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Thursday, 23 November 2017

Best Prepaid SIM Card in Belgium – Choose the Plan that Gives You the Best Value for Mobile Calls and Data

Which is the Best Prepaid SIM Card Plan for Mobile Calls and Data?

This article is a comparison guide for five prominent mobile service providers on their best prepaid SIM card plan in Belgium. By presenting the mobile prepaid plan tables on a single page, consumers can make a more informed choice on the desired value that they want to spend and the advantages offered by comparing.

(Latest Mobile Tariffs Check and Update: 31 October 2017)


Mobile Network Operators

In Belgium, the three principle mobile network operators are Proximus, Orange and BASE.

Their MVNO Partnership

Although Proximus, Orange and Base are the primary mobile network operators in Belgium, there are also other Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) leveraging on their networks to offer competitive services to the consumers.

Belgian Institute for Postal services and Telecommunications (BIPT) provide a list below on the commercial partners of the three major network operators.

  • Proximus: De Post, Scarlet Mobile, Schedom/Dommel;
  • Orange (Ex-Mobistar): 1617, Galaxy Mobile Solutions, Lycamobile, Plug Mobile, Red Bull Mobile, Telenet, Tellink, Transatel, Voo;
  • BASE: Allo RTL, Turk Telekom Mobile, Aldi, Carrefour Mobile, Contact Mobile, Digiweb, Ello Mobile, JIM Mobile, Join Experience, Nextel Mobile, Ortel Mobile, Simyo, Sudpresse Mobile, United Telecom, Mobile Vikings, Numericable, Transatel, Vectone Mobile

4G Mobile Coverage Statistic

Data as of 1 June 2017
Operator Population Territory Reliability
Proximus 100 % 99.35 % 98 %
Orange 100 % 99.30 % 98.6 %
Base 90.01 % 66.88 % 97.3 %
Reference Source: 
Belgian Institute for Postal services and Telecommunications (BIPT)


Comparison Guide

Choose Your Mobile Number

Do not be surprised that you can choose your preferred number if you purchase your first SIM card from the mobile store instead of ordering it online. If you order online, the telecom company can send you any mobile numbers. You have to resign your fate to accept it. That happened to me in the past when I ordered a SIM card online.

I walked into two stores one day and asked the staffs to show me a list of all the mobile numbers available for sales. I chose a mobile number which is easy to remember and has a special meaning. If you do not ask the staffs to show you the list of mobile number, they will select one number randomly and sell it to you.

Why Use Prepaid Card?

You may not make a lot of calls due to limited contacts when you first arrive in Belgium. A prepaid card will take away the monthly commitment to pay when one is not working. It is deducted from the prepaid amount whenever one makes a call.

The maximum validity of the credit is 12 months provided by some mobile companies. A prepaid plan with such a duration allows you to retain back your mobile number while you go back to your country and return to Belgium later. It is suitable for frequent travellers as well.

In Belgium, it is easy to switch from a prepaid credit to a monthly subscription plan with the same or different mobile company free of charge. It is never too late to upgrade later.

Out of Bundle Rate

The prepaid plans in Belgium are sometimes bundled together with free SMS and data volume for one month. Some plans come with free calling minutes as well. What remains one month later is termed as “Out of Bundle” rate.

The tariff for “Out of Bundle” rate is usually €0.30/min, €0.10 to €0.15/SMS and €0.10 to €0.50/MB of data surfed when you have used up the bonus or when they expire, whichever comes first. You will receive the bonus again on your next top up.

Best Prepaid SIM Card Belgium

Consider the following points based on the analysis of these five mobile operators to get the prepaid SIM card plan most suitable for your need.

» Do you want to call more or do you want to surf more?

» Credit that lasts for one year is usually charged at €0.30/min for a call. On the other hand, call time that is charged cheaper per minute has credits that expire in 4 to 6 months’ time.

» Depending on the mobile service provider, the validity of the credit lasts between 4 to 12 months before the next top up. If you do not call often or not in Belgium most of the time, it is recommended to take a prepaid plan that can last 1 year without topping up.

