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Prepaid SIM card in Turkey

I will be traveling in Turkey for 2 weeks, and would like to buy a prepaid Turkcell SIM card while traveling. I read that the cost is much higher at the IST airport than in the City. If I purchase in the City (Istanbul), would it be easy to find shops (either TurkCell or 3rd party shops) through out the city? I plan to book a hotel in the Taksim square area so I will need to buy a sim card after checking into my hotel. Is there a price difference between TurkCell or 3rd party store? Thanks in advance for the input. Happy travel.

Posted by
106 posts

I did exactly this; went to the TurkCell store on Itstiklal—less than 10 mins walk from Taxim Sq, straight shot. I'd read that in the IST airport was more expensive, but I hate lingering in an airport if I don't have to. (I'm not really price-sensitive, seeing as data is comparatively SO cheap outside the US.)

It used to be that there was some network setting that had to be changed in iPhones, and I made a habit of always going to the phone companies' stores for direct support. The setting now changes automatically, but I still go to the main places—they are always familiar with the "tourist SIM" options.

FYI- I stayed at the Roommate Emir off Istiklal. Was very pleased with my choice.

Posted by
27 posts

Scudder, thanks for the response, how was your experience with cell phone reception signal strength / 4G LTE bandwidth? I will be traveling to other cities in Turkey after one week in Istanbul, did you have a chance to use cell phone service in other Turkish cities. Is there an option to replenish the SIM card and do it with English instruction? Thanks.

Posted by
106 posts

Phil,

I spent 5 days in Istanbul before the 13 day RS tour, and a couple of days back in IST after that— so covered a lot of ground. Some dodgy coverage in the hills, but all the populated areas were strong. I usually get SIMs for both my phone and iPad, and tend to err on the side of buying the most data I might use (especially when it's so cheap). I don't remember how much data I bought, but I never restricted my usage, and I never had to reload.