At some unknowable point in the future, someone on these forums will be looking for advice about getting a local SIM card in Norway. This person either won’t have a bundled “roam like home” service from T-Mobile, or will have deduced that the $10 CAD per day equivalent from Bell, Fido, Rogers or TELUS isn’t actually the amazing deal those carriers make it out to be.
If you’re that person, then this post is for you.
Telenor is the largest carrier in Norway, but the best they could offer my girlfriend and I was a paltry 500 MB of data for our 8 days there. So we went instead with the number two choice, Telia. The prepaid plan that I had researched was as follows:
3 GB data, free domestic calls, texts and MMS for 31 days @ 299 NOK
If you were wondering 299 Norwegian kroner works out to about $36 USD or $47 CAD. Not exactly cheap, but cheaper at least than the $80 CAD that we’d have to hand over to a Canadian operator for the privilege of roaming in Europe. Our current carrier, Koodo, doesn’t even offer a roam like home option, so we’d be paying an extra $5 per megabyte of data while abroad.
Nuts to that!
Your first challenge will be procuring a SIM and getting it activated. There are no carrier outlets in the airports that we flew in and out of. There are convenience stores that will happily sell you a prepaid SIM, but good luck dealing with texts like the ones you see above. I’d recommend holding off on your SIM purchase until you can find a proper carrier shop in town, where staff can guide you through the activation process and ensure that everything is working properly.
Fortunately both Bergen and Oslo airports have free WiFi; ditto for the airport train into Oslo.
The LTE speeds you see above were captured on a cross-country train from Bergen to Oslo, and represent only the worst-case scenarios for data service. We did experience a drop-out or two during a fjord cruise, but in the big cities data speeds were more than acceptable.
There was one surprise in store for the last day of our trip. When we got our SIM cards we were actually sold on another, cheaper plan with more data—10 GB with no voice or text for only 249 NOK. What wasn’t communicated to us was that this plan was only good for 7 days, so on the 8th we woke up to no service.
Telia does offer a handy online data top-up, but it only works with Norwegian credit cards, so back to the local Telia shop we went, and got an extra gigabyte for about $6 USD / $8 CAD.
Here’s my data usage for the duration of the trip, consisting mostly of photo backups and speed tests. Your own mileage may vary.
If ever in the future someone uses this post for their own Norwegian holiday, please let me know!