Estonia is a relatively small country in Europe near the Baltic Sea. The countries close to the Baltic Sea are called the Baltic Sea, which are Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.
Albeit being larger than Belgium, the Netherlands, and Denmark in area, the Estonian population is the 4th smallest of the European. Estonia has a larger population than Malta, Luxembourg, and Cyprus.
Despite being a small nation, Estonia is not a small player in the European Union (EU). They are regarded as the Silicon Valley of the EU.
Estonians vote online, which can even be done with their smartphones, with their digital ID cards. Besides voting online with their ID cards, Estonians can sign contracts with their ID cards (business contracts or contracts for consumers). Moreover, almost all government related services can be done through Estonia’s e-services.
Being a digital nation means that one should have access to mobile data easily. That is the case in Estonia. SIM card and data prices are one of the lowest in the European Union. In fact, all Baltic states have low data prices while providing fast speeds and extensive coverage. The same can be said about Tele2 Estonia.
When I went to Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, I decided to test out multiple Estonian SIM cards to find out which one was the best. I tested Elisa Estonia, Super by Telia, and, of course, Tele2 Estonia. In this review, I will share my experience with Tele2 Estonia. Let's have a look, shall we?
Telecom Providers in Estonia
Before I tell you more about Tele2 Estonia, just Tele2, you need to know about the operator situation in Estonia. If you have read my Buying a SIM Card in Estonia Guide, then you know that Estonia has 3 telecom providers: Telia Estonia, Elisa Estonia, and Tele 2 Estonia. Every operator has 2 prepaid brands. In the case of Tele2, they have Tele2 and Smart.
The only difference between a Tele2 SIM card and a Smart SIM card is that a Smart SIM card is much cheaper at €1, while a Tele2 SIM card will cost you €4. Smart does not have separate data packages, which means that you will have to add Tele2 data packs if you want any data packs.
Because Tele2 directly owns the Smart brand, Smart cannot be classified as Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO). Instead, it is a different brand targeting a different target group.
As a result, I only reviewed a Tele2 SIM card and did not bother getting a Smart SIM card because speeds and coverage are identical. Even the data packages are the same.
For now, let’s see how Tele2 did when I was in Estonia.
Tele2 is the smallest operator in Estonia in terms of subscribers. However, the subscriber numbers are almost the same in Estonia because of the low population and due to all operators are regarded as good, great, or excellent, depending on who you ask.
As mentioned earlier, Tele2 has another prepaid brand called Smart. In this article, I will only talk about Tele2, as that is the SIM card I tried when I was in Tallinn.
My Airbnb host, Edvard, told me that, unless you go to extremely rural Estonia, you will have a connection with all operators. In some remote places, only one or two operators may be active, but you will most likely not go there as a traveler.
Also, use this link to get €34 off your first Airbnb trip, enough to (almost) cover your first night at Edvard's place (during the low season)!
Tip: Looking for cheap flights? Book with AirWander and add stopovers! Not in a hurry yet? Set up flight alerts with Airfarewatchdog and get notified when ticket prices for your preferred route(s) drop!
Tele2 Video Review
Want to watch the Tele2 video review? You bet! Check out this video:
How Do I Buy a Tele2 Prepaid SIM Card?
You can buy a Tele2 SIM card in official Tele2 stores, from authorized resellers, in supermarkets, and kiosks called R-Kiosk. In Tallinn, there are many, and I mean many, R-Kiosks out there. Tele2 SIM cards cost the same at R-Kiosks and Tele2 stores, so you can get yours at an R-Kiosk.
If you are flying to Tallinn Airport, you will see an R-Kiosk in the arrival hall. None of the Estonian operators have a store at the airport, so the kiosk would be your only option if you wish to get a SIM card at the airport. You will not pay a tourist premium either, unlike many countries around the world.
Estonians call SIM cards Kõnekaart. If that is too hard to say, you can just say SIM card, as practically everyone in Estonia speaks English (to some extent) or show the photos below.
Unlike most countries in Europe, but like every other Baltic state, you do not have to show your passport when buying an Estonian SIM card, so you can buy your SIM card from the kiosk, activate it, and can get started.
I decided to go to a Tele2 store because I wanted to see how they look like. I went to the Tele2 store in the Viru mall. The salesperson showed me the two starter packs they had in store (shown above).
The €3.50 starter pack comes with 5 GB of data for 7 days and nothing else. It is their prepaid internet product, which can be referred to as their data-only SIM cards. The regular Tele2 SIM card costs €4 and comes 3 GB, 300 minutes, and 30 SMS. I just needed data, so I went for the data-only SIM card.
The salesperson went on the computer to activate my SIM card, I paid by card, and was ready to use my SIM card. For some reason, the phone number stated on the back of the SIM card was missing a number. The salesperson wrote the missing number for me. Not sure whether this is a standard practice in case someone steals inactivated SIM cards or that I was just unlucky. Either way, Tele2 will text you your phone number to you once you put your SIM card in your phone.
If you do not feel like speaking with a salesperson, you can get your Tele2 SIM card at an R-Kiosk across the Tele2 store. The same applies to if you want to get a Smart SIM card because I do not recall the Tele2 store selling Smart SIM cards.
How Do I Activate my Tele2 SIM Card?
Your Tele2 SIM card should be activated upon purchase. If you buy your SIM card at a Tele2 store, as I did, then the salesperson will activate the SIM card for you. I think the same applies when buying a SIM card at an R-Kiosk.
They will scan the card, and it should be active immediately. You get a text message, in Estonian, welcoming you and listing your Tele2 phone number (as shown earlier).
How and Where Can I Top Up My Tele2 SIM Card?
Tele2 recharge cards are sold in Tele2 stores, R-Kiosks, many supermarkets, and post offices. If you are staying in Estonia for a short time, you may not even have to top-up because the Tele2 starter pack will come with at least 3 GB of data.
There is no Tele2 app for Tele2 Estonia (you will find Tele2 apps for other countries, though), and the website only accepts Estonian bank transfers, so your only option to reload your card is by buying a recharge voucher in a store.
What Prepaid Packages Does Tele2 Offer?
Tele2 offers various data packs for its standard SIM card and its data-only SIM card. The following Tele2 combo packs are available:
- €4: 3 GB, 300 minutes, and 300 SMS. Activation: text KH395 to 95002
- €7: 6 GB, 1000 minutes, and 1000 SMS. Activation: text KH695 to 95002
- €10: 12 GB, 1000 minutes, and 1000 SMS. Activation: text KH995 to 95002
Tele2 charges you €0.05 per text for activating a data pack through SMS. If you would like the combo pack to auto-renew, remove H from the activation code. For example, if you want the €7 pack to auto-renew, you would text K695 to 95002 instead of KH695.
If you are only interested in data, then these Tele2 data packs may be interesting:
Only need data? Then these monthly Tele2 data packs may be for you:
- €2: 1 GB. Activation: text D195 to 95002
- €5: 5 GB. Activation: text D495 to 95002
- €8: 7 GB. Activation: text D795 to 95002
- €20: Unlimited data. Activation: text DALL to 95002
For the Tele2 data-only SIM card, the following packages are available:
- €3.50: 5 GB for 7 days. Activation: text DATA5 to 95002
- €9.50: 15 GB for 30 days. Activation: text DATA15 to 95002
- €15: 30 GB for 30 days. Activation: text DATAXL to 95002
You can also decide not to get a data pack if you want. Normally, I would not advocate for it because Pay As You Go data rates are expensive. However, in the case of Tele 2, you would pay €1 for 1 GB per day. Unless you are staying in Estonia for max. 2 days, you would be better off with a data pack anyway.
How Do I Activate a Tele2 Data Plan?
As stated in the previous section, you text the activation code of a data pack to 95002 for €0.05 per SMS.
Remember that I often round up the prices of packs because there is no point in writing 1.95 or 1.99 when it is basically €2. All Tele2 data packs end with .95, so if you recharge €2 on your account for the €2 data pack, you will only have to pay €1.95 and €0.05 for the text message. You do not have to top-up €2.05 to activate the €2 data pack.
What About Smart? What Do I Need to Know About Smart?
The only difference between a Tele2 SIM card and a Smart SIM card is that a Smart SIM card is cheaper than a Tele2 one. Other than that, Smart customers can use the same activation codes for data packages as Tele2 customers.
Can I Roam for Free with Tele2 in the EU?
Be aware that none of Tele2’s standard prepaid packages can be used outside of Estonia. As of 2017, the roam like at home regulation became effective, meaning that operators in the European Union cannot charge roaming rates anymore or are required to give an EU roaming allowance. Because data rates are so low in Estonia, Estonian operators were given the option to opt-out from this scheme. Tele2 did so with, meaning that you cannot use your cheap allowances in other EU nations (for free). But there is a way.
