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The basics
Sweden: Once you arrive - Must read

Setting up broadband and phone services in Sweden

Cable provide a simple guide for international students arranging broadband, internet and phone services once they've arrived in Sweden...

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Sweden is the home of the Nobel Peace Prize and is one of the top countries in the world in which to live and study, according to the OECD Better Life Index. Sweden’s capital city, Stockholm, is widely considered to be one of the most impressive and culturally progressive cities in the world, and has long been a place of intellectual pilgrimage for international students.


Whether you’re studying in Stockholm, researching in Ronneby, or attending lectures in Lund, you’ll want to get online and contact friends and family back home. It’s a difficult task setting up broadband and mobile services in a different country, so we’ve put together this straightforward guide to make the process as simple as possible. Read on for all the information you need to know...


How do I get a mobile, landline or broadband deal in Sweden?

Sweden has a strict policy regarding who can sign up for home broadband and phone contracts. To join the majority of mobile and broadband providers, you need to have been resident in Sweden for a minimum of six months. This is a difficult and frustrating restriction for many international students who are new to the country. Luckily, there is a way around this problem. If you’re staying in a rented property to study, your landlord is likely to provide you with broadband as part of your rental contract.


A personal identity number (social security number) is also required. This isn’t just for broadband and mobile contracts. A personal identity number is necessary for many services in Sweden, from banking to healthcare.


You can apply for a temporary co-ordination number if you’re staying in Sweden for just a couple of months. However, if you’re intending to study in the country for a year or more, it’s better to apply for a standard personal identity number. To apply for this you need to register with Sweden’s Tax Agency. Three things are required for this application: a residence permit, a European passport, and an approved attestor (a university lecturer is a perfect choice).


Who can I get broadband from in Sweden?

It’s likely that you’ll be staying in one of Sweden’s major cities when visiting to study. From Stockholm to Gothenburg, Sweden’s urban areas benefit from some of the fastest broadband speeds in Europe, with download speeds of up to 1000Mbps from some providers. The most widespread broadband provider is Com Hem. Along with broadband, Com Hem supplies landline telephone and television.


Other popular broadband providers include Bredbandbolaget, Telia, and Tele2. Both Telia and Tele2 offer download speeds of up to 1000Mbps. Packages featuring this speed are expensive and may be outside of your student budget. Cheaper broadband packages are still fast, however. The average download speed in Sweden is currently 39.8Mbps.


For students staying outside the big cities, fixed line broadband may be a distant and unattainable dream. Luckily, this isn’t the stumbling block that it is in many other European countries, as Sweden benefits from one of the most widespread 4G networks in the western world.


There are several 4G providers. Tele2 is a popular choice for mobile broadband, as is Comviq. Three Mobile is another popular provider and will be a familiar name to anyone travelling from the UK.


What’s the best way for me to call home from Sweden?

Sweden is a member of the European Union, and is therefore subject to the European Union Roaming Regulations that keep the price you’ll pay for calls, texts, and data use reasonable. While using your existing mobile to keep in touch with home isn’t the cheapest option, it does solve the problems presented by Sweden’s strict contract policies.


Many Swedish providers offer SIM-only contracts that supply you with a fixed allowance of minutes, texts and data to use during each month. You can take out a handset on a pay-monthly contract if you don’t currently own a handset. Though remember, it may be difficult to sign up for these plans if you haven’t been resident in Sweden for at least six months. In this case, a pre-paid card may be a better choice. This is similar to pay-as-you-go in the UK, and gives you a specific amount of minutes, texts and data depending on how much you’ve paid for. Pre-paid cards do not require a contract, which means you do not need a personal identity number.


For students new to Sweden, Comviq presents a good choice. You can get SIM subscriptions, handsets and pre-pay cards from the provider. Halebop is also a good choice. Many of its deals are tailored for young adults and those moving into the student life. Other mobile providers in the country include Telenor, Three Mobile, and Tele2.


The cheapest option doesn’t require a mobile at all, just an internet connection and a computer. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services, such as Skype, let you chat to those at home via the web. Best of all, they’re often completely free.


What are my rights as a consumer in Sweden?

If you’ve signed a contract for a broadband or mobile product and you aren’t happy with the service, Swedish consumer law states that you are legally entitled to cancel the service within 14 days of sale. Different mobile and broadband providers will have individual terms relating to the cancellation of their services (you may have to return equipment, for example). While this protects you in the first two weeks, it’s always wise to carefully read your contract before signing to avoid future disappointment and stress.


The Swedish Consumer Agency recommends that you retain a physical record of the services you’ve paid for while studying in Sweden. This means you’ll have physical evidence if you need to take complaints further. It’s easy to build up this physical record: simply retain any receipts and bills and keep them in a safe place.


Is there anything else I should know?

Sweden is one of the most expensive places to live and work within Europe. That means it’s a good idea to keep a close eye on your finances while you’re studying. It’s worth remembering that the local currency is the Krona, not the Euro. Be sure to regularly use reputable currency exchange services like Reuters and XE to find up-to-the-minute information on exchange rates.



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