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Finland. Home of reindeer and saunas, Angry Birds and Santa. It’s also home to the fastest data speeds we’ve seen in any country, both on 3G and LTE.
Not only that, but free Wi-Fi covers anywhere you’d want to go in Helsinki, with download speeds reaching as high as 25 Mbps.
You don’t need to buy a SIM card if you’re going to be limiting yourself to the capital city — but if you do want to grab one, here’s what you need to know.
Note: Finland is part of the European Union, which introduced new roaming regulations in June 2017. These “roam like at home” rules effectively ended roaming charges across much of Europe, meaning you’ll usually pay no more for calls, texts, and data in other EU countries than you would in the country of purchase.
There are some exceptions and limits, however. Double-check the details at time of purchase if you’re planning to use your SIM elsewhere in the region.
There are three cell providers in Finland: Sonera, Elisa, and DNA. All three offer LTE to prepaid customers.
If you’re going to be travelling all over Finland, go for Elisa, as it has the best coverage and data speeds in the country. Sonera and DNA come in joint second in terms of coverage and speeds, with DNA having a few more options for prepaid.
I went with DNA, as I struggled to find any prepaid Elisa SIM cards.
After arriving in Helsinki, I headed straight to an Elisa store. They didn’t sell prepaid cards there, they told me, and recommended I visit an R-Kiosk — the 7-Eleven of Finland. You’ll find one on practically every street.
After stopping in a few and finding that Elisa prepaid cards were out of stock, I went with DNA instead. Because I was buying from a busy convenience store rather than a mobile store, I was handed a packet and was left to my own devices to figure out how to get it working. I didn’t have to show ID to buy it.
Inside the packet, was a SIM card with mini, micro, and nano cutouts. I popped in the nano SIM, entered in the pin code when prompted, and typed in the APN details below:
No username or password
And I was good to go. Lightning-fast data speeds, here I come!
I paid €5 for the SIM card, which gave me €7 of credit. Unlimited LTE comes in at €1.91 a day. If you’ll need calls and texts while you’re in Finland, they’re priced at €0.066 per minute of talk, and €0.066 per SMS.
If you’ll be in the country for a reasonable amount of time and don’t want to pay as much as ~€2 a day for data, packages are also available. Monthly prices range from €4.90 for 100MB to €16.90 for unlimited data.
You can find out more about these and other options here.
You can buy top-ups from R-Kiosk stores all over Finland, as well as from post offices and Otto ATMs.
Coverage and Data Speeds
The data speeds I got from my SIM card were incredible. I was regularly getting close to 100 Mbps downloads with LTE, no matter where I was in Helsinki. With HSPA+, I managed to hit between 15 and 20 Mbps download speeds all over the city.
Check out our guides to buying SIM cards in many other countries here.