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How to get Tourist Sim Cards in Turkey



Turkey is now a very easy destination for Filipinos, to begin with, you only need an e-visa if you have a Valid US Visa. Read this to check if you are qualified for a turkish e-visa. Another is that flights to turkey have become very affordable. If you can, you can even go to it’s neighboring and equally beautiful country, Georgia (which is also visa free if you have a valid US or Japan Visa) . 

When buying a sim in Turkey, you have to check prices, coverage, and data plans. For instance, sim cards in Sri Lanka has a separate data consumption for daytime or nighttime use. In terms of price, Thailand sim cards and Georgia sim cards are cheaper than sim cards in Vietnam and Sri Lanka.  On the other hand, Taiwan sim cards give you unlimited access to internet, whereas some are metered with GB such as in Sri Lanka. So what’s the case in Turkey sim cards?

In this article, be informed of the things you need to know in choosing the best sim card in Turkey, including its cost, top-ups, sim activation and where to avail.

Sim Card Options in Turkey

There are only three (3) network providers to choose from in Turkey. They are Turkcell, Vodafone, and Türk Telekom. Fortunately, mobile technology and internet coverage is pretty advanced in this country, so you can expect 4G connections to all popular tourist destinations (even up to 4.5G). And as a spoiler alert, they are even pushing for 5G connections as of now. This is also true to top playing network operator sim cards in Taiwan.

To start with, let’s try comparing the sim cards by the growth of consumers and coverage. Turkcell, among the three, is the biggest operator in the market. It has the greatest coverage and has the most number of subscribers, too.

Next to Turkcell is Vodafone. It is known as the second largest in terms of consumers and comes second for network coverage, too. The reason why they have a competing number of subscribers, is primarily due to a larger amount of data offered compared to Turkcell.

Last but not the least, we have Türk Telekom. It is the smallest of all network operators, so coverage outside major towns and cities is relatively poorer than the two.

Most tourist opt to Turkcell because of its strong network coverage. On the other hand, some still prefer Vodafone due to its promising data packages. Let’s further compare these two best sim card options.

Prices and Data Packages

There aren’t so much choices in terms of data packages but both Turkcell and Vodafone have tourist packages which offers large data with calls and texts for a reasonable price.

Turkey Sim Card

With the presented comparison, Turkcell and Vodafone are neck-in-neck in terms of data, and validity. The only difference now is the SMS & calls and the price. Vodafone offers larger call time, whereas Turkcell offers free messaging via BiP and WhatsApp. But I guess as a tourist, the most determining value, if not the data plan, is the price. So for tourist sim cards, Turkcell is still the best.

How to Top-Up and Avail Data Packs

In case you need more data, you will have to top up. To buy load credits, you may purchase vouchers from supermarkets or at official store providers nationwide.

Here are some of the data packages that offers up to 4.5G connections. Make sure to register before opening your data.


Turk Cell Rates

Regular internet rates is 1 TL per 100Kb.


Vodaphone Turkey Rates

They charge 0,122 TL for every 10Kb of intenet usage for their new 4.5G SuperNet.

Where to buy Turkey Tourist Sim Card

There are Turkcell and Vodafone stores (also Turk Telekom) at the Istanbul Airport, where you will land at. They are not free and they are strict at offering you tourist sim cards (which is more expensive because tax is included there). The prices is as mentioned in this article. It is highly suggested to buy your sim card here because staff can speak in English and they can really assist you with sim card activation.

There are also retail stores outside the airport. Most of the times, these smaller stores sell both ordinary sim cards and tourist sim cards. But if you are a tourist, they will insist of giving you the tourist sim card, maybe because they are told to do so, or they get higher commissions. Also, they can charge you higher especially if you cannot speak Turkish. It’s their way of asking for a registration fee, especially that they will help you in activating the sim card.

Things Needed in Activating the Sim

You can ask a staff or vendor to activate your sim if necessary. They are willing to help you, but sometimes for a price, especially if you bought your sim card in a convenience store.

In sim card activation, you will be asked to present an identification card, usually your passport, so make sure it is ready ones you visit the store, but be vigilant and make sure it is properly returned.

Most Turkish are friendly and they are willing to assist you with your needs not just with buying your sim card but also in asking for guides. In fact, because they are multi-ethnic, they willingly embrace tourists. On top of that, they are known for honesty and hospitality, so do not be stressed out because you are surrounded by loving people.



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