Getting connected in Denmark
Posted June 12, 2014on:
Here are the bare essentials. DKK is the Danish kroner (one SGD is roughly about four DKK).
- SIM is 49 DKK in convenience stores
- 1 month: 1 GB, 50 DKK
- APN: internet
- Calls and SMS by default, data needs to be activated
- SIM starter kit is 99 DKK in select stores
- 7 days: 10 GB (cost included with starter pack)
- APN: bredband.oister.dk
- This is a data only SIM
Travellers have reported being able to buy prepaid SIMs at Copenhagen airport (CPH) at stores at Terminal 3. If you opt to do this, head for anything that resembles a 7-11 and ask.
I opted to wait until I arrived at Copenhagen Central train station. The 7-11 stores there sell Lebara SIMs and there was a Telia store there.
The Telia store representative I spoke to told me they had no prepaid SIMs and to ask at the 7-11s that dotted the station. When I tried to get more information (like where the next nearest store was), he practically shooed me out with his favorite phrase, 7-11.
Ta-at, Telia. If you do not need me, I do not need you!
A traveller provided good details at this travel forum about Lebara. Prepaid SIMs and data top ups are available at 7-11s and any convenience store that displays Lebara on its windows or walls. I was fortunate that Lebara set up a booth outside a 7-11 the very day I was there.
If you go with Lebara, you must buy a SIM pack and data separately. The SIM and 1GB of data cost me 99 DKK. This is not a bad deal for up to 30 days of calls, SMS, and 3G data access.
The SIM came in normal, micro, and nano sizes. However, not all stores will have the entire range. In Billund, only micro SIMs were available at a Netto store. But you will likely be spoilt for choice at a 7-11 in Copenhagen.
The data for the nano SIM I brought had to be activated over the phone. If you do not do this, you only have a calling and SMS device. First you have to call 5010-1234, press 3 and then 2 to switch to English. Thankfully the system remembers this setting. You listen to voice prompts to key in two codes. The codes are printed on a receipt when you purchase top up amounts at convenience stores. You might also get the same instructions in Danish and English on the receipt.
The SIM worked brilliantly in my mifi device without me having to change any settings. I was able to share Internet access to all the devices we brought.
But here is the kick: You are stuck with whichever plan you choose for at least 30 days. This might not seem to be an issue because you are not likely to be in the country for that long. However, you might use your quota before 30 days.
I thought that adding more credit would keep the data connection alive. I also wanted to go on a higher data plan (2 or 5 GB). But the system informed me by SMS that I could not do either. To change to a new plan, I had to wait till the old one was over.
I used the hotel’s weak wifi to find out that I could try calling tech support for help to change plans. I was informed over the phone that I had to buy another SIM for 49 DKK, call back, and get the credit transferred to the new SIM. Once I had the new SIM and transferred credit, I could stay on the same plan or choose a new one.
This made no sense from a customer’s point of view (I already had a valid SIM and more than enough credit) but I can see how this makes financial sense to Lebara.
Once bitten, twice shy. I looked for alternatives and found Oister. The details of its offerings are in English here.
The short version: You pay 99 DKK for a starter SIM pack. You get 10GB of data over one week. Yes, 10GB, but for data only. No calls or SMS. But you can get around this with apps.
There is a catch if you have a device that needs a nano SIM. Oister only provides normal and micro SIMs. You have to bring your own SIM cutter or pay enterprising store owners 10 DKK to have a micro cut down to a nano.
The deal breaker might be the fact that the SIM is PIN-protected. You must type a four-digit PIN provided in the starter kit after restarting your phone. If you already protect your phone with a PIN, you must type in both PINs, one after another.
There are two cards in the starter pack. The first is a scratch card (with SIM) that provides the SIM PIN and another number whose function is not obvious. You might think it is a secondary confirmation code, but it is not. A helpful store staff told me if was for resetting the PIN should you forget what it was. I did not test this feature out.
There is another card with a much longer number. That is the activation code you use at this page. You type in your SIM card “phone” number in the first two boxes and the activation code in the third box.
These complexities prevented the SIM from being used in my mifi device. This was despite the fact that I deactivated the SIM PIN and manually included the APN.
Oister might be able to provide 4G access in places like Copenhagen, but the further out you go, the less reliable the service. I travelled to Billund by train and coach, more than 250km away from Copenhagen. The service was so unpredictable that I could much sooner win a coin toss than get Internet access.
There are other prepaid SIM providers in Denmark of course. However, they do not offer as much data as Oister nor are they as easy to find as Lebara.