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Turkey SIM Card for Tourists & Internet and Wi-Fi

This is our ultimate Guide to buying a SIM card for Tourists in Turkey.

If you are planning a trip to Istanbul or another city in Turkey, and want to stay connected, then you should consider buying a prepaid SIM card for Turkey.

In this page, we will tell you all you need to know about SIM cards for Tourists in Turkey. You will find helpful information about operators and which SIM card to buy, where to purchase one as well as their cost. You will also read about Wi-Fi Rental and free Wi-Fi Zones in Istanbul. 

Let’s start! 

Do I really need a Turkey SIM Card for Istanbul

Do I really need a Turkey SIM Card for Istanbul?

Istanbul has Wi-Fi zones all over the city that you can use for free. In addition, most hotel lobbies as well as many restaurants and cafés offer free Wi-Fi. So you may ask yourself, do I really need a prepaid SIM Card for my trip to Istanbul. 

If your stay is longer than 4-5 days, buying a local SIM card is definitely the best option for you to stay in touch with family and friends while having good phone coverage and access to data.  

But even if your stay is shorter, it might be a wise idea to opt for a prepaid SIM card instead of depending on free Wi-Fi or renting a pocket Wi-Fi router. 

It is very easy to buy a prepaid SIM Card in Turkey but can be expensive. You will have many advantages that make traveling so much easier, such as ordering an Uber or Taxi with ease, looking up a word in Google Translate, or getting directions from Google Maps at the click of a button. Of course, you can also use it to post a story or photo on social media or to find a good restaurant nearby. 

With a local SIM card, you enjoy good coverage and don't have to worry about high roaming charges or expensive phone bills. Also, you don't have to rely on finding free Wi-Fi, which is most likely unsecured and may have a poor signal. But most importantly, you will have a working network in case of an emergency. 

Tip: It is also easier to obtain a HES Code, an individual code, which was introduced as part of the Covid-19 Security Measures, with a local phone number. Read here more about Covid-19 Security Measures in Istanbul.

Important: Buying a prepaid SIM card for Turkey is a good option only if your phone is unlocked. Otherwise, you will not be able to use any SIM card except the one from your home operator.

GSM Operators in Turkey

GSM Operators in Turkey 

  • Turkcell is the largest mobile provider and the leading GSM operator in Turkey. In terms of good network coverage and internet speed in Turkey, it is the best provider, especially in smaller cities or remote areas
  • All three operators offer a variety of prepaid SIM Card packages to choose from, some of them even have special SIM cards for tourists.
  • Remember that prepaid SIM cards in Turkey are valid for a maximum of 120 days.
  • The country code for Turkey is +90

Network Coverage in Turkey

Currently, 4G LTE advanced network coverage is available at all major tourist destinations in Turkey.  

As the need for high-speed 5G networks continues to grow, Turkey has taken important steps to provide 5G networks to its citizens. Commercial 5G network coverage is expected to be available by 2022.

Internet speed

The average Internet download speed of the Turkish mobile Internet is around 30 Mbps.

Cost for Turkey SIM Cards for Tourists

Turkcell Operator in Istanbul

1. Turkcell


Turkcell provides a special package for travelers, the “Tourist Welcome Pack”.

This package will be assigned to customers who buy a prepaid Turkcell SIM card with a foreign passport.

  • What is included: A SIM card with 20GB data + 200 minutes of local calls + unlimited messaging via Whatsapp &BiP. As a bonus, you get special discounts at restaurants, hotels, car rental, and more.
  • Cost: Price for the SIM Card package is 169 TL. Additionally, there is a one-time service fee of 40.74 TL.
  • Validity: Turkcell’s “Tourist Welcome Pack” is valid for 30 days
  • Visit the official Turkcell website for further details and the most up-to-date prices.
Vodafone Operator in Istanbul

2. Vodafone Turkey 

The mobile provider Vodafone Turkey offers a special tourist package for prepaid SIM cards. 

First, you will have to purchase a Vodafone Turkey prepaid SIM card at any Vodafone shop. After activation, you will have to buy the additional “Tourist Exclusive Pack” for 40 TL.

  • What is included: The Tourist Exclusive Pack consists of 20 GB data + 750 minutes of local calls + 1000 SMS 
  • Cost: The “Tourist Exclusive Pack” costs 40 TL. Vodafone Turkey SIM Card is not included
  • Validity: Vodafone’s “Tourist Exclusive Pack” is valid for 28 days.
  • For more information and the most up-to-date prices, please cross check with the official Vodafone website. 
Turk Telekom Operator in Istanbul

3. Turk Telekom

Contrary to Turkcell and Vodafone, Türk Telekom does not provide a special SIM card package for tourists. Alternatively, you can buy a regular prepaid SIM card and then an additional one-month service package.

  • Cost: The fee for a prepaid Turk Telekom SIM card may vary from store to store. Prices of additional one-month service package vary depending on the scope of the package.
  • Validity: A Turk Telekom prepaid SIM Card is valid for 30 days.
  • Check the official Turk Telekom website for detailed information. (only in Turkish) 

With all tariffs, it is possible to recharge it when it is used up.

Important: If you decide to buy a prepaid SIM card in Turkey, you will need to show your valid passport, as the SIM card will be registered under your name.

Where to buy Turkey SIM Card in Istanbul

1. In the City

There are stores practically everywhere in Istanbul where you can buy a prepaid SIM card. In addition to the official branches of Turkcell, Vodafone and Turk Telekom, there are also electronic shops, phone stores, and kiosks that sell local SIM cards of these GSM operators. 

Please be aware that the branches of the Turkish GSM operators as well as the resellers may set their own prices for the SIM card. For this reason, prices vary from store to store, and can even be as high as 200 TL.

