The Åland Islands – an autonomous region of Finland where the only official language is Swedish.
The region consists of thousands of islands, of which 60 of them are inhabited.
The only way to get to the Åland Islands is by taking the ferry from Estonia, Finland, or Sweden or by plane from Finland (Helsinki & Turku – Air Leap & Finnair) or Sweden (Stockholm-Arlanda – Air Leap).
Even though the Åland Islands are part of Finland, they like to be independent as much as possible. 2021 marked the territory's 100th anniversary of the autonomous status.
When visiting the Åland Islands, you will most likely see Mariehamn, the territory's capital. 90% of the Åland Islands' population lives there, meaning that most of the activities can be done there.
However, you also have the Kastelholm Castle in Sund or the quiet island of Utö known for biking trails and (cold water) beaches. Overall, there is plenty of things to see and to do in the Åland Islands.
And you probably want to share your experiences online. Be aware that international roaming can be expensive. That is why you are almost always better of getting local SIM cards, like in the Åland Islands.
But how much will a SIM card cost you in the Åland Islands?
Ålcom, the sole operator in the Åland Islands, sells SIM cards for 30 EUR. You can get truly unlimited data valid for 7 days for 25 EUR or for 59 EUR if you want unlimited data for 40 days.
There are not many operators worldwide that offer real unlimited data plans, especially not for prepaid customers.
And when I say real unlimited data, I am not talking about “unlimited” data plans with speeds throttled at 3 Mbps or a 1 GB/day data cap nonsense like that.
Before you start hosting 24/7 live stream sessions on all social media platforms imaginable, there are some things to be aware of before getting yourself a SIM card in the Åland Islands.
In this guide, I will go over everything you need to know about buying a SIM card in the Åland Islands. Let's do this.
Original publication: 1st of July 2021. Last updated: 29th of October 2021.
Table of Contents
Can You Buy a SIM Card in the Åland Islands?
Anyone is allowed to buy an Åland Islands SIM card, including tourists and visitors.
Be aware that you need a phone that supports the frequencies used in the territory (preferably all of them to have the most optimal experience while in the Åland Islands).
Furthermore, you need to have a SIM-lock-free device.
Where Can You Buy a SIM Card in the Åland Islands?
You can get an Åland Islands SIM card in the Ålcom store in Mariehamn (6 Storagatan). It is not possible to buy SIM cards at Mariehamn Airport (Mariehamns Flygplats/Maarianhaminan Lentoasema).
You can expect to pay the following for Åland Islands SIM cards:
- Ålcom: 30 EUR
Can You Use Your Phone in the Åland Islands?
The Åland Islands use GSM technology for mobile communications. CDMA phones will not work in the Åland Islands. If your phone has a SIM card slot, then it supports GSMA (99% of the phones do support GSM nowadays).
If you bought your phone in Africa, Asia, Europe, or Oceania (ITU regions 1 & 3), you should not experience any issues with using your phone in the Åland Islands.
If you purchased your phone in the Americas (ITU Region 2) and have a low/medium-end device (without Tri-Band or Quad-Band) support, then there is a possibility you cannot use your phone when in the Åland Islands or can only use slower networks (3G or 2G).
If you have a medium/high-end device with Tri-Band or Quad-Band support, you can use your phone in the Åland Islands (to some extent) – also on 4G/LTE.
Mobile Operators, Networks & Frequencies in the Åland Islands
The Åland Islands have one mobile network operator:
The following frequencies are used in Åland Islands:
- 2G: 900 MHz (to be phased out from 2022)
- 3G: 900 MHz & 2100 MHz
- 4G/LTE: 450 MHz (Band 31), 800 MHz (Band 20), 1800 MHz (Band 3) & 2600 MHz (Band 7)
- 5G NR: 3500 MHz (n78) – from the second half of 2021
To check whether your phone will work in the Åland Islands, check out this page by Will My Phone Work (may be outdated or inaccurate at times).
Again, make sure your phone is unlocked. Otherwise, you will not be able to use any SIM card except the one from your home operator (meaning you have to roam internationally or buy another unlocked phone that does support the frequencies listed above).
