Mobile Comparisons 2013

Mobile Comparisons 2013

On the Czech Market there are four mobile phone network operators: O2, T-Mobile, Vodafone, and Air Telecom/U:fon. All the providers offer monthly plans. O2, T-Mobile, and Vodafone also have pre-paid plans. In most cases the choice is pretty limited – in fact the three largest companies are quite similar in what they offer.

Comparison Pre-Paid Deals



If you’re not sure how long you will be here, are here for a short time, or simply want the flexibility then one of these pre-paid plans might suit you.

O2: NA!DLOUHO and NA!HLAS

NA!DLOUHO charges 6.00 CZK for calls to other O2 phones for the first minute then the rest of the call is free. Sending SMS costs 2.00. NA!HLAS charges 5.60 CZK per minute for all calls and 2.20 CZK for SMS except weekends when both are free. It costs 150 CZK to get started with the SIM and 150 CZK of credit. More information in the link.

T-Mobile Twist Našim:

There are two versions: with or with Internet connection. Without Internet, calls cost 2.50 CZK a minute, SMS 1.90 CZK and MMS 4.90 CZK. A plan including Internet has higher charges for calls (5.90 / minute).  You get set up with a pre-paid for 200 CZK. More information in the link. 

Vodafone Two standard deals:

Karta se vším všudy (Card with everything everywhere) offers calls for 4.90 CZK per minute. If you have credit above 200 CZK you get free SMS and if the amount is above 400 CZK you get free calls. Karta na Víkend (Card for the weekend) has cheap calls (2.50 CZK / minute) so long as you have 250 CZK credit. When it drops below the call price is 6.50 CZK a minute. SMS are 1.50 CZK and MMS are 4.50 CZK. You can get started on either for 200 CZK. More information in the link (in Czech).

Vodafone have some ‘limited edition’ deals which you can find here (in Czech). Among them you will find deals for calls at 0.41 CZK a minute or even 7 CZK for an hour. However read the conditions carefully.

Comparison of Monthly Plan Rates

The three large companies have quite similar plans and prices. These might be worth considering if you make a lot of calls and prefer the convenience of not topping up.

O2

FREE O2 – Unlimited within the network

•    249 CZK per month,
•    Unlimited calls and SMS to O2 numbers,
•    Outside O2: Calls are 3.50 CZK / minute and SMS 1.50 CZK.

FREE O2 Plus – Unlimited within the network plus additional calls and Internet

•    499 CZK per month,
•    Unlimited calls to O2 and 120 minutes of calls to other providers,
•    Otherwise outside O2: Calls are 3.50 CZK / minute and SMS 1.50 CZK,
•    Plus 150 MB / month of data.

FREE CZ – Unlimited calls within the Czech Republic and Internet

•    749 CZK per month,
•    Unlimited calls and SMS to all Czech providers. 1 GB of data / month.

T-Mobile

S NÁMI V SÍTI – Unlimited within the network

•    249 CZK per month,
•    Unlimited calls and SMS to T-Mobile numbers,
•    Outside T-Mobile: Calls are 3.50 CZK / minute and SMS 1.50 CZK.

S NÁMI V SÍTI+ – Unlimited within the network plus additional calls and Internet
•    499 CZK per month,
•    Unlimited calls to T-Mobile and 120 minutes of calls to other providers,
•    Otherwise outside T-Mobile: Calls are 3.50 CZK / minute and SMS 1.50 CZK,
•    Plus 200 MB / month of data.

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S NÁMI SÍŤ NESÍŤ – Unlimited calls within the Czech Republic and Internet
•    749 CZK per month
•    Unlimited calls and SMS to all Czech providers. 1.5 GB of data / month.

Vodafone

Start – Unlimited within the network and Internet

•    249 CZK per month,
•    Unlimited calls and SMS to Vodafone numbers,
•    Outside Vodafone: Calls are 3.49 CZK / minute and SMS 1.51 CZK,
•    Plus you get 20 MB of data per month.

