Updated last year

The telecommunications sector in Greece is one of the very few sectors (housing being the other one) where the financial crisis actually did some good; with increasing demand for better services at better prices, you can now enjoy a wide range of telephone and internet service packages, which combine TV, landlines and mobile phones.

Internet speeds have been an issue for some time, but, since the beginning of the year, VDSL vectoring technology has come into play, which means significantly faster download speeds. This development also makes it easier for you to use services such as Skype, Google Hangouts or Facebook calls. Finally, the European Union has now capped roaming fees within the Union, meaning that you can use your European sim card if you are in Greece for a short time.

Finding the right telecoms package

It’s interesting to note that, nowadays, all major telecoms players in Greece offer a bit of everything: landline, mobile, internet and some even offer TV services. Some companies are more geared towards home solutions, while others have more enticing packages for mobile and prepaid, but overall the same process applies for everything -- and most providers will give you a better deal if you sign to do all three with them. Cosmote, formerly OTE (the country’s incumbent telco), remains the main service provider over the years despite fierce competition on the market. If you wish to obtain a landline or an Internet connection, Cosmote is always a good start, since apart from its appealing packages and the fact that it has the best coverage signal-wide across the country, they’re also able to give discounts to family members.

Some other Greek service providers are the following:

  • Nova (formerly known as Forthnet), who also offers very good TV packages
  • Vodafone
  • Wind

For mobile phones, all providers have a wide palette of packages, based on whether you intend to consume more data services or texts and call services. A good idea would be to visit the agencies before you make a decision, or visit their websites as most are in English and some of them even provide the option for you to chat with customer support on the spot. You may choose either a contract with monthly billing or a prepaid account which you can recharge according to your consumption.

Setting up your connections in Greece

Most landlines are connected with a router to provide an internet connection and they’re usually non-transferable from person to person (aka people will either disconnect them when they move out, or move them to their next place). In case the set-up is already there from the previous owner, do check the package they were in first before you commit to keep using it. The odds are you’ll be able to find something way more affordable, as companies offer new packages and discounts on a regular basis. Otherwise, you can transfer the line to another provider, which usually takes about three weeks, or apply for a new connection.

To apply, you’ll need to have a passport or an identity card, some proof of address (lease document or utility bill) and a contact number so that the technician can call you on the installation or reactivation day. Keep in mind that many houses in Greece are quite old, so sometimes the phone cables might need to be replaced, especially if you’re also installing internet. In that case, the technician will inform you that they cannot complete the task and that an electrician needs to fix the cabling first, but it’s your responsibility to call and pay the electrician to do this.

If you’re moving houses and want to transfer your existing connection to your new address, bear in mind you’ll have to pay a relocation fee of about 30 euros (depending on the provider) whereas if you wish to switch providers or terminate your contract with a provider before it is due, then you may need to pay anything from 70-130 euros.

Bills for telecoms and mobile phones are sent monthly, and lately most subscribers opt to receive them via e-mail and pay them online, via the provider’s website or via their own internet banking.

Posting letters and packages

For those who favor the analogue art of sending actual paper mail, post offices in Greece are open from 8 am to 1:30 am. You need to be aware they offer a variety of services (from paying bills and wiring money, to actual sending packages and letters) so they’re usually very crowded and, as they are understaffed, the waiting time can be significant. A good rule of thumb is to use the mail boxes outside post offices for only “unimportant” mail like post-cards etc., and for everything else to pay to have it delivered to the person directly (systimeno). This option is not that expensive, and guarantees that your letter will actually arrive at some point.

If you want to send a package, need to check before hand whether a particular post office handles packages or not, because not all of them do. Also, if you’re sending a package you need to bring it unwrapped first, so that it can be inspected and weighed, and then you have to package it -- most post offices can provide brown wrapping paper or boxes.

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