As in many other European countries the main service provider remains the former semi-state telecom company, in this case KPN. Other services such as UPC, Telfort, Ziggo, and the new contender Tele2 can provide a package of phone, internet and cable television.
Assuming you are just looking for a landline you will need to approach KPN either by visiting one of their stores in the city centre (Rokin 54 is probably the most central) or via their website http://www.kpn.nl or by telephone 0900 0244 (there is an option for an English speaking operator).
It should take five working days to get your phone line installed and they will tell you on which day the installation will take place. Note that KPN are notorious for giving vague times for these appointments (e.g. ‘between 11 am and 7 pm’) so bear this in mind when making other plans for that day.
To set up an account, you will need:
- Identification (passports are usually best)
- Proof of address
- A residency permit, if applicable
- An employment contract
Because UPC, Ziggo, Telfort, Tele2 provide telephony through internet or TV lines, going with any of these will require that you also avail of their TV and/or internet packages as well (for more information see the ‘Internet’ section below). Rates are quite competitive (€10.95- €31.00 per month) and a wide variety of packages are available. See the individual websites for more details of these offers.
Most mobile providers in the Netherlands offer pre-paid and contract options for billing. Pre-paid options tend to be far more expensive especially when calling, but they can be a good solution for people who are not staying in Amsterdam for a long time or those who do not make many calls. Plans or contracts come in all shapes and sizes. Competition is high so shop around for the best deals. Internet enabled phones are very common in Amsterdam and packages including internet tend to be more affordable than in many other countries.
For prepaid packages you can either buy a phone with a prepaid SIM card (the phones are usually subsidized by the provider) or buy a prepaid SIM for use in a SIM unlocked phone. You can get a prepaid SIM card delivered at your address completely free from the prepaid-only, low cost provider Lebara (http://www.lebara.nl), or purchase one at a low price from many locations around the city. Lebara is known to offer relatively low international calls and for each top up, your account gets credited for double the amount. Lebara has an English version of their website. Large providers also offer prepaid options.
Most contracts are for at least a year and the service provider will also provide the phone. These start at a very low rate and can go as high as 50-60 Euro per month depending on your needs.
In all cases you will need:
- Proof of identity
- A Dutch bank account (which also implies the validity of your residence permit)
There are many mobile phone stores scattered throughout the city centre and not all of them are affiliated with a particular network. These stores will be able to help you with your selection by providing comparative information.
Alternatively you can visit the websites of the providers, or call their helplines. The biggest providers are:
- KPN – 0800 0507 – http://www.kpn.nl
- Vodafone – 0800 0560 – http://www.vodafone.nl
- T-Mobile – 0800 7111 – http://www.t-mobile.nl
- Tele2 – 0900 0707 – http://www.tele2.nl