SIM card runaround

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SIM card runaround

Post by switzd » Mon Sep 17, 2012 8:52 pm

I hope someone may be able to help me regarding obtaining a SIM card. I have an unlocked phone and purchased a SIM card previously (4years ago). I have been to Vodafone and Turkcell stores in Istanbul (not a hole in the wall places) and been told that I have to register my phone and it will cost in excess of 150TL. Is this so? If so it's the phone card route for me. I am not excluding my inability to communicate may be a large factor in this.
As a matter of interest, if registration is a fact, where is the registry office? Are they throughout the country?

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Re: SIM card runaround

Post by SwampeastMike » Sun Sep 30, 2012 10:08 am

After both of my semi-legitimate Turkcell SIMM cards were disabled for lack of use (neither had been used for about a year), I finally did things properly. By "semi-legitimate" I mean a SIMM that some will sell without being properly registered--e.g. not in your name but likely the name of the shop owner or similar.

The cost (in Bodrum) for a proper registration was 30 lira I believe. Likely it helped that a Turk who has known me for years did some talking for me at the Turkcell shop. Even a properly registered SIMM is subject to being discontinued if not used for a significant length of time. The solution is to buy a 5 or 10 lira "top-up" card (you scratch off a code number and enter it into the telephone) and use one at least every six months. The "top-up" will work anywhere--even if nowhere near the Turkcell service area.

A great advantage I've found for a fully legitimate and registered account is that you can get some GREAT pricing for calls made from Turkey to other countries!

Note that I'm using a simple, basic cell phone. Registration for a smart phone may well be more expensive.

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Re: SIM card runaround

Post by switzd » Mon Oct 01, 2012 6:39 pm

Thank you for your reply Mike. It is helpful. With only a couple of weeks left in Turkey, we'll manage without a phone but will keep your recommendation for next time.

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Re: SIM card runaround

Post by AT03 » Sat Nov 24, 2012 6:40 pm

If I am going to be traveling in Turkey for 10 days, do you think it is worth it to get a SIM card? I lived in Turkey, but that SIM card has long been inactive. I just want to get one I can use for a few days. I did this in India and Morocco, but it seems like it is more difficult in Turkey. I've never had to deal with this before when I traveled there and when I lived there, it was a non-issue. Does anyone know if it is possible buy one that I can just top-up and use for 10 days?

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Re: SIM card runaround

Post by Sanchopanza » Mon Jun 17, 2013 8:17 am

It appears that there is some change or ongoing misunderstanding regarding registration. According to the consulate in London website there is no charge for registration and no tax on phones brought in. You do have to provide documentation, of course. Here is part of the quote from the website and the link to the full text.


Turkish and foreign visitors are entitled to bring one mobile phone into Turkey within one calendar year for use during their stay in Turkey. A personal mobile phone brought in to Turkey in this manner is exempt from tax and duty.

It is necessary to register the mobile phones in order to use them with SIM card bought from a Turkish network operator. (In order to use such a mobile phone with a SIM card bought in Turkey from a Turkish network operator, the mobile phone number assigned to the SIM card needs to be correlated with the IMEI number of the mobile phone. The handset can only be registered with one line. Phones not registered in this way will be blocked and unable to receive or make calls. There is no charge levied for this registration.)
" ... ?PageID=12
Read the full page as there is other relevant information. It would be nice to find a portable document in Turkish to support these claims when you go to register your phone in the actual carrier offices.

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