How It Works in Sweden: Cell Phones


How It Works in Sweden: Cell Phones

SonyEriccsonWhether you’re moving to Sweden, heading there for a business trip or just going on a Swedish vacation, having connectivity when you’re in Sweden can make or break your trip. In this edition of “How it Works in Sweden,” we’ll take a closer look at the world of cell phones and connectivity.

Being home to Skype and Ericsson (the telecommunications giant that pioneered LTE wireless networks), Sweden is one of the most connected countries on the planet. Getting a phone in Sweden is simple and vital. Living at the forefront of mobile technology means you basically can be anywhere in the country and get a decent connection – except for the Södra tunnel through Stockholm, which always causes problems.

Pay As You Go vs. Getting a Contract

Once you’re in Sweden you have to decide if you want a kontantkort (cash card) or anabonnemang (contract). With a contract, you’ll need to sign up for a set amount of time, and you’ll get a certain amount of data and call time. With a cash card, you pay as you go, which means adding as much as you need when you need it.

Contracts – the contracts usually run for 12, 18 or 24 months.

Pay As You Go – the pay-as-you-go cards comes in various levels, but the most common is 100 or 200 SEK.

Unfortunately, Sweden make things difficult for immigrants who want to take out a cell phone contract. Law requires that you have to get a personnummer.

Photo via Håkan Dahlström, Flickr
Photo via Håkan Dahlström, Flickr

Picking a Service Provider

Once you’ve decided on a contract subscription or pay-as-you go plan, you’ll need to pick a service provider. It is beneficial if you have a rough estimate of how much calling and texting you’ll be doing and how much data you’ll be needing.

The most popular, big-name service providers are:

  • Tre
  • Telia
  • Tele2/Comviq
  • Telenor

Smaller service providers include Halebop and Glocalnet.

Moving from the United States for a while? One of the more popular options for a contract is going with the service provider Comviq Amigos. This cellular service provider offers its users really cheap phone calls to the U.S. and other countries around the world.

An important detail to note is if the service provider allows free calls to other people on the same network. If you are part of a group, this can save you big time! For example, Tre users can call other Tre users for free, while Comviq users can call other Comviq users and Tele2 users for free since they are the same company.

New phone or old phone?

Before coming to Sweden you can choose to unlock pretty much any smartphone out there. This will leave the phone free to be hooked up on any service provider. It is a cost-effective way to keep the same phone, apps, contacts, etc. and just put your new contract or pay-as-you-go SIM card into an unlocked phone you already own and love.

But then again with Sweden being on the forefront of tech, this might just be the perfect excuse for you to do a bit of phone shopping.


No plan? Make calls from your apps!

With a variety of free call-making apps, you can get in touch with your family no matter where you are. All you need to do is download the app to your cell phone and connect to WiFi, and you’ll be good to go.

Video Call With Skype

Skype (a Swedish invention) is one of the best ways to video call with your friends and family back home. You can even do group chats, which work well if you and your friends are scattered all over the world. For a very low price, Skype also offers a dialer option that will run international calls through their system to save you money.


From group messaging to individual chats, WhatsApp is an excellent way to keep in touch. The app is free, all the messaging you do after that is absolutely free. You also can make free calls via this app, which is an extra bonus. It’s no wonder that over a billion people use WhatsApp every day.

Thanks for reading this edition of “How It Works in Sweden.” If you would like to learn how anything works in Sweden, send us an email at, and your idea might make it into a future edition.

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