Life just isn’t really imaginable without ready access to mobile phone services and the internet these days. Here are some tips on how to access both in Vienna:
Mobile Phones & Mobile Internet
For all with unlocked phones and/or dual-SIM capability, getting some sort of Austrian mobile phone SIM cards is probably the easiest way of staying connected – whether you are in Vienna for a week or a year.
Costs for both calls and internet tend to be low in comparison with most other countries, and flat-rate contracts are really, really easy to come by.
Prepaid SIM cards can be bought from all major electronics stores (e.g. Saturn, Media Markt), all phone companies, and quite a few chain stores and discounters (e.g. Tchibo, Hofer)
Contracts can be entered into with all mobile phone providers, can be made at most electronics stores, and can even be set up with some of the discounter supermarket chains. Contracts tend to run 12 to 24 months (though there are some without commitment, usually for slightly higher monthly fees) and may even get you a free phone (SIM-locked to the respective provider) if you enter into them.
Main players in the market are:
Make sure to check offers just shortly before your purchase as prices and special offers are prone to changing quickly and very often!
Internet Access At Home
If you are a student planning on living in Vienna, you can stop fretting now – virtually all student residences (as well as most of the privately rented apartments in Vienna, really) come equipped with broadband internet.
Should, for any reason at all, the need to set up a fixed line internet connection to you home arise, you have quite the selection to chose from.
The first choice, before you even start thinking about providers, is to know whether you are shopping around for “just” internet, or whether you actually could use a bundle (typically broadband internet in combination with a mobile SIM, cable TV, or a landline connection; some bundles include more than one “add-on”).
Either way, some providers you should definitely check out on your quest for connection:
Public Internet Access/WiFi/WLAN
The most important thing to know: WiFi, in Austria, is typically known as WLAN, so keep your eyes peeled for this acronym instead of the one you are used to!
Vienna has a city-sponsored grid of over 400 WLAN (WiFi) Hotspots. All information about that, as well as a map of access points can be found here.
Many hotels, bars, restaurants, cafes, and shopping malls offer free WiFi. Most are signposted very well so you should know that there is an access point without even having to check available connections, but even if there is no easily visible sign, do check on your phone or computer, just to be sure you’re not missing something.
One of the free WiFi providers that is used very frequently is Freewave. You can check out a list of all available hotspots here.
Major railway (and some subway) stations, as well as many trains and some other modes of public transport offer free WLAN for travellers.
And, finally, if you are a student at a Viennese University, there will be free WLAN in (nearly) all buildings.
Long Distance Calls
If at all possible, we strongly suggest making use of the internet and video-calling your friends and family abroad.
If that’s not on the cards for you for whatever reasons, there are a few providers that offer special long-distance/international calling rates. Have an online search or check out some of those providers: