eSIM in Istanbul, SIM card, roaming and other options to get Internet | May 2024

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Last update: May 6, 2024
Roams UK
Author: Roams UK
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In a nutshell

Getting an eSIM in Istanbul is your best option to get Internet access in the Ottoman country. But you also have other alternatives at your disposal. You can buy a SIM card in the city, activate the roaming service or connect to a public or portable wifi network. But we believe that a virtual data card is the best idea of all, since you receive it directly in the mail, avoiding unnecessary waste of time.

Book your Istanbul eSIM with Holafly

eSIM in Istanbul: The best way to get access the Internet

You can see that your range of possibilities is very wide, but we want to recommend you, above all, to buy an eSIM for Istanbul. It is a virtual card that you receive immediately in your mailbox as soon as you pay for it. And when you arrive at your destination, you only have to activate it from your phone to enjoy mobile data.

What is an eSIM card?

Please do note that not all cell phones support an eSIM card. iPhones and latest generation models do, but your model may not. Check before you buy anything. Here are the main brands that have compatible devices:

  • Apple.
  • Samsung.
  • Huawei.
  • Xiaomi.
  • Oppo.

It is not unusual for these digital models to be gaining market share over the usual SIM cards (1) . Mainly because they are extremely convenient and economical. This way you will avoid wasting time looking for a card in the city and also money by not having to pay the abusive roaming services offered by some companies.

There are more and more companies from which you can contract this service, such as Up, Airalo or Maya Mobile. But if you ask us, we recommend you to get an eSIM Istanbul from Holafly.

eSim Turkey
Prepaid: 5 days expiry
Data Unlimited

Connection speed 4G
Pay as you go£195 days expiry
taxes included

In addition to offering unlimited data, unlike other companies, Holafly has a customer support service in 8 different languages that you can call at any time and any day of the year.

Here we summarize the advantages and disadvantages of contracting your eSIM with Holafly:

  • Advantages of signing up for an eSIM to travel to Istanbul with Holafly
    • As soon as you arrive at the airport, you can activate it from your phone with a convenient QR code.
    • You will have unlimited data, so you will be able to connect to the Internet whenever you need to.
    • 24-hour customer service at your disposal, in eight languages and completely free of charge.
    • You will keep your SIM card and phone number in case you ever need to use it.
    • It is one of the least expensive options for unlimited data.
  • Disadvantages of the Holafly Istanbul eSIM card
    • You won't be able to call or send messages from your old number, but you will be able to do so via WhatsApp.
    • Even if you have unlimited data, you cannot share it with other devices.

As you can see, the advantages of signing up for your eSIM Istanbul with Holafly outweigh the cons. In addition, you can compensate some of them thanks to apps like WhatsApp, as it will allow you to communicate normally with your loved ones.

Istanbul eSIM Holafly: all the plans
Plan Price Gigas
5 days £19 Unlimited
10 days £29 Unlimited
15 days £44 Unlimited
20 days £49 Unlimited
30 days £59 Unlimited
60 days £77 Unlimited
90 days £87 Unlimited

Sign up now for your Holafly eSIM with a 5% discount including the coupon ROAMS

However, be aware that there are other companies offering such mobile data cards in addition to Holafly:

  • Airalo.
  • SimOptions.
  • Nomad eSIM.
  • Ubigi.
  • Yesim.

Other ways to get Internet in Istanbul

While Holafly's Istanbul eSIM is your best option for unlimited Internet access, we want you to check out your other options. For example, you can buy a SIM card in Istanbul, activate roaming or connect to a wifi network. After all, having mobile data in Turkey will allow you to enjoy your trip even more.

Not to mention the conveniences that the Internet in Istanbul will provide you with. You will be able to make reservations at any hotel or restaurant, rent a car to move around freely and keep in touch with your family, among many other things.

Here we leave you a table in which you can check the main alternatives to have Internet in addition to buying an eSIM in Istanbul:

How much does it cost the Internet in Istanbul?
Service Price/Days Data
eSIM Istanbul Holafly
  • From £29/10 days
  • Unlimited
Istanbul SIM card
  • From £10/28 days
  • 20GB
Wifi in Istanbul:
  • Portable
  • Public

  • From £4/day
  • Free

  • 2GB/day
  • Unlimited
Roaming in Istanbul:
  • EE
  • O2
  • Vodafone

  • Free
  • Free
  • Free

  • Depending on your plan
  • Depending on your plan
  • Depending on your plan

Getting a SIM card in Istanbul

If your cell phone is not compatible with an eSIM, you can get a SIM card in Istanbul. The good thing about them is that you pay for what you consume and do not have to commit to any company.

These cards can be purchased physically or online, although in the latter case you will have to wait to receive the Istanbul SIM card at your hotel or home. Otherwise, you can buy it in any supermarket or specialized store that you can easily find in downtown.

We will ask you to resist buying your SIM card at the airport. It may seem convenient and quick, but we assure you that you will pay more than the bill. We think it is worth spending some time at the beginning of your trip to go to a specialized store in the city.

If you think this is the option that suits you best, here are the main operators where you can buy your SIM card in Istanbul:

  • Istanbul SIM card of Turkcell: This is the company that offers the most reliable connection, as it is one of the largest in all of Europe.
  • Türk Telecom SIM card in Istanbul: Its prices are quite cheap, but it is the operator that offers the worst coverage outside the big cities.
  • Vodadone SIM card in Istanbul: Being a major European company, its coverage and service are very efficient. You can find their prepaid cards in any supermarket or specialized store.

Admittedly, a SIM cards in Istanbul can be cheap, but keep in mind that you will never have unlimited data. If you want to watch a film or listen to music on a digital platform, you will have a hard time.

Roaming in Istanbul?

If you don't want to complicate your life, you can activate the roaming service offered by your phone provider. The advantage is that you won't have to do much of anything. Be warned, however, that in most cases you will have to pay good money to be able to connect to the Internet in Istanbul.

In this case, roaming will be included in your regular data plan. But be aware that if you exceed the stipulated amount, your provider may add a surcharge without notifying you. We recommend that you know exactly how long you will be away from the UK, as there are times when roaming may not be worth it.

Anyway, here are the roaming plans of the main UK providers:

  • EE roaming in Istanbul: You have a choice of monthly or pay as you go plans.
  • Roaming with O2 in Istanbul: Its biggest advantage is that it even offers data plans of 24 hours.
  • Three roaming for Istanbul: It is true that you will be able to call and text UK numbers, but you will have to pay for Internet access.
  • Vodafone roaming for Istanbul: It is your best option, as it is the only provider that includes Turkey in its free roaming zone.

Connect to a wifi network in Istanbul

I'm sure you've thought more than once about connecting to a public wifi network in any establishment in the Ottoman city. And it can be a useful alternative, but you should bear in mind that this type of connection is not recommended for certain things.

You can send WhatsApp messages, check the weather or the public transport timetable. In other words: we recommend using these networks only for very precise and specific tasks.

What we do not recommend in any way is making online purchases or banking transactions. Public networks are not very secure, so strangers could gain access to your data and bank accounts.

Connect to a pocket wifi network in Istanbul

Another alternative way to get Internet in Istanbul is with pocket wifi or MiFi. This is a device that you can rent and that offers you Internet connection depending on the plan you choose to pay for.

  • Wifivox: This operator provides you with mobile data that you can consume on up to five devices.
  • MioWifi: Also with a maximum of five devices, you will have a robust 4G connection.
  • Klook Wifi: Its big advantage is that it offers plans of up to a maximum of 4GB. You can also connect up to five different devices.
  • Travel Wifi: You can surf with up to five devices with up to 1GB of mobile data per day.

These devices are very handy and convenient to carry, and offer very good connection speeds. The downside is that they are not very cheap.

Remember that you must return the portable wifi equipment to the company in perfect condition. If you don't, you will face a penalty that can be very costly. On the other hand, if your device is lost or stolen, your personal data will be exposed. Keep this in mind before signing up for any service.

