At an age where our phones are almost permanently glued to our hands, the question about the phone service in Iceland and staying connected usually takes top priority when planning a trip to the island.
In this article, we answer all the most frequently asked questions about cell service in Iceland and tell you everything you need to know about phone coverage, the phone companies that operate here, and what their plans and pricing look like.
Types of Phone Service in Iceland
You will essentially have the option of two types of phone service when taking up a phone service here in Iceland:
Prepaid Phone Service
A prepaid phone service is usually the go-to for visitors here on the island, as it’s a short-term solution. This service doesn’t require a long-term contract but can be used on a month-to-month basis. You will need to pay upfront for any services you wish to use, but this also gives you a certain amount of control over your spending.
Getting connected via prepaid is also not a big hassle or long process, and requires no credit or other types of background checks. This also gives you the flexibility to play the field when it comes to the different cell phone services in Iceland. You will find a variety of prepaid packages here on the island which include different available data amounts, number of texts, and call allowances.
They sometimes also come with extra perks such as loyalty programs with rewards, discounts, free international calls, etc. Just make sure you choose the right prepaid package to suit your needs and your budget.
Postpaid Phone Service
A postpaid phone service is more for our long-term residents, since it’s a long-term contractual commitment of 1-2 years that requires a thorough credit check. Depending on the phone service operator, one usually pays for services used after the fact, and normally at the end or beginning of the month.
Postpaid contract packages also come in a variety of shapes and sizes when it comes to data, texts, and calls with added benefits thrown into a few of these packages. So, once again, if you ever find yourself in a position where you’ll be staying for at least 12 months, you’ll need to do proper research into the package that will work best for you.
Phone Service Providers in Iceland
If you are looking for an Iceland cell service, we recommend that you choose between our three main phone service providers:
Siminn is probably the biggest of the three here in Iceland, and offers the best coverage here on the island, especially when it comes to the more remote regions of the country. Siminn is probably also the cheapest of the three service providers. You can buy a SIM card at certain retail outlets, gas stations, or at Keflavik Airport upon arrival.
Vodafone is internationally known and yet another reliable phone service provider here in Iceland that offers both prepaid and postpaid options, with people saying that the service they receive at Vodafone is pretty fast. You can buy a SIM card at certain retail outlets, gas stations, or at Keflavik Airport upon arrival.
Nova also tends to get pretty good reviews in general, with people commenting on their professionalism and helpfulness. You can buy a SIM card at certain retail outlets, gas stations, or at Keflavik Airport upon arrival.
Roaming in Iceland
As in most countries, you don’t necessarily need to buy a new Icelandic SIM Card, and you will have the option of simply switching to international roaming (depending on the service provider, of course). But, when taking a look at the costs of roaming, you’ll soon understand why most prefer purchasing an Icelandic SIM Card for the duration of their stay. Below are a few of the international service providers and their pricing:
Thanks to partnerships with local providers, you’ll be able to use Verizon in Iceland. And eventhough it was restricted to only 4G technology till recently, you can now also enjoy 5G services.
Available services include voice, text, and data. As we already mentioned, roaming can get pretty pricy quickly, and you’re looking at $1.79 per minute for calls and $2.05 per mb of data. That’s why many coming to Iceland opt for their international TravelPass option. It costs $10 a day and allows for unlimited calls, texts, and data usage whilst abroad.
T-Mobile also has roaming coverage in Iceland, but for some reason, the coverage can get pretty spotty in certain areas such as the south coast. On normal international roaming, T-Mobile caps their data speeds (hence why one can pay for higher speeds).
Certain plans (Go5G, Plus, and MAX) gives you a once-off 5G of high-speed data to use abroad free of charge.Thereafter, the capping of data will begin, but you won’t be paying anything extra. Calls are charged at $0.25 per minute. But at these stone-age speeds, most opt for an International Pass to speed things up a bit. There are various options to choose from:
- $5, valid for 24 hours - unlimited calls and 512 mb of high-speed data
- $35, valid for 10 days - unlimited calls and 5 GB of high-speed data
- $50, valid for 30 days - unlimited calls and 15 GB of high-speed data
If you’re an AT&T customer, you definitely need to consider switching roaming off. Normal international roaming is charged at roughly $0.50 per text, $2.00 for calls (per minute), and $2.05 for data (PER MEGABYTE!). So, when it comes to AT&T most simply buy an Icelandic SIM Card, or choose one of their international solution packages:
- International Day Plan: Pay just $10 a day and continue using your phone as if you were back home.
- Passport Plan: You will get free texts, and calls at $0.35 per minute for 30 days. Your data will depend on which Passport Plan you choose. $70 will give you 2G of data, and $140 will give you 6G of data.
Phone Service Coverage in Iceland
The best idea before you purchase a SIM card in Iceland is to check whether you’ll have coverage based on the areas of your trip itinerary. To do so, you’ll need to check out the coverage maps of each phone service provider in Iceland.
Coverage Maps for Each Phone Carrier
As we already mentioned, Siminn will probably give you the most bang for your buck when it comes to overall connectivity throughout the island. If you want to make sure, you can check out the Siminn coverage map.
If you want to go with internationally renowned Vodafone (especially if it’s already your operator back home), you can check whether they will be able to keep you connected throughout your travels on the Vodafone coverage map. If Nova seems to be more your jam, you can also check out the Nova coverage map to ensure that you stay connected throughout your trip.
