Mobile phones in Norway mainly operate on a GSM network. As Norway has a relatively young population, you'll find that many mobile phone operators offer special discounted rates and cheap packages.
Along with most other European countries, calls in Norway are charged per minute but there is also a Startpris – which is a higher charge for the first minute of the phone call.
Of course, you can also use your mobile phone from home via roaming in Norway. You will be able to make and receive phone calls, but this will cost you considerably more than it would with a Norwegian mobile connection. If you stay in Norway for a while, you should definitely consider getting a Norwegian mobile number.
Deciding on a mobile phone plan
You have the option of purchasing a pay-as-you-go phone (Kontantkort) or a monthly contract plan (Abonnement). It depends upon the kind of services you are looking for and the frequency with which you want to use your phone.
Kontantkort (pay-as-you-go) options in Norway
Pay-as-you-go phones in Norway are the easiest option to get a Norwegian mobile line. First of all, you should check your mobile phone works in Norway. If it does, you can buy a new Sim card with any Norwegian telephone number and insert it into your existing phone.
You will usually either have to register your new number yourself, or the shop where you buy it from will do this for you. Once registered, your new Sim card is activated and you can top it up with credit from supermarkets, petrol stations, newsagents and online (the latter option also works out slightly cheaper).
The two main mobile companies who provide this service are Telenor and Netcom. You can get a new Sim card from any electronic retailers, or a phone kiosk (which you will find in departments stores and in all major cities and towns). You should ask for an akontantkort account.
Abonnement (contract) plans in Norway
If you are planning on staying in Norway for an extended period of time, it may be worth subscribing to an abonnement plan. This involves paying a monthly fee to a mobile network provider, which often contains a certain amount of minutes and SMS messages.
You can also tailor most mobile plans to suit your needs – if you make a lot of phone calls, but never send SMS messages, you can tailor your abonnement to only pay for phone calls.
Bear in mind that you might be required to have worked for a minimum of three years in Norway under a valid work contract before you are allowed to take out an abonnement plan with a mobile provider. If you can't get an abonnement plan, you will have to start with a prepaid mobile card.