Moving to Sweden – What to Bring
Moving to Sweden – The Swedish Language
Moving to Sweden – Finding a Place to Live
Moving to Sweden – The Metric System and You
Moving to Sweden – Getting from the Airport to Stockholm City
Moving to Sweden – The Weather
Moving to Sweden – Swedish Citizenship Test
Moving to Sweden – Public Holidays
Moving to Sweden – Finding a Job
Moving to Sweden – Culture Shock: It's the Little Things
Moving to Sweden – Making Friends
Moving to Sweden – Cost of Living
Moving to Sweden – The Laundry Room
Moving to Sweden – Marijuana
Moving to Sweden – Most Common Jobs and Salaries
Now that you’re here it’s time to get a cell phone.
I recently was speaking to a couple of people, one of whom had just arrived in Sweden and after four days was without a cell phone, and one of whom had lived here for quite a while. The honorary Swede (because I’m just not sure of the status of his Swedish citizenship) joked that you couldn’t get in anywhere in Sweden without a cell phone. And it’s true. Kind of.
Obviously, no one is frisking you at the door, but not having a cell phone in Sweden is tantamount to kicking baby seals. You just don’t do it. Along with Finland, Sweden is one of the most well connected countries when it comes to mobile technology. They do good work. I’m not sure what it is but the Nordic countries tend to be at the forefront of mobile technology. You can basically be anywhere in the country and get decent connection. Except for the tunnel through Stockholm Södra. Damn that tunnel.
Anyway, with that in mind, it’s a good idea to get a cell phone when you get to the country. It makes things a lot easier when you start making friends, start searching for a job, or start looking for a place to live. The following will give you an idea as to what kind of choices you will face. In the end though, only you can prevent forest fires. And choose your own cell phone.
|Look at how old that phone is. |
2008 was a long time ago.
Plenty of thought can be put into this. But it depends on how much calling you plan on doing, how much texting you plan on doing, what kind of options you want, and all that extra stuff. The contracts are usually for 12, 18, or 24 months. The pay-as-you-go cards, (which have a name in English that I can’t think of for the life of me) come in various levels but the most common is 100 or 200 SEK. Various plans and cards have different advantages so you need to put a little bit of thought into this. Or, maybe you’re like me and have a deep seated disdain for cell phones and didn’t get one until after freshman year of college. Then you can avoid some thought and keep it simple.
I just wanted something that I could call with every now and again and maybe make an international call or two when I felt the need. So I went with the kontantkort and chose Comviq Amigos because it offered really cheap phone calls to the US and other countries around the world. If you plan on just using Skype (a wonderful Swedish invention by the way) you don’t need to worry about it, but it’s still nice in case you find yourself stuck on a train wanting to call someone back home. Whatever you do, don’t pay full price for a phone if you’re going to get a contract. And, because Sweden likes to make things difficult for immigrants, most places will not give you a cell phone contract unless you have a personnummer. So that's a thing. If you're just here as a student, consider bribing/asking nicely a friend to put you on their plan. That way, you can get any perceived benefits of a contract, without the hassle of not having a personnummer.
You also need to pick a service provider. The big ones are Tre, which means three. Luckily, they use a large bubbly “3” as their logo. There is also, Telia, Tele2/Comviq and Telenor. Then there are a few smaller ones that are working hard like Halebop and Glocalnet. This is obviously not a complete list but gives an idea as to what you have for choices.
What you plan on doing with it is going to be important. Calling. Texting. Sending pictures. All stuff to take into account. You can also take into account which logo you prefer. Because when I studied abroad here that’s what I did. Which is how I ended up with Comviq. They have a basset hound. And who doesn’t love basset hound’s? I probably wouldn’t suggest this for everyone though; it’s basically like picking the Lions over the Rams because you believe a lion could eat a ram. It’s not a good strategy for most aspects of life. But it worked out quite well for me and I haven’t had any problem at all.
For those who want to make a more informed decision, some stores, like The Phone House, will offer some information comparing the different plans. A handy pamphlet with options, columns, little x’s. It’s beautiful really. And should help you decide which plan will meet your needs. You can also check places online like pricerunner.se where they compare contracts.
It’s important to note here that most companies will allow you to call for free to others who are using the same company. So Tre can call Tre for free. And Comviq can call Comviq or Tele2 because they are the same company. This is one reason it pays to stick to one of the larger carriers. If you already have a group of friends, check with them to see what they have. If you plan on communicating primarily with them, it might not be a bad idea to get the same carrier as they have.
You also need a cell phone. There are plenty of options here. Too many options to choose from really. You can go obviously go to a specialty store. Like a Telenor store. Or a Tre store. You can also check out an electronics store like MediaMarkt, Siba, or Expert. Or you can go to The Phone House. Which is what I suggest. They’ve got just about everything you need. They have always been incredibly helpful, which you don’t always find in Swedish retail, and they tend to have pretty good prices. Plus, they usually have a couple of phones that have special deals tied to them so you can slide in and snag one of those.
If you’re trying to save money ask around. Everyone loves to get a new cell phone. And with the cellphone culture here in Sweden, Swedes are no exception. That means that a lot of people have older cell phones lying around. Sometimes they’ll just give them away, other times you might have to drop a bit of money. But it’s worth asking. Also, check places like TheLocal.se’s notice board. It has a large ex-pat and international community. People are coming and going, and those going often want to get rid of their cell phones for a bit of money.
Finally, because in 2014, when I moved back to Sweden, I had graduate to a smartphone. Really moving up in the world. If you plan on coming over to Sweden with your current smartphone, that's fine. Just make sure you unlock it first. I've been with AT&T in the US for years and they tend to just unlock my phone without too much hassle. This time around, I've been using a Swedish contract with Tele2.
There are other options though. You can sign-up for plans such as T-Mobile's Simple Choice Plan, which offers a whole lot of benefits for not a whole lot of cash. There's unlimited data and unlimited texting. Of course, since you're in a different country and maintaining your American phone number, it means anytime someone wants to call you, they're calling international. And that gets expensive. Or at least annoying.
Now you should have the basics taken care of. You have a plan (card or contract), you have a carrier, and you have a phone. You’re ready to tackle Sweden like a true Swede. With a cell phone as your newest appendage.
Welcome to Sweden.