Georgia is a country in both Europe and Asia, you could. It intersects both the European and Asian continents. There are plenty of things to do in Georgia, such as seeing the scenic ruins of an old fort in Narikala, explore a cave in Vardzia, or see the Gergeti Trinity Church. Georgia is full of history.
What about Abkhazia? The Republic of Abkhazia is a sovereign state in Georgia. It is partially recognized as a republic on the east coast of the Black Sea by the international community. However, some may not even know the republic even exists. The state has many beautiful lakes, mountains, and rivers to explore. Do not forget about Anaklia Beach.
Many travelers prefer to buy a local SIM card in both Georgia and Abkhazia because it is much cheaper than to roam with your provider. Roaming can be expensive in many cases, which travelers would rather spend in these two nations. Unless you have a Russian operator, you would not be able to roam in Abkhazia, so you have no choice there.
In this article, I will go over everything you need to know about buying a SIM card in both Georgia and Abkhazia. I will start with the 3 providers in Georgia, followed by the 2 in Abkhazia. Let's do this.
Table of Contents
Telecom Providers in Georgia
Georgia has 3 telecom providers: MegtiCom, Geocell (Silknet), and Beeline Georgia. Silknet used to be a standalone operator with a CDMA network, but they have merged with Geocell.
If you have a CDMA phone, then you can use Silknet’s CDMA network, which is still in use. Unfortunately, I do know how extensive the CDMA network is. For everyone else, all operators have GSM networks, which is what almost every phone use. 2G, 3G, and 4G/LTE can be used with all networks.
What SIM card should you buy when visiting Georgia? If you want to buy a SIM card in Georgia, I would recommend going with MagtiCom because they have the most extensive network and best speeds. If you are on a budget, Beeline Georgia would be an option if you are staying in populated areas.
What SIM Card should you get in Abkhazia? If you want to get a SIM card in Abkhazia, then I would recommend getting one from Aquafon because they are the largest provider and have the lowest rates.
Just like other countries in the Caucasus, you have to show your passport when buying a SIM card.
Do note that all providers will charge you a monthly fee of 0.20 GEL ($0.07) for the Georgian emergency services regardless of the package or provider you choose.
This article will also cover Abkhazia, which is an autonomous region in Georgia. Abkhazia has 2 telecom providers: Aquafon and A-Mobile. All Abkhazian providers use Russian Rubles (RUB) instead of Georgian Lari (GEL). 10 RUB is 0.16 USD. More about these providers will be discussed after covering Georgia.
With that said, let’s see what Georgia has to offer to us.
MagtiCom is the largest provider in Georgia with the best coverage and speed. Their 4G/LTE network covers more than 90% of the population, making it the most extensive 4G/LTE network in Georgia.
MagtiCom SIM cards are sold for 3 GEL in MagtiCom stores and from vendors. You will get 1 GEL credit for free for calls and SMS.
The following MagtiCom data packs can be added:
- 0.20 GEL: 10 MB, throttled to 2G speeds after full use, until midnight
- 0.50 GEL: 70 MB, throttled to 2G speeds after full use, until midnight
- 5 GEL: 1 GB for 30 days
- 9 GEL: 3 GB for 30 days
- 12 GEL: 5 GB for 30 days
- 30 GEL: 20 GB for 30 days
- 150 GEL: Unlimited data for 30 days
Since recently, MagtiCom sells tourist SIM cards, called the Georgian SIM card, in Georgian airports (both Tbilisi Airport and Kutaisi). The following two variants are available:
- 15 GEL: 5000 MB and unlimited domestic SMS
- 30 GEL: 3000 MB, unlimited domestic calls and SMS, and 30 international minutes
Geocell, or Silknet, is Georgia’s second operator. Their coverage is decent, and they have a CDMA network for those who have a CDMA phone. Geocell SIM cards are sold for 5 GEL and come with the same amount in credit. The following monthly data packs can be added:
- 3 GEL: 500 MB
- 5 GEL: 1.2 GB
- 7 GEL: 2 GB
- 10 GEL: 4 GB
- 15 GEL: 6 GB
- 30 GEL: 15 GB
You can also get Geocell’s tourist SIM card called All Inclusive. For 20 GEL, you get 2 GB, unlimited domestic minutes and SMS, and 30 international minutes, which is a good deal if you are interested in calling and texting.
