Keeping in Touch in Sweden
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Living in one of the most technologically advanced and connected societies in the world means that keeping in touch in Sweden could hardly be easier. Expats commonly find that being able to stay in contact with friends and family makes moving to Sweden a lot easier on them.
Sweden has one of the fastest internet speeds in the world and over 90 percent of households in the country are connected. Most internet, telephone and postal services are also reliable and relatively affordable.
Internet in Sweden
Broadband is one of the most common types of internet connection in Sweden, and is serviced to a person’s home via DSL or a modem. Mobile broadband USB devices can also be purchased, although this service isn't quite as fast or reliable as a modem or Wi-Fi connection.
Overall the connection speeds in Sweden are quite fast compared to many other places in the world, as it ranks in the top 20 for internet download speeds globally, both in urban areas and the countryside.
It can be difficult for expats in Sweden to get a contract for a subscription without a Swedish bank account and Swedish ID number. A customer may even be required to have had an ID number for six months before they can sign a contract with a company. In this case, buying a monthly prepaid mobile broadband USB device is an option, but expats will often find that the rent of apartments and houses in Sweden will have include an internet connection or have one available at a fair added price, eliminating the need to get a contract themselves.
Many public areas in Sweden have Wi-Fi available either for free or at a very low cost. In some cases, such as in train stations, expats should be prepared to pay with a debit card or credit card which is accepted in the EU. Many public buses and trains offer Wi-Fi during journeys between cities.
Mobile phones in Sweden
Smartphones are extremely prevalent in Sweden and the quality of service available, along with various applications such as Skype, make it easier than ever to keep in touch with people in other countries. If an expat has a phone from their home country which supports GSM, it can be used in Sweden.
Electronics in Sweden can be expensive compared with the rest of Europe and many other countries, so it could be a good idea for expats to buy or bring their phone from elsewhere and then activate it for Sweden.
Getting a mobile phone contract in Sweden can be tricky for expats for the same reasons as getting an internet contract. Many things in Sweden, not just mobile phone and internet service contracts, become much easier and accessible once an expat has a Swedish personal number and bank account.
If an expat doesn't have those yet, or if they don't want to commit to a contract, prepaid phone plans work perfectly well. Credit for prepaid phones can be bought at convenience and grocery stores, as well as online.
Expats should be aware that directions for how to do this are always in Swedish, whether on the provider's website or on the credit receipt. The first few times an expat adds credit, they may need some translation help to ensure that everything is completed correctly.
It is common for companies in Sweden to provide employees with a mobile phone and a generous voice, text and mobile broadband plan, which benefits many expats.
Postal services in Sweden
The Swedish postal service is generally reliable and efficient. Stamps can be bought at post offices, which are usually integrated with other shops, such as grocery stores, gas stations and kiosks.
Sending packages abroad can be quite costly, depending on size, but this is made easier by the many international shipping services in Sweden. When receiving a package, an expat will often get a slip that directs them to pick it up the nearest postal service desk.
Shipping time is quite prompt, with packages from the US to Sweden taking an average of approximately two weeks. Over the holidays, when Sweden operates more slowly in general, packages will take considerably longer to arrive.