Buying a SIM Card in Finland

In Get Connected by Lauren Juliff7 Comments


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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.


Companies


  • We recommend Elisa for most travelers
  • 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 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.

How


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.

R Kiosk in Helsinki

R Kiosk in Helsinki

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:

APN: prepaid.dna.fi
No username or password

And I was good to go. Lightning-fast data speeds, here I come!



Can't be bothered with the hassle of buying a local SIM in Finland? OneSIM topped our international SIM card comparison.

It offers phones and SIM cards that work in 200 countries, have free incoming calls, save up to 85% on roaming fees, and can be sent out ahead of time to let you hit the ground running. Find out more here.



Costs


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.

Topping Up


You can buy top-ups from R-Kiosk stores all over Finland, as well as from post offices and Otto ATMs.

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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.

DNA 3G data speeds in Helsinki

DNA HSPA+ data speeds in Helsinki

DNA LTE data speeds in Helsinki

DNA LTE data speeds in Helsinki

Check out our guides to buying SIM cards in many other countries here.

About the Author

Lauren Juliff

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Lauren is a physicist turned digital nomad who's travelling and working her way around the world on a permanent basis. She's the clumsy member of the team -- if there's a camera to be dropped, a Kindle to be stood on or a laptop to pour a drink over, she'll be the one to do it. You can read more about her travel misadventures over at Never Ending Footsteps.

Comments

  1. Good to hear the networks were worth their reputation.

    Both Sonera and Elisa have secondary brands, Sonera network is as Tele Finland and Elisa network as Saunalahti. In fact nowadays pretty much all Elisa consumer services have been branded as Saunalahti. I was just at the R-kioski today and noticed they had Saunalahti Prepaid packages.

    Overall mobile data in Finland is typically defined by speed, not by data caps. For example when you have a postpaid subscription, you pay different amount depending if the max speed is 21, 50, 100 or 300 Mbit/s (typically set around 3G, DC-HSPA, LTE and LTE-A data rates). With Elisa/Saunalahti all the postpaid subscription include free, unlimited data at 256 kbit/s.

    Around 30€/month should give you a decent, uncapped 4G data subscription through the daily limits (for example Saunalahti/Elisa Prepaid is 0.066€/MB but capped at 0.99€/day).

  2. Can I check with you, for the DNA card you got, 16.90 Euro for unlimited data, can it be used in Estonia (Tallinn) and Tromso (Norway)?

  3. Please see this article for more info on EU ‘Roam Like At Home’ regulations. Generally, though, you’ll be able to use your SIM and call/text/data package from one EU country in any other, but usually won’t get ‘unlimited’ data while roaming. Exactly what you do get depends on the price you paid for the package and other factors, so you always need to check details directly with the operator.

  4. Dear Lauren Juliff,

    May I ask for your expertised advice?
    The situation is I will travel in Iceland and stopover in Helsinki, Furthermore, my plan after Iceland is France and Italy.

    What is the suitable sim card for data concentrated?

    As you has provided the details of DNA which was bought in Finland, will it be able to use in Iceland, France, Italy?

    It would very nice and kind of you if you could share your experience regarding to the mentioned situation 🙂

  5. France and Italy should work, I think. At least my plan is (it’s post-paid though). Iceland isn’t included for my plan at least. My plan is Telia (aka Sonera) and the post-paids have DEN, NOR, SWE, FIN, and Baltian countries. Prepaids may vary.

  6. Let’s correct it, yeah Iceland is included same than with the EU. And also what I mean by that list of countries is that there are unlimited data. In EU post-paids have like 10GBs of data (with Telia) but others may vary. Sorry about the earlier one that didn’t have all the relevant info.

  7. Dear Lauren Juliff,

    To activate a SIM CARD Prepaid Elisa, do I need to call a phone, or can I do this through text messages on my smartphone? Are the data packets bought in R-Kioski as well? And can these packages also be activated directly by text on the smartphone?

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