For €3, you can use 500 MB, call for 100 minutes, and send 100 SMS in other EU countries to other EU countries for 3 days. For example, if you are traveling to Denmark after Estonia, you could use that data in Denmark, use those 100 minutes and SMS to call and text Danish numbers, but also numbers from other EU member states like the Netherlands. The activation code for this package is EUCOMBO, which has to be texted to 95002.
The standard Tele2 data roaming rate is €0.005 per MB (or €5.12 per GB), which is decent. For other roaming options, you would have to check out my Roaming with Tele2 – What You Need to Know article.
What Speeds Will I Get with Tele2 in Estonia?
I did 3 speed tests in Tallinn: One at my Airbnb, one at the Viru mall where I bought my Super SIM card, and one at the airport. You can see the results below:
As you can see, speeds fluctuate depending on where you are. I was happy with the speeds I got with Tele2. Unlike the other Estonian operators, Elisa and Telia, I did not hit the 100 Mbps mark. However, the speeds on average are on par with the other operators. You could say that the speeds are quite balanced with Tele 2.
Do I Recommend Tele2 to Travelers Visiting Estonia?
I would recommend Tele2 to those traveling to Estonia. In fact, I would recommend any Estonian operator because they are all similar in terms of coverage and speed. Speeds are affected by many factors, but Tele2 did well in all settings.
Sure, I stayed in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, meaning that my coverage and speeds will be much better than in rural Estonia, but many who visit Estonia go to Tallinn anyway (or any of the other bigger cities or towns), so your experience should be similar. Check out my Elisa and Telia reviews as well.
Either way, I had a pleasant experience with Tele2 in Estonia, and I believe you will have too if you decide to get an Estonian Tele2 SIM card. You will get fast speed and extensive coverage for low prices. That is all you have got to ask for, I would say!
How does Tele2 Compare with Telia and Elisa?
Now that you know everything you need to know about Tele2, you may be wondering whether Tele2 is the best for you or not. I made an Estonian SIM Card comparison article where I go through Elisa, Telia, and Tele2 more in-depth, comparing their packages, speeds, and coverage.
It is a good read where I take certain scenarios into account that may apply to you (such as spending a certain amount on data packages like €5, €10 and €20, wanting to roam within the EU, and speeds).
Be sure sure to check out the Best Estonian SIM Card comparison post.
The video above is a long video that goes over everything covered in the Best Estonian SIM Card comparison post. If you do not have that much time right now, add the video in your Watch Later playlist. For now, watch this video below that briefly introduces you to Elisa, Telia, and Tele2, and I do a speed test with them at the end.
What is next?
Looking for the best companies and gadgets to enhance your travel experience? Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel! Save money on plane tickets, bus rides, cruises, and accommodation. Besides that, I also list services and items I use to make my life easier – and I believe they will help you too!
Book Your Flight for Estonia
It is time to book your flight. Find cheap flights with AirWander so that you can add free or cheap stopovers in destinations you have not considered yet before going to Estonia. If you are not ready to take off yet, set up flight alerts with Airfarewatchdog, and they will notify you once ticket prices to Estonia drop.
Travel by Train within Europe with InterRail or EURail
Although low-cost carriers are a big thing in Europe, they are not the best way to experience Europe. Everyone knows that the European railway system is awesome. InterRail/EURail makes it much easier to explore Europe by train by having one ticket for participating countries instead of having to buy multiple tickets per country. InterRail is for European citizens and EURail is for non-European citizens.
Book Your Accommodation for Estonia
I am a huge fan of Airbnb because it allows me to live with a local or get a local place for myself. Staying in someone’s house or apartment feels much different than being in a ho(s)tel, especially in Estonia. At least, that is how I see it. Moreover, Airbnb can often be much cheaper than staying in an Estonian hotel. I recommend staying with Edvard in the Old Town of Tallinn. His apartment is close to the city, is cozy, yet spacious, and it is one of the cheaper places out there! Use this link to €34 off your first trip with Airbnb!
Get Your Travel Insurance for Estonia
You will regret not having travel insurance once you actually need it and “forgot” to get it. Nowadays, travel insurance is cheap and comprehensive unlike back in the days. World Nomads is by far the best travel insurance for adventurous travelers like yourself. You can even get insured WHILE already traveling in Estonia, which is not something many insurance companies allow you to do.
Get a Travel Debit Card
Travel Cheques are outdated. Paying with your credit card or debit card can be expensive because of all the exchange commissions banks charge you. TransferWise allows you to convert your main currency to Euros for a small fee (up to 8 times less than with your bank!) Getting a Transferwise Borderless account is FREE, so you will get an instant return on your investment.
Enjoy your trip!