Warsaw Living Costs

Cost of Mobile Internet Data in Poland

If you are visiting the beautiful city of Warsaw or maybe even moving here then having the ability to easily use Google maps for directions, Apps to rent the Warsaw city bikes, share pictures on social media or get some advice from WarsawLocal.com then having internet data on your phone can be life saver. In this article we are going to cover how you can get mobile data on your phone easily and cheaply but first you must answer this question:

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I currently use a mobile phone number from a EU service provider (I have a phone number from Poland, England, Germany, France, Spain or other EU country)

 

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I currently use a mobile phone number from an non-EU service provider (I have a phone number from America, China, Russia and so on)

 

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Skip to information from video (where and how to top-up online and using codes)

 

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EU Citizens (temporary visitor)

 

If you didn’t already know but in June 2017 the EU brought in some new laws that means all EU citizens will be able to use their internet packages like they would be able to at home and you won’t need to buy a Polish sim card for a short stay, but you will if you plan to stay long term from work or study then you will need to purchase one.

The EU “roam like at home” rules mean that when you use your mobile phone while travelling outside your home country in any EU country you don’t have to pay any additional roaming charges. You benefit from these rules when calling (to mobile and fixed phones), sending text messages (SMS) and using data services while abroad.

You pay exactly the same price for using these services when travelling in the EU as you would if you were at home. In practice, your operator simply charges or takes your roaming consumption from the volumes in your domestic mobile tariff plan / bundle.

If you have a contract with a mobile operator which includes roaming services it will automatically be considered as a roam like at home contract. The default option for all new mobile contracts with roaming services will be roam like at home.

Long term vs short term use

Roam like at home is intended for people who occasionally travel outside the country where they live or have stable links i.e. they work or study in their home country. It’s not meant to be used for permanent roaming. As long as you spend more time at home than abroad, or you use your mobile phone more at home than abroad, you can roam freely at domestic prices when travelling anywhere in the EU. This is considered a “fair use of roaming services”.

If you use your mobile phone abroad permanently, your mobile operator may charge you for your roaming use. These charges are capped however (see fair use policy below).

When you cross a border within the EU, you will continue to receive a text message from your mobile operator informing you that you are roaming and reminding you of its fair use policy.

Fair use policy

Mobile operators may apply what is known as a “fair use policy” to ensure that all roaming customers have access to and benefit from the roam like at home rules (i.e. regulated roaming services at domestic price) when travelling in the EU. Mobile operators may apply fair, reasonable and proportionate control mechanisms to avoid abusive use of these rules.

Fair use policy and data limits

When you roam like at home there are no volume restrictions for voice calls and SMS, but there are rules and limits for data usage at domestic price which are determined by the type of contract you have.

In some specific cases (see below), beyond a reasonably high volume of roaming data at domestic price, you may have to pay a data roaming surcharge which will be equal to the wholesale (EU-wide) data cap (€7.70 / GB of data in 2017 plus VAT). This wholesale roaming price is the maximum your domestic operator has to pay a foreign operator when you use data roaming services.

Data limits – pre-paid cards

If you have a pre-paid card (meaning that you pay in advance for using your mobile phone) you can roam like at home. However, your mobile operator may apply a roam like at home limit for data if you pay per unit and your domestic unit price for data is less than €7.70 per GB.

If your mobile operator applies a roam like at home volume limit for data, that limit should be at least the volume obtained by dividing the remaining credit on your pre-paid card by €7.70 as soon you start using data roaming services. You will get the same volume of roaming data that you have paid for in advance. You can of course top up your credit while roaming.

Data limits – national bundles with unlimited data

If you have a contract where you pay a fixed monthly fee and it includes bundled services with unlimited data, your mobile operator must provide you with a large volume of roam like at home data. The exact amount will depend on the price you pay for your mobile bundle. The roaming data volume must be at least twice the volume obtained by dividing the price of your mobile bundle (excluding VAT) by the wholesale data roaming cap (€7.70 in 2017).

For example: you pay €40 (excluding VAT) for your mobile bundle with unlimited calls, SMS and data. When you roam like at home in the EU, you get unlimited calls and SMS and at least 10.3 GB of data (2x(€40/€7.70) =10.3).

Your operator must inform you of your roam like at home data allowance. If you go beyond this allowance while roaming the surcharge will be the wholesale data cap = €7.70 / GB of data in 2017 plus VAT, €6 / GB plus VAT in 2018. The data cap will decrease further after 2018.

Data limits – national bundles with limited data

If you have limited or very cheap mobile data (less than €3.85 / GB in 2017), your operator may apply a “fair use” limit for data when you are roaming. The limit is calculated on the basis of the retail price of your domestic mobile bundle as in the case of unlimited data (above). Your operator must inform you in advance about this limit and will have to alert you when you reach it. Be aware that you can continue data roaming but your operator will apply a surcharge. This surcharge will be the wholesale data cap = €7.70 / GB of data in 2017 plus VAT, €6 / GB plus VAT in 2018. The data cap will decrease further after 2018.

Other contracts

Operators may also offer contracts without roaming services or specifically designed alternative roaming contracts with tariffs which fall outside the scope of the roam like at home rules (for example if you roam outside the EU) but these types of options must be specially chosen by the customer. As mobile operators are free to offer cheaper rates, you should shop around to find the best value and offer to fit your specific needs.

