Buying a SIM Card in Norway

In Get Connected by Dave Dean12 Comments

Majestic glaciers and snow-capped mountains, deep fjords and sprawling forests, Norway is easily one of the most beautiful countries in the world.

It’s also one of the most expensive, with everything from food and activities to transport and accommodation likely to set you back far more than you’re used to.

Free Wi-fi is common, including on trains, but it’s not everywhere. Fortunately, given the eye-watering costs of everything else, Norwegian mobile costs are relatively affordable.

It’d be quite a stretch to call them a bargain, but in the land of the $28 burrito, staying connected is one of the few things that isn’t going to make your bank balance cry out in horror.

Like almost everything else in the country, it’s also a simple, straightforward process.

Companies


  • We recommend Lycamobile for most travellers

There are three cell networks in Norway, operated by Telenor, Tele2 and NetCom. Telenor has the best coverage, followed by NetCom.

A few companies resell service from one of those providers. I opted to go with Lycamobile, which uses the NetCom network.

How


Purchasing was very easy, not least because there was a little foreign exchange store that also sold SIM cards a few metres from my hostel in Oslo.

The vendor spoke good English, and after showing my passport and providing my hostel address, I had a new micro SIM card in a few minutes. There were no forms to fill out.

Since the card came with no credit, I purchased a top-up card at the same time. The instructions to activate it were in Norwegian, but easy enough to follow, and I received a confirmation SMS immediately. Activating the data package I wanted required sending a code shown on the in-store brochure.

Since the card came with no credit, I purchased a top-up card at the same time. The instructions to activate it were in Norwegian, but easy enough to follow, and I received a confirmation SMS immediately. Activating the data package I wanted required sending a code shown on the in-store brochure.

The only challenge was finding the correct APN settings — I didn’t get a data connection with the standard settings, and the vendor didn’t know the details. In the end I was able to use my hostel’s Wi-Fi to track the information down, which was:

APN: data.lyca-mobile.no
Username: lmno
Password: plus

 

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Costs


The card itself was free, and I paid 99 NOK (~$13) for a reasonably small data allowance of 325MB, valid for thirty days. This was enough to last me my short time in the country, but Lyca also offers 500MB for 149 NOK and 1GB for 199 NOK if you want more.

If you need to make calls and send SMS as well, it may be best to buy the 99 NOK ‘Plan 100’ bundle that has 100 calls, 100 texts and 100MB of data, then add an extra data package when you need it.

Topping Up


You can buy top-ups almost anywhere you see a sign for Lycamobile — which, in Oslo at least, seemed to be every other block.

 

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Coverage and Data Speeds


Speed and coverage were both very impressive. Download speeds in Oslo were some of the fastest I’ve ever seen on a 3G (HSPA+) connection, and didn’t change much in Bergen. Although uploads were far slower, they were still quick enough to make a video Skype call without a problem.

The coverage area was far better than expected — I often had full signal even in the mountains with no sign of habitation during a cross-country train trip, or on a boat trip through the fjords around Bergen.

Lycamobile 3G speeds in Oslo

Lycamobile 3G speeds in Oslo

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

Need to buy a SIM card in Norway? While not a bargain, it doesn't cost a fortune to stay connected in this beautiful country. Here's what you need to know.
About the Author

Dave Dean

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Founder and editor of Too Many Adapters, Dave has been a wanderer for nearly 20 years and a geek for even longer. When he's not playing with the latest tech toy or working out how to keep his phone charged for just a few more minutes, he can probably be found sitting in a broken down bus in some obscure corner of the planet.

Comments

  1. I live in Oslo, so I just opt for a payment plan, but this is very handy info for when traveling friends are coming to town.
    But $28 burrito? Where the heck did you go? 😛

    1. Author

      Hahaha — to be fair, the $28 burrito isn’t my story, it’s one I heard from Anthony (another writer on this site). Given that I’d walked past TGI Friday’s about an hour before writing this and seen a $30 chicken burger on the menu, though, it didn’t seem much of a stretch. 🙂

      1. Author

        Yeah, there were so many better alternatives, especially in Oslo. It was a bit tougher to find affordable, decent food in Bergen, but we discovered a couple of places.

      2. woah, $30 chicken burger!? shite, no wonder tourists think Oslo is expensive! Best burger in town is half that price and beef!

  2. Thanks for writing this post. I am going to Norway in a few months and plan to get a SIM card (and data) as well.

  3. Hey Dave,

    Thanks for this short, but helpful article.

    My friend and I are traveling to Norway and taking a roadtrip to fjord-land for 7 days. Super stoked! However, we’re looking into getting a SIM card with data so we don’t get completely lost while driving through Norway.

    Do you have a suggestion on how much data we would need? We’ll only be using it for directions. All the airbnbs we’re staying at have wifi so we can do the heavier stuff when we get there.

    Thanks for any feedback!

    1. Author

      I’d highly recommend using the offline features of both Google Maps and Here Maps, where you download some or all of the map data for the country ahead of time over Wifi. They both now support driving directions even while offline.

      If you do that, you’ll be able to reduce your data use a lot. You might even be able to get away with no SIM, but if you want one just in case, a few hundred MB of data will be enough for your week if you leave the data connection turned off when you don’t need it.

  4. What were some of the places to eat in Bergen that you liked? We will be there next week.

  5. What is the speed in Tromso and Alta? I am planning to visit these two places in November.

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