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.
- We recommend Elisa for most travellers
- Consider DNA if you're staying in the cities, or can't find Elisa cards
There are three cell providers in Finland: Sonera, Elisa, and DNA. All three offer LTE on the 800, 1800, and 2600 Mhz bands.
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.
Can't be bothered with the hassle of buying a local SIM in Finland? KnowRoaming topped our international SIM card comparison.
The company's SIM cards, stickers and hotspots can be sent out ahead of time, so you'll hit the ground running in 200 countries, and save up to 85% on roaming fees while you're there. Unlike other companies, using WhatsApp for texts and calls anywhere in the world is absolutely free.
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 3G, I managed to hit between 15 and 20 Mbps download speeds all over the city.