If you want to learn how international roaming works, this guide explains it in-depth. If you wonder why it is often so expensive to roam, this article explains the hidden reason they do not want you to know.
5G NR in the Åland Islands
Commercial 5G NR will be launched in the second half of 2021 in the Åland Islands. Ålcom has held 5G NR trials since 2018. It is, however, unknown whether 5G NR will be available to prepaid customers once it is launched or not.
Best SIM Card in the Åland Islands
If you want to buy the best SIM card in the Åland Islands, Ålcom is your only option (it is the only operator in the country).
SIM Card Registration in the Åland Islands
SIM card registration, with the use of your personal information (such as your passport), is not required when buying a SIM card in the Åland Islands.
EU Roaming in the Åland Islands
Finland is part of the European Union (EU). As the Åland Islands is an autonomous region of Finland, it is also part of the EU.
Since June 2017, those with EU/EEA (European Economic Area) SIM cards can roam for free in other EU/EEA nations, including Finland and the Åland Islands.
This means that, in the majority of cases, you do not need to purchase an Åland Islands SIM card if you already have an EU/EEA SIM card because you can roam without additional costs.
However, conditions do apply. Operators in some countries may impose a roaming Fair Use Policy (FUP). In countries where local mobile data rates are extremely low (such as in the Baltics and Nordics, like Finland), operators may still charge you for roaming in the EU/EEA.
Most EU/EEA operators will allow you to roam for free in the Åland Islands. However, a handful of operators conveniently forget that the Åland Islands is part of the EU and may charge excessive roaming rates.
This mistake has been rectified by those operators over the years. However, you should still pay attention to whether your operators, especially if you have a prepaid SIM card, allows you to roam for free in the Åland Islands.
It is reported that if you have a Finnish SIM card, especially from Elisa Finland, you can roam for free the Åland Islands. The other Finish operators, Telia Finland & DNA, do not clearly mention whether their free Nordics/EU/EEA roaming applies to the Åland Islands.
Be sure to head over to the international roaming page to learn whether your operator offers free roaming while in the Åland Islands or if restrictions apply.
Roaming in the EU with Åland Islands SIM Cards
The Åland Islands and the Ålcom have largely adopted the roam like at home regulations principles early on. However, some plans have an EU/EEA roaming cap.
Unfortunately, Ålcom does not allow prepaid customers to roam for free in the EU/EEA.
As the Baltics and the Nordics have extremely low costs for mobile data, the national regulators had largely exempted the operators from providing free EU/EEA roaming or allow roaming at reduced rates (even lower than mandated by the EU).
From 2020, the Baltic and the Nordic operators have (finally) been more generous in terms of EU/EEA roaming. However, some operators, like Telia, still have restrictive EU/EEA roaming policies (for prepaid customers).
Although Ålcom offers EU/EEA roaming for postpaid customers or subscribers, prepaid customers cannot do so.
As Finland is the main gateway to and from the Åland Islands, you can get a SIM card there and use their SIM card to roam in the EU/EEA. The same applies to if you leave the Åland Islands and take the ferry to Estonia or Sweden.
Åland Islands Internet Prices & Insights
Not really, but it is not much more expensive.
The average price for 1 GB of data in the Åland Islands is 2.75 USD, around the European average of 2.50 USD. The world average is 4.07 USD.
Cable.co.uk split Europe into three territories: Western Europe, Eastern Europe, and the Baltics. The Western European average cost of 1 GB of data, using Cable.co.uk's definition, is 2.66 USD, which is just slightly more than the overall European average.
Do note that Finland and the Åland Islands are known for offering truly unlimited data plans – even for prepaid customers. Furthermore, the prices of these packages are quite low, which contributes to the lower than the average cost of mobile data.
With extensive network coverage, attractive unlimited data plans, and fast mobile data speeds, you should have a smooth network experience in the Åland Islands.
