Curious: What do you pay per month on your phone bill and what services do you get?

Today, for the first time in over 2 years, I’ve become a post paid customer. When I landed in Finland in July 2007, I needed connectivity as soon as possible. I did my research, and people said I just have to walk into any corner store and pick up a SIM card. That’s exactly what I did. In this country you can buy a SIM card as easily as you can buy a carton of eggs. I picked up a Kolumbus pre paid SIM card that gave me phone calls for €0.099 a minute, and text messages for €0.099 each. Data was only €1.50 per megabyte, but I could send a text message with the word “DATA1” to activate unlimited data for 24 hours for €2.90 or “DATA7” to get unlimited data for 7 days for only €6.90. I was fine with this. When I started working for Nokia in the spring of 2008, I got a SIM card that the company paid for so I never bothered checking how much my bill was.

Fast forward to April 2009 when I got fired, I was without connectivity after having to turn in my badge, laptop and SIM card. I went to the nearest shop and was told Kolumbus does not exist anymore. That brand has been retired and has since been replaced with Saunalahti. Alright, no problem, I’ll pick up a Saunalahti pre paid SIM card. The price of data has not changed, but minutes and texts actually got cheaper due to competition! It was now €0.066 per minute and €0.066 per text. There was a slight problem however. Every time my data connection terminated, I got a service message telling me how much data I’ve used and how much I’ve been billed. This service message appeared even if I subscribed to one of the two time limited, unlimited data, packages. It was annoying. Really annoying. So annoying that I read the manual for my device to try to figure out how to turn off this message. I could not. A quick solution was to set my phone to always maintain a data connection so I never have to see that bloody service message appear again. It still happened when hand offs between cell towers occurred. It was driving me nuts. After dealing with these service messages for over 2 months, I decided I’ve had enough and switched to post paid.

I walked into an Elisa shop, asked to see their rates, and they said I should go with Saunalahti since it is cheaper. That’s how nice people are in Northern Europe, they actually tell you what to do to save money! Note: Saunalahti is a sub brand of Elisa so either way I was paying the same company. I ran into a minor complication due to me being an immigrant. I had to pay a €300.00 deposit that would be returned to me after 1 year, or as soon as I cancelled the contract. They do this since I have no credit. It makes sense. They said they’ve give it back to me, and I believe them.

So what plan do I have?

I’m signed up for the unlimited data at 384 kbit/s for €9.80 per month, no voice plan, since I never call people, and 1000 text message per month that I can send to any GSM number around the world for €7.95, brining my total to €17.75/month. If I do decide to call people, it is going to cost me €0.099 per minute.

That’s $25 per month for you Americans or £15.15 per month for people living in the UK. That’s cheap as hell. I know what you’re thinking though: 384 kbit/s is terribly slow Stefan!

You would be right. Which is why Finland allows you to pay for better service. Unlike other countries where mobile packages are structured based on how much data you use, here in Finland you pay for speed.

I opted for the 384 kbit/s for €9.80 per month package since I use mobile optimized websites, email and Opera Mini. If I wanted to, I could pay:

  • €14.80 per month for 512 kbit/s (0.5 Mbit/s)
  • €19.80 per month for 1 Mbit/s
  • €29.80 per month for 2 Mbit/s
  • €34.90 per month for 5 Mbit/s

I can’t remember what my package was in America, but I was on T-Mobile and paying over $60 a month.

I’m curious, what are you paying per month and what services are you getting?

  • milan

    I get bent over by att every month, then again, its my fault for not sticking with an unlocked phone. $30 data, $20 unlimited texting, $40 voice plan with rollover that i never use, literally maybe a 100 minutes a month of talking. with taxes i’m looking at +$100 month.

    • Stefan Constantinescu

      the sad thing is you would be paying that price if you had an unlocked phone or not, am i right?

  • milan

    lmao. i would save $15 on the data. thats all. The texting cost are effing ridiculous, but then again, in the US you pay for incomming texts unlike europe. the minimum calling plan is $40 for 450 minutes, which blows bc i really don’t talk on the phone ever. i have thousands of rollover minutes that will go to waste. the pre-paid att plans are not worth it as the end up costing you more.

    tmo is not an option bc they just got 3g in my area (cleveland) and Nokia doesn’t support their 3g bands so i’m stuck with att.

  • Hendrik M

    Saunalahti since I don’t remember how many years. As you, 0,06€ per minute and text, no data (got an old phone still :-). Plus a 0,66€ monthly rate. I pay about 18€ per month, sometimes more if I call folks abroad.