Fair use policy – monitoring

As part of their fair use policy, your operator can monitor and check your roaming use over a 4 month period. If, during this period, you have spent more time abroad than at home and your roaming exceeds your domestic usage, your operator may contact you and ask you to clarify your situation. You will have 14 days to do so. If you continue to spend more time abroad than you do at home and your roaming consumption continues to exceed your domestic usage your operator may start applying a surcharge to your roaming consumption. The surcharges (excluding VAT) are capped as follows:

3.2 cents per minute of voice call made
1 cent per SMS
€7.70 per GB of data (cap in 2017)
The cap for data will progressively decrease on 1 January each year as from 2018 as follows: €6, €4.50, €3.50, €3 to €2.50 in 2022. The cap after 2019 may be revised following a review of the wholesale roaming markets in 2019.

Fair use policy – cross border workers

If you work in one EU country and live in a different one, you can choose a mobile operator in either country and roam like at home with a SIM from the country where you live or from the country where you work. The roam like at home fair use policy applies: as long as you log on at least once a day to your domestic operator’s network, it will count as a day of presence (even if you go abroad the same day).





Calling from home / roaming outside the EU

Calling another EU or non-EU country from home is not considered as roaming so the roam like at home rules don’t apply. You should be aware that the prices for these calls are not regulated and can be expensive.

The cost of roaming (particularly data roaming) outside the EU can be expensive, so to avoid running up steep roaming bills check the cost for roaming outside the EU with your provider before travelling.

Roaming while travelling by ship or plane

When travelling by ship or plane in the EU you can roam like at home as long as you are connected to a terrestrial (land-based) mobile network. If mobile services are provided via satellite systems, roam like at home no longer applies and you will be charged for non-regulated roaming services (no price caps).

Protection of personal data

Your operator is required to comply with the relevant personal data protection rules and may only use your data (which they already have for billing purposes) to check and compare your roaming usage with your domestic consumption.

Non-EU Citizens

 

If you’re visiting Poland and you currently have a non-EU sim card then we’d highly recommend to purchase one, but luckily they are very cheap and do not require lengthy contracts. If you use a non-EU sim card for internet use then you can easily waste a lot of money and return home to a big phone bill. If you have not already then we highly recommend you watch this short video explaining the costs involved in purchasing a sim card and internet package.

A sim card will cost you 5PLN (about one euro) from almost all services providers. You will then need to purchase packages from credit on your account to make calls and use the internet.

How to buy credit and purchase packages

 

Once you have purchased a sim card from a service provider you’ll then need to add credit to your account. In Poland call minutes, SMS limits and internet data is usually sold in 30 day packages so for example from service provider Play you’ll pay 9PLN (about two euros) for a 2GB internet package that would last 30 days. If you don’t use the full amount of data within 30 days then you’ll lose whatever is left. If you do use the 2GB before the 30 days is up then you’ll need to repurchase another package. The same is for calls and SMS too, from the same service provider (Play) you can purchase an unlimited texts to all Polish networks package for 10PLN which would last 30 days.

You purchase packages with the credit deposits to your account (account = phone number)

Adding credit while purchasing a sim card

If you’re visiting Poland for a short amount of time then one of the easiest ways to add credit to your account which will enable you to begin purchasing the packages you need is asking the sales clerk to add the amount to your account then buying the physical sim card. Some stores speak English while other stores don’t, it all depends who is working that day. If you don’t speak Polish then write down this short sentence on a piece of paper and show it at any mobile service providers store:

Poproszę kartę sim i doładowanie za 20zł

In English this means I’d like a sim car please and I’d like to add 20zl credit. You can change the number to however much you’d like to put on your account.

Purchasing packages with T-Mobile

Once you have credit on your account and a sim card inside your phone you’ll need open the phones dialing option and type one of these codes and press the ‘call’ button.

1GB (10zł) = *140*702#

2GB (15zł) = *140*703#

3GB (20zł) = *140*705#

Once you press the call button you should receive a SMS (in Polish) within 60 seconds to 5 minutes confirming your package purchase and your 30 day limit will start from that moment

Purchasing packages with Orange

The format of Orange is slightly different that Play and T-Mobile. You purchase packages by sending an SMS to the number 206. You type the code in the body of the text:

500 MB (5zł) = SMS to 206 and type inside the SMS ILE500
2GB (15zł) = SMS to 206 and type inside the SMS ILE
5GB (25zł) = SMS to 206 and type inside the SMS ILE25

Purchasing packages with Play

Once you have credit on your account and a sim card inside your phone you’ll need open the phones dialing option and type one of these codes and press the ‘call’ button.

600 MB (5zł) = *111*541*1#
2GB (9zł) = *111*542*1#
6GB (20zł) = *111*543*1#

Once you press the call button you should receive a SMS within 60 seconds to 5 minutes confirming your package purchase and your 30 day limit will start from that moment

The above content and prices shown are correct as of June 2017. They are subject to change at any time so we always recommend checking the service providers website for the most up to date information:

Play: http://promocje.play.pl/en/
Orange: http://www.orange.pl/kid,4000378054,id,4003485934,title,Pakiety-Internetowe-w-ofertach-na-karte,article.html
T-Mobile: http://www.t-mobile.pl/pl/oferta_specjalna/internet-na-karte

Add credit to account using the providers website

All of the Polish service providers allow you easily add credit to your account through their website, but beware they are almost always in Polish. Our handy tip if you don’t understand Polish you can translate the whole website easily with the Google Chrome browser. You simply right click on the page and select ‘Translate to English’ and you’ll be surprised how good the translation can be.

You’ll need your phone number ready and a bank card to make a payment. It does not need to be a Polish bank card, almost any Visa or Mastercard is accepted.

Play: https://www.doladowania.play.pl/
Orange: https://doladowania.orange.pl/
T-Mobile: https://www.doladowania.t-mobile.pl/t-mobile-client/

We really hope you have enjoyed this article. If there is anything important you feel we missed let people know in the comment section below.

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