» If you prefer to top up online, check that your credit or debit card from your home country can be accepted by the mobile company. In Belgium, there is a restriction on the types of credit card accepted. Orange can only accept Belgian credit and debit card. Mobile Vikings cannot accept credit cards from my home country too.


Proximus

Proximus

The Belgian Government is the major shareholder of Proximus who owns 53.51% of the company share. Pride itself as being “an impatient network”, Proximus (previously known as Belgacom Group) beats Orange Network in population and territory coverage by less than 1%.

Pay&Go
Credit Call Time SMS Data
€ 10 33 mins + 10 mins▴ 500 100 MB
€ 15 50 mins + 20 mins▴ Unlimited 250 MB
€ 25 83 mins +50 mins▴ Unlimited 500 MB
Call Time▴bonus is valid for 31 days
Top up online to double your data volume
(100 MB 200 MB, 250 MB 500 MB, 500 MB 1 GB)
• Credit is valid for 12 months.
• Out of Bundle rate  – €0.30/min, €0.12/SMS and  €0.50/MB.


Orange

Orange

Formerly known as Mobistar, Orange started in 1996 and was a joint venture between France and Belgium Telecoms. Mobistar changed its name to Orange following the footstep of its parent company in France (Orange S. A.) in France after rebranding.

From the 4G mobile coverage statistic quoted above, Orange has the highest reliability rate of a marginal win over Proximus and BASE.

The current website language and its customers’ online portal service are available only in Dutch or French. It does not support the English language at the moment. If you do not understand Dutch and French languages, use a translation tool.

Fortunately, the menu on the phone has the English language as an option after insertion of SIM card. Or, you can simply walk into Orange outlet and ask for assistance.

Orange has three types of prepaid plans currently. Please take note for online top up, only credit cards issued in Belgium can be accepted. The credit is valid for one year for all their plans.

Tempo Giga
Credit Call Time SMS Data
€ 10 33 mins 500 750 MB
€ 15 50 mins 4000 4 GB
€ 20 66 mins 5000 5 GB
€ 50 82 mins 6000 6 GB
Top up online to receive 4 GB data for € 15
• Tempo Giga is suitable for users who want to surf more than they call.
• Credit is valid for 12 months.
• Out of Bundle rate  – €0.30/min, €0.10/SMS, €0.24/MMS and  €0.50/MB.

 

Tempo Touch
Credit Call Time SMS Data
€ 10 40 mins Unlimited 100 MB
€ 15 60 mins Unlimited 1 GB + 
€ 20 80 mins Unlimited 1.5 GB + 
€ 50 120 mins Unlimited 3 GB + 
Additional 500 MB data for Facebook and Twitter
• Tempo Touch is suitable for users who want to call more than they surf.
• Additional 500 MB data for Facebook and Twitter from € 15 top up.
• Credit is valid for 12 months.
• Out of Bundle rate – €0.25/min, €0.12/SMS, €0.24/MMS and  €0.50/MB.

 

Tempo Easy
Credit Call Time SMS Data
€ 10 100 mins OR 100 SMS OR 100 MB
€ 15 150 mins OR 150 SMS OR 150 MB
€ 20 200 mins OR 200 SMS OR 200 MB
€ 50 500 mins OR 500 SMS OR 500 MB
• Tempo Easy is suitable for users who want to make a lot of calls more than they send texts and surf.
• Credit is valid for 12 months.
• Out of Bundle rate – €0.10/min, €0.10/SMS, €0.10/MMS and  €0.10/MB.


BASE

BASE

Telenet Group Holding recently acquired BASE on 11 February 2016 for 1,325 million. It is the third largest mobile operator in Belgium. The strength of its territory coverage is Northern part of Belgium, which is the Flanders area. BASE has the most number of Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) under its sphere.

Before I confuse you with the two tables below, BASE has only one type of mobile prepaid plan. The two networks below indicate the different bonus that users will receive when they call a BASE user or to user from another mobile network provider.

