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Mobile packages in neighboring countries lack data limits common in Estonia

Schoolchildren using mobile phones.
Schoolchildren using mobile phones. Source: Siim Lõvi / ERR

In Estonia, it is common for the price of mobile phone smart packages to depend primarily on how many gigabytes of internet data they include. In neighboring countries however, most packages come with unlimited data. Telia says its pricing policy in Estonia is due to there being no limits on internet speed in its Estonian packages.

When people in Estonia choose an internet and call package for their mobile phone, they are used to the price being higher for packages which include more gigabytes of internet capacity. If the capacity included in the package is used up before the end of the month, more can be bought, but the price of extra capacity is usually quite considerable. Telia's home page has a section about how customers can select the mobile package with the right amount of internet capacity for them. However, the company only has one package available featuring unlimited internet use – the 5G package, which costs €35.59 per month.

Elisa offers two 5G smart packages with unlimited capacity, the more expensive of which costs €51.84 and the cheaper €41.67 per month. The price difference is due to the fact that the more expensive package includes more data capacity, which can be used throughout the European Union.

Telia's most expensive fixed monthly package includes 40 gigabytes of 5G internet and costs €31.53 per month. Elisa' offers a package with the same capacity, differing from its competitor by just two cents a month, at €31.51.

However, a look at mobile packages offered by major operators in neighboring countries shows that in many places caps on internet use are not at all common.

In Latvia, to get LMT's unlimited internet package, which includes unlimited calls and messages within Latvia, customers pay €28.98 per month. LMT also offers a range of age-related mobile packages, with separate prices for schoolchildren, students, teenagers and seniors. There are also no limit on the amount of internet use available on the packages for schoolchildren and young people, which range in price from €7.99 to €19.98 per month, depending on the age of the user.

The only LMT package which limits internet use, is the seniors package, which includes just two gigabytes and costs €10.99 per month.

In Finland, too, there are Internet capacity limits on mobile packages. However, monthly fees are linked to Internet speed. Telia's 5G package is the most expensive in Finland, providing an internet speed of 1,000 megabits per second at a cost of €44.99 per month. Elisa offers a similar mobile package in Finland for €49.99 per month. Both Elisa and Telia add one-off activation fees of €8.99 to the package price.

In Sweden, Telia offers an unlimited mobile package at €39.20 per month for the first six months, and €49.68 per month thereafter. Access to TV4 Play, Netflix and HBO Max are also included in the price during a current campaign. In Sweden, discounts are also available or those aged under 28, who are able to get all packages at €4 less a month.

At the lower end of the scale, in Finland, Elisa's cheapest package is €15.99 per month, with an internet speed of five megabits per second. In Telia, the price of 4G packages with the same internet speed start at €15.99 a month. In Sweden, Telia's price for a similar package is €23.49 a month.

In Estonia, Telia's cheapest package contains almost no internet capacity, just 0.05 gigabytes, and costs €5.09 per month. A  plan with one gigabyte of internet data costs as much as €11.19 a month in Estonia. Elisa doesn't offer these types of micro-packages, with its cheapest monthly price for 13 gigabytes of internet costing €12.19.

Evelin Neerot, head of Telia's connectivity services department, told ERR that the logic behind the mobile packages offered may be slightly different in different countries. According to Neerot, in Estonia, companies have opted not to limit internet speeds in their mobile packages, so customers can always use the maximum speed their mobile network and phone allow.

"Years ago, speeds were limited in 3G packages for example, and this caused some dissatisfaction among customers. With the advent of 4G, we removed the speed limits on packages and customer satisfaction increased significantly," she said.

Home internet prices based on speed

For home internet in Estonia, Telia offers a package with internet speed of 1,000 megabits per second for €73.20 per month. At its Swedish sister company, a similar package costs €87.22 a month.

Telia Estonia's cheapest monthly home internet package is €19 per month but with an internet speed of just 20 megabits per second.

Elisa Eesti charges €17.27 per month for its cheapest home internet package, with download speeds of 15 megabits per second and upload speeds of 3 megabits per second. Elisa's most expensive package costs €34.56, but has half the download speed of Telia's fastest package and upload speeds of 50 megabits per second.

It is only possible to view prices for wired home internet packages available in Estonia's neighboring countries by first entering a specific address. It is however possible to see the conditions for wireless home internet.

In Sweden, Telia's home internet package costs €39.14 per month for a two-year contract. It promises speeds of 10-150 megabits per second. Home internet for a holiday home is also available for €19.96, with a speed of five megabits per second.

Latvia's LMT offers 4G or 5G home internet, and depending on speed costs between €18.98 and €23.99 per month. The price includes the cost of a router.

In Estonia, Elisa charges €40.66 per month for unlimited high-speed 5G home internet. Its cheapest option costs €18.29 but with speeds of up to 15 megabits per second. Meanwhile, Telia's wireless 5G internet package costs €42.70 per month in Estonia with speeds of 100-500 megabits per second.

In Finland, Elisa's 4G home internet starts at €22.99, with the most expensive and fastest connection costing €44.99 per month.

Internet bills in Estonia will rise in February, as they already begin to reflect the VAT increase. Telia has also announced that it will increase the prices of its services from March.

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Editor: Michael Cole

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