Telecommunications in Bulgaria

Hello dear Members,

Can you please list some of the main Internet Service providers in Bulgaria? You may also include the cost related to their Internet subscription.

Another issue related to the telecommunication topic, is mobile plans. Can you please share with us:
>With which operator are you subscribed to?
>How are you finding their services?
>What kind of facilities do they offer?

Lastly, what is the best option according to you to make long distance calls in Bulgaria?

Your views/suggestions will be highly valued.

Wish you all a great day & thanks you in advance for your participation.
_______________________________
Expat.com Team

Telecoms in Bulgaria have really blossomed over the past few years. It has gone from dialup speeds to 100 megabit connections, including fiber optic to the door (which is now very common).

3G is available in most places, as is Wi-Max.  You can get free international minutes included as part of your Vivacom (formerly BTK, Bulgarian Telecomms Company) and other telecoms packages with competing suppliers.  My advice - use VoIP.

This is an excellent portal for all things Bulgaria;
http://bulgariainfo.start.bg/

and telecoms specifically;
http://bglan.start.bg/
http://internet.inbulgaria.info/index.php

for Sofia;
http://lan.start.bg/

There tend to be local, neighbourhood network providers, as well as city-wide and national.  You may need to run some of the site through Google Translate.

Mobile operators include Vivacom, Globul, Mtel.  They hand out free 3G modems to subscribers.  They all now do domestic packages, not to mention Satellite packages.  It really is a very well connected place these days!  Traditional cable suppliers do telecoms also and traditional fiber optic to the door Internet companies do cable and voice, so you have a very broad choice.

Prices are very cheap and I now find I get better speeds for my money than whilst back in the UK.  Upload often equals download speeds.

Avoid Blizoo for cable / net - their net is atrocious.

I'm with BulSatCom for satellite having used the above. My parents are also and now, so is my brother. 13.50 BGN / month.

I'm with these for net.  They also do cable, voice, CCTV etc.  The network uptime is very high and their support is available 24/7 to sort things out. Very pro, it functions as you'd expect with minimal need to give them a call.  16 BGN per month.
http://www.onlinedirect.bg/

MegaLan / Spectrum Net are also said to provide excellent quality of service.  Some satellite providers are now partnering with them.  With these FOTD providers, it does depend if their network covers your area so if one doesn't, try another.

For 3G / voice, I currently use Mtel / Globul.  Both have excellent 3G.  I have also used Vivacom for 2 years for 3G net. Mtel have some invoicing issues at present which should hopefully clear soon.

Vivacom are a bit of a nightmare to cancel with, although my parents do use their domestic phone services and ADSL.  Generally, they're OK but note their ADSL upload is a fraction of their download (unlike the FOTD suppliers).

My advice for 3G (and mobile voice) - Globul first, Mtel second, Vivacom third.  They do combined (and unlimited net) packages so you can have voice and 3G on the same sim, sharing it with your laptop should you need it on the go.  Currently I pay 12 BGN per month for 2.5 GB 3G net.

Get FOTD (Fiber Optic To the Door) net, possibly get your cable and home voice this way.  Consider a satellite dish.  Do not get Cable internet / ADSL.

My credentials - 1st class Computer Science graduate. :)

Hi snowbord!

Thank you very much for these helpful infos :)

Regards
Armand

Could anyone please advise of any of these websites in English. I tried to translate - http://www.onlinedirect.bg/ and im unsure why but my computer couldnt do it. I am relocating to Sofia and will require an internet line and phone line at home for work purposes. I will be calling the UK Monday to Friday 9am - 5.30pm UK Time. I spend all day on the phone and constantly on the internet updating databases etc. It is important that I can find a good reliable internet service and hopefully a good call plan that might offer unlimited minutes to the UK for a fixed cost or at least call rates at a very good rate. I must at least match that to what im currently paying in the UK if that makes sense.

Anybody got any tips please of who to use and how I can contact them. Its also important that I find out how quickly they can install lines as if I find a place before moving I might try and arrange installation for when I get there etc. Until I have phone and internet line installed then i am unable to work.

