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Mobile internet in Turkey: What is the best option?

If you need alternatives to have Internet in Turkey, here are the most used options for travelers, including data eSIM.

Ocak 24, 2023

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If you are looking for the most popular options for travelers to get cellular internet in Turkey. Whether with eSIM, roaming, free WiFi, SIM card, or Pocket WiFi. Each one has its own advantages, so the choice depends more on your budget and the services you need on your cellular during the trip.

Therefore, we have built this post for you to know everything about these options and find the best alternative in terms of price, quality, ease of use, and of course, coverage.

We want to tell you in advance that the best option for rates, independence, and peace of mind is with the unlimited data eSIM. Of course, there is a long list of providers online, but here we will share with you the most popular ones.

eSIM for Turkey

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Options to have mobile internet in Turkey

When you start your trip, you will need to stay connected to the internet to use your cellphone in Turkey. This way, you can keep in touch with family and friends, look up any information on the internet, or share the best moments of your trip on social media. The alternatives to having internet in Turkey differ a lot, so pay close attention to the following options. It’s your choice!

Istanbul seen from the sea. Source: Pexels.

eSIM for Turkey from Holafly (Buy online)

The eSIM, although a relatively new option, has become the best alternative for travelers because it can be purchased easily through an online store such as Holafly, which offers an eSIM with unlimited data for Turkey, and connects directly to the Türk Telekom network, the largest and fastest coverage in the country.

This option actually has multiple benefits, as we will see below, but we have to mention that it only applies to cellphones compatible with eSIM technology. Here is the list of compatible cellphones for you to take a look at.

Advantages of Holafly eSIM

  • You can continue using your usual WhatsApp number.
  • Calls through VOIP app.
  • Receive the eSIM via email through a QR Code.
  • Scan QR and connect instantly.
  • Easy to set up.
  • No subscriptions or contracts.
  • 24/7 customer service.
  • Unlimited data with all their data plans.

Disadvantages of the Holafly eSIM

  • Not compatible with all smartphones.
  • Cannot make or receive analog calls.
  • Sending and receiving SMS is not possible.
  • You cannot share your data.

Holafly eSIM plans and rates for Turkey

Days of useAmount of cellular dataPrice (USD)
5 daysUnlimited data$19 
10 daysUnlimited data$34 
15 daysUnlimited data$47 
20 daysUnlimited data$54 
30 daysUnlimited data$64 
60 daysUnlimited data$84 
90 daysUnlimited data$99 
Table 1: Holafly’s eSIM rates and plans for Turkey.

Prepaid SIM cards

SIM cards are the second most popular option by travelers because it is an easy alternative available at international airports and official stores. It is also cheap compared to other options, such as international roaming or pocket WiFi.

In this case, we recommend you buy the SIM card with the following operators:

Vodafone Turkey: This operator is one of the most recognized in the UK and they offer SIM cards that includes the “Welcome to Turkey” plan with calls, SMS and data available for 28 days.

Turkey SIM Card: It offers you prepaid SIM cards with small, medium and large plans, with GB variety, but little offer for calls and SMS.

To keep in mind:

In any case, when buying SIM cards for your trip, you should keep in mind the currency exchange rate and language of the country you are visiting. This is certainly an aspect to consider in case you have concerns about the package you are subscribing to or if you need to solve any problem in your cellphones settings.

Pocket WiFi in Turkey (Buy or Rent)

Pocket WiFi is a portable device that fits in your pocket and allows you to connect to the internet wherever you go. It is a recommended option for group travel because it allows you to connect several devices at the same time, depending on their capacity.

The point is that it is a device that must be taken care of so that it will not be damaged or maybe even lost during your trip because if this happens, you will have to pay for the replacement. This fee is for the provider that rented the pocket WiFi from.

Among other things, it is one of the most expensive options because, in addition to the device, you must pay for a data plan with a SIM card to connect to the internet. In addition, you have to pay shipping fees and extras fees in case of replacement.

After these recommendations, we leave you some popular providers known by travelers:

Travel WiFi: With a battery life of 12 to 13 hours, you can connect up to 5 devices, with a private WiFi network range, within a radius of 50 m without interference.