Internet speed in Istanbul

Did you know that not all countries operate on the same frequency bands? The same is true for different mobile phones. That's why we recommend that you make sure that your smartphone will work correctly in Turkey.

Don't worry, because there are specialized websites that will tell you the compatibility of your phone. On the other hand, if you contract your eSIM with Holafly, you should know that their online customer service can do this check for you.

Book your Istanbul eSIM with Holafly

The networks you will find in Istanbul will be mainly 3G and 4G (2) . There are also 2G networks in less populated areas of the country. So, even if you want to travel to rural Turkey, you will be able to connect to the Internet without any problems.

The most common internet companies and providers in Istanbul are Turkcell, Türk Telekom and Vodafone. We highlight the first of these, as it offers a very extensive and efficient service as one of the largest operators in Europe.

Why you should have Internet in Istanbul?

It is clear that having access to the Internet makes your life much easier. Even more so if you plan to travel to a city like Istanbul. Here are a few reasons why you'll want to get online in the Ottoman city:

  • Google Maps: When you travel to an unfamiliar place, it is always advisable to have applications that can help you to know your location and that of the places you plan to visit.
  • Check prices: Whether you want to buy a gift for a loved one or take a taxi, you should know certain prices beforehand to avoid unpleasant surprises.
  • WhatsApp: As you probably can't call normally from your usual number, it's a good idea to be able to do so from your favourite messaging app.
  • Know the weather: As Turkey is a country where it can get very hot, it is advisable to know the weather situation before making certain plans.
  • Pay with your smartphone: More and more establishments support this payment method, as it is extremely convenient.

Beyond the convenience of a good internet connection, having mobile data will allow you to make the most of your trip. You can make a reservation to relax in one of the famous Turkish baths, book a guided tour of Istanbul's Blue Mosque or buy tickets for a boat trip on the Bosphorus strait.

Tips before travelling to Istanbul

Turkey's most famous city is an exotic one, located at the meeting point between Europe and Asia. As you will understand, it is a place with certain particularities, so you should take into account a series of recommendations before setting off on your trip:

  • Negotiate the taxi fare: If you want to avoid misunderstandings, we recommend that you negotiate a fixed price before getting into the car.
  • Tipping is common: It's not compulsory, but Turkish society is accustomed to tipping 10% in any bar or restaurant.
  • Avoid extreme temperatures: Turkey's winter is relatively mild, but summer can be very hot. That's why many travellers prefer to travel to the Ottoman country in autumn or spring.
  • Haggle, but with respect: In big bazaars like the one in Istanbul, you'll see many shoppers haggling. You can do the same, but we recommend that you don't go overboard in your bargaining to save a few cents.
  • Don't change money at the airport: You will be tempted to change money as soon as you arrive, but you are likely to lose money if you do so at the airport. It's better to change your money at the bank or at any of the money exchange shops you'll find around town.

FAQs about eSIM in Istanbul

Can I get an eSIM in Turkey?

There are several operators in Turkey that offer these virtual cards, but we believe you will find it much more convenient and cost-effective to sign up for your eSIM with Holafly.

Which eSIM is best for Istanbul?

The best eSIM for Istanbul you will find is from Holafly. Mainly because it offers unlimited data so you can connect to the internet as much as you need.

How much is a SIM card in Istanbul?

It depends on where you buy your SIM card in Istanbul. At the airport, it will be more expensive than usual. If you buy it in a specialized shop or supermarket in downtown, it may cost around £10 or even less.

Fuentes del artículo
  1. Waite, G. eSIM : A Silent Revolution. ESIM.
  2. 3G / 4G / 5G coverage in İstanbul - (n.d.). Consulted in
Our methodology
Roams offers a free information and comparison service, which tries to help anyone find the product that best suits their needs. To ensure that the data presented is correct, extensive market research and product analysis is carried out. Our database of mobile phone and internet rates is updated every day. The content is frequently reviewed by a team of writers with previous experience and/or specific training in telephony.

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