Any advice appreciated

Thanks

onlinedirect.bg/index.php?lang=BG&page=Map

This is their coverage.  tbh. you'll most likely get net speeds far superior to that available in the UK, especially upload.  Typically, the lowest speed you can get these days is 32 megabit for about 6 GBP per month.

Another awesome option is Megalan.

Their coverage;
megalan.bg/map.html

Currently, one of the biggest mobile phone operators in Bulgaria, Mtel, is partnering with them.  Go to any Mtel office and have a word.  They do net / satellite TV / mobile phone / home phone packages with included international minutes.
mtel.bg/koleden-paket-ot-mtel

They are also giving out either a free TV / free smartphone / free laptop in some bundles.

Also, why don't you consider a SIP / Voip number?  Any trouble settling in, get in touch! :)

btw.  Wimax is also available in Bulgaria with total Sofia coverage so you could consider that as to not be fixed to any given location;

http://maxtelecom.bg/bg/
http://maxtelecom.bg/bg/coverage.html

Net availability is excellent in Bulgaria with lots of different technologies competing for your custom.  Fiber Optic To The Door is very commonplace these days.

As a very last resort, you could always get ADSL, which is decent but rubbish in comparison to FOTD, especially for upload.  Obviously all you need in this case is a phone line.. and you go to this supplier for this option;

http://vivacom.bg/en/residential/prices … onnections

It seems they are also jumping on the fiber optic bandwagon.. as I said.  Lots of choice!  Excellent net.

Thanks so much for your detailed response - I have already emailed a couple of the companies you mentioned, Vivacom and also Mtel so hopefully they will respond shortly. Thanks for the offer to contact you re settling in. If im honest I could really do with meeting some friends who speak English as im guessing it will really help me especially during the settling in phase. My background is - I was born in England, then moved to Wales and then emigrated to Australia in 1987. I have moved back and forth over the years between Australia and England, and now find myself in wales where my mother now lives. I thought it would be nice living close to family a while. I have just turned 37 though and find that living in Wales or England is very differnet from that of Australia but honestly think Australia is to expensive to live now. I have always wanted to live in another country and although I have never visited Bulgaria I must say the place sounds amazing. I work from home for a British company and as long as I have a phone and internet they dont mind where I work from as long as I do my work...I do have a few questions for you though and hope you dont mind :)

Could you please advise if English Electrical items work in Bulgaria, e.g work laptop, monitor screen, work landline phone etc. And also is it easy to find a plug adapter to plug British plugs into Bulgarian plugs etc... And I also have a personal computer which is Australian so would also require a plug adaptor for Australian - Bulgarian plug.

My other main question I have is sending my items to Bulgaria... I noticed on a  website somewhere that it mentioned having to pay taxes on items brought into the country. I wondered if that included personal items. I have my own 40 inch flat screen digital television that I would like to bring with me, my personal laptop both are now about 2/3 years old. I also have a work laptop, monitor, printer, and phone... They are not a year old yet.... I just wnated to know if I have to pay any taxes bringing them in the country...Any advice appreciated.

Thanks
Scott

Bulgaria is in the EU so no, you will not need to pay any taxes coming from the UK.  Plug adaptors are available everywhere - DIY stores, supermarkets.  Most of my house runs on UK electronics. :)  Adaptors are about 1 GBP.  A hint - bring a 'cube' UK splitter or an extension lead splitter.  These are obviously not available here but are extremely handy.  If you forget, you will always be able to order them online (read on). ;)

This model is very commonplace;
http://www.ebay.com/itm/221041883068

Bulgaria is 220-230V (the same as the UK) so everything will run.

Bulgarians in the know shop very heavily from the UK and use forwarders to ship items to Bulgaria.  You'd be surprised just how much we contribute to the UK retail economy! :)  I do most of my online shopping (including Christmas!) from the UK.  You get the best of both worlds this way. :)

This is a good company to use, and what I use.
http://www.gabco.org/index.php

Basically you post / courier items to their Surrey address using your name and customer number, then they forward the item to their office in Bulgaria in about 10 days, including sorting.  They charge 2.20 BGN / kg for this (under 1 GBP).