RED do site – Unlimited within the network plus additional calls and Internet

•    499 CZK per month,
•    Unlimited calls to Vodafone and 130 minutes of calls to other providers,
•    Otherwise outside T-Mobile: Calls are 3.49 CZK  / minute and SMS 1.51 CZK,
•    Plus 150  MB / month of data.

RED

•    699 CZK per month,
•    Unlimited calls and SMS to all Czech providers. 1.5 GB of data / month.

Vodafone offer two more plans on top of this: RED se vším všudy and RED Premium. On top of unlimited calls within the Czech Republic, each plan offers calls abroad and more data. You can find more information in the link.

Discounts

The cheapest discount is with T-Mobile and it is for people between 6 and 26. Called BAV SE s Mých5, you can choose 5 numbers, hence the name, to which you can send free SMS or make calls for 2.93 CZK. Other calls are 4.94 CZK. The charge is 100 CZK a month.

O2 have discount of between 50 – 100 CZK for students and seniors. You can see the exact prices at the bottom of this link.

Vodafone offers a student plan (in Czech). For 299 CZK a month you get unlimited SMS in the Vodaphone network or 1.51 CZK outside the network, 50 minutes of calls, and 150 MB of data a month.

Comparison of Internet in the Mobile

Apart from Internet bundled into monthly plans, there are some additional offers.

O2

You can activate the feature by paying an additional monthly fee depending on the amount of data you want per month. The link also includes pre-paid monthly and weekly plans.

T-Mobile

Data options range from 150 MB to 30 GB. Prices and more information can be found here (in Czech). If you have either the S NÁMI V SÍTI + or S NÁMI V SÍŤ NESÍŤ plans you can get a 150 CZK discount on all Internet plans except the lowest data allowance.

Vodafone

The separate Internet plans for mobile are more restricted then the allowances built into the monthly phone plans. There are four monthly rates with data allowances ranging from 150 MB to 1.2 GB. You can also connect for a day for 25 CZK or a week for 50 CZK.

Roaming and Calling from Abroad

The companies offer a range of possibilities. Have a look at each to see which suits your needs.

O2

Rates are divided into 10 categories depending on which zone the country is in. Slovakia is in zone 1. The other bordering countries: Austria, Germany and Poland, are zone 2. For the rest, see this list (in Czech).
Roaming can be activated via a customer’s on-line account or by send an SMS to the number listed on the options on this page. There are four roaming plans. Eurotarif is the default option but Volání bez hranic offers the cheapest outgoing rates of any roaming plan. It can be activated by following the directions in this link.

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T-Mobile

To work out call rates enter the country of origin in the box on this page. For a complete list check out the PDF at the bottom. All destinations require the Czech name, except the US, for which you enter USA as opposed to Spojené Státy.
Roaming should be activated automatically. Prices are charged based on three zones, of which two are shown.

Vodafone

Calls are charged depending on five different zones and are the next cheapest rates for international calls after O2’s Volání bez hranic. Concerning roaming, Vodafone offers six plans (in Czech) covering both calls and data. The idea is to offer roaming for short to longer periods of time. To use follow the directions in the link above.

Air Telecom / Ufon

This relative newcomer to the Czech communication has somewhat different options. Firstly, it doesn’t offer pre-paid plans. They have nine plans in total, divided among the Air network and the U:fon network. The offers are not as straightforward as the other companies. Among them U:fon has the cheapest basic call rate at 1.01 CZK but to get other services you then have to choose. Air network offer the next cheapest rates a 1.50 CZK a minute. There are free calls within the Air Telecom networks, but the question is how many people are using it.

As for Internet, three of the plans Air Max, Air Max Plus and Air Unlimited have Internet bundled. The allowance in order is 100 MB, 200 MB and 1 GB. They don’t offer separate plans like the other operators.