To BASE Network
Credit Call Time SMS Data
€ 10 33 mins + 60 mins▴ 250 100 MB
€ 15 50 mins + 120 mins▴ 1000 500 MB
€ 20 66 mins + 240 mins▴ Unlimited 1 GB
To Other Mobile Networks
€ 10 33 mins + 30 mins▴ 250 100 MB
€ 15 50 mins + 60 mins▴ 1000 500 MB
€ 20 66 mins + 240 mins▴ Unlimited 1 GB
Call Time▴bonus is valid for 31 days
Top up online to get 50% more data volume
(100 MB 150 MB, 500 MB 750 MB, 1 GB 1.5 GB)
• BASE prepaid card plan is more suitable for users who want to call and text more than they surf.
• Credit is valid for 12 months.
• Out of Bundle rate – €0.30/min, €0.12/SMS, €0.25/MMS and  €0.50/MB.


Mobile Vikings

Mobile Vikings

Mobile Vikings managed by VikingCo was previously 50% owned by BASE. BASE then sold its share to Medialaan on 11 February 2016 on the same day after its acquisition by Telenet Group Holding. Medialaan also got hold of the remaining 50% share of VikingCo. Medialaan is now the sole owner of VikingCo. Mobile Viking under its wings continues to operate on BASE network infrastructure.

Mobile Vikings have two types of mobile prepaid plans for users who want to CALL more or SURF more. As Mobile Vikings have no physical stores and thus, lower maintenance cost, the saving is passed to the consumers by offering more call time and astonishing data volume among its competitors.

On the downside, you cannot walk into the shop anytime to ask for information quickly. I sent Mobile Vikings a few emails to test their response time. They replied back on the same day or the next day on my three email enquiries.

Not a bad record considering some mobile service providers took more than a week to reply back or had absolutely no response. Despite the disadvantage of not having a shopfront, many users in the forum gave positive reviews and recommended Mobile Vikings specifically for their generous amount of data volume promotion.

I Want To CALL More
Credit Call Time SMS Data
€ 10 50 mins 500 500 MB
€ 15 100 mins 2000 2 GB
€ 25 200 mins 3000 3 GB
€ 50 1000 mins 5000 5 GB
I Want To SURF More
Credit Call Time SMS Data
€ 10 25 mins 500 1 GB
€ 15 50 mins 2000 4 GB
€ 25 100 mins 3000 6 GB
€ 50 500 mins 5000 10 GB
Viking Advantage for both plans to other Belgian Mobile Vikings
1800 mins + 9000 SMS
(Bonus valid for one month)
• Fair Use Policy: 60 minutes and 300 SMS per day for free.
• The first minute is fully charged for all calls. After that, per second billing.
• Credit is valid for 6 months.
• Out of Bundle rate – €0.20/min for voice focus and €0.40/min for data focus, €0.10/SMS, €0.24/MMS and  €0.10/MB.

 

SURF Only
Credit Call Time SMS Data
€ 12*  –  – 2 GB
• The data-only SIM card costs €15, but €12* is converted into your first top-up. Subsequent top up is €12.
• This data plan is only valid for 1 month.
• Remaining mobile data will expire and not roll over to the next recharge.


Lycamobile

Lycamobile

Lycamobile is an MVNO operating under Orange network infrastructure. It packages itself with highly competitive national and international calling rates to some countries, such as Brazil (€0.01/min), China (€0.02/min), Turkey (€0.04/min), Morocco (€0.06/min) and Mali  (€0.06/min) when you go to its website.

In fact, one might feel overwhelmed when presented with a wide selection of mobile plans online. Furthermore, many mobile plans and their terms and conditions are hidden by tabs and links. They are not easily visible to readers until you click on the links to reveal more information.


How to Top Up Lycamobile Prepaid Card?

For their prepaid plan, one can order a free SIM card online. There are a few options for mobile top up after you receive the SIM card.

