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Communications for Expats in the Netherlands

Submitted: July 2014

The Netherlands is a small country and mobile phone coverage is generally excellent. It has one of the highest percentages of mobile phone users in Europe, if not the highest.

The Netherland’s networks work on the GSM 900 and 1800 standards, so any phone you bring with you must conform to it. However keeping your home service provider is probably not a good idea, as roaming charges are high in the Netherlands. When you first arrive, your best choice may be to buy a prepaid SIM card. Once you are settled in the Netherlands you can investigate long term contracts.

There are three main network providers in the Netherlands:

There are also a large number of providers who act as resellers for the three main providers. Many are actually owned by KPN. Competition between providers means that there are a large number of different offers and prices available; so as always it pays to do some research. Also you will have to decide whether you want to use the internet on your phone. At present the mobile internet phone service is quite expensive and can occasionally be slow during periods of high usage. Mobile phone coverage in the Netherlands is generally not a problem due to the flat terrain, but there is a useful website here which maps the phone coverage for the different providers and levels of service (4G, 2-3G etc). Once you have settled into your accommodation you can always ask your neighbours if there are any problems in the area. Many of the companies will also sell combined mobile, internet and TV packages. There is a useful comparison site here.

Broadband internet based on a landline or cable is pretty much standard in the Netherlands. The main landline provider in the Netherlands is KPN, which also owns a number of companies offering bundled deals. There are over 100 different internet service providers in the Netherlands, so the choice is wide. If your accommodation is fitted with a cable TV connection, this can be used as a phone and internet connection as well. Satellite TV is also an option, which is fine if you have a pre-existing satellite dish installed, but you should be aware that if you do not there are regulations covering the mounting or a new dish. If you shop around you should be able to find a deal which suits you; there are plenty of deals which include mobile phone, TV and telephone in one package.



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