Currency in the Åland Islands
The Åland Islands uses the Euro with the symbol EUR (which will be used throughout this guide). However, prices are often listed as just €. For example, 25 EUR = €25. For reference, below are some exchange rates between EUR and USD (US Dollars):
- 1 EUR = 1.20 USD
- 10 EUR = 12.15 USD
- 100 EUR = 121.55 USD
For up-to-date EUR:USD exchange rates, search EUR to USD on Google, or replace USD with the currency you use.
If your credit/debit card charges you foreign exchange fees, get yourself a Transferwise Borderless Account and Debit Card.
Their fees are MUCH lower than banks, and credit card companies charge you (and Transferwise is transparent about their fees, unlike banks).
Åland Islands Prepaid SIM Cards
Below, I will guide you through Ålcom and go through:
- Background information
- Mobile coverage
- SIM card types, prices, and availability
- Recharge/top-up information
- Combo plans, data plans, and special packs (such as social media packs)
With that being said, let’s see what the Åland Islands have to offer to us.
Ålcom is the sole operator of the Åland Islands in terms of mobile, landline, and broadband services.
Ålcom uses the following frequencies:
- 2G: 900 MHz (to be phased outfrom 2022)
- 3G: 900 MHz & 2100 Mhz
- 4G/LTE: 450 Mhz (Band 31), 800 Mhz (Band 20), 1800 MHz (Band 3) & 2600 MHz (Band 7)
- 5G NR: 3500 MHz (n78) – from 2021
Coverage – Ålcom
Ålcom has great coverage in the populated areas.
The Åland Islands consists of thousands of islands and skerries. About 60 of them are inhabited. The reception will be fine on most inhabited islands. Although you may have to deal with 2G or 3G connections.
Below is Ålcom's 2G coverage map:
Here is its 3G coverage map:
Finally, the 4G coverage map:
SIM Card Price – Ålcom
You can get an Ålcom SIM card for 30 EUR with 30 EUR in credit in the Ålcom store in Mariehamn (6 Storagatan).
Ålcom SIM cards get deactivated if there has been no activity for 1 year (no top-up for 1 year or no activity for 1 year).
Top-Up, Recharge & Balance Check – Ålcom
You can recharge your Ålcom SIM card in the Ålcom store (6 Storagatan, Mariehamn).
You can also top up online on the customer portal. However, you have to request your login details first before you can access it.
Packages, Plans, Bundles & Offers – Ålcom
Ålcom has one type of data-featured plan, which is the Prepaid Data plan. You can als
The following Prepaid Data Plans are available:
|25 EUR||Startavgift 7 Dagar Fri Surf||Unlimited||7 days|
|59 EUR||Startavgift 40 Dagar Fri Surf||Unlimited||40 days|
1 no Finland nor EU/EEA roaming
APN/Internet Settings – Ålcom
- Name: Ålcom Internet
- APN: internet
Note: leave anything not mentioned above untouched.
Other Ways to Stay Connected When Traveling in the Åland Islands
Below are some other options to consider.
Roaming is the most convenient way to stay connected. You do not have to buy a new SIM card, and people at home can easily reach you on your current phone number.
However, roaming has many downsides as well. It can be insanely expensive.
International/Travel SIM Cards
International SIM cards or travel SIM cards are SIM cards made for travelers. The rates charged are often lower than international roaming, but they are almost always higher than what local operators will charge you.
Mobile Hotspots (Pocket WIFI)
Mobile hotspots, or pocket WIFI, are small devices that connect to the local operators of the country you are visiting. Mobile hotspots are ideal for families or those traveling in a large group, as they allow you to connect multiple devices to one hotspot without the need of each traveler having to buy a SIM card.
Free WIFI Networks
Nothing beats free, right? Paying nothing to stay connected may be the best option. Until you remember that free hotspots are not available everywhere (especially when on the move) and that free connections are often extremely slow.
Just make sure to protect your internet traffic with a VPN when connected to open WIFI connections. It is worth it.
The Preferred Way to Stay Connected When Traveling in the Åland Islands
Getting a SIM card from Ålcom would be your only option when considering an Åland Islands card.
Local Prepaid SIM Cards in Other European Countries
Going to other places around the world? Then you should also check out my sim card buying guides for other destinations around the world.
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