  1. Top up credits of €10,€20 or €30 online.
  2. Purchase a Top-Up Voucher from any participating retail outlets by following the dialling instructions on the Top-Up Voucher to activate the PIN Code. The retail outlets can be seen easily on the streets such as ‘dag winkel’ (day shop) or ‘nacht winkel’ (night shop) with the Lycamobile signage displayed outside the shops prominently.
  3. You can activate the PIN Code online after purchasing a Top-Up Voucher by registering your detail with Lycamobile.
  4. You may register your details with Lycamobile and then contact the Customer Services Department for top up.
National Rate (Standard Pay as You Go Rates)
Landlines 9 cts/min
Belgium Mobile (Lycamobile) *Free
Belgium SMS (Lycamobile) *Free
Belgium Mobile (Other Networks) 15 cts/min
Belgium SMS (Other Networks) 15 cts/SMS
Internet / Data 12 cts/MB
• A connection charge of 19 cents applies to other mobile networks except for the one marked * which is to Lycamobile network.
• Credit is valid for 4 months.


Summary Tables

Unit Rate (Out of Bundle)
Co/ Validity Mths Per Min Per SMS Per MB
Proximus 12 €0.30 €0.12 €0.50
Orange 12 €0.10 – €0.30 €0.10 / €0.12 €0.10 / €0.50
Base 12 €0.30 €0.12 €0.50
Vikings 6 €0.20 / €0.40 €0.10 €0.10
Lycamobile 4 Free / €0.15 Free / €0.15 €0.50
The table above is a summary of the standard tariff (Out of Bundle rate) dependent on the selected plan.

 

Data Volume (Valid for 1 Month)
€10 €15 €20 €25
Proximus 100 / 200MB 250 / 500MB N. A.  500MB / 1GB
Orange 100 / 750MB 150MB – 4GB 200MB – 5GB  N. A.
Base 100 / 150 MB 500 / 750 MB 1 / 1.5GB  N. A.
Vikings 500MB / 1GB 2 / 4GB N. A.  3 / 6GB
Lycamobile Not Applicable (N. A.)
The summary table above is an overview of how much data one gets in a bundle for purchasing the credit amount stated.


Registration of Prepaid SIM Card Required by Law

The Government wants to prevent the misuse of unregistered mobile numbers anonymously as a measure to counter terrorism. Hence, every top up must link to an identifiable person. All operators are required by law to register new prepaid cards from 17 December 2016. Before this date, anyone can buy a prepaid SIM card in the store without any other form of registration.

Existing prepaid card users must register their personal detail with the service provider before 7 June 2017. The registration can be done online (if this service is available) or in a store with your eID, passport or other forms of identification card. Thus, the mobile number not registered within the stipulated time will be disconnected and no longer be able to use the service.

On the other hand, consumers that have automatic top-up may not be required to register as their personal detail could already be inside the database.

The same roaming benefit might not apply to the United Kingdom after the Brexit in spring 2019. Refer to more questions and answers in the European Commissioner.

EU Roaming Charges Abolished

Starting 15 June 2017, EU roaming charges are scrapped. It means that whenever you make a call or use the mobile data when travelling abroad to 28 EU countries, you will not incur additional charges. It is a piece of good news for non-EU travellers as they can buy one prepaid SIM card and use the mobile data roaming in many European countries.

These are the 28 countries which the EU roaming charges are abolished: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom and in the countries of the European Economic Area: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway.

The same roaming benefit may not apply to the United Kingdom after the Brexit in spring 2019. Refer to more frequently asked questions from the European Commission.

Leave us a comment about the current mobile service provider or plan that you are using. Are you happy with it?


About Live in Belgium

Hello, my name is MissSJ. I am a Singaporean. I am living with my Belgian partner since July 2016 in a cosmopolitan city, Antwerp. However, I had been travelling to and fro Belgium since 2011 as a tourist. The creation of this blog is to document my new journey in Belgium which I would like to call ‘home’. Join me in discovering the fascinating Belgium from the eyes of an expat.

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