Israel is a unique destination in the Middle East because it is not an Arab country. Regardless, there are many things to do in Israel. Jerusalem is a must-see and Tel Aviv-Yafo will be an experience in itself. The Dead Sea has plenty of resorts to relax.
What could make you stressed is getting back home from a lovely holiday in Israel and seeing your extremely high roaming bill. Roaming with your provider can be expensive in many cases, which is why many travelers who want to explore Israel want to buy an Israeli SIM card. In this article, we will go everything you need to know about buying SIM cards in Israel.
Table of Contents
Mobile Operators, Networks & Frequencies in Israel
Israel has 3 operators: Cellcom, Partner, and Pelephone. Several Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) can be found too, which are HOT Mobile, 019, Rami Levy, Golan Telecom, and 012 Mobile.
The 3 operators all have more than 2 million subscribers, but Cellcom is the biggest, followed by Partner and Pelephone. Hot Mobile has more than 1.5 million subscribers, while Golan Telecom has around 1 million.
4G/LTE can be found in most cities with all providers, including the MVNOs. Pelephone is the only provider that does not have a 2G network anymore. For data usage, 2G speeds are too slow, so it is nothing to worry about (unless you have an old phone. Then you should not go with Pelephone).
Best SIM Card in Israel
If you want to buy a SIM card in Israel, I would recommend going with either HOT Mobile, 012 mobile, Pelephone, or Rami Levy Mobile because they offer a high amount of data for low rates while providing good coverage. Finding SIM cards from Pelephone and Rami Levi Mobile will be easier than finding the other ones, but they are all cheap.
SIm Card Registration in Israel
Unlike most Middle Eastern countries, you do not have to register your passport details when buying an Israeli SIM card, which is neat. The SIM cards of Cellcom, Partner, and Pelephone can be found in many stores, including official stores, authorized dealers, and kiosks. It may be harder to find SIM cards of the MVNOs, though, but it is possible.
Israeli SIM cards are sold between 30 NIS ($8.60) and 50 NIS. At Ben Gurion Airport, you will find tourist SIM cards, which are overpriced and should be avoided. Remember, there is no registration required for buying a SIM card, so there is no need to buy inflated SIM cards with bad perks in Israel.
Cellcom is the largest telecom provider in Israel in terms of customers. Once you have bought your Cellcom SIM Card, which is called TalkMan, you have to recharge it with credit because it comes with no credit upon purchase. Cellcom offers data-only plans and all-inclusive plans. All data-only plans are valid for 30 days, while the all-inclusive plans are valid for up to 30 days, depending on the package you decide to choose.
Below are some of the packs Cellcom offers:
- 29 NIS: 150 MB, unlimited calls, and unlimited SMS for 2 days
- 49 NIS: 3 GB, 1000 minutes, and 1000 SMS for 7 days
- 59 NIS: 30 GB, 5000 minutes, and 5000 SMS for 30 days
- 60 NIS: 5 GB, 5000 minutes, and 5000 SMS; 55 NIS credit for international calls, all valid for 30 days
- 70 NIS: 10 GB and 65 NIS credit for international calls, all valid for 30 days
- 79 NIS: 50 GB, 5000 minutes, and 5000 SMS; unlimited data on select apps, and 25 NIS credit for international calls, all valid for 30 days
- 99 NIS: 100 GB, 5000 minutes, and 5000 SMS; unlimited data on select apps, and 40 NIS credit for international calls, all valid for 30 days
- 160 NIS: 200 GB, 5000 minutes, and 5000 SMS, unlimited data on select apps, and 100 NIS for international calls, all valid for 30 days
The selected apps for unlimited data are Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Waze, and Google Maps.
Looking for data only? The following Cellcom data-only plans can be added, which are all valid for 30 days:
- 99 NIS for 15 GB
- 129 NIS for 20 GB
- 149 NIS for 100 GB
Partner, which was known as Orange, is the second-largest operator in Israel. Partner SIM cards are sold for up to 40 NIS in many shops around the country. Just like with Cellcom, your SIM card comes with no credit, so you want to top it up to use it.
