Norway is situated in the western side of the Scandinavian Peninsula, and lies in the border of Sweden, Finland and Russia. This Nordic country is elongated in shape and includes the Arctic island of Svalbard and Jan Mayen. However, Norway’s sovereignty on Svalbard, is based on what is known as the Svalbard Treaty. This treaty is not applicable to Jan Mayen. Norway has been claiming a lot of territories and amongst them are the Bouvet Island in the South Atlantic Ocean and Peter I Island in the South Pacific Ocean. The country also claims Queen Maud Land in Antarctica, where they have established the Troll permanent research station. The extensive North Atlantic coastline of the Kingdom of Norway is home to its famous fjords.
The Norwegian kingdom underwent many changes over the next several decades since 994 AD. Before that it had faced many invasions from the Vikings. Norway was drawn into an union with Denmark in the year 1397, which lasted for four centuries. Norway fought hard with Sweden in the year 1814 and resisted the cession of their country. Sweden invaded Norway again, but let Norway keep its constitution and accept the union under the Swedish King. Through-out the 19th century, the growing nationalism in Norway led to a referendum in the year 1905, which granted the country its independence. Though Norway remained neutral in the First World War, it suffered heavy losses to its shipping. Even though Norway remained neutral at the time of World War II, the country was occupied by the Nazis and was under their occupation from 1940-45. The discovery of oil and gas reserves in adjacent waters in the late 1960’s opened up Norway’s economic fortunes. Referenda were held in the country in the years 1972 and 1994, where Norway rejected joining the European Union.
The population of Norway is chiefly concentrated along the southern coast and valleys, where the main cities, Oslo, Bergen, Stavanger, Kristiansand, and Drammen are located. In the extreme north, the cities include, Narvik, Tromsø, and Hammerfest. The majority of Norway population consists of Scandinavians, with Lapps and Finns predomination in the north of the country. Danish has been the official language in Norway for many years and Riksmål has been derived from this language. The state church is the Lutheran Church, but all other religion has their freedom to worship as they like. Norway has very high educational level and the leading universities are in Oslo, founded in 1811, with Bergen, which was founded in1946.
Oslo is the capital city of Norway. It is located in the south-eastern part of the country and has a population of about half a million of people. A Similar number lives in the Akershus, a county which is an hour’s drive from Oslo. Very few cities in Europe can be compared with this capital city and its surroundings, with business opportunities, educational and research facilities, cultural commitments and natural beauty, including its economic and political stability, availability of abundance energy, excellent communications, a skilled work-force and an exceptional quality of life. Subsequently, shipping industry and forestry were developed, which made Oslo play a major role in the country’s economy and still enjoys this reputation.
The predominantly wooden city of Oslo was burnt to the ground in the year 1624. It was re-built on its present site by King Christian IV, and was named Christiania in honour of the King. This name was kept alive for 300 years. The capital city grew into a major financial military and administrative centre by mid 1800’s. In days to come, Oslo would become an important city, developed into a major trading center, primarily dealing with Germany and Central Europe. Following Norway’s unity with Denmark from 1380 to 1814 and with Sweden there-after, the country finally gained independence in the year 1905. A major arts festival was held in the city of Oslo in June 2005 to celebrate the centenary.
The climate in Oslo is surprisingly not as cold as is expected for its high-latitude. The average temperature in the summer hovers at around 20 Degree Celsius, but in winter the temperature goes below freezing point. It is dark in winter and becomes gloomy. Winter is the time when sports like cross country and down-hill skiing opportunities become very popular around the ski trails and slopes in the vicinity of the city. Summer days are long and the Sun briefly goes below the horizon and it never gets really dark. This is a perfect season where people are mostly outdoors, exploring the parks and the hiking trails, and, at times, relaxing in the beaches of the fjord. The dark and dull sub-arctic winter nights of Oslo has now been transformed into a city of active night life. With drinking laws becoming liberal Oslo’s streets are full of vibrant life and its oil revenue has created provisions to support arts and culture, making it a thriving and animated city.
The Gateway to the Fjords, as Bergen is called, is the second and is the most attractive city of Norway. It has the most impressive surrounding of three mountains on three of its sides, with the North Sea on the fourth, dotted with islands. The city of Bergen was found in the year 1070 by the Viking King Olav Kyrre. This was quickly established as a town, with its fortunate combination of sheltered harbour and easy reach of its rich fishing grounds. It became Norway’s capital city by the beginning of the 13th century and enjoyed the status until late 1200.
In early days of mobile telephony, cell phones were limited to prosperous few and it has now become a part of life. As per the statistics, in 1992 about 1% of the people living worldwide had access to this magic wonder and only one-third of the countries had cellular networks. Presently more people have cell phones compared to the number with conventional phone lines.
Let us get back to those days, when cell phones were not available or were luxuries and not a necessity as today. You had gone for visits abroad and you did not have a cell phone with you at that time. You had to use the telephone in your hotel room to call your business associates, friends and your family back home. When you went out of your hotel, people who wanted to get in touch with you urgently, just could not and left messages for you at the hotel reception desk. You knew that its just too costly using that phone in your hotel room, but you had no other option.
Then came the time of cell phones. You had taken yours to trips abroad and availed the roaming facility. Roaming provides you with the ability to automatically make and receive calls, transfer and receive data or access other services, when you are travelling outside the geographical coverage area of your home network. As you travel out of your home network, you are considered to be a visiting subscriber of a different network. This facility is supported through a roaming agreement between your home network and the network that you are visiting and this agreement involves commercial terms. If the network that you are visiting is in the same country as your home network, it is called National Roaming and if it should be a foreign network that you are visiting, it is termed as International Roaming. Therefore, when you are in a city in Norway, you are on International Roaming. If the foreign network that you are visiting is of a different standard than that of your home network, then you are on Inter-standard Roaming.
