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Buying a SIM card in Turkey

If you plan to travel to Turkey we recommend buying a local Turkish SIM card in order to reduce phone call and data transfer costs.

In Turkey there are three mobile operators in Turkey: Turkcell, Vodafone and Türk Telekom.

Turkcell is the biggest operator with best overall coverage so we recommend using this carrier for most travelers. However if you need more data transfer allowance you might also have a look at the current Vodafone's offer because they tend to sell generous data packages for heavy internet users.

Vodafone is also offering a special SIM card for holiday travelers so please make sure to check it out.

If you plan to travel a lot in rural areas we don't recommend using the smallest Turkish operator Türk Telekom because it offers the worst coverage outside of big cities.

Where to buy

In order to get the Turkish SIM card for the best price we strongly advise against buying it at airports because prices there can be significantly higher. It's usually your best bet to buy a SIM card at a kiosk, carrier shop or convenience store but the Turks tend to charge you more for that if you don't speak Turkish so please be aware of that.

SIM card registration

In order to use a Turkish SIM card it needs to be registered first. In order to do this a valid passport is required. Registration can be done at the point where you purchase the card.

Pricing

Please refer to the operators' website for current phone calls and data pricing as prices change frequently:

Mobile data speeds in Turkey

Mobile internet in the rural areas in Turkey can be problematic and sometimes there's no data coverage at all, so please take that into account.

In major cities LTE transfer rates are usually available but the top speeds aren't that impressive at all. On average you can get around 10 Mbit to 15 Mbit transfer rate on LTE connection in Turkey.

IMPORTANT NOTE

If you plan to stay in Turkey for longer than three months please bear in mind that you need to register your phone with the local tax office and pay a registration fee, otherwise your phone will stop working after 120 days. Turkish operators check your phone's IMEI number for this so if you're using dual-SIM phone you can circumvent this limitation by inserting the SIM card to another SIM slot. You can also use a different phone to avoid the registration fee after 120 days in Turkey.