Mobile phones and SIM cards in the Netherlands: ultimate 2024 guide

Get connected! 🤳🏼✨

Moving to the Netherlands offers a number of challenges: from navigating the housing crisis to registering yourself — and you’ve beat them all! But now, there’s one more challenge. How do you set up your mobile phone in the Netherlands? 

Do you really need a Dutch SIM card? Are there expat-friendly mobile phone providers? And what sort of phone package should you get? These are the questions you’re likely asking — and we have the answers. 

Here’s all you need to know about mobile phones and SIM cards in the Netherlands.

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🇳🇱 Do I need a Dutch SIM card?

Even if your international mobile phone is working fine upon arrival in the Netherlands, it may be worth your while to switch to a Dutch SIM card. This is for a number of reasons.

READ MORE | The best SIM-only plans in the Netherlands: the ultimate guide

Firstly, if you plan on signing up for certain services (such as an IKEA delivery or even a food delivery) you are often asked to provide a Dutch phone number.

This is also the case if you want to join your fellow Dutchies in sending a Tikkie or even if you want to set up more important services such as certain health insurance policies or hospital appointments. 

READ MORE | Is this the best eSIM in the Netherlands? Airalo reviewed

Secondly, if you want to register a business, you should always use a Dutch number. If potential clients see that your number is international, they may doubt the legitimacy of your business. 

Finally, the Dutch mobile phone market is flooded with various providers, meaning the competition is on to offer some very affordable plans. 😉

📱 Mobile phone plans in the Netherlands

In the Netherlands, expats have three options to choose from:

Mobile phone contracts (with phone) in the Netherlands

SIM-only subscription in the Netherlands

Prepaid mobile phone SIM cards in the Netherlands

Mobile phone providers in the Netherlands

So, you want to get yourself set up with a phone provider? Great! Here is a comprehensive list of Dutch telephone providers for you to peruse: 

The big three mobile phone companies in the Netherlands

There are three major telephone providers in the Netherlands: KPN, Vodafone Nederland, and Odido (which merged telecommunication giants T-Mobile and Tele2). 



With a range of mobile subscriptions, SIM-only contracts and eSIMs, Vodafone is a household name! The only snag? I found Vodafone’s rock-solid network connection and flexible packages a bit pricey.

But don’t let that scare you — in my opinion, whether you prefer heading to brick-and-mortar stores or ordering your subscription online, Vodafone’s customer service and products consistently rank highly.



One of the largest and best-known mobile data providers in the Netherlands KPN is the perfect choice if you’re looking for a subscription with extensive coverage, no matter where in the country you are.

In addition to this, KPN also offers a wide range of different mobile phone contracts as well as prepaid, eSIM, and SIM-only deals. Let op: these packages don’t come cheap, but you certainly do get what you pay for!



Rounding up the “big three”, Odido is a merger between two of the most-awarded mobile data providers in the Netherlands: T-Mobile and Tele2. With its blazing-fast SIM-only data subscriptions and widespread coverage, it’s a rock-solid choice for internationals in the Netherlands.

However, like Vodafone and KPN, many of their packages can be rather expensive. One major pro, though? I’ve found that the service you get for the price is excellent.

The majority of people in the Netherlands use these three above services, but here’s a tip: many subsidiaries and MVNOs (mobile virtual network operators) run their service through the big three’s networks.

READ MORE | Unlimited data SIM cards in the Netherlands: the ultimate guide

That means you can benefit from great network connections for a much cheaper price than the big players. 

Smaller but cheaper mobile phone companies in the Netherlands

With rent, bills, and a horde of other expenses to pay, sometimes you just need an affordable deal that covers all the bases.

We feel you, so we’ve also compiled a list of smaller mobile data providers that offer you the most bang for your buck! 👇



As an expat in the Netherlands, I like that Lebara is extremely international-friendly. They offer their site in English, give useful explanations of the different packages, and their contracts, SIM-only, and prepaid deals are aimed towards internationals. 

They also offer one of the cheapest deals on the market — you can pay as little as €6 per month when you go SIM-only!



Simpel also offers cheap SIM-only deals, with prices starting at just €3.50 per month for a subscription. Despite its low prices, I’ve found Simpel to be a reliable provider with flexible deals, depending on how much GBs or call minutes I want.

The one downside? You can only choose between one- or two-year subscriptions, so commitment-phobes beware. 😉

Budget Mobiel


Although I found Budget Mobiel’s website is a bit difficult to navigate, it offers great deals for internationals and affordable plans overall.

For example, with their SIM-only subscriptions, you receive 100 free international minutes or texts per month (covering 45 different countries)!



Simyo runs its network through KPN and offers SIM-only and prepaid packages. One aspect I really liked about this provider is that they also offer an eSIM alternative to their packages, which not all Dutch data providers do.

This means that, if your phone supports this, no physical SIM card is needed. Under the eSIM package, you can opt for an eSIM SIM-only contract and an eSIM prepaid contract.

✍🏻 What do I need in order to sign up for a Dutch mobile phone contract?

Found your match made in mobile heaven? Great! Let’s run through what you should have before you claim that beauty. 

Formal identification

Formal identification means something official, like a driver’s license, government ID card, or passport.

