Swedish phone numbers explained 2024



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Sweden offers a variety of options for staying connected. However, the key to effectively utilizing these services lies in understanding the basics of the Swedish phone number system. This knowledge not only eases daily communication but also plays a vital role in establishing personal and professional networks in Sweden.

This article is a practical and straightforward guide to understanding and using Swedish phone numbers. Whether you’re setting up a new phone connection, trying to make sense of your phone bill, or simply wanting to stay connected easily, this guide will walk you through the essential aspects of Swedish phone numbers.


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Understanding the Swedish Phone Number System

The Structure of Swedish Phone Numbers

Swedish phone numbers typically consist of a variable number of digits, generally ranging from 7 to 10. The format can be understood as follows:

Area Code: The first part of a landline number is the area code, which indicates the geographic region of the phone number. These can be two to three digits long, excluding the leading zero when dialed from abroad.

Subscriber Number: This is the unique number assigned to the individual phone line and varies in length, depending on the area code.

It’s important to note that mobile numbers in Sweden do not have distinct area codes and usually start with a four-digit prefix, followed by a six-digit number.

Landline vs. Mobile Numbers

Understanding the difference between landline and mobile numbers is crucial:

Landline Numbers: They begin with an area code, which can help identify the region. For example, Stockholm landline numbers start with ’08’.

Mobile Numbers: These are not tied to specific regions and are easily identifiable by their prefixes, such as ‘070’, ‘072’, ‘073’, and so on.

This distinction is important not only for understanding the origin of calls but also for cost purposes, as calling rates may vary between landline and mobile numbers.

The Significance of Area Codes

Area codes play a significant role in the Swedish phone system. They can help determine:

Geographical Location: Each area code is associated with a specific region. For example, Gothenburg has the area code ‘031’.

Call Charges: The cost of calls can vary depending on whether you are calling a landline in your own area code, a different area code, or a mobile phone.

Getting a Swedish Phone Number

Steps to Obtain a Swedish Phone Number

Acquiring a Swedish phone number is a straightforward process, essential for seamless communication within the country. Here are the steps involved:

  • Choose a Service Type: Decide between a prepaid (kontantkort), postpaid (abonnemang), or digital (VoIP) phone service. Prepaid options offer flexibility without long-term commitments, postpaid services often come with better deals for extensive usage, and digital services provide versatility, especially for international calls.
  • Select a Service Provider: Sweden hosts several telecom service providers. Research and compare their plans to find one that suits your needs in terms of data, call packages, and network coverage.
  • Visit a Store or Apply Online: You can visit a retail store of your chosen provider or apply online. Stores can provide immediate assistance and often have English-speaking staff.
  • Provide Necessary Documentation: Typically, a valid ID and a Swedish personal identity number (personnummer) are required. For expats, a passport and proof of residence might be sufficient with certain operators.
  • Choose a Number: Often, you can choose your new phone number from a list of available numbers.

Types of Phone Services Available

Prepaid Services

Flexibility: Pay-as-you-go, no monthly bills, and no contractual obligations.

Accessibility: Easy to obtain, often available at convenience stores, supermarkets, and kiosks.

Postpaid Services

Cost-Effectiveness: Generally offer better rates for calls, texts, and data.

Bundled Services: Often come with additional benefits like international calling packages or data rollovers.

Digital (VoIP) Services

Internet-Based: Make calls over the internet, useful for international communication.

Device Flexibility: Can be used on smartphones, tablets, or computers.

Registration Requirements

  • For Residents: A Swedish personal identity number and a valid ID are usually necessary.
  • For Non-Residents: Passport and proof of temporary residence might be accepted.

Related: Prepaid SIM Cards in Sweden: Rules, Providers and Tips

Making Calls in Sweden

Dialing Local Numbers

When making local calls within Sweden, the process is straightforward:

  1. Dial the Area Code: Start with the area code if calling a landline number in a different region. For local landline calls, the area code can often be omitted.
  2. Enter the Subscriber Number: Follow with the subscriber number, which is the unique part of the phone number assigned to an individual line.

For mobile numbers, simply dial the mobile number’s prefix followed by the subscriber number, regardless of your location within Sweden.

Making International Calls from Sweden

Calling abroad requires a few additional steps:

  1. Dial the International Access Code: Start with 00, which is Sweden’s international access code.
  2. Enter the Country Code: Follow with the country code of the destination you are calling.
  3. Dial the Local Number: Complete the call by dialing the full local number, including the area code if applicable.