Their Surrey address is as follows;

Mr. YOUR NAME HERE
Access Self Storage
ID 123456 <= VERY IMPORTANT!  This is your customer number which you get when you register
19 Moorfield Road, Slyfield Ind. Est.
UNIT 1345
GU1 1RU
Guildford
Surrey

Once the items arrive in Sofia, they can then be passed onto a Bulgarian courier at significant discount (they get bulk rates) if you are not near any of their offices.  If you are in Sofia, they have 2 offices.  Register on their site and browse around.  Use Chrome as it will translate if you like.

FYI I also work from home running a car accessories website, selling to the UK (and EU), so I can relate - my net is very important to me! :)

Personally if I were you I would get a more mobile net / telecoms connection option, as Sofia, like any big city, can do anyone's head in after a while.  Bulgaria is great if you explore the country, so consider bearing this approach in mind before committing to say a 2 year fixed line phone contract.

Sofia's current mayor is excellent and working very hard to quickly bring the city up to speed.  Lots of positive things are happening very quickly.  13 new underground stations have just been opened with work on another 7 underway.  Work on a further 15+ is due to start post 2014.

The city's public transport is due an overhaul next year.  It's a  city which needs work but work is well underway.  Exciting times full of opportunity. :)

Finally, the Southern neighbourhoods are the best to live in (near South Park - Strelbishte, Lozenets, Ivan Vazov etc).  There are also gated communities which are quite nice but Sofia isn't South Africa so no need to go to such extremes. :)

The foothills of Vitosha are also a good choice if you are keen on suburbia (Boyana, Dragalevtsi, Simeonovo, Bistriza).  There are some very nice new builds in these areas, as well as houses.

The biggest property portals are these.  Insist on BRICK (Тухла) builds!  Say no to concrete (Панел)!
http://www.imot.bg/
http://www.imoti.net/ <= as far as I can remember, this has the most listings.

Wow, seriously appreciate all your help and advice!

Thanks for the info re appliances and plug adaptors... I know to some people it might have sounded obvious but alot of apliances in Australia dont work in Britain and vice versa.

Also I am much happier knowing I can bring everything over and I wont have to pay any extra taxes etc...

Areas are interesting as I have never visited Bulgaria. I grew up in the City in Sydney so must admit I like city living and all the conveniences it comes with...

I really want to live in an area that is close to Supermarkets ( the equivelant of Coles or Woolworths in Australia or Asda, Tescos, Sainsburys in the UK ) I would also like to be close to some Bars/Clubs, A Gym and Restaurants and Cafes etc...

As I dont drive its important that their all really close : )

The truth is I cant afford to do that in the UK and not in Sydney but it seems that Sofia offers city living at affordable prices, so that is a big motivation for my move.

A Real Estate company told me to look at in and around Rakovski street, but unfortunately I dont knoe where that is or how to identify the area on Bulgarian property websites. The other area he mentioned was an are that you recommended and thats Lozenets. Could you please advise if Lozenets is close to all or some of the conveniences that I mentioned.

I must admit the research I have done on Sofia does give it glowing reports and from what you have said it really sounds as though it would be quite exciting living there at the moment especially as it sounds as though the City is expanding and sounds as though it is really well connected with Trains and Buses etc...

Im guessing your saying Brick over cement so the building is cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter?

Yeah Im not sure about gated communities as I havent heard that Sofia is rough at all? Im hoping its not : )

Re Telecommunications, I only want to sign a 12 month contract to start with as obviously want to see that I adapt and can stay and then if everything works out then I will hopefully stay at least a  minimum of another year.

Do you mind me asking if you could speak Bulgarian before you moved there?

I am obviously aware that i will have to do some self study to learn the language and obviously once im settled I will have to do some classes each week to try and learn the language.

Do you think living in the City I will struggle or do some people speak English. I am also interested how I will manage doing food shopping but im guessing that most foods will be quite obvious from the look etc?

