Once you have moved to Greece, one of the first things you’ll need to do is get yourself connected. Yes, of course, you want to get out into your new Greek community and make connections there, rather than burying your face in a smartphone. Even so, don’t discount the security blanket of being able to call friends, look up Greek phrases online, and stay up-to-date with The Durrells! Here’s how to get connected to Greek internet, the phone system and TV.
Most new arrivals will want a phone line, an internet connection and perhaps a TV connection. They allow you to keep in touch with your loved ones back home as well as investigating the new areas you find in Greece. The internet is a particularly important tool to manage your new life. You’ll be able to manage things like finances and currency online. Use Google Translate to investigate Greek-language websites, including healthcare, tax and residency.
Many of Property Guides’ writers past and present have been expats living abroad with a laptop in a cafe.
An internet connection also allows you to make a living as a “digital nomad”. Many of Property Guides’ writers past and present have been expats living abroad with a laptop in a cafe. You can set up so many types of business from home (or even the beach). So here is how you connect the holy trinity of internet, phone and TV!
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Connecting to Greece’s internet
You have a number of options to connect to the internet in Greece. These depend on the Internet Service Provider (ISP) you choose and the type of connection you can get.
Tip: When you first arrive in Greece and before your internet connection has been set up, you can still connect to the world. Firstly, you can take advantage of the numerous free WiFI spots located around the country. Most cafes will have free Wifi. Alternatively, you can buy a pre-paid card to use a dial-up connection.
If you’re being paid in pounds but living in Greece, speak to a currency and payments specialist about getting your money transferred efficiently and regularly. We recommend Smart, ranked as “Excellent” on Trustpilot for money transfer and currency exchange.
The largest ISP in Greece is Forthnet. You can also choose from Net One, Otenet, Hellas On Line, On Telecoms, Tellas and Vodafone. Forthnet offers fixed telephone and broadband services from around €25 per month. To set up your internet account you will need your tax identification number, proof of address and proof of identity.
Once you have an internet connection you can use tools such as Skype or Facetime to remain in touch. It’s often a better, cheaper alternative than using a landline to call the UKand certainly feels friendlier chatting face to face.
Connecting your telephone in Greece
As a deregulated market, you should have plenty of choice of phone provider in Greece. The main telephone provider across the country is OTE (Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation). No matter the provider you choose to actually supply the line, you often need to have an OTE line installed and pay them line rental. Some tariffs will offer cheaper rates for overseas calls. To get a line connected, speak to OTE at one of their local branches or by telephone. Few will speak English, but you can normally find a friendly Gerek to translate for you. The friendly taxi driver in The Durrells, Spiro, is really a national archetype. People really will want top help you.
If you are transferring an existing line then you will need to go to the shop with the outgoing resident to transfer the contract.
You will need to bring the same documents as highlighted above: your tax identification number, proof of address and proof of identity. When you sign your contract you will normally have to pay a deposit. Even though OTE is generally regarded as the quickest at connections, you can still expect to wait up to four weeks to get your line. If you are transferring an existing line then you will need to go to the shop with the outgoing resident to transfer the contract. Both of you will need to bring your AFM, identity document and the last bill received. Once you are set up you will receive a telephone bill every two months. You can pay it by credit card, standing order, online or at the OTE shop.
Other telephone providers include ON Telecoms, Tellas, Cosmoline, Forthnet and HOL.
Call an ambulance in Greece by dialling 112 or 166. But what sort of health service will you get? Read our guide, Healthcare Abroad 2018.
In terms of mobile phones, there are further options for you to choose from, offering both contract and pre-pay options. The main network providers for this are Cosmote, Vodaphone and Wind. However, you may well be able to continue using your UK mobile, especially now that there is free mobile roaming in the EU.
Connecting your Greek television
To watch television in Greece you will need a television licence. You usually pay this together with your electricity bill; the mandatory fee for these being automatically added to your account every two months.
There are three national channels in Greece, with several free-to-view commercial channels on digital television, just like Freeview in the UK. Additionally you can also purchase Cable TV with Hellenic Cable Networks, to access cable and Internet services, or satellite television with Nova. For a monthly subscription you will be able to access a variety of channels and international programmes (usually with Greek subtitles). For more details on watching your favourite TV abroad, read our expat’s guide to watching TV from back home.