unlimited access to roaming, 4G wifi everywhere in Sweden for on 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 guides to Stockholm and Gothenburg are available to download in PDF format and do not require an internet connection.

 

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10 Comments

  • Liat says:

    My brother is currently in Sweden (I am overseas), is there any option that I can buy and send him data to his cellphone?

  • Janet says:

    I went to ihavelanded.com to buy a SIM card for a 3 week vacation in Sweden. I now have TWO SIM card orders, instead of one, due to their system errors.* I have been billed for part of each card on my charge card. Both orders have been marked “processing” for 2.5 days now even though I paid extra for shipping. At this rate, I may not receive either SIM by the time I leave in 16 days.

    I have emailed them repeatedly to every almost every email address I found on the site and no on responds. All the Swedish agencies I have dealt with on planning this trip have responded to questions or problems within a few hours. What gives? Do I have to spend the money to speak to them on the phone? I don’t like to be unpleasant about these matters, but I’m about ready to call my credit card company and dispute the second billing.

    * The first time I tried to place the order, it bounced my payment method as invalid. The next 2 times I tried to order, I received a message “server error, try later”. The last time the order went through and now I have 2 orders.

    • Routes North says:

      Hi Janet,

      Thanks for sharing. You should take it up with them directly – have you tried contacting the company? We’re not connected to them in any way, so we can’t help I’m afraid.

      Steve

      RoutesNorth.com

      • Janet says:

        Yes, I have sent emails to everyone who has an email address 5 days ago. No one has responded. So my credit card company reversed one of the charges. I am not optimistic about this place since my order is still listed as “processing” after 5 days.

    • Janet says:

      Happy to say I just received my SIM card today from I Have Landed. It only took 46 days from the time I placed the order! Unfortunately, I returned from my 3 week vacation in Sweden TWO DAYS AGO. I had to buy a SIM card in Gotland at a Telia store as I needed to call relatives in Sweden. They finally credited my own with one of the duplicate orders on AUGUST 18.

      BOTTOM LINE: Buy your SIM card when you get to Sweden.

    • Sarah says:

      I have the same problem, I have been charged 3 times due to “system error” messages. No response to repeated emails. I’m going to contact my bank and have them reverse the charges.

      • Routes North says:

        Hi Sarah,

        Thanks very much for commenting here – we’ve decided to remove Ihavelanded from the guide, just in case the same thing happens to other people! Hope you manage to get it sorted out.

  • TipBkk says:

    I plan to visit Stockholm for 3 days and go to Norway.
    I will buy Swedish sim card but I’m not sure it can be used in Norway or not.
    I no need to buy Norwegian sim, alright ?
    Please advise. Thank you.

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