One of the first questions coming to a new country is always what to do with the mobile phone. What is the best option for me to stay connected? We will provide you here some short information on phones and tariffs in Austria.
Where can I get a phone?
In general there are three options. You can get it from an electronic store, from a telephone company or from a second hand shop. In electronic stores you will get phones for the usual market price. If you need a phone and a tariff it can make sense to get all of that as a whole package from one phone company. Then they can usually offer you some discounts. In case you do not care much about what phone it is as long as it works, there is the option to get a cheap mobile phone from second hand “Handy Shops”. You can find such shops in almost every corner in Graz. Should you decide to get your mobile there, be careful that they do not sell you garbage.
Where can I unlock my mobile phone for all sim-cards?
Unlocking a mobile phone for all sim-cards normally costs around 20 - 25€. If you want to unlock your mobile phone yourself you can do that online. There are websites that provide this service and you can pay via PayPal or credit card. All you need for that is your IMEI (International Mobile Station Equipment Identity). You can get that code through entering *#06# into your phone. Two websites you can use for that: http://www.handyentsperren24.at/ and http://www.unlockphone.com. Other than that you can also go to any mobile phone company to get it unlocked for about 20€. Sometimes they also unlock it for you in second hand Handy Shops. You can try to get it cheaper there.
Which telephone providers are there in Austria?
There are quite a few telephone providers in Austria, with so many different tariff options that you can get confused easily. Most of them have some kind of special tariffs for young adults. Since tariff conditions change constantly, we can not explain all of them here. But we can give you a list of the Austrian providers and their websites for you to check which company offers the best option for your needs: A1, Bob, Drei, T-Mobile, Telering, Tele2 and yesss. There is an online platform that could help you with the decision for what tariff is best for you. You can enter your needs there and it calculates the best tariffs for you. The site is only available in German language.
How do I pay for my phone bills?
You can either get a tariff on contract-basis or on prepaid-basis. In order to get a contract in many cases you need to commit to it for 12 months or longer. If you are planning to stay in Austria for more than one semester and intend to use your phone a lot, then it is advisable to look for some kind of mobile phone contract. Contract conditions are usually better when you commit to it for a longer period of time. In that case you pay a fixed price every month via your bank account. However most exchange students get themselves a prepaid tariff, because it comes with weaker ties and you only pay for what you really use. The costs get directly withdrawn from your prepaid vouchers. Once your assets are exhausted you need to reload it yourself. You can get these vouchers to reload for different amounts of money - usually 10€, 20€ and 50€. To activate it you need to enter the code on the voucher into your phone. Those vouchers are sold at your phone company’s stores, most electronic stores, post offices, tobacconists, supermarkets and gas stations.