Looking at the Fine Print and Providing Documents

If you decide to get a monthly plan you will be required to satisfy a few more conditions.

O2 offers its monthly plans as either a two year contract or without a contract. In the case of the latter option they charge and additional 150 CZK per month. To take out either you have to be a permanent resident. Identification required is a passport or ID card and proof of permanent residency.

If you’re not a permanent resident, you can have a monthly plan with O2 but you have to pay a 5000 CZK deposit which you get back after a year of paying your bills on time.

T-Mobile is not as strict regarding residency. You can have either permanent or long-term. However, and here in lies the rub, they only offer contracts for the two-year period. Two forms of ID are required, one with a photo and one showing your address in the Czech Republic. A deposit of 500 CZK is charged to all new customers which is returned within the first half of the first year – or so the phone consultant told me.

Vodafone has similar restrictions as O2. If you’re a foreigner you have to have at least permanent residency otherwise 5000 CZK deposit is asked for. This deposit is returned after the first three monthly bills have been paid on time. There is also a 500 CZK deposit for the SIM which is returned after this time too.

If you are eligible for a monthly plan but don’t want to commit for two years, it’s possible to pay an additional fee on top of the monthly charge to have an open ended contract. The fees vary for each plan, so ask a sales assistant for a price list.

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Air Telecom offers one year, two year or open ended contracts. The company requires a passport and proof of permanent residence.

Regarding cancelling, all the companies had the same policy. They require notice one month in advance with the contract terminating at the end of the billing month after the notice is lodged. Also if you have a fixed term contract, you will be asked to pay out the remaining months’ worth of fees. For example, if you have six months to go, and your rate is 249 CZK, you will be charged 1494 CZK (6 x 249 CZK).

Customer Care

Before I start I want to stress the following is based on limited personal experience. However, I’m including it to give a taste of what to expect if you haven’t dealt with communication companies here before. I accept that some people will have had different experiences.

I also accept that as a foreigner I shouldn’t (and personally don’t) expect everyone to speak English, but I assume that for some readers, the English ability of the staff will be a valid question they want addressed, so the following encounters were mostly in English.

Despite his limited English, the sale assistant in the O2 store on Jindřišská, Prague 1, tried his best to answer all my questions efficiently and accurately. He didn’t let the communication barrier get in the way. However, when I called the number on the website and followed the prompts, I was told I was not authorized to make that call.

The assistant in T-Mobile in the Palladium had a bit better English and answered all my questions. In addition he offered me the best options for the scenarios I gave him. Again, he didn’t let any communication problems get in the way. The telephone was another matter. I waited for over five minutes without getting through to an English telephone consultant. Trying a Czech one I got through immediately. The woman answered my questions promptly and clearly.

The best in store service was at Vodafone on Národní Třída. His English was good, his demeanor friendly and he told me stuff I didn’t even ask about. On the telephone I did get through to an English speaking consultant, but there was some problems in understanding. Using the Czech operator was much easier.

Air Telecom / U:fon have a branch behind Florenc Metro station on Za Pořičskou Bránou. The English was the most limited but both attendants were really keen to help, using an online translator to answer my questions. If your Czech isn’t up to scratch and you want to check them out, I would definitely bring a Czech speaking friend

Changing Providers

From 1st September 2013, when you decide to change providers but want to keep your number, you will need a číslo výpovědi opouštěného poskytovatele (ČVOP) which is a number generated by your current provider. You give this number to your new provider. Before this date, you need your phone and ID.

Remarks so far

The market has changed a bit since the last comparison. On one side the main players are converging somewhat in price and offer. However, coming up from below are a few new companies with much more competitive offers. We will be looking at them in a separate article.

So what have been your experiences? Have you been told or experienced something different? What about service – customer service and call coverage – which do you think is the best? Or worst?


Ryan Scott

Ryan Scott comes from Australia and despite what you might think he doesn't mind the winters here. He keenly follows local politics but please don't ask him about the hockey.

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