Three main networks
The main network providers in Finland are Elisa, Telia and DNA. Operators Globetel (operates on Telia) and MOI Mobile (DNA) are virtual network operators meaning that instead of having their own network, they rent a network from the main operators.
All network operators cover a pretty good area of Finland, leaving only the most remote areas without signal. Basic 2G and 3G networks offer the greatest coverage, while fast 4G is available in most of the cities. Next generation networks, like 5G and 6G, are developing as the network providers work to improve their networks.
In Finland, all mobile phone numbers, apart from prepaid ones, are transferable. This means that you can keep your number even if you find a better deal with a different provider.
Getting a sim card
There are three options available when getting a new sim card:
- contract with device
Operators have shops all around the country, but you can also buy a SIM card fully online. Globetel and MOI Mobiili only have online shops. Online shopping usually requires bank access codes so the operators can recognise you.
Prepaid SIM-cards can also be purchased from kiosks, supermarkets, and gadget shops. If you want to get a contract type of a plan, you need to have a clear credit record, passport and a Finnish personal identity code. If you don’t have these, you might have to pay a big deposit.
Contract-based plans come in various forms: from base rates only to unlimited texts, minutes and data. Some plans are available with data only for tablets etc. and some without data at all.
Contracts with devices are usually fixed-term contracts, while prepaid and contracts without devices have unlimited subscription minimums.
You should shop around and talk to an operator’s customer service to find the most suitable solution for you: most shop assistants can speak English.
Prepaid SIM cards are readily available in Finland through providers. They are easy to buy from any R-kioski and network providers’ shops nationwide. You can top-up your SIM by voucher or online.
Note that these packages do not normally include a phone. Tariffs on prepaid phones can be as cheap as contracts, but sometimes they don’t include unlimited data.
Since mid-2017 there has been no mobile roaming charges on EU numbers within the EU. If you have a mobile phone number from any EU country, you can use your phone with the same rates as in your home country. So for short visits, you don’t necessarily need to have a Finnish phone number.
If you decide to get a Finnish phone number and you need to travel to Europe, you should be able to use your Finnish number at the same rate as in Finland. Pay attention to your data as even if you have unlimited data in Finland, you might have limits abroad.
Calling outside the EU/EEA
If you are calling a country outside the EU/EEA, you might pay surprisingly high rates. It’s possible to choose which operator handles your international calls, allowing you to shop around for the best rates. The rates differ dramatically between networks and depend on what country you are calling.
VoIP (ie. Skype, WhatsApp and Facebook calls) works well throughout the country and phone cards are available online, offering a cheap way to call abroad.