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How to get mobile internet in Istanbul: What is the best option?

Here we are going to tell you all about how to connect to the internet in Istanbul, alternatives, prices, coverage, and more!

Julio Osuna

February 14, 2023

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If this is the first time you are traveling to Istanbul, and you want to keep in touch with your loved ones as you visit the wonders of this destination, you’re in the right place. Here, we will tell you how to connect to the internet during your trip, from the best options to get cellular data, like the eSIM card for Istanbul, to the coverage you will have in this country.

Choosing the alternative that best suits your needs and tastes is essential. Since it will depend on the need and the use, you will give to the internet you have. That is why we will explain everything about the different options so you can choose the one that best suits you. Read all you need to know in this article.

eSIM for Istanbul

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How to have mobile data in Istanbul?

Once you are there, you will find plenty of options to connect to the internet. One of the most popular alternatives is the eSIM card with international data. This card is the ideal option to connect for a reasonable price in Istanbul. It is cheaper than an international roaming service and offers other advantages, such as free and instant shipping because since it is a virtual device, you receive it in your email after you complete the purchase.

Anyway, you can also choose other alternatives like activating the roaming service of your home operator but keep in mind that it is the most expensive service. Another option is to use Pocket WiFi, a small device that will let you connect for a high price, or to use the public and free networks you can find in the city.

(You may be interested in how to have mobile internet in Hong Kong)

Prices of the different alternatives

Even though all these alternatives let you connect to the internet, not all do that for the same price or with the same benefits. So, before you choose any of them, we recommend you read the comparison table below, where you can find each alternative’s price and data plan.

eSIM card for Istanbul10 days with unlimited data at $37
AT&T Roaming$2.05/MB
Vodafone Roaming$6/day
T-Mobile Roaming$15/MB
Renting a Pocket WiFi$63 + the shipping ($23)
Public WiFiFree
Table 1. Prices of alternatives to have internet in Istanbul.

eSIM card for Istanbul

Unlimited data eSIM for Istanbul
eSIM card Holafly store. Source: Holafly,

As we already mentioned, the eSIM card is one of the best options to connect because of its low price and additional benefits. It is a virtual device you can buy and receive no matter where you are! Additionally, this is a top-rated service among travelers. However, before you buy one, you must ensure your cellphone is eSIM-compatible.

Once you are sure you can manage an eSIM card, you will have to find an eSIM provider to get the eSIM. Holafly is a great provider, that offers unlimited data for an accessible price, so you won’t have to worry about running out of the internet during your trip. It has other benefits, like the possibility of sharing your data, connecting to the best cellular networks in Istanbul, and 24-hour customer service and support in your language.

If you want to visit other countries, you can do so. You can buy eSIM cards for other destinations, like the eSIM card for Finland or the eSIM card for all of Europe. Or if you are heading to Asia, chances are you need the best eSIM for Asia travel.

Prices of the eSIM card

  • 5 days with unlimited data for 21 USD
  • 7 days with unlimited data for 29 USD
  • 10 days with unlimited data for 37 USD
  • 15 days with unlimited data for 47 USD
  • 20 days with unlimited data for 54 USD
  • 30 days with unlimited data for 75 USD
  • 60 days with unlimited data for 107 USD
  • 90 days with unlimited data for 139 USD

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Can I connect to the internet with my operator?

Another option is to use the international roaming service from your operator. It is a comfortable option because you don’t have to get an additional product or device, but it is costly. Also, the coverage is not always guaranteed, which may cause headaches. Those are the reasons why it is not a very recommended option.

Roaming with AT&T

If you are an AT&T user and want to connect to the internet in Istanbul, you must choose the International Day Pass, which costs $10 per day and allows you to enjoy unlimited data, calls, and text. Or use the pay-per-use service. With it, you will only have to pay for your consumption, which is charged at the following rate:

  • $2.05 for every used MB

Roaming with Vodafone

If you want to use Vodafone to activate international roaming to Istanbul, you must download the My Vodafone official app, look for the data roaming settings, and activate or deactivate the roaming service. It is usually automatically activated, but you can deactivate it if you’d like. Their price for this destination is $7 per day, and with it, you will be able to use your regular UK plan with its included data, minutes, and texts.

Roaming with T-Mobile

Finally, if you are a customer of the US cellular carrier T-Mobile, you can use international roaming during your trip, and the cost will depend on your current plan. That is, users with one of the Global Simple Plans can use the internet in Istanbul at no extra cost. On the other hand, those with any other plan will have to pay the following price for their usage:

  • $15 for every used MB

Pocket WiFi for Istanbul

Another option to have the internet during your trip is acquiring a Pocket WiFi. These small routers you can carry in your pocket and take everywhere you go. They are easy to use. You only have to turn on the device and connect to the private network. However, it is an expensive option because you have to pay for renting the device and the cellular data separately.

It will depend on the provider you choose. If you use Travelers WiFi, you must pay $73.4 a week for unlimited 3G internet and 2 GB of 4G cellular data. You will also have to pay $23 for the shipping.

Places with free WiFi service

The last alternative is to connect to the WiFi networks you can find in public places like cafés, restaurants, airports, and hotels. Nonetheless, the connection speed is not the best, and depending on the place, it may not be available. Some places may charge you to use this service. You’ll be able to find places with WiFi through websites like wifimap. But remember that connection to free WiFi is not the best option, as it could be unstable and insecure.

Our recommendation

As you can see, many alternatives let you connect to the internet in Istanbul. But the eSIM card is one of the best. Why? Because of its many advantages, accessible price, unlimited internet, and excellent coverage. Other options like Pocket WiFi or roaming are inaccessible. So, we recommend you buy an eSIM card and fully enjoy your trip.

Frequent questions about how to connect to the internet in Istanbul

Which network frequencies work in Istanbul?

The frequencies available in Istanbul are 2100, 1800, and 900. If those are not the frequencies your cellphone uses, you won’t be able to connect.

What operators are in Istanbul?

Istanbul has many companies that offer telecommunication services, but the main ones are Avea and Fital. With Holafly’s virtual SIM card you enjoy the support of the networks of these two operators.

What networks are in Istanbul?

Istanbul has the following networks: 2G, 3G, and 4G.