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Five things to remember when getting a mobile phone in Sweden

The Local Sweden
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Five things to remember when getting a mobile phone in Sweden
Personal identity numbers are key. Photo: Vidar Ruud/NTB Scanpix

Getting a mobile phone in a new country can be daunting if you're not familiar with the rules and nuances of the land. The Local makes life easier with these tips to remember when signing up for a phone in Sweden.


This article is available to Members of The Local. Read more Membership Exclusives here.

Choose wisely – you're in it for the long run

Subscription plans for mobile phones tend to be on the longer side in Sweden, with 24-month contracts common. That's worth keeping in mind when you decide which operator to go with, as it makes cancelling subscriptions unpractical for most. If you do decide you've had enough but have time left on your contract, you'll be asked to cough up the remaining months' fees in a lump sum – a costly endeavour.

An alternative could be asking your operator to switch to a cheaper plan (which some carriers allow), then paying out the fee on a month-by-month basis even if you don't use the phone over that time. It could still be an easier pill to swallow than footing thousands of kronor at once.

Photo: Isabell Höjman/TT

Keep an eye open for discounts

Aged 26 or under? Good news. Many providers offer a reduced youth rate when signing up to a contract (some, like Telia, offer one up to the age of 27). Many providers also offer discounts for students and pensioners – so make sure to ask what you could be entitled to before signing up.

FOR MEMBERS: How to save money if you're under 26 in Sweden

Photo: Erik Mårtensson/TT

Notice periods were long but are getting shorter

Until May 2014 it was common for Swedish telephone contracts to come with a three-month notice period, meaning customers had to let their provider know three months in advance that they wish to leave at the end of their contract (and by extension, pay for those remaining three months).

Since that date the law in Sweden has changed and providers can only ask for maximum of one month's notice period for any contracts signed since then – good news if you're thinking of moving to a new provider as the end of your contract draws near.

Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Watch out for one-time fees

On top of what you'll pay for your contract and handset, it is common for Swedish operators to charge a one-off fee at the start of a new subscription. Keep that in mind when factoring in which plan is most cost effective for you.

Photo: Isabell Höjman/TT

Personal identity numbers are key

If you want to take out a subscription plan for a mobile phone in Sweden you're going to need one of the country's personal identity numbers – The Local discovered as much in November when we investigated what you can and can't do in the country without a personal number.

If you have a family member with one of the numbers then they can take a subscription out in their name for you (and later transfer it to your name once you have a personal number of your own), but otherwise, the alternative is to stick with a non-subscription pre-paid sim card. You also need a handset of your own, which won't be provided by the operator.

READ MORE: Things you can and cannot do without a Swedish personal number

Photo: Hossein Salmanzadeh/TT


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