Phone Service Plans and Pricing in Iceland
When it comes to buying a SIM card for Iceland, you’ll need to prepare yourself for the following when it comes to plans and pricing:
Data plans will vary based on the service provider and package, but, in general, you’re looking at paying the following here in Iceland:
- 1 GB = $16
- 10 GB = $23
- 25 GB = $37
- 50 GB = $44
- 150 GB = $59
- 500 GB = $73
When it comes to calls, the variety of options from the various service providers are legion. These are just a few examples of what you can expect here on the island:
- You can opt for a mobile minute bundle, which usually means that you will get your calls at a slightly discounted rate. For example, you can purchase a 200-minute mobile bundle to make calls at 12 cents per minute.
- To give you an idea of the vast range of options you’ll be able to choose from between the different providers, you can either end up calling for 7 cents per minute or $1.50. So, do your research well, and take advantage of any special offers or discounts.
- You can purchase a plan specially catered to international visitors. These also come with a few extra perks and benefits that only international travelers will need. For example, you could purchase a Passport plan which is valid for 30 days, and that will give you calls at 35 cents per minute, including free texts.
Let’s be honest; the only people still texting you are businesses and your grandmother, but if you’ll need at least a couple of texts up your sleeve, this is what you’ll be looking at:
- Texting in general will range between 20 and 50 cents each, depending on the service provider and package you go with.
- Many data and talk plans also include free texts, so keep an eye out for those.
Once again, the options are legion between the various phone service providers, but these are a few examples of what you can expect:
- Siminn Prepaid Starter Pack: 5 GB of data, 50 texts for 31 days = $21
- Vodafone Prepaid Starter Pack: 1 GB of data for a mobile, 3 GB of data for a tablet or dongle, unlimited calls and texts (within Iceland) = $12.72
- Nova Prepaid Starter Pack: 1 GB of data, unlimited calls and texts (within Iceland) = $12.72
As we already mentioned, these plans are mostly for those staying on a long-term basis, but if this is you, this is what you can prepare yourself for:
- Siminn: Voice and data contract consisting of 50 minutes of calls, 50 texts, and 50 GB of data = $20.60 per month.
- Vodafone: Voice and data contract consisting of unlimited calls and texts, and 15 GB of data = $21.25 per month.
- Nova: Voice and data contract consisting of unlimited calls and texts, and 15 GB of data = $19.81 per month.
Choosing the Right Phone Service for Your Needs
With so many options to choose from, how can one figure out which is the best SIM card in Iceland for you? Well, you will need to take the following into account:
Factors to Consider when Choosing a Phone Service Plan
The following will impact which phone service plan to pick:
- The cost – if you’re on a tight budget, it won’t even help you to look at plans that are out of your affordability range.
- What’s included – the ultimate goal will always be to get the most bang for your buck, so compare prices and when you’re at a loggerhead, choose the option that gives you the most calls, texts, and data for more or less the same amount of money.
- Added perks and benefits – once again, you want to get the most bang for your buck. So, if you ever find packages that are similarly priced and include similar services, take a look at any added perks or benefits such as special discounts at third parties, a loyalty program, etc.
- How long you’ll be staying – firstly, you won’t even be looking at a postpaid plan if you are not staying in the country for at least a year, and, secondly, there will be no point in buying a prepaid package that includes 50 GB, and unlimited calls and texts if you’ll only be in the country for a couple of days.
Tips for Choosing the Best Phone Service Provider
Before you start deciding on a phone service plan, you need to decide which will be the best SIM card for Iceland for you. To do so, you’ll need to take the following into consideration:
- Coverage – it will be of no use to you to purchase a SIM that won’t even be able to work in the specific region/area you’ll be visiting.
- Speed - check which service provider offers the fastest data speeds, especially if you have to work during your travels.
- Reviews – this is the easiest way to identify which phone service provider will offer you the best service. It will also tell you whether they excel or suck at the specific things you value the most (affordability, professionalism, customer service, etc.)
Frequently Asked Questions about Phone Service in Iceland
Below are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding the phone service in Iceland:
Will my Phone Work in Iceland?
Absolutely! The phone itself will work with any SIM card as long as the device has been unlocked, and if you have arranged with your service provider back home to switch on international roaming, your phone will be working from the moment you get off the plane. Just keep in mind that roaming becomes incredibly expensive and is the reason why most opt to buy a temporary SIM card whilst on the island.
Will my iPhone Work in Iceland?
Yes. There is no distinction in connectivity between iOS and Android. Your phone will work as long as it is unlocked and you have a working SIM, either through roaming or by purchasing a prepaid local one.
Does T-Mobile Work in Iceland?
Although T-Mobile works in Iceland, connectivity has proven to be tricky in the past. Whilst users experience no problems on the south coast or inland, many complain about losing connectivity the further north you go on the island.
Can I Get a Siminn SIM Card at Keflavik Airport?
Yes. You can get the SIM card of almost every service provider on the island at Keflavik Airport.
What is Nenna Mobile in Iceland?
Nenna Mobile is not an actual or official phone service provider in Iceland. It is an eSim card provider that makes use of the Nova operating network. An eSim card is a virtual SIM card that gives you access to call minutes, texts, and data for your mobile (provided that the device works in the country you’re visiting).
eSim cards are probably the most affordable solution to traveling abroad. For example, Nenna mobile pricing starts at only $5 for 1 GB, and you often get digital discounts and coupons on top of that.
Pick the Right Phone Service in Iceland
Whether it comes to cost or coverage, picking the right phone service in Iceland is incredibly important. Although those sticking to the bigger cities for business will have an easier time making the choice, those who plan on renting a car in Reykjavik and doing a proper road trip around the island will need to compare their trip itineraries and the various service providers’ coverage maps to make the final call (pun intended).
Luckily, you can use this article as a guide to simplify the various phone service options in Iceland and make your decision.