Iceland has three network operators:
2G is on 900 and 1800 MHz and 3G on 900 and mostly 2100 MHz. 4G/LTE has started on all three providers on 800 (B20) and on 1800 MHz (B3) in the Reykjavik area. It's available on all providers for prepaid without a surcharge.
The island has a very good coverage on 2G and 3G given its topography and low population. Síminn is the market leader with the best coverage, followed by Vodafone (still good) and Nova in 3rd place (mainly in the southwest).
So Síminn is the costliest, but best for going to remote areas, Vodafone is cheaper and still sufficient if you stick mainly to populated areas and Nova the cheapest and good when you stay mostly in the population center around Reykjavik.
Prepaid SIM cards in Iceland are anonymous. You don't need to show any ID buying a SIM card or do any registration.
SíminnEditSíminn coverage map
Starter packs are sold:
- at the duty-free shop close to the baggage claim in Keflavík airport - ask at the cash register.
- aboard all Icelandair flights
- in Síminn shops (location list)
- at N1 petrol stations (leading chain all over the country)
They sell two different starter packs: one with voice & data and another with data-only (see below). The voice & data starter is called Síminn Prepaid Starter Pack and sold for 2900 ISK. It contains 50 domestic minutes, 50 domestic SMS and 5 GB of data for a start.
Credit expires 6 months after activation. 6 months after the latest top-up, service is blocked, but can be reactivated by a new top-up. After 12 months, the SIM is deactivated completely. A combined three-size (mini-, micro-, nano-SIM) is given out.
Their data-only SIM is called Síminn Prepaid Data and may be harder to get. It's sold e.g. at the 10/11 convenience store outside Keflavik airport arrival. For 2,900 ISK it includes 10 GB data for a start and no voice nor texts.
Data feature packsEdit
Unlike other providers their data packages are not debited from your call credit, but must be purchased separately only onlineby credit card (by international MasterCard or Visa).
These monthly packs are available for both their voice & data and data-only SIM:
- 500 MB: 800 ISK
- 1 GB: 1,700 ISK
- 5 GB: 2,700 ISK
- 10 GB: 3,700 ISK
- 50 GB: 5,700 ISK
- 100 GB: 7,700 ISK
All packs last for 31 days, don't renew and can be added ahead of time. If more than 31 days elapse between buying credit, the remaining credit is annulled. If less than 31 days elapse between fill-ups, the remaining credit is added and the duration of validity is prolonged for 31 days.
EU roaming Edit
Siminn prepaid SIM cards don't work outside Iceland from the start. Before travelling, you need to enlist in their their Frelsi í útlöndum program to enjoy roaming at surcharges at 500 ISK per 500 MB per day without the chance to use any of your domestic allowances.
- APN: internet
- Website partly in English: https://www.siminn.is/english/
Vodafone is the biggest competitor of Síminn in Iceland. Its coverage is still good, even at some place better than Síminn, and it gives out a voice & data SIM and a data-only SIM for a better start-up price and cheaper rates. 4G/LTE is available on 1800 Mhz (band 3) and 800 Mhz (band 20): Coverage map.
Voice and data starter packs are available, combined nano, mini and micro SIMs are sold :
- in Keflavik airport at the 10-11 shop in the arrival hall at Keflavík International Airport and the Elko stores at the airport.
- at Vodafone stores (list) and many 10-11 stores countrywide
- at N1 petrol stations (the leading chain all over Iceland), Shell and Olis brands too
- On Icelandair flights. You may have to request this in advance on their web site.You get a starter kit with local minutes and SMS, overseas minutes, and 2 GB of data.
For voice & data SIM: After 6 months since last top-up, allows incoming services only. After 9 months since last top up, all credit expires. After 12 months since last top up, the SIM expires.
To check credit balance type *113*24#.
Voice and data SIM: Frelsi Edit
Their voice & data prepaid SIM is sold for 2,000 ISK containing unlimited domestic calls plus 1 GB of data for 30 days.
For the 2nd month you can choose to opt in one of 3 combo plans valid for 30 days:
- Frelsi S: 1,490 ISK - with unlimited calls, SMS, and 1 GB data
- Frelsi M: 1,990 ISK - with unlimited calls, SMS, and 5 GB data
- Frelsi L: 2,990 ISK - with unlimited calls, SMS, and 15 GB data
The initial credit can be used for foreign calls or when the allowances are used up. Outside use is 170 ISK for each 15 MB per day.
You can choose not to subscribe a Frelsi combo pack, but to stay on the base rate and add data packages instead, valid for 90 days. These can be added to combo plans as well for more data:
- 300 MB: 690 ISK
- 500 MB: 1,090 ISK
- 1 GB: 1,390 ISK
- 5 GB: 2,490 ISK
All packages must be booked separately on http://www.vodafone.is/en/topup/+online by credit card (international MasterCard or Visa). Overuse fee is again 170 ISK per 15 MB per day. To check data allowance balance enter *113*24#.
Like Síminn, they sell a data-only SIM called 4G net or Netfrelsi which comes as prepaid. The starter for 2,000 ISK loaded with 3 GB you may get only in their few own branded Vodafone shops. Take care: you may have to set a different APN manually (see below). It doesn't contain voice or text and is intended for tablet or router use.
These data add-on packages must be booked separately online by credit card (international MasterCard or Visa):
- 1 GB: 1,990 ISK
- 5 GB: 2,990 ISK
- 25 GB 4,990 ISK
- 50 GB: 5,990 ISK
- 100 GB: 7,990 ISK
- 200 GB: 9,990 ISK
EU roaming Edit
Unlike Siminn, Vodafone in Iceland has implemented Roam like home on all prepaid plans and packages giving EU/EEA roaming at the domestic rate.
- APN: gprs.is (only for voice & data SIM)
- APN: vmc.gprs.is (for the data-only SIM, needs to be changed manually)
- Website partly in English: http://vodafone.is/english
NovaEditNova is the smallest provider and still reasonable, if you stick mainly the population center around Reykjavik, where it offers 4G/LTE too. It's very popular amongst exchange students flocking the country, because it gives out 1000 minutes of free calls and 500 free SMS per month amongst Nova customers: Nova coverage map. 4G/LTE is given out where available on LTE bands 3 (1800 MHz) and 20 (800 MHz).
Their prepaid starter pack called Frelsi is available at their few stores (list) and some other stores where you have to ask around for 1,990 ISK with the same credit included. You can also buy the SIM onboard WOW air flights.
Data feature packagesEdit
Data is billed by default with 59 ISK for 5 MB. So you should buy packages. They have the cheapest data in the country given their limited coverage. These monthly packs are available:
|Volume||1 GB||5 GB||25 GB||50 GB||150 GB||unlimited|
|Price||1,990 kr||2,990 kr||3,990 kr||5,990 kr||7,990 kr||9,990 kr|
|EU cap||1 GB||4 GB||5 GB||10 GB||10 GB||15 GB|
EU roaming Edit
Domestic allowances are valid in other EU/EEA countries too. Standard rate is the same 59 ISK per 5 MB, but data packages are capped at the domestic without surcharges according to the table above.
- APN: net.nova.is /or/ internet.nova.is (for tethering)
- Website in Icelandic only: http://www.nova.is