Keeping in Touch in Hungary
Though far from home, expats will be glad to know that keeping in touch in Hungary is easy and convenient. There are many reliable and affordable ways of contacting family and friends, and anyone else from home should they need or want to talk to them.
Internet in Hungary
In the past, Internet in Hungary has been a bit on the pricey side; however, major Internet service providers like Magyar Telekom and UPC are having to contend with the low prices offered by newcomers to the industry, leading to an overall price drop.
Many service providers offer useful bundles of broadband Internet, cable television and landline telephone services. This often works out cheaper than purchasing each service separately.
Mobile phones in Hungary
There are three mobile networks in Hungary: Telenor, T-mobile and Vodafone. Mobile reception is usually good in the city but is often patchy in rural areas, particularly when it comes to 3G and 4G mobile Internet.
Expats can choose between prepaid or postpaid plans. Although postpaid plans usually offer the most attractive packages, expats will need several documents to sign up. Typically, mobile companies require expat customers to present at least a passport, residence permit, address card and bank card.
Landline telephones in Hungary
The affordability and convenience of mobile phones has led to a decline in the popularity of landlines. Today, installing a landline is usually only necessary for Internet connection purposes or if a landline comes standard as part of a bundle of Internet, cable and telephone services.
Magyar Telekom and UPC are Hungary's major landline providers.
Some providers, such as BudgeTalk and Enternet, offer VoIP (Voice over IP) services which use an Internet connection to make phone calls. Both local and international calls using this service are charged at the same rate, making international calls much more affordable, which expats are sure to find useful. Expats should, however, note that a VoIP-capable telephone is needed to make use of this service. These can easily be purchased through VoIP service providers.
Postal services in Hungary
The national postal service is Magyar Posta. It is considered reliable but can be painfully slow, and international shipping services are extremely expensive.
While at the post office, expats can also pay bills or buy lottery tickets.
Expats have reported with amusement that post offices in Hungary often sell all sorts of interesting things, from fridge magnets and beaded necklaces to keyrings to stuffed animals.
English-language media in Hungary
Expats in search of English-language newspapers can pick up a copy of The Budapest Times once a week to get their fix of local news. Funzine, published once every two weeks, is targeted specifically at expats and is ideal for those wanting to explore Hungary's culture and entertainment scene.
Magyar Televízió (MTV) is run by the state. It airs four channels and while expats may be lucky enough to catch the occasional news broadcast in English, all programming is usually in Hungarian. This network is not to be confused with MTV Hungary, the music channel owned by American network MTV Music Television.
Expats on the hunt for English television should consider purchasing satellite television, which often includes content from familiar channels and networks such as CNN, HBO and BBC.