So, you are newcomer in the Netherlands. One of the first things on your to-do list is to get yourself a sim-card, so that you could give a short call back home to share your first impression of the country.
Here are some tips for those who would prefer to use their mobile phones the most effective way.
How to call home from Holland on low tariffs?
While you are still waiting for your residence permit, you can only use prepaid sim-cards of various mobile operators with fixed amount of minutes, SMS messages and mobile internet traffic.
One of the most convenient solutions is to buy a prepaid sim-card of Ortel Mobile. It has the lowest tariffs on the calls to various countries. You can buy such card either online the website or go to one of the official dealers.
The list of dealers is also available on their website, which has, luckily, an English version. When the prepaid deposit on your sim-card is all spent up, you can easily upload some credits online or buy a special credit voucher in the closest supermarket, gas station or telecom shop.
Other mobile operators
There are also other mobile operators which offer prepaid sim-cards and low international tariffs.
The best way to choose the right one is to compare their tariffs on the calls to your own country. Lebara and Lycamobile are the best alternatives to Ortel Mobile and it is always useful to check their web-sites before making the final decision.
Calling within the country
Some students prefer to stay in touch with their friends and relatives in their home country only by e-mail, VoIP or Skype and use their mobile phone to speak to their friends and classmates in the Netherlands.
They can choose from the variety of national operators which offer annual subscription (in Dutch: “abonnement”) with the good rates. However, in order to get such annual subscription, a student already needs to have his Dutch residence permit.
The most popular national mobile operators include Vodafone, T-mobile, KPN and Telfort . You can also buy pre-paid sim-cards from national operators, however, the rates on such cards are often much more expensive.
Annual telephone subscription (abonnement)
If you decide to get the annual subscription, the best time to do that is as soon as you received your Dutch residence permit (due to the fact that you need to have a Dutch ID valid for at least one year).
As the websites of national operators are mostly in Dutch, the best way to make your choice is simply to come into the closest telecom shop and ask for some advice.
Almost all salespeople in such shops can explain you different options in English.
Free mobile phone
The first thing you find out when talking about mobile phones is that the Dutch people do not buy their mobile phones separately. They can simply choose the mobile phone they like and then get annual subscription for the tariff plan which includes this model for free.
However, if you are an international student from the non-EU country, to get such annual subscription with a free phone is much more difficult than a simple sim-only subscription. However, sometimes it is still possible, so you can always ask salespeople in the telecom shop what options are available in your particular case.