    OT: Stefan, If you life here already since two years, you might be able to get a Finnish Social Security number, in which case you would not need to these kind of security deposits. I guess you need to make some runs between police station and KELA, but it might be worth it.

    • Stefan Constantinescu

      I have a Finnish social security number, I just haven’t had it for 2 years.

  • mike

    im on vodafone spain, and i have unlimited data plan up to 7.2mbps for 12€ and 90×1 plan that so you have 9€ to spend the way you want, i mean, you can spend the 9€ in messages, or calls, or both combined, it doesn’t matter, but the least you’re going to get charged is 9€
    i think that’s way better than paying 9€ and the company already tells you how to spend them with a determined number of minutes or messages


    With T-mobile $45 unlimited text and data,about $45 after splitting the $89.98 unlimited loyalty talk time plan with my G/F. so $90 for unlimited everything. after insurance and taxes about $105, $165 or so with my G/F’s phone.

  • wsfanatic

    For $10 a month (plus tax), I get 1500 minutes, unlimited text messages, 300 MMS, and unlimited data on Verizon. With tax it comes out to about $14.

    • Stefan Constantinescu

      wow, that’s insane! are you an employee or something?

      • wsfanatic

        Yes, I work for Verizon.

        • Stefan Constantinescu

          yea because those prices have to be employee discounts mate 😉

  • shbib

    I’m on T-Mobile UK with:
    Unlimited UK texts
    Unlimited data at whatever 3g speed i can get usually~2mbps
    600 minutes to UK landlines and mobiles
    30 day contract

    • Stefan Constantinescu

      that’s a damn good rate! what do you pay if you text someone abroad, like France or something?

      • shbib

        £0.20 for an SMS or an MMS (i just found out) worldwide, which goes to show how the price is arrived at 😉

  • Shimmy

    Right now I have four lines on a family plan with at&t. The voice plan is $89.99 for the four lines for 700 shared rollover min, unl n&w, and unl mobile to mobile. Unlimited messaging for all four lines comes out to $30. Then I have unlimited data on one line for $10 a month, then two iPhone data packages for $30 each which cover unlimited data as well. Oh and then I have the $4.99 insurance on two lines. Everything added up comes out to about $199.97 after taxes. I get a monthly discount, and that almost exactly covers taxes and surcharges.

  • L.S.

    Fonic prepaid, MVNO using the network of O2 Germany. Calls: 0,099 Euro to all national networks, Data: 0,24 Euro/MB, unlimited speed.

  • Ricky Cadden

    ~$120/mo for 2 phones, each of which has 450 Anytime minutes, unlimited nights and weekends, and unlimited m2m. One line has unlimited messaging/data, the other has 200 MMS, 1500 SMS, and unlimited data.

    I guess I should also mention that I’m still getting my 25% monthly discount from when I worked at a large corporation.

  • Al Pavangkanan

    AT&T family plan
    $70 / 700 shared minutes
    $30 / unlimited family messaging
    $20 / unlimited data on two lines
    $10 / third line
    $130 / month
    About $20 cheaper than what I paid on T-Mobile, but less minutes.

  • JonnyBruha

    Like Shimmy, I’m on AT&T as well with a 700 minute family voice plan (2 lines), unlimited data on both lines ($10 each), and unlimited family texting ($30). A buddy hooked me up with a discount off the bill, so my total comes to a little under $100 after all the taxes and fees. Between two people $50/person isn’t so bad.

  • Henrikki

    Those prices Stefan quoted have tax included.

    • Stefan Constantinescu

      yea, what he said. the prices i quoted above all include tax already. god bless the VAT system!

  • Rwishi

    My package must be the worst but it’s the best available in my country.

    $40 for 250mb of data, 400 mins call and 200 SMS. Pay some $15 more for 1 gb of data more.
    Another package that I use for my other devices is $3 for unlimited data, $0.03 per min per call and $0.01 per SMS.

  • Miia Ranta

    I’ve got Saunalahti too, but I’ve got some discontinued products that they don’t sell anymore:
    * phone plan: 3.95€/mo for fixed price calls in 3G network with each call .069€ each
    * texts .069€ each, 20 freebies from their online page
    * Internet, same as you, 384kbit/s unlimited for 9.80€/mo
    * vanity waiting tone people hear when they call me, 0.89€/mo
    * free SyncML backups of my contacts
    and because I’ve been a customer for a year, I get approximately 2.4% discount of my bill.

  • Varun

    I’m from India and I pay around 30 USD a month for the following

    100 free minutes
    1000 free texts
    200 MB of Free data usage (EDGE ) No 3G still 🙁

  • Dans

    Tmob UK.

