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Use cell phone in Israel: How to do it?

If you don't know if you'll be able to use your cell phone in Israel, then we'll explain everything about it. Stay connected during your trip!

Leoneska Ruiz

August 2, 2023

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Something essential for many travelers nowadays is to know if they can use their cell phones while traveling. Today, we will explain how to use your cell phone in Israel so you can always stay connected.

Throughout this article, we will be answering many common questions that people ask themselves before traveling. From whether you will be able to use your cellphone during your trip to which are the main cellular services you can use to have mobile internet in Israel. So, if you are interested in knowing more, we invite you to keep reading.

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Will my phone work in Israel?

Unless you have a locked cell phone, most mobiles will work in Israel. The main thing to check is that your mobile has unlocked bands and that it can work with local networks, which are the following:

  • 2G: GSM 900, GSM 1800
  • 3G: UMTS 850, UMTS 900, UMTS 2100
  • 4G: LTE 700 (28), LTE 1500 (32), LTE 1800 (3), LTE 2100 (1)
  • 5G: 3500 (78)

If your mobile works with these mobile networks, you are good to go in Israel with your device. These networks will also work with local SIMs and international eSIMs that work with local carriers, so it’s important.

How can I use my US phone in Israel?

When traveling to Israel from the United States, the idea is for people to know how they can use their mobile while in the country.

American travelers have the chance to use their phone in four ways: eSIM for Israel, SIM card, Pocket WiFi, and free WiFi! These all have their pros and cons, so it’s important for travelers to know about each one.

In 2024, the best option is to use an international data plan in Israel, but let’s go to see each one of the alternatives.

Woman taking a photo in Israel. Source: Pexels.

What are the international plans options for using my cellphone in Israel?

Various providers will allow you to travel with an international plan to Israel and use your cell phone while connected to the internet. While we have already mentioned that one of the best options is to take an international plan with you, we have not talked much about any other options yet. 

That is why below, we will be talking in much more detail about the different options you can purchase for your trip, from the common SIM cards and eSIMs. As well as the widely used Pocket WiFi and, of course, the free WiFi that everyone is constantly looking for. 

eSIM for Israel

eSIM with unlimited data for Israel
eSIM with unlimited data for Israel. Source: Holafly.

When talking about new and innovative options, we have to talk about eSIM. This is a digital service that works very similar to SIM cards, with the big difference being that eSIMs are completely virtual. They work thanks to the fact that they are embedded in many of the latest generation cellphones, and you only have to activate the plan you purchase by scanning a QR code. 

The best way to purchase an eSIM is through online stores like Holafly. This online store offers you an eSIM with plenty of benefits and unlimited data! It doesn’t get easier and better than this, right?

Also, the process of buying an eSIM is very simple and will only take a few minutes. In addition, you can do the whole process from anywhere in the world! Currently, with Holafly customizable plans, you can choose the number of days that fit your trip. Some packages available with the Israel eSIM are: 

  • Unlimited Data for 1 day at $6.
  • Unlimited Data for 5 days at $21.
  • Unlimited Data for 10 days at $37.
  • Unlimited Data for 30 days at $75.
  • Unlimited Data for 90 days at $139.

You can also buy unlimited data plans for Asia with coverage in multiple destinations!

Local SIM Card for Israel

When traveling to Israel, there will be different local carriers for travelers to check on the country. Local companies like Cellcom, Golan Telecom, Partner, HOT Mobile, and Pelephone will have different stores where people can visit and get a SIM card for their trip.

But is it actually easy to get a local SIM card in Israel? First, let’s talk about the price. People will have to pay from $19 to $24 just for a SIM card; the data plan is included separately. For those buying a SIM card in a grocery or convenience store, these will surely include data plans but will cost way more.

For travelers, the idea is to get a SIM card outside of the official carrier store. This is because these companies actually have more requirements for travelers to get a SIM card in just a couple of days. A passport should do for buying, but if the company requests other documents, travelers won’t have access to them!

Given the price and how complicated it can be to get a SIM card, the main cons for travelers, the pros are that these work quite well within the Israeli territory and work with old mobiles, which is something great to know!

Pocket WiFi for Israel

We will continue with the list and talk about Pocket WiFi Israel. This is a very popular service among people traveling in groups. The main advantage of this service is that you can connect several devices to the Pocket WiFi, usually between 5 and 10 devices such as cellphones, laptops, tablets, and more.

However, one of the big disadvantages of this service is that it is very expensive. This is because not only will you have to pay to rent the Pocket WiFi, but you will also have to pay for shipping, as well as extra accessories, and, in numerous instances, insurance for the device, which could run your bill up to well over $300! 

Currently, several companies offer Pocket WiFi rentals. For example, Cello Mobile is a company from the USA, with which you can rent this type of service for Israel, which, if you rent for a week, will cost you a little over $100, not counting delivery costs and accessories, among others.

Free WiFi in Israel

The last option for using a cell phone in Israel comes with free WiFi. This is a common option for those who want to save some money and use their data plan more intelligently.

While traveling to Israel, people will find many places to get a free WiFi connection, such as restaurants, malls, and even the airport, where there will be open WiFi networks for travelers to use. Yet, using a free WiFi connection is not the safest option for those visiting Israel.

For those who want to use these free WiFi networks in the country, it’s important to remember it’s not the safest option available. This is because everyone is capable of accessing these hotspots; therefore, travelers’ information can be stolen, so try to use it just when you actually need it.

Our last recommendation for those who want to use free WiFi in the country is to use apps or maps that will help find open hotspots, like wiman.me or WiFi Map.

Can I use my mobile data in Israel?

Suppose you are interested in using the services of your domestic operator while traveling to Israel. In that case, you will likely be able to use it, as most operators offer this type of service to their customers. 

However, we recommend that you check with your operator to see if you will be able to use international roaming to Israel, as well as the rates they charge. Since using this service can be quite expensive. Below, we will tell you about two famous operators that offer international roaming. 

People walking in Israel. Source: Pexels.

Use cell phone in Israel with AT&T

AT&T is one of the most renowned phone companies in the USA. So, if you are a customer of this company, then you can use international roaming for Israel. Foremost, you can opt for the International Travel Pass, with which you can use your services for $10 per day. 

On the other hand, you can use the pay-per-use option. That way, you will only be paying for your consumption, priced at $2.05/MB and $3 per minute of call. As you can see, these are rather high prices, so if you decide to use them, you must pay close attention to your consumption. Both options work with a SIM and United States eSIM from AT&T.

Use cell phone in Israel with Vodafone

On the other hand, if you are a current user of Vodafone, a very well-known company in Europe, you can also use international roaming during your trip to Israel. In this case, the cost of using this service is $8 per day, with which you will be able to use your telephone services.

Usually, this company offers lower prices. However, as Israel is an Asian country, the price is slightly higher. 

Use cell phone in Israel with Verizon

Verizon is a company that offers international roaming services with their TravelPass. This option is available in more than 210 destinations, including Israel.

The idea of the Verizon TravelPass is for people to access text messages, phone calls, and mobile data for as long as they are traveling. This plan costs $10 per day, and if people don’t activate it, they will face roaming charges.

What is the best option for using a cell phone in Israel?

We have already told you about the different options for using your cell phone in Israel. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, and depending on your travel needs, you can choose the best one. 

However, we consider that several providers support eSIM cards in Israel. Still, Holafly’s eSIM is the best option, as this one basically takes everything that all the alternatives offer and puts it in a single place. Since these have very affordable costs, great customer support, and ease of purchase, they are the perfect alternative.