At the moment Im just finalising how the taxation will work regarding my work as my situation is quite different in the fact im not being posted there but actually want to live there and take advantage of having an EU Passport. Hopefully I will get that resolved over the next week and then I can start organising my flights and evrything in preperation to move there. At this stage I think it will be end March early April as the British Tax office have told me it would be easier for them if im not taxed during a tax year etc...

Anyway I must say I am excited from everything you have told me and I must admit I could do with living somewhere that is full of opportunity and am honestly looking forward to learning a new language as dont really have alot of hobbies at the moment other than following sports so it will keep me busy and will be quite interesting.

Do you currently have Sky Television over there and do you think thats the best way to go?

I found http://www.skycards.eu/watch-sky-tv-abroad-bulgaria

Anyway thanks again for all your help I really appreciate it as there is only so much research you can do on the Internet. I honestly think the best advice is from someone who has actually made the move and has and is experiencing living in a country.

Right,

Firstly, I am a Bulgarian / British hybrid.  Born in Bulgaria, lived in the UK for 17 years, am a full British citizen but am also a Bulgarian citizen.  I speak both languages fluently.

Personally I live in Strelbishte and think this is one of the better areas to live in in Sofia. I did research for about 6 weeks based on my own criteria and settled here.  I covered all the areas I mentioned, plus more.

Lozenets tbh personally I would not live in.  It's cramped and houses a mixed bag of permie old residents, mafiozo types and villagers who dream of life in the big city.  That said, the American embassy is close (provided you settle in Lozenets near South Park) and you do get westerners (Americans) wandering about and occupying the local cafes / bars.  There are some very nice new builds near the old 'South Park cafe', now 'Happy bar', which are right next to the park.

Also, it just got it's own tube station and has had a significant upgrade in infrastructure down the main road.

I live in Strelbishte and love the area - you literally will find anything you need just a short walk away.  A very sorted neighbourhood, also considered one of the best.  Ask about living near 'Nishava street' in Strelbishte, near the park entrance.  It is a trendy area with plenty of bars etc, with the city center very accessible.

Malls are springing up like mushrooms in Sofia so there's no problem going shopping.  Carrefour is a good choice to go shopping, as is Lidl, Billa, Kauffland, Piccadilly, amongst others.

The food is obvious and these days you can get loads of world cuisine easily in the supermarkets.  Let me know if you need help finding veggiemite (haha).  Speaking of malls, upper Lozenets near Hladilnika just got the biggest Mall in Bulgaria.  It is close to Strelbishte also.  http://paradise-center.com/

Rakovska is in essence the city center.  Ivan Vazov / Strelbishte / Lozenets are the neighbourhoods closest to the city center (on the map they surround the center and touch South - Yujen Park).  On the map, look for this text to get an idea;

City Center = Център
Ivan Vazov = Иван Вазов
Strelbishte = Стрелбище
Lozenets = Лозенец

Use wikimapia to get an even better idea;
http://wikimapia.org/#lat=42.6611496&lo … 13&l=0&m=b

Gyms can be found everywhere, especially in Strelbishte (and the other areas).  Strelbishte has a snobby gym (complete with shooting range) called The Gym - http://www.theredgym.bg/, but there are also many other normal gyms.

I keep praising Strelbishte but like I said, I spent 6 weeks on a scooter researching the best areas to live in Sofia.  Choose to live on Nishava, next to the entrance to South Park.  Ask any broker and I know they will agree it is a top location.

re: brick, yes - plus most brick buildings are new builds.  Cement buildings are the old communist buildings.  Generally not favoured - tired communal areas, apartments need insulation etc. etc.  Even if the apartment has been done up, the communal areas will probably be less than desirable.  Also the demographics can be a bit undesirable.

fwiw upper Lozenets / Hladilnika is abundant with new builds and has a brand new tube station nearby.  South park is also close.  This was my second choice (no tube station or ubermall was available at that time).  With the ubermall & tube station now nearby, this is definitely one to consider.  This area I believe also has gas lines installed so you may be able to get gas heating in the new builds.  Ask the broker to see an apartment near the old 'South Park cafe', the ones that are partway inside the park.  These are gold.