MyWebspot: For 15 days, they offer you a rate of $162.45 USD, including the WiFi device, travel box + instructions for use. The power bank, charger, adapter, and insurance are extra fees.

Free WiFi in Turkey

This service is one of the most sought-after option by tourists but not the most recommended. If you are going to post a photo or send a message to a friend, it will be useful. But if you’ll transfer money, or pay a bill, you better look for a safer network. It does not offer security and privacy because countless users can connect to this network.

Turkish Airlines private network: It connects you to a network at a reliable speed thanks to TTNet coverage, which is only exclusive for Business Class, Miles and Smiles Elite, and Elite Plus customers. If you’re not under any of these customer categories, the internet will cost you 9.99 dollars per hour.

Hotels: If you are staying in the capital, Istanbul, you can check this search web for hotels in Turkey to see if they have free WiFi service, but always keep in mind that the connection you will have is not entirely secure and private.

Ballons in Cappadocia. Source: Pexels.

International roaming for Turkey

Roaming is the service that your local cellular operator can offer you to have an internet connection, make calls, or send messages in another country. In some cases, this service is activated as soon as you arrive at your destination, and the rates for each service will be included in your next bill. In addition, you can continue to use your regular number.

However, don’t trust this service fully, it is the most expensive option, and you may get an ugly surprise when you have to pay the extra charges. So check the terms and conditions offered by your operator before using this service.

Advantages of international roaming:

  • Easy to activate: Some cellphones activate it’s roaming service for you automatically, while others only expect you to make a call or send an SMS.
  • Promotions: Depending on the country you travel to, you can access good rates.

Disadvantages of international roaming:

  • They are expensive: Their rates are high, higher than any other option, so we do not recommend it whether you are going to make long trips or plan to carry out tasks on your cellphone that consume a lot of data.
  • They have restrictions: Some operators do not allow you to consume more data while on roaming than your regular consumption back home. That is, if you are traveling for a long time or consume a lot of data at some point, your service will be cut off. This happens if you exceed the consumption limit you have in Spain or your home country.

Roaming rates in Turkey according to your country

CountryCellular operatorCost (USD)How to activate
The USAAT&T$2.05/MBCellphone settings.
The USAT-Mobile$15/MBDialing #RON#.
The USAVerizon$2.05/MBCellphone settings.
CanadaRogers$10/dayCellphone settings.
CanadaTelus$9/daySend a message to 7626.
The UKVodafone$6/day My Vodafone App
The UKO2 $6/dayText O2TRAVEL to 23336.
AustraliaThree$6/MBCellphone settings.
AustraliaOptus$2/MBMy Optus app.
Table 2. Turkey roaming rates by cellular operator

As you can see, it is important that you check the rates, plans, and coverage offered by your operator to avoid surprise consumption and, among other things, to compare the offer with other operators because you may be getting the highest rate without realizing it.

Comparison of the alternatives to having Internet in Turkey

All right, the time has come to choose the best option. For this, we leave you a summary with the pros and cons of each option so that you are well-informed and evaluate the most convenient option for your trip to Turkey.

FeaturesSIM cardeSIMRoamingPocket WiFiFree WiFi
Fair price?YesYesNoNoNot applicable
Good connection quality?YesYesYesYesNo
Unlimited dataYes/NoYesYes/NoYes/NoYes/No
Additional costNoNoYesYesNo
Share dataNoNoNoYesNo
Penalty in case of loss?NoNoNoYesNo
Easy to use and install?YesYesYesNoYes
Table 3. Comparative table of alternatives for Internet access in Turkey

What is the best option to have Internet in Turkey?

If we compare the advantages and disadvantages of each alternative, we can tell that Holafly’s eSIM data for Turkey is the most favorable alternative for travelers from all over the world. Undoubtedly, it is a smart and practical decision for your trip.

Also, with this eSIM, you’ll be able to set it up before you travel and activate your eSIM when the plane lands, so you’ll easily have cellular internet on your phone once you arrive at your destination.