If you’re visiting Istanbul and want to stay connected with your loved ones, getting a tourist prepaid SIM card is a great option.
While you don’t have a SIM card, you can still use Wi-Fi to stay connected. Many cafes, restaurants, and hotels offer free Wi-Fi to their customers. You can also find Wi-Fi hotspots throughout the city, including in parks and public squares. There is free Wi-Fi available at Istanbul airport. To connect, search for the Wi-Fi network “IST-Wi-Fi” on your device and follow the instructions to connect. The Wi-Fi is available throughout the airport, including in the departure and arrival areas. Some popular locations for free Wi-Fi include Starbucks, McDonald’s, and KFC. You can also find free Wi-Fi in some public parks, such as Gezi Park and Yildiz Park.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to buy one:
Step 1: Choose your network provider
There are three major network providers in Turkey – Turkcell, Vodafone, and Turk Telekom. You can choose any of them based on your preference and budget.
Step 2: Locate a store
You can find the stores of these network providers at the airport, shopping malls, or in the city center. At Istanbul airport and Sabiha Gökcen airport, you will see mobile internet provider shops of Turkey such as: Turkcell, Turk Telekom and Vodafone. However, it’s worth noting that the prices at these stores can be higher than at stores in the city center. You can use Google Maps or ask locals for directions.
Step 3: Bring your passport
You need to bring your passport with you to the store. This is required by Turkish law to register your SIM card.
Step 4: Choose a prepaid plan and check prices
To buy a tourist prepaid SIM card in Turkish, you can say “Turist hatlı ön ödemeli SIM kartı satın almak istiyorum.” (pronounced “toorist hat-luh uhn uhn-deh-meh-lee sim kart-uh sah-tuhn al-mahk ish-tee-yor-um”) which translates to “I want to buy a tourist prepaid SIM card.”
The network provider will offer you different prepaid plans with various data limits and validity periods. Prices will vary depending on the provider and the plan you choose. Make sure to ask the store personnel about the prices and choose the one that suits your needs and budget.
Step 5: Purchase the SIM card
After choosing your prepaid plan, the network provider will give you a SIM card. You will also need to pay for the plan at this time.
Step 6: Register your SIM card
The store personnel will help you register your SIM card by entering your passport information into their system.
Step 7: Activate your SIM card
Once your SIM card is registered, the store personnel will activate it for you. You can then start using your phone with your new prepaid plan.
Roaming with Vodafone
If you use Vodafone as your network provider, you may be able to use your prepaid plan in other countries as well, including Turkey. Vodafone offers free roaming for certain plans in some countries, but it’s best to check with the store personnel to confirm if your plan includes this feature.
Step 8: Enjoy your trip!
Now that you have a prepaid SIM card, you can stay connected with your loved ones and navigate Istanbul with ease. Enjoy your trip!