When traveling, it is very important to be able to connect to the internet and make phone calls. While some visitors manage their internet needs with the Wi-Fi provided at their hotels, or public areas, others prefer to have their own network all the time. In Iran, it can be quite convenient to have your own sim card and internet since not all the cafés, restaurants, and public places offer Wi-Fi. You can use it t to plan your next activities during long-distance bus rides, find your way in unknown cities, call a guesthouse to make a reservation on the go or to keep your friends and relatives updated at all times. In this post, we are going to cover everything you need to know about how to buy and activate a mobile sim card in Iran.
What are the mobile phone operators in Iran?
Hamrah-e Aval, Irancell, and Rightel are mobile phone operators in Iran. These companies offer SIM card services to both locals and foreign visitors. They have extended network coverage in most cities, highways and popular tourist destinations. However, the connection might get lost once you wander deep into the desert, the Kurdish mountains or the Mazandaran jungle. Basically, coverage will be guaranteed if you stay within a reasonable distance from, and in between large cities.
How to buy a Mobile sim card in Iran?
Both Hamrah-e Aval and Irancell have booths at Imam Khomeini International Airport in Tehran. So, as soon as you arrive at the airport, you can simply purchase your sim card in Iran from one of these operators. They have different offers designed for travelers, and an English language online platform. If you are tired from your flight and don’t want to buy a sim card at the airport, you can easily find official centers in every city, where you can buy a local mobile sim card.
In order to buy and activate your Mobile sim card in Iran, you need your passport with a valid visa for registration.
Also known as the ‘Mobile Telecommunication Company’, is Iran’s first telecom provider. It has been operating since 1992. To buy a Hamrah-e Aval Sim card in Iran, you just need your passport and a valid Iran visa.
The Mobile sim card in Iran will only expire once it’s unused for three months or has less than 5000 Tomans credit on it. So unless you come below this credit, you can keep your SIM card and use it again for your next visit to Iran.
In order to activate MCI internet, you should follow these steps:
First, send a blank SMS to 8088 or dial USSD code *10*231#. Then go to http://mci.ir/notrino-settings for your cell phone settings or create an apn manually:
• Name: mcinet
• APN: mcinet
• MCC: 432
• MNC: 11
• Authentication type: PAP
• APN type: default
Finally, dial USSD code *100# or go to MCI webpage for internet packages to purchase and activate your preferred internet package.
For questions about your SIM card in Iran in English, you can also call 9990 (for Hamrah-e Aval customers) or 09129990 (for other numbers)
How to recharge Hamrah-e Aval Mobile Sim Cards?
To recharge your Hamrah-e Aval Mobile sim card you should buy credit vouchers from newspaper shops or markets everywhere in the city. Vouchers have credits from 1000 to 20,000 Tomans.
First, you have to scratch the silver seal, and then dial *140*#15-digit pin number# and press OK. You can now use this credit as airtime or to purchase a data package as described below.
Hamrah-e Aval offers different data-packages from only one single day to one year. Dial *100*2# to check the price of your desired data package, top it up with the vouchers, dial *100*2# again and make your purchase. You are now ready to surf online.
Iran’s second-largest telecommunication company is part of the MTN group. It has good coverage and offers better service in English, making it overall easier in use compared to Hamrah-e Aval.
The visitor SIM packages will expire automatically after one month. If your trip is longer than one month you can buy a regular prepaid SIM card at the airport or at the MTN/Irancell service centers. The price for a regular prepaid SIM card in Iran is 5000 tomans plus the regular cost for airtime and mobile data.
For questions about your Mobile sim card in English, you can also call 09377070000 or 09377000000.
How to recharge Irancell Mobile sim cards?
Irancell has three different types of Visitor SIMs, you can choose one according to your needs. These packages may change from time to time, here you can check the latest price of Irancell Mobile sim cards.
To recharge your Irancell Sim card you should buy credit vouchers from newspaper shops or markets everywhere in the city. First, you have to scratch the silver seal, and then dial *141*15-digit pin number# and press YES/OK. You can now use this credit as airtime or to purchase a data package as described below.
Rightel is the 3rd active telecom service in Iran. It works fine in particular parts of big cities, however, the limited coverage in small cities or rural areas might disappoint you. The company was never able to gain enough popularity comparing to the other 2 providers anyway.
If you decided to buy a RighTel Sim card in Iran, there’s only one place where you can purchase it. The office is located at Shahid Navab-e Safavi Metro Station, Line 2 (Exit: West Azarbayejan Street, the office is right next to the exit). It is open until 6 pm.
Your prepaid SIM card will be active as soon as the registration process has been completed. Dial *141*1# as soon as you activate the SIM and follow the options to finish the registration process.
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