Are you planning a trip to Turkey and wondering how to stay connected while you’re there? Look no further than this beginner’s guide to mobile operators in Turkey. As a foreigner, having a reliable mobile connection can greatly enhance your travel experience, allowing you to stay in touch with loved ones, navigate unfamiliar places, and access important information. In this guide, we’ll take a deep dive into the mobile landscape in Turkey, helping you choose the right mobile operator and plan for your needs, purchase and activate a SIM card, and provide tips for using your mobile device in Turkey. By the end of this guide, you’ll feel confident and prepared to stay connected during your travels in Turkey.
How many mobile operators are there in Turkey?
There are three major mobile operators in Turkey, namely Turkcell, Vodafone Turkey, and Turk Telekom. However, there are also several alternative mobile operators that offer quality services by using major operators’ networks, such as Bimcell (Turk Telekom), and Lifecell (Turkcell).
Each of these operators offers a range of plans and services, including both prepaid and postpaid options. Turkcell is the largest operator in Turkey, with the widest coverage and fastest network speeds. Vodafone Turkey also offers extensive coverage and competitive pricing. Turk Telekom, on the other hand, has a slightly smaller network coverage but offers unique services such as fixed-line broadband and TV packages.
Turkcell offers its customers voice, data, TV services, and value-added individual and corporate services over their mobile and fixed networks. Turkcell provides high network coverage even in the most rural areas compared to competing operators. The price can be relatively expensive.
Turkcell Tariffs and Plans for Foreigners
Turkcell offers a prepaid Tourist Welcome Pack, which includes 20 GB data + 200 mins local calls + unlimited SMS messaging for 30 days. The sales price of this package is approximately 40 EUR, equivalent to the Turkish lira including the new SIM card price, and prices may vary from shop to shop. You can review all tariffs and plans before you pick one.
Vodafone Turkey, which is part of Vodafone Group, one of the largest technology communication companies in the world, offers all telecommunication technologies, including fixed, mobile, and content services, to individuals and institutions under a single roof. It provides service to an average coverage area compared to other operators, and its prices are relatively cheaper than Turkcell.
Vodafone Tariffs and Plans for Foreigners
Vodafone offers Tourist Prepaid SIM Card, which includes 20 GB data + 750 mins local calls + 1000 SMS messaging + unlimited Whatsapp and Telegram usage for 30 days. The sales price of this package is approximately 35 EUR, equivalent to the Turkish lira including the new SIM card price, and prices may vary from shop to shop. You can review all tariffs and plans before you pick one.
Turk Telekom is the leading telecommunications and technology company in Turkey. It provides a wide range of services including broadband internet, digital television, mobile communication, and fixed-line phone services. Turk Telekom provides service to low coverage areas compared to other operators, and its prices are relatively cheaper than other operators.
Turk Telekom Tariffs and Plans for Foreigners
Turk Telekom offers different prepaid Tourist Plans, beginning package includes 20 GB data + 750 mins local calls + 750 SMS messaging for 28 days. The sales price of this package in 2023 is approximately 30 EUR, equivalent to the Turkish lira including the new SIM card price.
Pre or post-paid: Which payment plan should I choose?
As a tourist visiting Turkey for a short-term visit, a prepaid mobile plan is generally the best choice. Prepaid plans allow you to pay for the minutes, texts, and data that you use, with no long-term commitment, required. This is ideal for tourists who may not need a mobile connection for an extended period. Prepaid plans are also often more flexible, allowing you to add additional credit as needed. Postpaid plans, on the other hand, require a contract and may come with additional fees and charges. Additionally, postpaid plans may not be a viable option for tourists who do not have a Turkish credit history or residency permit. Overall, prepaid mobile plans are the most convenient and cost-effective option for tourists visiting Turkey.
How to buy a new SIM card in Turkey?
Buying a SIM card in Turkey is a straightforward process. SIM cards are widely available for purchase at mobile operator stores, as well as at convenience stores, supermarkets, and kiosks throughout the country. To purchase a SIM card, you will need to present your passport and fill in the necessary information form.
Where is the best place to buy a new SIM card?
Airports are the best place to buy a new SIM card in Turkey. After arriving in the country, you can easily find a mobile operator store at each airport you land and get a new sim card. But this may not be the cheapest way for you, SIM card sales prices in the shops located in the city are cheaper than at the airports.
How do I activate my Turkish SIM card?
After purchasing a new SIM card, you will need to activate it by inserting it into your phone. Although your line usually starts working after you insert it in, sometimes it can take up to 24 hours for activation.
How to check my data usage and balance?
You can check your data usage and the balance of your mobile line with the operator’s mobile application, USSD codes, and sms.
Turkcell Balance Check
You can check, by downloading the Turkcell Mobile Application from your phone’s mobile application store such as Google Play Store or App Store. If you wish, you can also inquire by typing “KALAN” and sending free sms to “2222” or by dialing *100# from your phone.
Vodafone Balance Check
You can check, by downloading the Vodafone Mobile Application from your phone’s mobile application store such as Google Play Store or App Store. If you wish, you can also inquire by typing “OZET” and sending free sms to “7000” or by dialing *123# from your phone.
Turk Telekom Balance Check
You can check, by downloading the Turk Telekom Mobile Application from your phone’s mobile application store such as Google Play Store or App Store. If you wish, you can also inquire by calling “9333” or by dialing *100# from your phone.
Is there a 5G in Turkey?
Even if operators make 5G technology available experimentally, it is not yet common for the end user. LTE technology with the name 4.5G is widely used throughout the country.
Will my phone work in Turkey?
Phones purchased abroad are legally used in Turkey for up to 120 days. Even if this period is sufficient for touristic trips, those who plan to stay in the country for a long time should register their mobile phone’s IMEI numbers with the BTK (Information Technologies and Communications Authority) system for an IMEI registration fee.
How do I register my phone if I want to extend my stay?
You can register your mobile phone online with your passport in Turkey’s E-Government IMEI registration system or mobile operators’ stores.
In conclusion, navigating the mobile landscape in Turkey can seem overwhelming, especially for foreign visitors. However, with a bit of research and planning, it’s possible to find a mobile plan that meets your needs and budget. Whether you opt for a prepaid or postpaid plan, choose a major or alternative mobile operator, or seek out additional features such as international calling or data roaming, there are plenty of options to explore. By following the tips and recommendations outlined in this beginner’s guide, you can make an informed decision and enjoy seamless connectivity during your time in Turkey. So don’t hesitate to explore the mobile options available to you and find the right plan for your needs. Happy traveling!
What is the best mobile operator for tourists in Turkey?
Turkcell is the best mobile operator for first-time visitors. It’s Turkey’s largest mobile operator with the widest coverage area and network infrastructure. With its widespread stores all over Turkey, you can easily solve any problem you need at any store.
What is the cheapest mobile operator for tourists in Turkey?
Turk Telekom is one of the mobile operators in Turkey that offers affordable and budget-friendly plans for tourists. It is the best option for those looking for a budget-friendly way of communication in Turkey.
Do not forget to read Emergency Numbers in Turkey before planning your Turkey Trip.