Beeline Georgia, just Beeline, is the smallest operator in Georgia. Their coverage is decent, but the “worst” of all Georgian providers. You can get a Beeline SIM card for 3 GEL, which will give you 3 GEL in credit as well. The following data packs can be added:
- 1 GEL: Unlimited data for 3 hours
- 2 GEL: 700 MB for 7 days
- 3 GEL: 1.5 GB for 14 days
- 4 GEL: 1 GB for 30 days
- 5 GEL: 2.5 GB for 14 days
- 9 GEL: 4 GB for 30 days
- 10 GEL: 10 GB for 14 days
- 16 GEL: 8 GB for 30 days
- 25 GEL: 30 GB for 30 days
Telecom Providers in Abkhazia
As introduced in the introduction, the Republic of Abkhazia has its own 2 telecom providers: Aquafon and A-Mobile. The republic uses Russian Rubles instead of the currency of Georgia, which you should keep in mind.
Do note that if you plan on visiting Abkhazia, you cannot roam with your provider unless your provider is one of these Russian operators: MTS Russia, Beeline Russia, and MegaFon Russia.
Unlike Georgia itself, you do not have to show a passport when buying a SIM card in Abkhazia.
Let’s see what Aquafon and A-Mobile have to offer.
Aquafon is the largest operator in Abkhazia. They have 2G, 3G, and 4G/LTE networks. Aquafon SIM cards are sold for 50 RUB in Aquafon stores. You are, however, to top up at least 100 RUB in store.
To take advantage of favorable data packages, you have to purchase their My Choice plan, which costs 350 RUB and requires a top-up of 630 RUB. Then, you can buy any of these monthly data packs:
- 600 RUB: 1 GB
- 1100 RUB: 3 GB
- 1450 RUB: 6 GB
- 1750 RUB: 9 GB
- 2000 RUB: 12 GB
- 2250 RUB: 15 GB
- 3000 RUB: 25 GB
- 3500 RUB: 35 GB
If converted to USD, data packages are much more expensive in Abkhazia than Georgia itself.
A-Mobile is the other operator in Abkhazia with its own 2G, 3G, and 4G/LTE network. A-Mobile SIM cards are sold for 50 RUB, but you have to pay a 200 RUB connection fee. Sometimes, they have promotions where they give you up to 500 MB for free.
A-Mobile sells the following daily unlimited data packs, which gets throttled to 2G speeds after full use:
- 30 RUB: 100 MB
- 55 RUB: 200 MB
- 75 RUB: 300 MB
The following monthly A-Mobile data packs are available;
- 150 RUB: 100 MB
- 360 RUB: 300 MB
- 500 RUB: 500 MB
- 800 RUB: 1 GB
- 1400 RUB: 2 GB
- 1650 RUB: 3 GB
- 1800 RUB: 4 GB
- 2000 RUB: 5 GB
- 3500 RUB: 10 GB
- 4500 RUB: 15 GB
- 5000 RUB: 20 GB
- 6000 RUB: 30 GB
- 7500 RUB: 50 GB
A-Mobile also sells tourist SIM cards called Guest. They cost 250 RUB and come with 200 RUB in credit. The following packs can be added:
- 333 RUB: 1 GB, 50 on-net minutes, and 10 minutes to Russia for 7 days
- 555 RUB: 3 GB, 100 on-net minutes, and 30 minutes to Russia for 14 days
- 777 RUB: 4 GB, 200 on-net minutes, and 50 minutes to Russia for 30 days
Other Ways to Stay Connected When Traveling in Georgia and Abkhazia
Below are some other options to consider.
Roaming is the most convenient way to stay connected. You do not have to buy a new SIM card, and people at home can easily reach you on your current phone number.
However, roaming has many downsides as well. It can be insanely expensive.
International/Travel SIM Cards
International SIM cards or travel SIM cards are SIM cards made for travelers. The rates charged are often lower than international roaming, but they are almost always higher than what local operators will charge you.
Mobile hotspots, or pocket WIFI, are small devices that connect to the local operators of the country you are visiting. Mobile hotspots are ideal for families or those traveling in a large group, as they allow you to connect multiple devices to one hotspot without the need of each traveler having to buy a SIM card.
Free WIFI Networks
Nothing beats free, right? Paying nothing to stay connected may be the best option. Until you remember that free hotspots are not available everywhere (especially when on the move) and that free connections are often extremely slow.
Just make sure to protect your internet traffic with a VPN when connected to open WIFI connections. It is worth it.
The Preferred Way to Stay Connected When Traveling in Georgia and Abkhazia
Getting a SIM card from MagtiCom would do you well when considering a Georgian SIM card. For Abkhazia, Aquafon would be the best.
Local Prepaid SIM Cards in Other European Countries
Going to other places around the world? Then you should also check out my sim card buying guides for other destinations around the world.
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