Remember, the format is: 00 + Country Code + Area Code + Local Number.

Tips for Saving on Call Costs

  • Use VoIP Services: Applications like Skype or WhatsApp can significantly reduce the cost of international calls.
  • Check International Calling Plans: If you make frequent international calls, consider a postpaid plan with a suitable international calling package.
  • Be Mindful of Peak Hours: Some operators charge higher rates during certain hours of the day.

Understanding Call Prefixes

Emergency Numbers: Numbers like 112 (emergency services) can be dialed free of charge.

Toll-Free Numbers: Numbers starting with 020 are toll-free within Sweden.

Premium Rate Numbers: Be cautious of numbers that start with 0900, as these are often premium rate numbers and can be expensive.

Related: Guide to Making Calls To and From Sweden

Receiving Calls in Sweden

Understanding Caller ID and Privacy

In Sweden, like in many other countries, the caller ID feature allows you to see the phone number of the person calling you. This feature is standard on most phones and can be a useful tool for screening calls. However, it’s important to note:

Private Numbers: Some callers may choose to hide their number. These calls will display as “Private” or “Unknown” on your caller ID.

Blocking Unwanted Calls: If you receive unwanted calls, most phones allow you to block specific numbers directly from the call log.

Handling Unsolicited Calls and Telemarketing

Telemarketing calls can be a common experience. Here’s how to manage them:

Register with NIX-Telefon: This is a service that helps reduce telemarketing calls. By registering your number with NIX-Telefon, you indicate that you do not wish to receive sales calls.

Directly Request Removal: If you receive a telemarketing call, you can ask the caller to remove your number from their call list.

Know Your Rights: Be aware that there are regulations in place to protect consumers from aggressive or deceptive telemarketing practices.

Receiving International Calls

When receiving calls from abroad, there are a few things to keep in mind:

No Extra Charges for You: As the recipient of the call, you typically do not incur extra charges for international incoming calls.

Time Zone Differences: Be mindful of time zone differences that might affect when you receive international calls.

Voicemail Services

Most Swedish phone services offer voicemail options:

Setting Up Voicemail: You can set up your voicemail box with a personalized greeting. Instructions for setting this up can usually be found in your phone’s settings or through your service provider’s customer service.

Accessing Messages: Check your provider’s guidelines on how to listen to voicemail messages. Some providers may have an additional cost for accessing voicemail.

Mobile Services and Operators

Sweden boasts a competitive market of mobile service providers, each offering various plans and services. The major operators include:

OperatorNetwork CoverageData PlansCall & Text PackagesInternational RoamingAdditional Services
TeliaExtensiveVariedDiverseYesMobile Insurance, Bundle Offers
Tele2Good in Urban AreasCompetitiveComprehensiveYesSpecial Expats Plan
TelenorHigh-QualityFlexibleGenerousYesParental Control Options
Three (Tre)Strong in Major CitiesAttractive Data PlansTailoredYesBundle Deals including TV

Comparison of Services and Coverage

When comparing mobile operators, consider the following factors:

Network Coverage: Ensure the operator provides good coverage in your area, especially if you live outside major urban centers.

Data Plans: Look for plans that meet your data usage needs. Some operators offer unlimited data plans, while others provide tiered data options.

Call and Text Packages: Assess the call and text allowances in each plan, especially if you make frequent calls.

International Roaming: If you travel often, check the operator’s international roaming charges and partnerships.

Tips for Choosing the Right Operator for Your Needs

  • Research User Reviews: Online forums and reviews can provide insights into the real-world performance of different operators.
  • Consider Bundle Offers: Some operators offer bundles that include mobile, broadband, and TV services, which can be cost-effective.
  • Trial Periods: Some providers offer trial periods during which you can test the service and coverage without long-term commitments.
  • Customer Service: Consider the quality of customer service, including language support, as it can be crucial for resolving issues quickly.

Additional Services

Most operators also offer additional services like:

Mobile Insurance: Protection against theft, loss, or damage of your phone.

Parental Control Options: Useful for managing children’s phone usage.

Special Offers for Expats: Some operators have special plans for expats that include international calling options at reduced rates.

Voicemail and Customer Service

Setting Up and Accessing Voicemail

Voicemail is an essential feature for managing missed calls. Here’s how to navigate it:

Activation: Voicemail services are usually activated by default. If not, you can activate them by calling a specific number provided by your operator.

