CHOOSING A MOBILE PHONE SERVICE
There are several criteria that are important to consider when choosing a mobile phone service. Depending on your needs, you will use one of the following three possibilities:
- subscription services with a contract, which includes a certain number of minutes that you can call, text messages you can send, and data. You receive a monthly bill (for the subscription and, if you have exceeded your contractual number of minutes, a fee for these minutes). Subscription services will charge an initial connection fee, but there are many special offers available aimed at attracting new customers – so shop around
- a pre-pay service based on buying a card with call units and no subscription fee. You can read more about this below.
- sim-only; you buy your own mobile phone (make sure it’s simlock-free; simlock-vrij!) and take out a ‘sim-only’ subscription, which means that you are sent a sim-card, without an accompanying mobile phone. This can be a financially quite attractive option. To compare rates, visit www.sim-only-vergelijk.nl.
This is a popular choice among Dutch users, particularly young people. One reason is that the pre-pay phone allows users to pay for their calls in advance, and thus avoid subscription fees and hefty unexpected bills. They are cheap, convenient and provide enough coverage for most Dutch users in the Netherlands. Note that each pre-pay phone will only be suitable for that particular network.
Pre-pay cards are available in denominations of 10, 20, 25, 40, and 50 euros and can be bought at a variety of locations, such as supermarkets and drugstores, as well as the phone company-stores. For more on the various arrangements offered by the mobile phone companies, visit their websites, as they are continually subject to change.
BUYING A MOBILE PHONE
If you are buying a (subscription, pre-pay or sim-lock free) mobile phone, you can do this at the larger department stores, electronic chains, brand stores, non-brand telephone stores, or, simply, via the Internet. It is always worth your while to shop around, as both the brand stores and the non-brand stores may offer certain reductions and other special promotions. Most mobile phone companies include a mobile phone in their subscription package.
- Be sure to bring your passport / driver’s license and proof (such as a bank statement) of your most current address if you are planning on buying a mobile phone with a subscription in a store.
- You can switch companies and even keep your own phone number. Check with your company to see what the rules are (on giving notice and over what period), if you are not yet sure which one to go for.
- You may not use a mobile phone while driving unless you are using a hands-free device.
Internet Service Providers
In the Netherlands, approximately 7.47 million households are provided with TV and radio via the cable. At an average of € 18 a month, access is so cheap that most people don’t even know what they pay for it. But there is more than cable; a major player on the TV market these days is digital TV; 8 in 10 households watch digital TV. Currently, there are four ways to receive a digital TV signal; via cable, ether, the Internet (IP, it requires an ADSL-connection), or via satellite.
If you do not have cable (by choice or because you live in a remote area) or want to see channels not available through cable, you can opt for satellite TV. This involves finding an electronics store or other distributor who sells satellite dishes, and arranging for its installation.
For only € 18 a month, you can already watch 60 digital channels, making access is so cheap that you probably won’t even know that you’re paying for it. If you opt for Internet and TV, you pay anywhere between € 30 and € 55, depending on the options you choose: watching missed programs, TV on your tablet, being able to pause your program, multiple TVs, On Demand Films, etc. An excellent overview of the various providers and their packages can be found on www.prijsvergelijken.nl and clicking on Internet, bellen en TV.