Mobile Internet & SIM cards in Belgium
Mobile Internet & SIM cards in Belgium

Mobile Internet & SIM cards in Belgium

Belgium boasts a highly developed mobile network infrastructure, ensuring seamless connectivity for both locals and visitors. Whether you’re an expat, a tourist, or simply looking to stay connected on the go, choosing the right mobile internet and SIM card plan is crucial for a hassle-free experience. In this article we’ll delve into the different options and present you the best deal for your money.

Quick Answers

Mobile Network providers in Belgium

Belgium has three mobile network providers: Proximus, Orange and Telenet/Base. Depending on which current mobile network provider you’re using, your cellphone will automatically connect with one of them.

Data roaming in Belgium

Due to EU regulations, European Citizens are entitled to use their mobile phone plans at no extra cost while roaming within the European Economic Area, which includes Belgium.

For travelers from outside the EU, these roaming costs can be expensive and add up quickly. Therefore it’s always advised to check with your current network provider about the roaming costs in Belgium.

Most travelers will choose to turn off roaming and either purchase a local sim card, or an electronic sim card to avoid these pricey roaming costs.

E-Sim Cards

An eSIM is a digital chip that is embedded in your device and connects you to a mobile network. It works the same way as a traditional SIM card, but you do not need to insert or remove a physical SIM card. Most smartphones built since 2018 have this eSIM option.

eSIMs are becoming increasingly popular as they offer a number of advantages over traditional SIM cards. They are more convenient, as you can easily switch between plans or carriers. You’ll be able to receive phone calls and sms on your main phone number, whilst using the eSIM for data without having to pay for roaming costs.

With the eSims from Airalo, you can get 10GB of data for 20$, which is a better deal then you’ll get with a physical pre-paid sim card in Belgium.

eSim for Belgium

Purchasing a SIM Card in Belgium

When your phone doesn’t support e-SIM cards, a regular pre-paid SIM card is still a great option to dodge roaming costs and have access to mobile internet.

Where to buy Belgium Sim Cards

As a tourist or expat, you can easily purchase a Belgian SIM card at one of the official retail stores of the major mobile operators, as well as from many supermarkets, convenience stores, and kiosks. Expats can also purchase their SIM cards online on the mobile operator’s website.

All SIM cards sold in Belgium must be registered. That means you’ll have to provide some proof of identity upon purchase.

Recharging your Belgium Sim Card

Recharging your Belgian Pre-Paid Sim Card is in most cases best done online, as it will get you some better deals and bonuses with some providers. Except from Orange, since their websites are not in English.

Prepaid Sim cards in Belgium

The Belgian mobile market is dominated by three major players: Proximus, Orange, and BASE. These operators offer a wide range of prepaid and postpaid plans, catering to diverse needs and budgets. Let’s explore them further into detail.

Proximus

Proximus is the largest mobile provider in Belgium, with the widest network coverage. It offers a wide range of plans, including prepaid and postpaid options.

Their pre-paid cards are called Pay&Go. At first, the pricing looks a bit complicated and underwhelming, however thanks to the online deals, bonuses and possibility to exchange call credit for additional data, they do offer a fair good deal.

Top up your pay&go sim card online and receive a bonus, valid for 31 days.

ValueCall timeSMSMobile Data
10€33 mins + 10 bonus83 + 500 bonus500 MB bonus
15€50 mins + 20 bonus125 + unlimited bonus3 GB bonus
25€83 mins + 50 bonus208 + unlimited bonus5 GB bonus

When you don’t need the call credit, you can exchange it for mobile data. If you trade in 12€ you’ll get 3GB of mobile data. That means that you can get 6GB of mobile data for a 15€ recharge.

More info: https://www.proximus.be/en/id_cr_prepaid_cards/personal/mobile/prepaid-cards.html

Orange

Orange is the second largest mobile provider in Belgium. It offers a good range of plans, including some of the most affordable options on the market.

The Tempo Giga plan offers the best data plans for pre-paid sim cards from this provider. Their best deal is the 15€ for 8GB data, however this plan doesn’t give you any call time or SMS.

With the tempo giga plan, you have unlimited calls to other Tempo Giga plan customers, except with the cheapest 10€ reload.

There’s also a Tempo Easy plan, which is focused on more call time and less data.

ValueCall timeSMSMobile Data
10€28 mins5001 GB
15€42 mins40005 GB
15€008 GB
20€57 mins50007 GB
50€142 mins1000010 GB

For some strange reason, this big international player only offers its local websites in the local languages. Therefore it’s only available in Dutch and French.

Telenet / Base

Telenet/Base is the third largest mobile provider in Belgium. It is known for its high-speed internet connections, and it also offers a good range of mobile plans.

CreditCall timeSMSMobile data
5€20 mins//
10€40 mins2501 GB
15€60 mins10004 GB
20€80 mins10004 GB
25€100 mins50008 GB

Topping up your credit with 10€ or more, will give you unlimited call time to other Base phone numbers in Belgium. You can recognize these phone numbers since they all start with +048

Don’t need the call time? Then you can swap it in for extra mobile data instead! Get 2gb of data in exchange for 10€ call credit, 4gb in exchange for 15€ call credit and 8gb in exchange for 25€ call credit.

Thanks to this exchange policy, you can get 8GB of data for 15€

Tariffs for your call credit in Belgium and Europe: €0.25/min – €0.12/SMS – €0.25/MMS – €0.50/MB

Mobile Vikings

Mobile Vikings is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), which means that it does not own its own network infrastructure. Instead, it leases network capacity from Proximus. Mobile Vikings is known for its innovative plans and its customer service.

CreditCall timeSMSMobile data
10€25 minsunlimited1 GB
10€50 minsunlimited500 MB
15€50 minsunlimited4 GB
15€100 minsunlimited2 GB
20€66 minsunlimited6 GB
20€133 minsunlimited3 GB

With Mobile Vikings you’ll get unlimited SMS in Belgium. Unlimited calls to other Mobile Vikings are also included with each plan.

On the downside is that they don’t have any physical sales points and their pre-paid plans aren’t as competitive as those from Base, Orange or Proximus.

What’s the best pre-paid sim card for data in Belgium?

Now that I’ve explained the different and sometimes confusing pricing plans, lets compare them. I will use the 15€ credit as a benchmark and purely focus on mobile data, since this is the most important for tourists. Extra bonuses for topping up online, or exchanging call time for extra data will also be included.

Telenet / Base8 GB
Orange8 GB
Proximus6 GB
Mobile Vikings4 GB

And the winner is… Telenet / Base. Due to the lack of an English interface, Orange loses the battle for best pre-paid sim card for tourists in Belgium.

Conclusion

Data roaming for non-Europeans is best avoided in Belgium. If your phone supports an e-SIM, you’ll obviously get the best deal with Airalo with 10GB for 20$. When it comes to physical pre-paid sim cards, Telenet/Base is the absolute winner, where you can get 8GB for 15€.

BertBeckers
Author: BertBeckers

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