A few weeks ago one of the lovely Roving Scholars contacted me to ask if I knew much about phone plans and pay-as-you-go systems in Norway. I thought that the information I emailed out might be helpful for anyone else who might be moving to Norway or even just coming for a short stay.
I am currently using a pay-as-you-go system with Netcom. Alix can attest that I have historically complained about Netcom’s customer service, but I like to think that four months into my time here Netcom and I have worked out all of the kinks in our love-hate relationship. Hopefully.
Here’s what I would recommend (and I like to think that if you follow these steps that you will avoid all of the problems that I had with Netcom):
- Find your local Netcom store and buy a starter pack.
- The starter pack includes a SIM with 14 days worth of calls, texts, and 250 MB of data. From what I can deduce off of the Netcom website you’ll pay 99 NOK for this.
- Because you’ll probably want to contact people for more than 14 days, you can buy one of these month long services:
- 1 GB with calls and texts for 199 NOK
- 3 GB with calls and texts for 299 NOK
- 6 GB with calls and texts for 399 NOK
- When you decide what sort of monthly pay-as-you-go plan you want you can either buy this service at the store (which comes with a physical card) or buy it online.
If you buy a card at the store make sure they explain how to use the card. You have to dial a particular number and then type in another number that is listed on the card. Being handed a card and having none of this explained to me at the store started my initial saga with Netcom–make sure they explain which numbers to dial since the voice recording you will hear on the phone will be in Norwegian. I honestly found it to be a bit of a hassle to go to the store every month, so now I just top off my plan online. To do this is pretty simple. You just go to www.netcom.no/smartrefill. Then you:
- Input your phone number (kontantkortnummer)
- Select the plan you want
- Fill out your credit card info and you’re good to go
One benefit of paying for things online is that they will let you pay for up to 6 months of phone usage at a time.
There are a few other things you should know about Netcom:
- If you get a weird text in Norwegian including the refill link it’s probably Netcom telling you to top off your balance.
- Only top up your phone once you have completed the 14 days or month long service plan that you have paid for.
- For reasons totally incomprehensible to me, the minutes that you buy with a month long plan are valid only for Norwegian cell phones. This means that you have to be a bit wary when calling a business. For example, a call to my bank goes through without a problem, but when I tried to call the Norwegian Health System I ended up using Google Voice for the call since my cell phone didn’t have enough credit.
- Unlike other telephone providers, you do not need a personal number (Norwegian version of a social security number) to open an account with Netcom.
The only other phone company that I’ve encountered in Trondheim is Telenor. I initially stopped by one of their offices in Trondheim and they told me that things would be cheaper if I worked with Netcom. From what I’ve heard, working with Telenor costs closer to 500 NOK a month and they won’t let you purchase a plan until you can provide them with your Norwegian personal number.
I hope that helps! Now go forth and call, text, and data use to your heart’s content.