Cell phones are very popular in Turkey and it is pretty easy to find shops for cell phones wherever you go. If you are willing to use mobile phones in Turkey you can either use your own SIM CARD from your current operator or you can get a new SIM CARD from one of the Turkish GSM operators.
Using your own SIM CARD
Using your own SIM CARD from your current GSM operator is the most comfortable but probably the most expensive way of using cell phones in Turkey. In order to use your own SIM CARD, your phone and your calling plan has to be suitable for International Roaming. Contact your GSM operator to find out if you can use your phone abroad or to activate your plan for International Roaming.
Using Turkish SIM CARDs
Currently there are 3 GSM operators in Turkey. Turkcell, Vodafone and Avea. All of them has Prepaid and Postpaid plans. In Turkey, cell phone users are not charged for the calls they received. So if you are planning to use the cell phone for a short time or just want to be reachable in Turkey choose the Prepaid SIM cards. Using Prepaid Sim Cards are more expensive than Postpaid Subscriber plans so if you are planning to live in Turkey check the Postpaid plan rates of the Turkish GSM operators.
In order to use Turkish SIM CARDs, your phone has to be suitable to be used with an international GSM operator. In these days, most of the cell phones are locked which makes them useless with another operator’s SIM CARD other than your current operator. So if you are planning to use your own cell phone, make sure it can be used with one of the Turkish SIM CARDs.
Prepaid SIM cards can be the best option if you are not planning to use the SIM card for a long time. There is no commitment other than the amount you pay for the card. They can be refilled and can be used as long as you want. All Prepaid SIM cards come with some amount of usage units which is called “kontör” in Turkish. Usage units (kontör) can be bought online from the GSM operators’ websites or bought from most of the Newstands, Supermarkets and of course cell phone stores which is almost everywhere.
Cell phone users are not charged for the received calls in Turkey so you can use the Prepaid SIM cards for just to be reachable in Turkey. Unused usage units (kontör) expire in a month or so, depends on the plan you have. Having no usage units (kontör) doesn’t mean you won’t receive calls. It means you can not call but you can still receive calls. The length of this free received calls service also depends on the plan you are using. Using Prepaid SIM cards can be very cheap if you know which plan to use depends on your needs.