    1000 texts
    10gb HSPA data
    Unlimited hotspot
    Free phone E71

  • PhoneBoy

    My corporate AT&T account is easily over $100 a month, though I don’t know the exact amounts since I can’t see the bill. I do know that the data plan alone is $45 a month–bend over more if you’re a corporate user, I guess.

    Meanwhile, my wife has T-Mobile prepaid. I buy her $100 worth of minutes every 6-9 months. All she does is make calls–infrequently, at that–and, once in a while, will text me.

  • NickDoucet

    Well Canadians are probably getting the worst deal out of the bunch. To be fair, we have no “Unlimited Data” plan. The closest I have seen is the promotional 30$ 6 GB add on to a voice plan through Rogers. That was only a promotion for the iPhone because we originally had the 2nd or 3rd highest price for the iPhone worldwide.

    My Plan (with Rogers, or Robbers as I like to call them :P)

    45$ MY 5 Canada-Wide/ 500 MB of data

    – 500 MB of Data
    – 300 daytime minutes
    – My 5 (choose 5 numbers anywhere in Canada and have unlimited Messages (SMS and MMS) and unlimited calling
    – Unlimited Evening and Weekends starting at 9 PM

    Also have a 15$ Smartphone Pack

    – Voicemail
    – Call Display
    – 1500 Sent Text Messages/ Unlimited Recieved (That has been changed though, as of August 1st 2009, those without a plan will get charge for incoming messages, I don’t know if I am affected)
    – 1000 MMS

    Also have to include a system access fee of 6.95$ and also with 13% taxes…that adds up to about 74.65$ CAD or 69.98 USD or 49.79 Euros.

    Canadians are getting ripped off big time!

  • Paul Constantinescu

    Platesc $100/ Mo for the damn old iPhone/ AT&T. Lucky me I found it on the street.

  • Ashutosh

    25 USD/month for

    100 free minutes
    300 free texts
    6GB data

    That more or less suffices me needs

  • Darep

    From Finland, using Elisa and paying 19,77eur per month for my connection with:

    * 6,89eur for 70 mins of talk
    * 2,99eur for 100 texts
    * 9,89eur for 384 kbit/s unlimited data

    I rarely use all of the talk time, but I go over the text message limit by about 10 messages every month. And Elisa’s next text message package is at 300 texts per month, doh.

  • jsa

    I’m also using Saunalahti..

    0,66 e fixed monthly fee

    0,069 e/min phone calls to all domestic cell phones or landlines (I don’t know anyone who still has a landline, except my grandma)

    0,069 e/sms

    9,80 e/month 384kbit/s unlimited data (including unlimited tethering like all Finnish data plans)

    I don’t have voice or text message plans, because I don’t use them so much. My combined monthy messages and voice usually cost me 5-10 e.

  • Tapi

    Thank you… I will be moving to Finland this coming January to attend a Masters program at the University of Jyvaskyla.

    I am finding that with the enormous differences in the way the mobile plans are implemented, knowing how to make your mobile work in a new country is becoming one of tasks that is the most difficult to figure out when moving to a new country. Besides, one preferably wants the phone working at the airport already.

    Not so long ago I found, even though I am years of AT&T and Sprint use under my belt not being picked up at JFK when I was visiting my old pastures. I ended up… asking the airport vendors for quarters with my Visa card so I could use a pay phone!!

    This article answered all the questions I have about how to work my phone in Finland. THIS is the kind of information they should be handing out on the finnair planes =o) … Thanks a million!

    • Stefan Constantinescu

      no problem, feel free to email me if you any more questions about Finland!

  • Snidely

    Ok Stefan, stop gloating. We all know Finland has the cheapest rates around. How’s the income tax? Bought a €7 beer recently? Phone service is about the only thing that’s cheap in Finland (and yes, I know that high taxes are a small price to pay for being surrounded by hot Finnish women).

    • Stefan Constantinescu

      Actually I haven’t purchased a €7 beer recently, but I do pay €4.50.

  • broncosfantx

    i have T-mobile with 4 phones, 2000 minutes a month, g1 data plan and insurance, unlimited text for $175.00 a month !!!

  • Parikshith Mechineni

    I am form India and it is really cheap here. I pay 2euro for unlimited EDGE, 1 euro for 22000 messages a month and 0.007euro for a minute of calling along with a monthly subscription of 5 euro. so totally in a month i pay around 8-10 euro. the unly down side is that the data plans are really bad 3G has still not found its way to India. After reading all the comments above I feel in India it is really cheap with reagard to mobile plans.

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