Cheap calls on your mobile phone in Greece
Who goes anywhere without a mobile phone today? Who would leave their mobile phones at home, missing quick easy communication with friends, family and colleagues back home even during a few days’ holiday? Hardly anyone.
Most visitors come to Greece with their favourite little device in their pocket. If you too are one of those people who can’t imagine travelling anywhere without their mobile, but don’t want to pay the earth for the calls they make or receive on their Greek holiday, the easiest solution is to replace your own SIM card with a Greek one. This means that each call will cost much less than using a roaming service from your country to Greece.
However, in Greece, like every other country, there is a confusing variety of mobile phone companies with different products and offers. We have done a bit of market research and present the cheapest Greek SIM cards. The research was carried out in summer 2007, so some of the prices and offers apply for this period only. They usually change rapidly, so unfortunately we will not always be able to keep this report up to date.
Please note that we do not present any monthly contract connections, only prepaid cards which you can buy from kiosks, minimarkets and mobile phone shops. All cards last 12 months, meaning that if you don’t use them up in a year you will lose the time remaining on the card.
Let's start with one of the largest and best-known companies: Vodafone. Vodafone offers 2 prepaid connection cards: Vodafone à la Carte & Vodafone CU (see you). The latter is mainly aimed at young people who send far more SMS messages every day.
Vodafone à la carte offers calls at a rate of €0.39 per minute within Greece. SMS messages cost €0.1309 within Greece and €0.2618 to phones abroad.
The advantage is that if your holiday group also buys Vodafone à la carte cards, or if you have friends in Greece with a Vodafone connection, you can specify 2 Vodafone numbers and calls to these will cost you only €0.01 per minute.
The Vodafone à la carte card costs either €5 with an extra €1 free time for the first month and another €1 per month for the next 4 months, or €19.90 with an extra €8 free time. You can buy recharge cards from any kiosk (€3, €10, €20, €36). If you renew your credit online, you gain more extra time worth up to 40% of the purchase price.
Vodafone CU offers cheaper SMS (€0.0857 per message) but calls are more expensive: €0.2927 per minute to other Vodafone CU mobiles and €0.5855 per minute to any other mobile. Vodafone CU cards cost either €5 with € 1 free time for the first month, or €19.90 with €8 free time.
If you are from Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Romania, Bulgaria or Albania and come to Greece on holiday, Vodafone is offering a new prepaid connection, Vodafone International, with unique advantages for you. Using Vodafone International you can call all Vodafone International mobiles in Greece and mobiles in your country very cheaply.
The cost of a call to a Vodafone International mobile in Greece is €0.12 per minute. The cost of a call to a land line in your country is the same. If you call a mobile in your country it costs €0.265 per minute. The cost of an SMS to Greece or home is €0.063 per message. You can also buy recharge cards costing €3, €10, €20 or €36.
Another major mobile phone company is COSMOTE, owned by the Greek Telecommunications Organisation (OTE). COSMOTE offers a range of choices for cheap mobile calls in Greece.
The Cosmocarta Basic SIM card costs €5. Calls to mobiles and land lines in Greece cost €0.195 per minute, while SMS messages cost €0.11 to Greece and €0.22 abroad. Here too you can select 2 numbers on the Cosmote network for calls costing only €0.01 per minute.
You can buy recharge cards from kiosks, supermarkets and mobile phone shops with the Cosmote sign and OTE branches across Greece.
WIND is the new name of the TIM mobile phone company, which offers the WIND F2G (Free To Go) connection package. It costs €5 with and extra €1 free time for the first month. Calls cost €0.294 per minute to other WIND F2G mobiles, €0.588 per minute to other mobiles, €0.0857 per text message to other mobiles in Greece and α €0.1714 per text message to mobiles in other countries.
However, if you have friends with the same WIND connection, the best deal is the NON-STOP 500 extra package for €4.17, offering 500 minutes talk and 500 text messages to a WIND mobile for 30 days.
If you’re not interested in texting, you can have cheap calls to 2 numbers on the same network (€4.17, just calls, no texts). 500 texts and 500 minutes of calls to 2 numbers on the same network cost €7.17 for 30 days.
WIND also offers prepaid text message packages, such as MINI 1, 14 texts for €1 (they must be sent within 7 days) and many other special deals.
Connecting to smaller mobile phone companies
In Greece mobile phone services are also offered by three smaller companies which are subsidiaries of the major ones, aimed at people who want cheap and simple calls.
The Q card costs €5 with €1 free talk time per month for 5 months. Calls cost €0.324 per minute to mobiles on other networks abroad and to 25 Eastern European countries, 0.12 € per minute to all Q mobiles, and €0.063 per text in Greece and abroad.
If you renew your credit online, Q offers 50% extra talk time.
Another advantage of Q is that calls are billed per second from the start of the conversation, whereas other companies usually charge a minimum for the first 30 seconds and per second thereafter. This means that if you make a quick call, say 15 seconds, other companies will charge you for 30 seconds but Q will only bill the time you actually talk.
Special SMS Offer: Until the end of September 2007, Q texts in Greece and abroad cost just €0.03 per text.
FROG, a subsidiary of COSMOTE, offers similar charges to Q and cheap text messages costing only €0.03 per text in Greece and abroad.
Like Q, this is a subsidiary of WIND, whose charges are slightly higher than FROG and Q.
Network Coverage in Greece
All companies offer 99.6% coverage of the population of Greece. Of course this is different to geographical coverage, which is in fact smaller. In some remote areas you may not have any connection. Also, coverage quality varies between networks depending on the area of Greece you are in, so Vodafone may have a better signal than WIND or COSMOTE in a certain area, or vice versa.
3G network in Greece
All companies offer 3G services for quick Internet connection using special cards for your mobile phone or USBs at speeds up to 3.6 ΜΒps. If there is no 3G coverage in a certain area, you will be connected to the slower GRPS network.