In my previous article I wrote about all the mobile network operators in Romania. In this article I’m going to introduce all the carriers that operate in Turkey. This big and fascinating country with a population of more or less 75 million has surprisingly only three major mobile network operators. The good thing is when you decide to travel in turkey for a while you wont have to worry about expensive roaming fees because you can simply buy yourself a prepaid card from one of these operators! And since they are all very well established, nobody should have any major problems with topping up mobile credit to their prepaid phone. On top of that occasionally you do get a bit of bonus minutes/sms for every recharge you make. Just like in many other countries the general rule they follow, is that you get more freebies the more you top up. In Turkey prepaid customers will get units every time they recharge their phone. The term Köntor that is used in Turkey is the equivalent to units.
Here is a short overview of the carrier in operating Turkey and the Bonus you every time you top up mobile credit in Turkey:
Vodafone Turkey (GSM)
With around 10 mil user, Vodafone Turkey is the smallest operator in Turkey.
When you top up TL 24 you will get 250 Kontör! Vodafone have currently the best deal for prepaid phones in Turkey
Avea Turkey (GSM)
This operator has approximately 12.4 mil user.
A top up of TL 50 you will get 100 kontör of credit, which converts to TL.0.20 of top up per credit unit.
Turkcell Turkey (GSM)
The biggest mobile phone operator has 34,3 mil user.
Ironically, the biggest provider is also the most expensive, where TL 30 will only get you 100 Kontör, which makes it 0.33 pre unit.
As in most countries, in order to top up your prepaid credit, you would have to do it offline. This is not to bad, since pretty much every corner shop in turkey sells top up codes. Nevertheless, nowadays the trend seems to be moving towards the online sector. For instance, ever since Turkcell has expanded its operations to Germany, you can top up your mobile phone over their website. (Even though a sim card from Turkcell Turkey will be considered as a sim card when brought to Germany.) Avea and Vodafone do not offer online top ups. Here you have the option to use service providers such as ezetop, Tranferto or Fonmoney. They allow you to top up your prepaid phone online via various payment methods. Nevertheless, there are some differences between them. For instance Transferto only allows top ups to Vodafone. Also ezetop seems to be the most expensive choice for that matter. I believe that Fonmoney charges the lowest fee, of no more than 25%.
When you buy a prepaid card from one of these operators you should keep in mind that not all of them have the same reach. Some perform better in some areas than in others. You can find the official shops in pretty much every city and licensed distributer everywhere in the country. Nevertheless to top up your phone in the country site might pose a challenge to you, which means that an online top up might be a valuable option in such a scenario.
Getting a prepaid card in Turkey is easy, but don’t forget that you will always have to register your prepaid card. This means you will have bring a long an official document to identify yourself.
Every time you buy a prepaid card, you will get some credit up front, which you can use immediately. Once that Kontör has finished you will have to top up your phone directly. Always look out for seasonal offers.
One thing you should keep in mind is that you will have to top up airtime to your prepaid phone frequently in order for the sim card to stay active. Some prepaid cards expire within six months, some only after a year.
When you get a prepaid plan you should know, which prepaid plan suits your needs in order to get the best prepaid-card. Some offer cheaper sms, some offer more minutes. Also keep in mind the higher the amount is that you top up, the cheaper each unit gets.
Hope you got something out of this post for your next trip to Turkey!