Saturday, September 15, 2012

Life, in some ways, is much cheaper here-

Life, in some ways, is much cheaper here-

When I first moved here, I wrote a post about our expenses and came to the conclusion that life costs about as much here as it does in the US.  I'd like to revisit the cost of living, focusing specifically on mobile phone plans for this blog entry.   

Back in the US, my monthly cellphone bill through AT&T was about $80/month.  What services did I receive for this price?  I received a set number of call minutes and text messages per month: around 200 text messages.  It's harder to determine my monthly minutes because my plan included rollover minutes so that, to me, I had unlimited call minutes.  In the US, there are two main cell phone providers:  AT&T and Verizon.  There are some smaller competitors as well but it is widely assumed they don't provide as excellent network coverage as the main two. 

Here in Austria, our monthly plan costs 13 Euros per month.  It includes 1000 call minutes and 1000 text messages.  There seem to be more competing companies for your business here than in the US as described in the following website:

There are many providers in Austria (quite likely more than you would expect in such a small country):
·       A1: The formerly state owned mobile provider. It is said that they still offer the best coverage and good quality service. However – if you have to call their agents, be prepared for a long wait on hold.
·       Orange: The second largest mobile network provider. Orange claims to offer best voice quality and has special offers for European roaming services.
·       Tele-ring: The discount provider. Almost bankrupt but they are aggressively attacking the bigger providers.
·       T-Mobile: Former max.mobil has good network coverage and cheap prices. Many Austrians use this network.
·       3: This is the company Hutchinson. They are pursuing the multimedia approach and sell only UMTS handsets. Rates within the 3 network are very cheap, but calling to other networks can be costly. Check the details of your contract!
·       Yesss: The newest discount provider has caused a lot of turmoil by giving hints on their website how to unlock your SIM card and use their service. Good rates but (as it is said) bad service when you need their assistance.

Note:  As this article is slightly outdated (June 2009), there is another provider "BOB" which was left off of the list. 

Personally, we use Tele-ring mainly for the reason that their in-shop clerks usually can speak English. 

Generally, a poll among our friends here has shown that most have plans with 1000/1000 minutes and texts per month (or more) and no one pays more than 20 Euros per month.  Some how a country of 8 million people are able to provide an extensive cell phone network along with affordable, competitive cell phone packages at a much, much lower per month cost than the US. 

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