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?