As travelers, we can guarantee travelling to Iran will be one of the coolest trips of your life. But, not necessarily all of your acquaintances will approve and prefer to have a day by day update from you through your Iran’s vacation. On the other hand, you might need to stay online for any possible reason and more commonly to share your cool pics and live videos online in social media. Not to miss, you will probably need to use some online applications such as Snapp for budget transportation or use your google map to navigate.
Using your own sim card in Iran is possible for most of countries especially European and Asian ones. Of course the roaming fee should be considered. So, if you intend to just use your own sim card, it’s better to keep your mobile phone on flight mode and only use the Wi-Fi wherever provided. But the best option is to buy an Iranian sim card in IKA airport. The main purpose of this post is providing the most essential information about introducing the Visitor sim card as the best choice and how to proceed on it. We have tried to skip unnecessary and unrelated additional information for a tourist.
What is the Visitor sim card & where can you buy it?
“Visitor SIM” is a recent service for tourists who visit Iran for a 30 days’ period. It’s a prepaid SIM card which provides domestic and International calls, text and mobile data to stay online while in Iran. To get this sim in the IKA, after claiming your luggage, go upstairs and search for MTN-Irancell station. That’s the place where you can buy your Visitor sim. After purchasing the sim card with your passport which is 600.000 Rials at this moment and adding a data package to it (the operators at the station will help you with all of it), sim card will be ready to use immediately.
If for any reason, you missed your chance to get it at the airport, you can also get one at the MTN-Irancell service centers in the cities. Again, don’t forget in order to activate the SIM card, you need to have your passport with you. Here, you can see the current call, text and data package fees of Visitor sim:
|Visitor SIM 1||Visitor SIM 2||Visitor SIM 3|
|Package price||30,000 Tomans||43,000 Tomans||58,000 Tomans|
|Validity time||1 Month||1 Month||1 Month|
|Initial airtime||4,000 Tomans||14,000 Tomans||22,000 Tomans|
|Data amount||1.5 GB||3 GB||5 GB|
How long is your SIM card valid?
Most of credit sim cards in Iran expire after three months if they are not used or have less than 50.000 Rials credit. But the visitor’s sim card expires automatically after one month. So, if you intend to stay more than one month in Iran, it’s more convenient to get a pre-paid credit simcard at Irancell station in IKA Airport or its distributer stores . The fee of a prepaid sim card without any data is about 50.000 Rials (less than 1$) and you have to charge it more for data. In this way you will have your sim card for at least 3 months. Usually the operators in Irancell station will help you with every detail of credit or visitor sim cards. From purchasing to charging it and if any extra guidance is needed.
Re-charge your call, text and data credit
You probably don’t have any credit card in Iran as a tourist to re-charge your credit through online purchase. So, you have to buy the re-charge cards from supermarkets, newspaper and Tabaco kiosks or Irancell stations first and then re-charge your credit directly. First you have to scratch the silver seal on the backside of the card and then, simply dial*141*PIN# and press YES/OK and allocate your recharge amount to the internet package. About 9% will be added to the fee of amount of the purchased re-charge card. If by any chance you had an Iranian companion who was willing to use his/her credit card to re-charge your sim card through an online purchase, first choose your preferred package here and ask the person to dial for your preferred package.
Why Hi Tehran Hostel advise tourists to get their sim card at IKA Airport
Since 2018, the importance of registering a sim card with their own passport or documents have been emphasized for more security. Before that, sometimes tourists were offered pre-registered sim cards which was not safe since the previous owner was not known. We never recommend such a thing. Now, many hostels or private sections offer visitor or regular pre-paid sim cards to tourists and it’s for sure a good service, yet, it’s still a little risky or better say, unnecessary. To register such sim cards with your passport, you have to go to one of the Irancell or any other operator’s distributer stores anyway. And guess what? If you have to go there anyway, you can buy it yourself; cheaper. That’s why instead of providing a profitable service for us, we recommend you to get your sim card at the airport to prevent all of extra fees and time lost.
- There are different operators in Iran. Hamrah-e-Aval (MCI), MTN Irancell and RighTel are the best ones. But as a tourist all you need to know is that Iran cell provides the best coverage, easy to use decent service and convenient price comparing to its service. So, to save the confusion, we suggest to go with Irancell. They have proven to have the best feedbacks from tourists and importantly a 24/7 responsive station in the airport.
- Almost all of accommodations, modern cafes and restaurants provide free Wi-Fi in Iran. So, you won’t be only dependent on your mobile data.
Important note: If it’s your second time in Iran with the same mobile phone, or if you intend to stay more than 30 days, you HAVE to register your mobile phone at the airport and unfortunately, if you don’t know the process it can make a confusion. Again, that’s why we used the experience of our tourists plus some connections and researches to write you a handy guide about: How to register your phone in Iran. Long story short, you will need a code from visa office, about 60 euros, your passport scan and using the airport Coffee-Net for 10 min!
Don’t forget the VPN
Of course through your trip in Iran you will have a wide convenient access to the Wi-Fi and mobile data internet, but as you might know, Iran has blocked some websites and social media like Facebook, Twitter or YouTube and also some other news channels like BBC which you probably won’t miss during your trip. Since you might tend to post pics and tips on Facebook and twitter while in Iran, whether using your purchased sim card and data in IKA airport or a Wi-Fi connection, you need to have a VPN on your mobile phone. Nothing to worry about. We have already introduced the best of them here to make it easy for you.