Which-ever might be the case, when you are in Norway, each time you make or receive a call, you are utilising the services of your visiting network in Norway and by the roaming agreement your home network pays the foreign operator. This what makes roaming expensive, where you are charged higher than normal for the calls you make and receive and for any other services that you avail through your cell phone.
There is a way by which you can save on your expenses. A pre-paid SIM card for Norway saves up to 80% of your expenditures. When you buy a pre-paid SIM card for Norway, you get a local Norwegian number and you are charged at local rates. All your incoming calls are free, no matter where they generate from and you do not pay for roaming. You do not have to enter into any contract with any service provider and you do not receive any bill at the end of the month.
When you buy a pre-paid SIM card for Norway, you receive a small talk time credit along with it and this enables you to use your cell phone straight away as soon as you reach your destination in Norway. As you run low on your talk time credit, you can replenish it quickly and easily. You can buy recharge coupons in practically any shop in the cities in Norway. These coupons are available in different denominations and you have the option to choose the value of the credit that you would want. Since your air time usages are pre-paid, you have the absolute control over the money that you are spending for the purpose and you can remain within the budget that you have set for your call expenses.
A Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) card is a printed circuit board that is inserted at the back of your cell phone, in a slot under the battery. The circuitry in a SIM card has a microprocessor with memory. It is a smart card that renders your cell phone intelligent and enables you to make and receive calls and utilise other facilities provided by mobile services. SIM cards are meant for operation with Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM). It holds your personal identity in form of your SIM card number, your calling plan, the International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) of your mobile phone and other security details. As you switch on your phone, the information is transmitted to the nearest tower of the network in the country that you are visiting. This is then matched with the information available in the database of operator. Your cell phone gets logged into the network as soon as the details have been checked and found to be correct. A SIM card also holds your address book, in which you can store the names and phone numbers of the people that you frequently get in touch with. It also logs your incoming and outgoing calls and even those calls which you fail to answer. These are logged along with their relative time and date.
Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) is the first open architecture digital technology. It is the second generation (2G) of mobile telephony, replacing the old first generation (1G) system. It was first developed in Europe and is now used over 214 countries with 80% subscribers amongst the mobile users in the world. GSM has four set of frequency bands – 850 MHz, 900 MHz, and 1800 MHz and 1900 MHz – which are distributed to different regions using GSM technology. Some of these bandwidths are commonly used by some of the countries. The networks in North America, Canada and few other countries in the Americas use 850MHz and 1900MHz, which may be mentioned as exclusively used by that part of the world. The major advantage with GSM technology is that, you have the facility to be in touch with the people anywhere in the world and make yourself available just about from anywhere in this planet.
You would need a GSM phone to operate in Norway. If you have a GSM handset, it is unlikely that it will work in that country, unless you have a multiple frequency cell phone. The networks in Norway operates on 900MHz and 1800MHz GSM frequency bands, where-as, North America, Canada and a few neighbouring countries work on 850MHz and 1900MHz GSM bandwidths, which is entirely different from that of the Norway networks. This difference would not allow your phone to be used in Norway, unless you have a multi-frequency phone, supporting the network frequency of that country.
To facilitate use of GSM cell phones in different parts of the world, handsets are available in multi-frequency bands. The Quad-band GSM phones, operate on all the GSM frequencies and there-by is suitable for use the world over. The Tri-band works on 800MHz, 900MHz and 1800MHz frequency bands, and operates in most part of the GSM region. There is the Dual-band, having compatibility with two of the GSM frequency bands – 800MHz and 1900MHz.
The GSM phone that you are taking with you on your visit to Norway, should be SIM unlocked, as otherwise, you will not be able to use your pre-paid SIM card for Norway or any other SIM card for that matter. A SIM locked cell phone will only work with the SIM card which is meant for the phone.
Why are cell phones SIM locked? Consider the following example. When you sign a contract with a service provider, a clause in that contract might stipulate that you will have to use the services of this particular provider for a definite period of time. This is generally one year. In exchange, you will receive a cell phone of your choice, within the models offered by the service provider, and at the end of the contract the cell phone becomes yours. When you receive the phone, you also receive a SIM card from your service provider. The phone that you have received is SIM locked, and would only work with the SIM card that came along with it. At the end of the contract period the service provider helps you to SIM unlock your phone, when it may be used with any SIM card of your choice.
If you are a frequent traveller, visiting foreign countries, you may consider buying a GSM cell phone with frequency bans matching that of the networks of the countries that you visit. If you do not travel that frequently, it is economical for you to rent a compatible GSM phone to serve your purpose when you visit abroad. For more information on buying or renting a GSM cell phone, visit http://www.planetomni.com/FAQ_gsm.shtml
Whether you are taking your phone to Norway, buying or renting one, there are two important matters that you should take care of. The first one is, that you must ensure that your GSM cell phone is compatible with the Network frequency bands in Norway and second, that your phone is not SIM locked.
A pre-paid SIM card for Norway is affordable and it saves you substantially on your phone call expenses. The most important matter of all is that you do not pay for your incoming calls and there are no roaming charges. The pay for your calls as the locals do and you get a local number. Since you pre-pay for your calls, you are in control of your expenses. There is no contract for you to sign and you do not receive any bill at the end of the month.
Source by John Dulaney