Life in Turkey

How to get a Turkish SIM card?

You can buy a Turkish SIM card easily and without breaking the bank, as soon as you arrive at the airport, or in town, in one of the shops of local operators.

The most economical solution, buying a prepaid card on site allows you to communicate during your stay in Turkey.

Buying a Turkish SIM card when arriving

The main mobile operators in Turkey are Vodafone, Turkcell, Turk telecom and Avea (which belongs to the Turk Telecom group). It will be easy to find one of their shops, in large numbers in the streets of Istanbul, and even at the airport* for those in a hurry. To do this, simply ask in store for a Turkish SIM card. The presentation of an identity document will be requested. Once operational, the card will allow you to obtain a Turkish number, but rest assured, this will not cause any loss of your contacts. However, be careful not to lose your original SIM card.

Your card allows you to have internet access, to make a certain number of calls and sms for a period of one month, and it is possible to recharge it as soon as your package ends, by going to the one of the brand’s stores or directly on the mobile operator’s application (which an advisor can install for you when purchasing the card). However, it is important to specify that this Turkish SIM card is only valid for 60 days, and that you will have to buy another one beyond this period (the operator generally sends you an SMS a few days before, in order to notify of the end of the period of use).

Note also that Turkey blocks the communication of all phones acquired abroad after 120 days. You must therefore register your phone before this deadline if you plan to stay more than four months on Turkish territory (although the registration period for the phone was extended by the Turkish parliament last February).

The operators offer packages at similar prices and offers, which you will adapt according to your needs (depending on whether you already have free WI-FI access in your home or not, for example). In Turkey, however, be aware that most cafes / restaurants and some public places allow you to connect to WI-FI for free.

For a basic package (lasting 30 days), here are some examples of offers offered:

  • Turkcell: For 500 TL, you have 20 GB of Internet, 850 call minutes and 500 sms (offers go up to 1,300TL per month),
  • Vodafone: For 400 TL, 23 GB of Internet, 750 call minutes and 250 sms,
  • Turk Telecom: For 500 TL you get 25 GB, 750 call minutes and 250 sms,

Count around 100 TL for the recharge once your offer expires (within the 60-day period).

Online purchase before departure and e-SIM

It is also possible for you to order your Turkish SIM card on the internet before your departure, if you do not want to waste time when you arrive. However, this solution is more expensive. Amazon, for example, offers a card valid for 7 days, worth €15 giving access to 1GB of Internet. The card works automatically as soon as you arrive, connecting to the networks of local operators.

The Holafly site also offers home delivery of a Turkish SIM card. Thus, it is possible for you to receive your SIM card for free in 7 to 10 days (possible to receive it more quickly by paying). Simply select the period for which you are staying in Turkey (between one and four weeks), and you will receive your local SIM card before leaving, so that you can communicate as soon as you arrive. For example, a €34 package gives you access to 4 GB, for 30 days.

If your phone is compatible, there is also the e-SIM option (possible with Holafly in particular). Thanks to this virtual card (scanned via a QR code), it is possible to keep your French or foreign card, and to continue to receive sms and calls on your original number, while having a local Internet offer. To do this, all you have to do, once the purchase is made, is to scan a QR-code that you will receive by email (if the purchase is made online), in order to use the local plan. Turkish operators also offer an e-SIM offer, starting at 700 TL.