Sofia is as rough as any big city.  Nothing to say really.  No worse than London and again, it depends on the area.

Most younger people speak English.  Bulgarians in general are multilingual, most speaking a few foreign languages.  Taxi drivers in general don't (annoying as taxis are cheap).  Which brings me to another point - be vigilant with taxi drivers as they can rip off tourists!

re: food - good Bulgarian food is excellent, with many of my UK friends coming here not only for the skiing but also for the food.  It is quite mediterranean / Greek.  Bulgarians are massive on salads.

More and more UK / European franchises are opening here.  You have the usual - Starbucks, McD, KFC, Burger King, Subway, Debenhams is opening soon, H&M, M&S.. loads.

I'd be interested in finding out your taxation arrangements as I am in a similar boat as yourself.

You'd probably be alright with the local cable suppliers.  The UK leagues are huge here and tend to get broadcast on a few cable channels.  Discovery / Nat Geo and many other English speaking channels are available.  I do know that the resorts offer Sky Sports, so they probably have Sky, but I personally have not been too fussed.

Have a look through - Bulsatcom
http://www.bulsat.com/tv.php

Диема
Диема 2 - these do loads of football

re: local transport - try and live near a tube station if you can.  The tube is brand new and very shiny.

The transport is being worked on, with an upgrade due next year. :)  It leaves something to be desired at present, but it is on the verge of realisation of a 4 year project, next year.

As for hobbies, Vitosha is on your doorstep so if you like hiking / skiing / snowboarding / mountain biking / photography, paragliding even - it's right there.  One of the few remaining active wakeboard parks is on the outskirts of Sofia.  There are many ice skating rinks in and around Sofia, cycling is taking off in a big way, every decent neighbourhood (bar the city center probably) has a communal basketball / tennis / football court.  Table tennis is quite popular.

Where Do I begin?

Well firstly Lozenents area close to the park sounds quite nice, especially if it is connected with its own tube station. And the idea of cafes and bars close to a park in the summer does sound quite appealing. My question would be is there also a Gym and a large supermarket in walking distance or within say 5 mintues on the tube? Also could you please advise how many miles it is from the city centre.

You wrote - I live in Strelbishte and love the area - you literally will find anything you need just a short walk away.  A very sorted neighbourhood, also considered one of the best.  Ask about living near 'Nishava street' in Strelbishte, near the park entrance.  It is a trendy area with plenty of bars etc, with the city center very accessible.

This area also sounds quite nice. How many miles is it from the city centre? And my other question is if its a trendy area then how much would I be looking at say for a furnished 1 bedroom apartment? And I guess the same question re Lozenets...

I like the fact there are lots of shopping centres opening and there is a good choice of supermarkets for shopping. I must admit that I really enjoy cooking. I once cooked a roast dinner for about 20 people when I lived in a share house in Brisbane and that was quite interesting :)

Well I must admit im one of the few that dont like vegemite.... Actually its a love hate thing in Australia. Some people love it and others hate it. I must admit i dont like the taste so wont mind if I cant get it in Bulgaria...

Well I guess the choice is between Strelbishte and Lozenets. A girl has messaged me on another post and told me to beware of real estate agents and that I should take someone with me that speaks Bulgarian and English and poss a Lawyer... She mentioned that they might try to get higher commisions from me if I dont speak Bulgarian... Do you think this is true and if it is what would you suggest I do.

I must admit I wont have alot of time to manouvre. Iliterally must fly there get a place for say a week and during that time find a furnished place to move. Another important question is how long do you think it would take a phone company to install internet and phone lines from when I place the order? The reason I ask this is when I moved where I am now in the UK it took BT almost a month to install the lines. The trouble I have is the fact that I cant work until those lines are installed...

