If you have a mobile phone and/or mobile Wifi hotspotcapable of operating on the 900 Mhz, 1800 Mhz and/or 2G, 3G/EDGE 2100 Mhz frequency band(s) (as in Europe), and your home phone company has approved it for use in other countries, you should be able to use it in Turkey via international roaming. More…
Importing Your Mobile Phone
Foreign visitor may enter Turkey with one personal mobile device and use it for up to 120 days via international roaming or with a Turkish SIM card without having to pay Customs duty, or to register it.
After 120 days, you must register your device and pay the registration fee or your device will be blocked from the three Turkish mobile phone networks.
Will your phone work in Turkey?
Your phone or hotspot must be able to operate in the 900 Mhz, 1800 Mhz and/or 3G 2100 Mhz frequency band(s), or it will not work in Turkey.
Most European-based phones are GSM (Global System for Mobile communications) phones using the 900 Mhz, 1800 Mhz, 2G, 3G or 4G LTE standards.
The newer smartphones such as the Apple iPhone 5 and 6, and Android phones, work in Turkey.
Some USA-based GSM phones use the 850 Mhz and/or 1900 Mhz frequency bands, which would not be compatible in Turkey or Europe; but some mobile phones sold in the USA are:
— Dual-band: 900 Mhz for Europe and Turkey, and 1900 Mhz for the USA
— Tri-band: 900 Mhz and 1800 Mhz for Europe and Turkey, and 1900 Mhz for the USA
— Quad-band: 850 Mhz, 900 Mhz, 1800 Mhz and 1900 Mhz four-band phones work practically anywhere in the world that GSM systems are found.
In the USA and Japan, standards (CDMA, TDMA, etc.) are in use as well as GSM.
The 4G LTE (“Long-Term Evolution”) standard (or even 4.5 LTE) may be operational in Turkey in 2016.
To set up your phone for roaming in Turkey, see the phone’s User’s Manual for how to select a local network. More…
“Locked” or “Unlocked?”
If you are unable to remove the SIM card from your phone, your phone is probably “locked,” and you may have to use your mobile carrier’s international roaming plan while you are in Turkey. This can be expensive.
If you can change the SIM card in your mobile device and it works with a different SIM card, it is “unlocked,” and you should be able to insert a SIM card for international roaming bought before you arrive in Turkey; or buy a Turkish SIM card in Turkey, and this may be cheaper than using your home phone company’s international roaming plan.
“Jailbreaking” Your Phone
You can ask a Turkish mobile phone shop to “unlock” or “jailbreak” your phone, a procedure which may be against the rules of your contract with your home mobile phone company, which may void your phone’s warranty, and which may not work in any case. More…
Using a Global Roaming SIM
If your phone is unlocked, you may save money by ignoring your home company’s international roaming plan and instead buying a special international roaming SIM from another company. More…
Using a Turkish SIM
If your phone is unlocked, you can buy a Turkish SIM for your mobile device and use it in Turkey for up to 120 daysbefore your mobile device must be registered with the government, and a tax paid, or it will be blocked.
Mobile Wifi Hotspots
An alternative to using your phone for roaming is to rent a mobile Wifi hotspot, a device that connects your laptop or tablet computer, or smartphone, to the Internet via the Turkish mobile phone networks. Using apps on your computer or smartphone, you can make voice calls, send and receive email and messages, and browse the Web 24/7 for a flat daily fee. More…
Registration for Residents of Turkey
By government regulation, all mobile phones bought in Turkey must be registered with the Turkish government. However, in December 2014 the government announced that foreign visitors would be allowed to enter Turkey with their personal mobile phones and use them via international roaming or with a Turkish SIM for up to 120 days without having to register them. After that amount of time, if you are a legal resident of Turkey, you must register your device and pay the registration fee or your device will be blocked from the network. More…
—by Tom Brosnahan
|Mobile Phones for International Travel |
Turkey’s Mobile Phone Networks
Using Your Mobile Phone in Turkey
International Roaming in Turkey