Our guide to getting your iPhone or Android smartphone online in Croatia
The UN this year deemed Internet access a human right and who are we to argue? Add in the pressure of employers and clients who need to contact you even when you’re on vacation, making sure you’re as connected as you’re used to being at home has become a concern for most vacationers.
Anyone taking a Croatia vacation package gets a basic cellphone to use to contact our local representatives and make local calls, for restaurant reservations or taxis but if you need to connect to the internet on your own device you’ll need to get yourself a local SIM card to put in.
Check you’re unlocked
Many US mobile networks have a nasty habit of SIM-locking phones sold on contract. Check with your mobile network as to the status of your phone and request an unlock, if they offer that service.
Where to buy?
You can buy SIM cards at gas stations, newsagents and some convenience stores, supermarkets or general mobile phone and technology stores. Or if you happen across one of the mobile operators’ outlets, you can get a bit more hand-holding when you install the SIM and set up your internet access.
T-Mobile are the the largest, have good English-speaking support staff and have the largest number of subscribers. The two other networks are Vipnet and Tele2. In this article we concentrate on setting up with T-Mobile though both the competing networks offer similar mobile data options.
Micro or Nano SIM?
None of the SIM packs you buy in stores will be Micro SIMs (for iPhone 4/4S and iPads) or Nano SIMs (rumoured to be in the iPhone 5) so you’ll need to bring a SIM cutter with you or buy a SIM at a mobile phone shop and they should either be able to cut the SIM for you or sell you one that’s already the right size.
Setting up with T-Mobile’s All Inclusive Holiday paket
T-Mobile sell a package called the All Inclusive Holiday paket for 50 Kuna (under $9) which comes with 2 SIM cards, one loaded with 50 Kuna of credit and the other with zero credit. 40 of that 50 Kuna will instantly be taken by the All Inclusive package – which gives you 7 days of:
- Unlimited SMS to all European countries
- Unlimited calls to T-Mobile Croatia numbers (so you can call the other SIM card you got in the packet, for free) – bear in mind a call setup fee of 0.29 Kuna applies, so your credit will tick down slightly when you call.
- 30 Minutes of calls to all European countries (again a call setup fee applies, of 0.5 Kuna)
- Unlimited data on T-Mobile Croatia WiFi Hotspots
Or keep it simple with the Start package
You may also find for sale a single SIM pack, for 20 Kuna, preloaded with the same amount in credit so adding more credit would be essential to be able to do much at all.
What about the mobile data?
As you’ll only have 10 Kuna left after the All Inclusive Holiday package is charged if you get that SIM, you’ll need to add some credit to enable a mobile internet option (it’s a good idea to turn your phone’s cellular data access off until you’ve done this otherwise you’ll be paying-as-you-go at a rather unfriendly rate). The available mobile data packages differ in how much data you can download within a month.
- Internet S 10 Kuna (under $2) gets you 100MB
- Internet M 20 Kuna = 200MB
- Internet L 50 Kuna = 500MB
- Internet XL 75 Kuna = 1GB
To activate one of these packages you need to call customer service on 1520. Messages are in Croatian and English and the customer service reps are English speaking, as long as you choose that option in the phone tree.
Can I roam with this SIM?
Don’t do it! The situation (until Croatia joins the EU in 2013) with roamed data is that it is incredibly expensive and you’ll burn through any credit you have in a few minutes just with your phone doing background tasks like receiving push notifications.