When traveling abroad, it's normal that you want to stay connected. This is especially true while driving your Iceland camper rental. With all of the modern technology that we have today, it's possible to have an Iceland cell phone with you during your journey. Depending on where you come from, certain phones may or may not work. Because cell phones are an indispensable part of our lives for many, let's talk about Iceland's mobile network and coverage options for your trip.
Iceland cell phone coverage can be a bit difficult in certain areas. While you'll obviously be fine in cities and larger towns, which will also have strong WIFI connections, some areas of Iceland are quite remote. The Eastfjords and the Westfjords, for example, might have a spotty coverage map. The Highlands, Iceland's wild and rugged interior, is not known for having the best cell service.
Another factor to take into account, besides the Iceland cell phone coverage map, is whether or not your phone will actually work here. North American phones don't always work in Europe, and vice versa. They use different systems which are incompatible. However, there's an easy solution. If you have an unlocked phone, all you have to do is get an Iceland SIM card and switch it out with the SIM currently in your phone.
If you don't have an unlocked phone, it's also possible to rent or purchase a mobile phone with a prepaid SIM card. Whichever option you choose, the credit on these types of phones is usually valid for around 30 days. You can top up when or if you run out of data or minutes.
There are three main cell phone carriers in Iceland: Síminn, Vodafone, and Nova.
Of the operators available, you'll probably get the best mobile coverage with Síminn. They are Iceland's leading carrier and probably the one that most locals will recommend to you. With the largest Iceland mobile network and coverage, you can't go wrong if you opt for one of their prepaid SIM cards.
If you look on their website, you'll see that this company has a couple of different packages available. Their data plan comes with 10 GB of data and costs 2.900 ISK. This is about 21€ or $24.
Their prepaid starter pack offers 5 GB of data along with 50 minutes of talk and 50 texts. They support calls to 55 countries around the world and the price is the same as the prepaid data plan (2.900 ISK).
Unfortunately, you won't be able to find an unlimited call plan or one that includes or unlimited talk text,. The data, call, and text packages mentioned in this article are the next best option.
Another bonus with Síminn is that they deliver to your hotel if you're staying at one for a day or two before your Ring Road trip. You'll arrive and your SIM card will be waiting for you.
The second option for Iceland's cell phone providers is Vodafone mobile. While there is a Vodafone store in downtown Reykjavik, it's a bit out of the way. It might be a hassle for you to head there.
If you opt for Nova (the third option), you'll find similar prices on packaging and coverage to what's available with Vodafone.
All of the networks have pretty good 2G and 3G and coverage, regardless of where you go on the island. Vodafone and Nova are the cheaper alternatives. To be honest, as long as you're staying mainly in cities and populated areas, you'll be fine with the coverage. If, however, you'll be visiting the Highlands or driving through remote areas, then Síminn is the company that I recommend to you. They offer the best coverage of the three options available.
It's very easy to get a SIM card at Keflavik Airport. After you leave the baggage claim, simply locate the 10-11 supermarket. The cashiers can sell you a SIM and even help you install it. I recommend taking care of this while there in case there are any problems. If you have an iPhone, you might need the little paperclip to open the SIM slot, unlike LG phones or other models. Be careful to break the SIM out of its plastic frame using the right dimensions for your phone. The sizes are nano, micro, or standard.
While you're taking care of some pre-trip errands at the airport, also be sure to stop by the duty-free shop. Alcohol is expensive in Iceland, and you'll want to stock up beforehand.
As you can see, it's quite easy to have cell phone coverage while visiting Iceland. Feel free to stop by the shop on your way out of Keflavik Airport, have your SIM card delivered to your hotel, or just go to a shop or convenience store in town. You'll be able to stay connected your loved ones back home to tell them all about your Icelandic adventures. You also have peace of mind that you can get in touch with just a phone call or text in case of emergency.