And the questions continue. I have spoken with Sky and they can sell me a Sky Card for use in Bulgaria for 125 pounds and I already have a Sky HD Box, they said I will have to buy a satelite dish from a local company and also pay have it installes so that Sky will work. Would you have any ideas how much the dish and installation might cost together?

I will also try and have a look at Bulsat.com

It sounds good that there are lots of sports channels and lots of people follow football. Im guessing you must have some good sports bars that follow the premier league then? I follow the premier league and also follow the NRL which is Australian Rugby League. Their my favourite sports. Saying that I follow all sports and do really enjoy International Cricket, Tennis, American Football, Rugby Union etc... Basically I follow most sports.

I actually used to work at the SCG Trust -

http://www.sydneycricketground.com.au/

They have the Sydney Cricket Ground and the Sydney Football Stadiums next door to each other and are owned by the NSW Government. I really enjoyed working there. The SCG used to host International Cricket, state cricket and Aussie Rules football and the Sydney Football Stadium next door used to host Super 15 Rugby Union, International Rugby Union, A League football or soccer as they call it in Australia, NRL Rugby League and of course Concerts....

I really enjoyed working there and actually worked the Ashes 2010/2011 New years Test between Australia and England. I also worked some One day Internation als between the same teams and also Australia and Sri Lanka. I didnt work any of the other events but always got 2 complimentary tickets in the mebers area to all events so spent a year of watching live sports every weekend :)

As far as hobbies is concerned I dont think im as adventurous as you... I have never learnt to ride a bike and not really into hiking saying that though it doesnt meen that I couldnt try it especially as I have heard Sofia has some beautiful places to visit... I guess I just didnt do much hiking in Australia because of worry of the various poisonous things such as snakes and spiders and that used to put me off....

I havent played tennis or table tennis since I was young and was never that good at it. Saying that I did enjoy it so guess they could be things I could consider and would of course help me with staying fit. I really want to join a gym again and start getting in shape again as havent really done enough exercise over the past years. When I was younger I used to work out about 5 days a week though so im sure I will be able to do it again.

Other than salads are there any other main delacacies that Bulgarian people eat. Also is the food seasonal Summer/Winter etc as Im guessing there is quite a contrast as Im aware the summers are warm and winters can have alot of snow etc.

You wrote - Most younger people speak English.  Bulgarians in general are multilingual, most speaking a few foreign languages.  Taxi drivers in general don't (annoying as taxis are cheap).  Which brings me to another point - be vigilant with taxi drivers as they can rip off tourists!

I think it helps that some people speak English. I guess I will get a Bulgarian/English book to learn basic phrases when I get there and might try and get some audio/book stuff that will allow me to try and get pronounciation correct. I think once I have settled I will try and get a tutor maybe an hour a week just so I can get some proper help. And was thinking I might try and meet friends through here that wish to learn English and hopefully I will be able to learn some Bulgarian.

I lived in a multicultural share house in Brisbane and had friends from Peru, Columbia, Estonia to name just a few and I used to sit with them every day to help them improve their English and it was suprising how quickly their spoken English improved. Im hoping the same might happen with me if I practice Bulgarian every day and I guess living in a country can help you learn quicker?

I guess you are lucky as you were brought up in England but learnt Bulgarian at a young age. I think its great being able to speak more than 1 language...

Well I guess I will try and learn phrases for taxis especially as I dont want get ripped off etc. It helps if Taxis are cheap as im not sure if the tube runs all night? I guess in the Summer I usually like going for a drink at least on a Friday or Saturday. Having said that the areas you mentioned seem to have plenty of Bars....

Anyway thanks again for your advice.

I have just had a look on the map link that you showed me and managed to find Lozentes and also Ivan Vakoz. Im not sure why but I couldnt locate Strelbishte... Im worried im going blind. Could you please advise where I should be looking on the Map.

Thanks

Hello Scott1975 and snowbord.

First of all, thank you for your contribution. :)

This thread title is Telecommunications in Bulgaria. Some of your messages are quite off topic. I invite you to start a new thread on the Bulgaria forum if you want to discuss a new topic.

Thank you,
Aurélie

New topic