In general, you will find better and cheaper deals in the city than at the airport.

2. At Istanbul Airport or Sabiha Gökcen Airport

You can also find stores selling prepaid SIM cards in the arrival terminal of Istanbul Airport and Sabiha Gökcen Airport. One advantage is that the staff speaks English, and since the store is tailored to tourists, it will be easy to find the best tariffs and deals for your needs.

However, as mentioned above, you will usually find more expensive offers in the stores at the airport. For this reason, we recommend to buy your Turkey SIM card downtown.

If you wish to buy your SIM card as soon as you arrive, however, we recommend you to check the tariffs on this page and on the official websites of the Turkish GSM operators. This way you will be able to compare the prices and decide spontaneously for or against the purchase.

Need an airport transfer from Istanbul or Sabiha Gökcen Airport? See all your airport transfer options and book your Istanbul airport transfer here

Rent a Pocket Wifi in Istanbul

You can easily rent a Pocket Wifi Devise for the time you are in Istanbul and access internet through it anytime. It is a device that connects you to internet without limitation and through several device (phone and computer). The access to internet is fast and covered anywhere in Turkey thanks to the support of Turkcell, which is the best phone company in Turkey.

The process to rent a pocket wifi is very easy:

  1. Book your device on through this link
  2. Get your device delivered to you at your hotel or directly at the airport anytime you want
  3. Use the device(s) according to the guideline during your trip
  4. The company will pick up the device when and where you want before you leave the country

And voilà! Now you have internet during your travel to Turkey. For more information, click the button below.

Bottom Line: Best Prepaid SIM Card for Tourists in Turkey

Our recommendation for tourists is the “Tourist Welcome Pack” from Turkcell or the rental Pocket Wifi device covered by Turkcell. Turkcell does not only have the best mobile network coverage, its package deal is tailored precisely to the needs of tourists. 

We particularly like the fact that the SIM card or the device is already part of the package. This makes it much easier for tourists, because the fees for prepaid SIM cards vary or devices from store to store in Turkey, which is why tourists often pay much more than locals. Another bonus is unlimited Whatsapp and the special benefits offered for the SIM card and several phones & computers usage for the pocket wifi device.

SIM cards in Turkey FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Which SIM card is the best for tourists in Turkey?

The best SIM card for your holiday in Turkey is “Tourist Welcome Pack” from Turkcell. Since Turkcell has the best mobile network coverage in Turkey and a package deal tailored precisely to the needs of tourists, we think it is the best SIM card to use as a tourist in Turkey.

We particularly like the fact that the SIM card is already part of the package. This makes it much easier for tourists, because the fees for prepaid SIM cards vary from store to store in Turkey, which is why tourists often pay much more than locals. Another bonus is unlimited Whatsapp and the special benefits offered.

How much is a SIM card in Turkey?

Since the branches of the Turkish GSM operators as well as the resellers can set their own prices for the SIM card, the cost of a prepaid SIM card varies from shop to shop and depending on the GSM operator. You can expect it to cost around 100-200 TL. Remember that you will often need to pay an activation fee and purchase an additional one-month data package.

Where to buy a Turkish SIM card?

You can buy your prepaid SIM card for Turkey either in the city or at the arrival floor at Istanbul or Sabiha Gökcen airport. 

There are stores practically everywhere in Istanbul where you can buy a prepaid SIM card. In addition to the official branches of Turkcell, Vodafone and Turk Telekom, there are also electronic shops, phone stores, and kiosks that sell local SIM cards of these GSM operators. 

Since you will find better deals downtown, we recommend that you buy your Turkish SIM card in the city than at the airport.

Can I buy a SIM card at Istanbul Airport?

Yes, there are branches of all three Turkish GSM operators as well as mobile stores at the arrival floor of Istanbul Airport that sell local SIM cards. Note, however, that the prices for a prepaid SIM card in the stores at the airport are higher than in the city.

Free WiFi in Istanbul

WIFI & Internet

Free WiFi in Istanbul

There is free WiFi service offered by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality to the people living in Istanbul and to the guests visiting the city.

How it works: 
Register with your mobile phone number and your password by connecting to the “IBB Wi-Fi” network.

Please also see the map in the Istanbul Welcome Card package for free WiFi-zones. In addition, free WiFi service is available in many restaurants and cafés in Istanbul.

Free WiFi zones in Istanbul

  • Aksaray Square: Khedive Palace’s Park
  • Alibeyköy Bus Station: İstiklal Street (Galatasaray High School)
  • Anatolian Castle Port: Kadıköy Square
  • Avcılar İBB Information Point: Kartal Square
  • Bakırköy Square: Mecidiyeköy Square and in front of Cevahir Shopping Center
  • Bayrampaşa Bus Station: Miniatürk/İBB İnformation Point
  • Beşiktaş Square: Pierre Lotti Hill
  • Beyazıd Square: Saraçhane Park
  • Beylikdüzü Square: Sarıyer İBB İnformation Point
  • Dragos Social Facilities and surrounding: Sultanahmet Square
  • Eminönü Square: Sultanbeyli Square
  • Emirgan Park: Şirinevler Square
  • Eyüp Square: Üsküdar Square
  • Galata Tower and surrounding: Taksim Square

Important Telephone Numbers and Prefixes

  • 112 Emergency Call/ Ambulance
  • 155 Police
  • 156 Gendarmerie
  • 170 Tourist Information
  • 00 + Country code + Area code (without 0) + Phone number = International calls
  • 0049 Country code Germany
  • 0090 Country code Turkey
  • 0 Area code + Phone number = Domestic calls
  • 0212 Area code Istanbul, European side
  • 0216 Area code Istanbul, Asian side

If you have questions, please leave us a comment. Our team is happy to help you.

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