Telecommunications in Iceland is a diversified market.


The first submarine telegraph cable connection to the British Isles reached Seyðisfjörður in Iceland in 1906 by the Great Northern Telegraph Co. Around the same time telephone communication was opened between Reykjavik and Hafnarfjörður. By 1911 a telephone line connected Reykjavik in the west of Iceland to Seyðisfjörður in the east via Akureyri in the north. A line to the Vestmannaeyjar was constructed a few years later, and by 1929 a line along the south of the island connected Reykjavik to Seyðisfjörður via Vik in the south of the island. A teleprinter service was introduced to the island in 1930.[1]

As of 1933 there were 55 telephones for every 1000 inhabitants on the island. The first short-wave radio station was established in Iceland in 1935-36, linking the country up to international radio-telephone services. By January 1936 there were 106 radio-licence holders for every 1000 Icelandic inhabitants.[2] Due to the Icelandic naming system, people were listed by their first name in the telephone directory, and not by their last name (which is usually patronym).

The first automatic telephone exchanges opened in Reykjavík and Hafnafjörður in 1932, and by 1976 all towns had automatic telephone exchanges.

In 1962, the SCOTICE (to Scotland) and ICECAN (Canada) coaxial submarine telephone cables were put into use, greatly increasing reliability and capacity of international telephone and telegraph traffic as well as opening up telex services for the first time. These new cables rendered the original 1906 telegraph cable obselete and was taken out of use. They had a capacity of 32 and 24 telephone circuits respectively.

In 1980, the first satellite ground station was opened in Iceland, called Skyggnir. Initially connecting to the Intelsat system, most international telephone and telex traffic now used satellite communcations. These new ground stations enabled International Direct Dialling, as well as allowing Iceland to access time-shifted as well as live television broadcast material from abroad, including Iceland's participation in Eurovision in 1986. Iceland's first internet connection was via satellite in 1986 with a 300-1200 bit/s UUCP link to Amsterdam. By 1987 the older coaxial submarine cables SCOTICE and ICECAN were taken out of use after a secondary backup ground station opened near Höfn in eastern Iceland, leaving Iceland soley dependent on satellite communications for international traffic during this period.

The first digital telephone exchange was opened in 1984 and all telephone exchanges were digitalised in the country by 1995. By 1986 all rural shared party lines were upgraded to individual lines.

In 1986 mobile telephony was available for the first time using an NMT 1G (first generation) network, followed by GSM services in 1994 and SMS messaging in 1997, followed by MMS in 2003.

In 1991, a fibre ring was completed that circles the country, roughly following the route of Iceland's ring road (Route 1), passing through most towns and cities. It was constructed by the Icelandic Government and NATO to link radar stations of the Iceland Air Defence System, as well as to enhance domestic telecommunications. It consists of 8 fibres and is still in use as of 2023.

In 1994, the first fibre submarine cable, CANTAT-3, reached Iceland linking it to Canada, Germany, UK and Denmark with a capacity of 7.5 Gbit/s. This greatly increased bandwidth and allowed internet connections to become more widely available.[3]

As bandwidth and reliability demands grew in the 21st century, more fibre submarine cables were launched to Iceland: FARICE in 2003 to the UK and Faroe Islands; DANICE in 2009 to Denmark; Greenland Connect in 2009 to Greenland and Canada and lastly IRIS in 2023 to Ireland. With multiple redundant submarine fibre routes, the satellite ground station Skyggnir was taken out of use in 2005 and CANTAT-3 became defunct in 2009.[4]

In the mid-1990s, the telecom market was opened to competition, breaking the state-owned Iceland Telecom's monopoly and was later privatised in 2005.

In 1994, dial-up internet services became available, in 1999 ADSL services launched, followed by VDSL in 2009. Fibre to the home services began rolling out in 2004 and expanded to 90% of the population by 2022.

In 2010 the NMT (1G) mobile network was shut down. 3G launched in 2006, 4G in 2013 and 5G in 2020.

In 2018, telegram services were discontinued.[5]

Analogue PSTN/POTS and ISDN telephone services were phased out from 2020-2024, replaced by VoIP services. Copper-based DSL services continue to be available.[6] In April 2024, Míla accounced plans for a complete copper shut down by 2028, including DSL services,[7] fully transitioning Icelandic telecoms to fibre based services.[8]

Submarine connectivity

Current internet and telephone services rely on submarine communications cables for external traffic, with a total capacity of 60.2 Tbit/s





Main article: Internet in Iceland

Data centres

Internet service providers

The largest Internet service providers in Iceland:

  1. Síminn (Síminn hf)
  2. Vodafone Iceland (Sýn hf)
  3. Nova (Nova hf)
  4. Hringiðan (Hringiðan ehf / Vortex Inc)
  5. Hringdu (Hringdu ehf)

Internet hosting service

Iceland has numerous internet hosting services:

Internet exchange points

Iceland has two Internet exchange points. They are the Reykjavik Internet Exchange (RIX) and Múli-IXP.