If you’ve made it this far into life in the Netherlands without a formal ID then we salute you — but you’ve officially hit a bureaucratic brick wall.

Unsurprisingly, mobile phone providers will ask for proof of identity before you can sign on for a new phone subscription unless it’s just prepaid.

Signing up for a new mobile subscription doesn’t have to be stressful. Image: Freepik

Proof of address

Several Dutch mobile providers may also ask you for some official proof of address, so it’s always a good idea to jot down your BSN number somewhere.

Also known as your Citizen Service Number, this is a unique personal number that the Dutch government gives to every registered resident of the Netherlands.

A Dutch bank account

In general, you will need to pay for your mobile phone package using a Dutch bank account. However, some expat-orientated providers (such as Expat Mobile) do not require this. 

READ MORE | These are the best banks for expats in the Netherlands

That being said, life in the Netherlands can become quite difficult without a Dutch bank account. No need to panic, though, setting up a bank account in the Netherlands can be nice and easy! 

Dutch mobile phone insurance

Now, this one is not compulsory — but highly recommended. While most phones come with a two-year warranty, this does not cover the phone for incidents such as theft or even accidental breakage. 

That is why it’s always worth considering taking out mobile phone insurance when you opt to buy a phone in the Netherlands. Many Dutch mobile phone providers offer the option to take out mobile phone insurance as part of your package. 

However, you can also insure your phone independently of your subscription. Companies such as Revolut, Studentenverzekereingen, and SmartPhonePolis offer simple, affordable mobile phone insurance!

🤔 Will my mobile phone work in the Netherlands?

Whether or not your international mobile phone will work in the Netherlands depends on the type of mobile network your country uses. However, in most cases, your foreign phone should work fine upon arrival in the Netherlands. 

Your mobile phone will most likely work when you arrive in the Netherlands. Image: Unsplash

Why is this? In the Netherlands, the entire country uses a GSM mobile network. The GSM network is essentially a common telephone system that was initially shared by EU countries but later expanded to other foreign countries. 

This means that anyone who arrives in the Netherlands from a country that also uses GSM should be able to use their phone without a problem. 

However, certain areas of the world do not use the same network, meaning that internationals arriving from these regions will find that their phone is not compatible with the Dutch infrastructure network.

These areas include parts of the US, Canada, Latin America, all of Japan, and some African countries. 

If you’re coming from these areas, you will most likely need to get a Dutch SIM in the long run, but you’re unlikely to find yourself completely cut off from communication. After all, free Wi-Fi does, in fact, exist in the Netherlands. 😉

Mobile phones and SIM cards in the Netherlands: FAQ

What do I need to get a Dutch SIM?

Can I keep my old number if I switch providers in the Netherlands?

Will my mobile phone work in the Netherlands?

Do Dutch SIM bundles come with unlimited data?

Look at you go, stocking up on all you need to know about mobile phones in the Netherlands — and now you’re ready to make your choice, hit up some friends, and enjoy life in the lowlands! 

Got a recommendation for a great mobile phone package in the Netherlands? Tell us in the comments below!

Feature Image:Pexels
Sarah O'Leary 🇮🇪
Sarah O'Leary 🇮🇪
Before becoming the Senior Editor of DutchReview, Sarah was a fresh-faced international looking to learn more about the Netherlands. Since moving here in 2017, Sarah has added a BA in English and Philosophy (Hons.), an MA in Literature (Hons.), and over three years of writing experience at DutchReview to her skillset. When Sarah isn't acting as a safety threat to herself and others (cycling), you can find her trying to sound witty while writing about some of the stickier topics such as mortgages and Dutch law.

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What do you think?

  1. There are other operators(MVNO’s) available in the market like Youfone, Ben, Lyca and L-mobi that you missed to mention in the article. In fact Lyca market share is more than Lebera as far as I know and their plan is also international friendly. L-mobi is new to the market and they are offering yearly plan in prepaid with low cast. it would be good for readers if you include these operators in your next update of this article.

  2. stay away from simpel if you are not dutch speaker. They deny to explain the terms in english and you agree in very user hostile terms. They also deny to cancel a subscription no matter if you are willing to pay a fee.

  3. When I arrived in Utrecht on my third visit (2017), I stopped at a T-Mobile store in order to procure a prepaid SIM. Two young gentlemen working there thought they had an idiot whom they could charge entirely too much money, so they tried to convince me that I needed two SIMs. I had a lot of fun with them as I started to ask questions in a way that only a clueless tourist would until I got bored and told them I would only be needing one SIM (and why) and a conversation with their manager.

  4. Tried to buy a e-Sim at KPN but I was told that foreigners cannot have e-sim, only physical sim chip. is that true? I asked also at apple store in amsterdam and they also told me the same.

  5. Hello. I have a very unusual question. Hoping someone can help. I closed my Dutch T-mobile account about 1.5 years ago. (I do still have the SIM.) Is it possible in any way, at all, to get service for that phone number now? Either re-open it with Odido or have that number assigned to a VOIP service or some other idea? Would really appreciate the help!

  6. Thanks for the comprehensive guide! As a foreigner living in the Netherlands, I found the information on SIM card options very helpful. I’m planning to purchase a mobile phone here, and now I know which provider to choose. Do you have any recommendations for data plans that would be suitable for a long-term stay?


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