Personalizing Greeting: You can record a personal greeting. Access your voicemail settings, usually by holding down the “1” key on your phone, and follow the prompts to record your message.

Retrieving Messages: To listen to your voicemails, call your voicemail box, typically by pressing and holding the “1” key. Your operator will provide instructions on how to save, delete, or respond to messages.

Notifications: Most services send a text message or a notification when you receive a new voicemail.

Language Options and Assistance in English

Many service providers in Sweden offer customer support in English, considering the country’s significant international community:

Customer Service in English: When contacting customer service, you can often request assistance in English.

Online Support: Providers usually have English versions of their websites and online customer service platforms, offering an alternative to phone-based support.

Tips for Efficient Customer Service Interaction

  • Be Prepared: Have your account details and any relevant information ready before calling.
  • Use Digital Platforms: Many operators offer support through chat services or social media, which can be convenient and time-saving.
  • Store Important Numbers: Save customer service numbers in your phone for quick access.
  • Off-Peak Hours: Calling during off-peak hours can result in shorter wait times.

Understanding Your Service Provider’s App

Most major operators have mobile apps that provide:

  • Account Management: View your usage, pay bills, and manage your plan directly from the app.
  • Troubleshooting Guides: Access helpful guides for common issues.
  • Direct Contact with Support: Use the app to chat with customer service representatives.

Emergency and Important Numbers

List of Emergency Numbers in Sweden

Knowing the emergency numbers in Sweden is crucial for ensuring safety and quick response in urgent situations:

  • 112: The universal emergency number in Sweden, used for immediate assistance from police, fire, ambulance, and sea rescue services. This number can be dialed free of charge from any phone, including mobiles without a SIM card.
  • 113 13: A national information number for non-urgent matters related to accidents and crises.
  • 1177: The healthcare advice number, providing access to medical advice and information. This service is staffed by trained healthcare professionals.

These numbers should be used responsibly and only in genuine emergencies or for relevant inquiries.

Important Hotlines and Helplines for Expats

Expats in Sweden may find these numbers particularly useful:

Expatriate Support Services: Many embassies offer helplines for their citizens living abroad. It’s advisable to have your embassy’s contact number handy.

Language Translation Services: Some services offer over-the-phone language translation, which can be helpful in navigating Swedish institutions or during medical emergencies.

Legal Assistance Helplines: For legal queries or issues, there are helplines that offer advice in English.

Mental Health Support: Access to mental health support and counseling in English is available through various helplines.

Non-Emergency Numbers for Daily Use

For non-emergency situations, these numbers can be helpful:

Local Municipal Services: Each municipality has its contact number for local services and inquiries.

Public Transportation Helplines: For information on schedules, tickets, and services.

Banking and Financial Services: Most banks have customer service numbers for account inquiries, card loss, or financial advice.

Cultural Considerations and Etiquette

Insights into Swedish Communication Culture

Understanding the cultural nuances of communication in Sweden can enhance your interactions and help you integrate more smoothly into Swedish society:

  • Respect for Privacy: Swedes generally value privacy and personal space. Unsolicited calls, especially for marketing purposes, are not well-received.
  • Punctuality in Communication: Being on time is highly valued in Sweden. This extends to phone calls and meetings, where being punctual is a sign of respect.
  • Conciseness and Clarity: Swedes tend to prefer direct and clear communication. Rambling conversations or overly elaborate language might not be well-received.
  • Texting Etiquette: Text messages are commonly used for quick and efficient communication. It’s customary to keep messages brief and to the point.

Tips on Polite Phone Usage in Sweden

  • Silent Modes in Public: Keep your phone on silent or vibrate in public places like trains, buses, or quiet cafes to avoid disturbing others.
  • Discretion in Conversations: Avoid loud or public phone conversations, especially in confined spaces or transport.
  • Avoiding Phone Use in Social Situations: It is considered polite to avoid using your phone in social gatherings unless it’s urgent.

Understanding Swedish Business Communication

In a business context, certain practices are important:

  • Formality in Initial Contacts: Initial business communications are usually formal. Use titles and last names unless invited to do otherwise.
  • Email before Calling: It’s often preferred to send an email before making a phone call to set up a time for the call, respecting the other person’s schedule.
  • Preparation for Meetings: Be well-prepared and punctual for phone meetings. Agenda and punctuality are taken seriously in Swedish business culture.


Sofia is our Relocation Expert, who brings first-hand experience in moving to Sweden from abroad. She moved to Sweden over a decade ago and navigated the complexities of relocation herself.

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