Main article: Íslandspóstur


See also: List of newspapers in Iceland

Daily newspapers

Weekly and bi-weekly Newspapers

English Language Newspapers


Iceland use FM and longwave radio broadcasts. Nationwide networks which cover the whole country include public radio stations Rás 1 and Rás 2 as well as Bylgjan. Other commercial broadcasters mostly operate in the Reykjavík area, and many are available in more populated areas. There are no current plans to implement DAB broadcasting, due to ample bandwidth and cost.[9] All FM stations are also available over internet radio, with some smaller stations being only distributed over internet radio. Longwave radio service is operated by public broadcaster RÚV, however the longwave service will be completely decommissioned in 2024 (with one transmitter site already decommissioned in 2023).

Public broadcasters:

Commercial broadcasters



As of 2022 there are 116,142 landlines in use in Iceland of which 80,106 are VoIP, 34,527 are PSTN and 644 are ISDN. The number of landlines in Iceland has been slowly decreasing since their peak in 2001 at 196,528. Meanwhile, the number of VoIP subscriptions have been rising, from 58,311 in 2016 to 76,122 in 2018. 2018 was the first year that VoIP subscriptions surpassed PSTN subscriptions.[10] Síminn, the operator of the POTS/PSTN network has indicated that a complete shut down of the POTS network is ongoing and is due to be completed in 2023. Existing landline customers will be transitioned over to VoIP services.[11][12]


See also: List of mobile operators in Iceland

As of 2022 there are 521,722 active mobile subscriptions in use in Iceland. 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G services are operated by 3 mobile operators. NOVA was the first network to offer 4G in 2013[13] and first to offer 5G in 2020.[14] Síminn and Vodafone launched their 4G service in 2013 and 5G in 2021. 2G services are due to be shut down in 2024 and 3G in 2025. The NMT (1G) network was shut down in 2010.[15]

Telephone numbers

Main article: Telephone numbers in Iceland

There are no area codes in Iceland, and all telephone numbers have seven digits. The international dialling code is +354. Numbers of mobile phones tend to begin with either 6xx xxxx, 7xx xxxx or 8xx xxxx, while landline numbers starting with 5xx xxxx (in Reykjavík) or 4xx xxxx (outside Reykjavík).


Main article: Television in Iceland

Television in Iceland began in September 1966.


  1. ^ Iceland. Naval Intelligence Division. July 1942. pp. 398–399. Retrieved 25 April 2023.
  2. ^ The Northern Countries In World Economy Denmark Finland Iceland Norway Sweden. Delegations For The Promotion Of Economic Co-operation Between The Northern Countries. 1937. p. 150. Retrieved 25 April 2023.
  3. ^ Nafn Skóla. "Saga loftskeyta- og símaþjónustu á Íslandi" (PDF).
  4. ^ "Skyggnir felldur - Myndasafn". (in Icelandic). Retrieved 2023-05-24.
  5. ^ "Rúmlega 100 ára saga skeytasendinga á enda - RÚ". RÚV. 2018-10-01. Retrieved 2023-05-24.
  6. ^ Retrieved 2024-04-29. ((cite web)): Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ "Niðurlagning koparheimtaugakerfis Mílu". Míla ehf (in Icelandic). Retrieved 2024-04-29.
  8. ^ Electronic Communications Office of Iceland, 2024. (Case no. 2022020045)
  9. ^ Fjarskiptastofa. "Samráð Póst- og fjarskiptastofnunar um úthlutun tíðna fyrir hljóðvarp - FM og DAB".
  10. ^ "PFS Tölfræðaskýrsla 2018" (PDF). 1 June 2019.
  11. ^ "Landlínukerfið fyrir síma að úreldast". Retrieved 2019-06-09.
  12. ^ "Heildsala Símans". Retrieved 2023-05-24.
  13. ^ "Nova launches first 4G network in Iceland". Retrieved 12 July 2015.
  14. ^ "5G-væðingin hafin að fullu – Kortunum fjölgaði úr 119 í tólf þúsund á sex mánuðum". Kjarninn (in Icelandic). 2021-12-19. Retrieved 2022-02-23.
  15. ^ "Icelandic 2G network to shut down by end of 2024, 3G by end of 2025".