A prepaid SIM card for Turkey is recommended for all tourists who want to stay in the country of the two continents for a longer period. After all, there are very high roaming charges outside the European Union. Prepaid SIM cards are ideal for keeping an eye on costs at all times while on vacation in Turkey. With such a card, users can make cheap calls, send SMS and browse the mobile internet. There is also the advantage that travelers can buy the SIM card online in advance. The card is ready for use when you arrive in Turkey.
Tourists who make calls, send SMS or use the Internet in Turkey with a local SIM card from home can expect a significantly higher mobile phone bill than usual. This is due to roaming charges outside the European Union. Unlike in other European countries, there is no legal regulation for these fees in Turkey, which is why mobile phone and Internet costs are usually very high. With a Turkish SIM card, travelers can work around this problem and benefit from other advantages.
Find our favorite SIM Cards for Turkey below.
OneSimCard - International SIM Card for Turkey
When it comes to international SIM Cards, we definitely cannot overlook OneSimCard. This international mobile service providers offered Prepaid SIM Cards for more than 200 countries worldwide. They allow free incoming calls from 162 countries. So if you need to enjoy mobile data service in Turkey and would like to be able to receive calls, then OneSimCard is the right choice for you!
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KeepGo - Free Roaming SIM Card for Turkey
You may have not heard about KeepGo before but this company is an official partner of Vodafone, Telefonica and AT&T. The SIM Card provided by KeepGo is valid forever – without any contract! If you need to use internet, you simply upload some credit and off you go. It is the most convenient option available if you are traveling to Turkey several times per year.
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FAQ - SIM Card Turkey
Which Turkish SIM Card should I pick?
In order to find the right tariff for the trip to Turkey, you need to consider your usage behavior first. For example, if you place a lot of value on phone calls, you should opt for a tariff with many free minutes or a large telephone credit. Tourists in Turkey who do not want to be exclusively dependent on public WiFi should choose a tariff with a high data volume – then it is possible to send vacation pictures at any time. It is also advisable to find out in advance about the network coverage in Turkey. As a rule, it is very good for all providers, even in rural areas.
A local SIM Card keeps the costs low
A prepaid SIM card for Turkey eliminates the high roaming costs that would otherwise arise when using your home SIM card in Turkey. Tourists can save money as they can use this card to choose a cheap tariff that corresponds to their usage behavior. The SIM card is also advantageous for communication within Turkey. Users receive a Turkish phone number and can use it to check-in a hotel. Since calls to and from a domestic telephone number are usually much cheaper, it is the best choice to get a SIM Card for Turkey.
Stress-free mobile internet abroad
Anyone who already buys a prepaid SIM card for Turkey online starts their vacation in Turkey much more relaxed. You are spared additional stress because you don’t have to frantically look around for a SIM card in Turkey. SIM cards can also be bought at airports, supermarkets, petrol stations and mobile phone shops in Turkey – but activation can take up to 24 hours there. In addition, communication difficulties sometimes arise due to a lack of language skills. Another advantage: If the Turkish SIM card is bought before, users have enough time to tell their contacts the new number.
Requirements for a Turkish SIM Card
In order for a smartphone, tablet or router with a prepaid SIM card to be immediately ready for use in Turkey, some technical requirements are required. Firstly, the device must not have a SIM lock. SIM lock means that only SIM cards from a certain provider work. Contract mobile phones in particular often have such a restriction. On the other hand, the SIM card must have a suitable format (standard, micro, nano). A prepaid card from some providers also requires a web-enabled UMTS cell phone.
How much does the roaming cost in Turkey?
Roaming is not an option in Turkey because the country is not part of the EU.
Depending on the provider, a minute phone call can cost more than a dollar, a few MB of data can quickly make up a few dollars.
Your mobile operator will send you an SMS after your arrival in Turkey with the roaming conditions.
Where can I buy a SIM for Turkey?
You can buy SIM cards at the major tourist airports in Turkey. This is possible in Istanbul, Antalya, Izmir, Ankara, Dalaman, and Bodrum-Milas. Small local airports without an international terminal usually do not have stores with SIM cards.
Tourist SIM cards purchased at the airport work between a week and a month. A data volume of a few GB and free minutes on the phone are included. Due to the devaluation of the Turkish lira, SIM cards cost about the same as in Europe. Until 2017, you paid even more for a Turkish SIM card than in the EU.
Currently, you have to expect a price of 10 to 20 dollars for a Turkish SIM card at the airport. SIM cards outside the airports are significantly cheaper.
Is the internet fast in Turkey?
The mobile internet works well in all cities and tourist regions. There are very few hotels with poor internet connections. In the hotels on the Turkish Riviera, in Istanbul and on the seaside resorts on the Aegean, you very rarely have a problem with the Internet. In our experience, the speed is sufficient for streaming, YouTube and Netflix in 90% of all cases.
We have had bad experiences with WiFi only in hotels in Central Anatolia, for example once in a remote hotel in Avanos in Cappadocia.
The mobile Internet works almost everywhere in Turkey with a download speed of more than 10MB. We tested it from Cesme on the Aegean to Sanliurfa in Southeastern Anatolia. You sometimes have problems in sparsely populated regions in Central and Eastern Anatolia. There are roads along which there is no house for 10 to 20 km.
Turkey has twice the area of Germany with the same number of inhabitants. 40% of the approximately 80 million Turks live in Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Gaziantep, and Bursa. The network coverage is good with the exception of some sparsely populated regions.
Is there free WiFi in Turkey?
Almost all the hotels in Turkey have free internet. Restaurants, cafes, train stations, ferries, and long-distance buses almost always have free internet.
The tourist airports in Istanbul, Izmir, Ankara, Bodrum-Milas, and Dalaman have free internet for at least 2 hours. You have to register for free with your phone number. You can do this with a confirmation SMS.
The small local airports usually have the same system for free internet for 2 hours. A very negative exception is the airport in Antalya. There are only a few restaurants, cafes and the paid airport lounge WiFi. The cafes outside the airport even charge money for WiFi. Otherwise, almost all hotels, restaurants and cafes in the entire province of Antalya have free Internet.
Do I need a VPN in Turkey?
Wikipedia is the most prominent blocked website in Turkey. Access in all available languages (Turkish, German, English…) is blocked in Turkey. The booking of hotels within Turkey is blocked (for example Booking.com). This means that you don’t see any hotels in Turkey within Turkey. From outside of Turkey, booking Turkish hotels with Booking.com is easy.
Social media websites have not been blocked in Turkey for a long time.
Based on the number of inhabitants, Turkey even has the most Instagram users worldwide percentage-wise. Everyone is there. Twitter and Youtube are extremely popular. Facebook is on the steeply descending branch in Turkey. Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, and Telegram work perfectly.
Our conclusion about the mobile internet in Turkey
The internet works well in almost all Turkish hotels. Hoteliers realize that the most common question after checking in is the WiFi password.
The mobile network is well developed in Turkey. The download speed is ok almost everywhere. We’ve been to all parts of Turkey. Speed was only an issue in very remote regions.
Buying SIM cards is unfortunately still complicated in Turkey. Fortunately, there are now shops with SIM cards at the major airports. It is still not possible to use foreign phones with a Turkish SIM card in the long term. This is a problem for long-term tourists. This doesn’t affect you on a normal trip though unless you want to stay in Turkey for more than 120 days.
Last product update on 2022-09-28 | Source: Amazon Affiliate