Everything about cellphone usage, roaming and hotspots in Iceland
Cellphones (Mobile Phones)
Iceland has the world’s highest per capita number of mobile phones, and coverage is very reliable in most populated areas. The “Ring Road” circling Iceland is entirely covered.
In Iceland only the caller pays for the call, even for calls from overseas. This makes cellphones a great way for people from home to keep in touch with you.
Have your cell phone always turned on when travelling in Iceland as civil defence will send out an SMS warning to evacuate if you are in the vicinity of natural disasters or other vital informations need to be sent out. You can turn off the roaming and use Trawire Hotspot for data. but still receive SMS.
EU has ended roaming surcharges for people who travel periodically within the EU. Under the ‘roam like at home’ regulations, residents of the EU and European Economic Area (EEA, which includes Iceland) can use mobile devices when travelling in the EU and EEA, paying the same prices as at home. We urge you though to check your contract. See this article about using Trawire modem VS your Roaming contract.
The three letters that define much of the world’s wireless capabilities are GSM. In the U.S., T-Mobile, AT&T Wireless, and Cingular use this quasi-universal system; in Canada, Microcell and some Rogers customers are GSM, and all Europeans and most Australians use GSM.
Removing the SIM on your main phone can reduce the level of security you have. You can bring an old phone with you to call with Prepaid Sim which is available in many places in Iceland. For example prepaid SIM cards can be found at bookstores, grocery stores and petrol stations throughout the country, and also on Icelandic operated flights. Top-up credit is available from the same outlets. Before leaving home, make sure that your phone isn’t locked to your home network.
When you have Trawire Modem
For non-EU folks, the cheapest and most practical way to make calls is to useVoice-Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) or just the message apps on your phone. Check your phone will work on Europe’s GSM 900/1800 network (US phones work on a different frequency). See this article about using Trawire modem VS your Roaming contract.
Public pay-phones are extremely elusive in Iceland, but you may find them outside larger bus stations and petrol stations. Many accept credit cards as well as coins.
To make international calls from Iceland, first dial the international access code 00, then the country code, the area or city code, and the telephone number.
To phone Iceland from abroad, dial your country’s international access code, Iceland’s country code (354) and then the seven-digit phone number.
Iceland has no area codes.
Toll-free numbers begin with 800; mobile (cell) numbers start with 6, 7 or 8.
The online version of the phone book with good maps is at http://en.ja.is.
Useful numbers: directory enquiries 118 (local), 1811 (international).
For police, ambulance, fire and rescue services in Iceland, dial 112.
Voice-Over Internet Protocol (VOIP)
When you have Web access while traveling, you might consider a broadband-based telephone service (in technical terms, Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP) such as Skype (www.skype.com) or Vonage (www.vonage.com), which allows you to make free international calls from your phone or laptop using Trawire WiFi. The people you’re calling may also need to be signed up. Check the sites for details.
Remember to bring a power adapter, High Power Car Adapter (Cigar Lighter Socket). As in other European countries, Icelandic electricity runs at 220 volts, 50 Hz AC, and electric sockets have two round plugs; you may need an “international” power adapter that properly regulates the current to prevent computer damage.