Several all-around Partner packages can be bought, and a handful of them are listed below:
- 29 NIS: 1 GB, 1000 minutes, and 1000 SMS for 2 days
- 45 NIS: 5 GB and 50 on-net minutes; 10 NIS credit for international calls, all valid for 7 days
- 50 NIS: 10 GB, 1500 minutes, and 1500 SMS for 7 days
- 59 NIS: 35 GB, 3000 minutes, and 3000 SMS for 30 days
- 75 NIS: 15 GB, 500 minutes, and 500 SMS; 40 NIS credit for international calls, all valid for 30 days
- 79 NIS: 50 GB, 3000 minutes, and 300 SMS; unlimited data for select apps, and 40 NIS credit for international calls, all valid for 30 days
- 99 NIS: 100 GB, 5000 minutes, and 5000 SMS; 40 NIS credit for international calls, all valid for 30 days
- 159 NIS: 200 GB, 5000 minutes, and 5000 SMS; unlimited data for select apps, and 110 NIS for international calls, all valid for 30 days
The apps for unlimited data are WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, Waze, and Google Maps.
Just need data? The following Partner data-only plans can be added:
- 39 NIS: 30 GB for 7 days
- 69 NIS: 25 GB for 30 days
- 149 NIS: Unlimited data for 30 days (although speed will be throttled after using 200 GB)
Check out SimOptions' Israel SIM card, starting from $19.90
Pelephone is the Israeli legacy operator, which was founded back in 1986. It is the only operator without a 2G network because it used to use the CDMA technology for a while. Almost all countries use GSM, so Pelephone decided to switch to GSM in 2009 with their 3G and 4G/LTE network. As a result, the 2G network became obsolete.
Pelephone offers many packages. Most of them are valid for 30 days, except for two. If nothing is mentioned about the validity, then the pack is valid for 30 days:
- 25 NIS: 300 MB, 300 minutes, and 300 SMS for 3 days
- 55 NIS: 1 GB, 750 on-net minutes, 250 all-net minutes, and 250 SMS for 45 days
- 59 NIS: 35 GB, 3000 minutes, 3000 SMS, and unlimited data for select apps
- 72 NIS: 20 GB, 3000 minutes, and 3000 SMS; 30 NIS for international calls, and unlimited data for select apps
- 79 NIS: 55 GB, 3000 minutes, 3000 SMS, and unlimited data for select apps
- 99 NIS: 85 GB, 3000 minutes, 3000 SMS, and unlimited data for select apps
- 140 NIS: 100 GB, 3000 minutes, 3000 SMS; 70 NIS for international calls, and unlimited data for select apps
The select apps for unlimited data are WhatsApp, Waze, Google Maps, Facebook, and Instagram.
HOT Mobile by Altice started in 2012 and run on 3G and 4G/LTE only. They have an agreement with Partner to use Partner’s 2G network in case you need it. To use Partner’s 2G network, you need to enable data roaming on your phone.
HOT Mobile SIM cards are called Hottalk and can be bought for 49 NIS in many stores around the country. The following packages can be added:
- 29 NIS: 10 GB, 500 minutes, and 500 SMS for 10 days
- 35 NIS: 3 GB, 1000 minutes, and 1000 SMS for 10 days
- 50 NIS: 20 GB, 3000 minutes, and 3000 SMS for 30 days
- 59 NIS: 25 GB, 3000 minutes, and 3000 SMS for 30 days
- 69 NIS: 50 GB, 3000 minutes, and 3000 SMS for 30 days
- 79 NIS: 35 GB, 3000 minutes, and 3000 SMS for 30 days
- 99 NIS: 50 GB, 3000 minutes, and 3000 SMS for 30 days
- 299 NIS: 60 GB every month, 3000 minutes, and 3000 SMS for 180 days
The last package last for 180 minutes. In total, you get 360 GB, but you can only use 60 GB every month.
Not interest in calling or texting? Add HOT Mobile data-only plans, which are all valid for 30 days:
- 20 NIS for 10 GB
- 49 NIS for 20 GB
- 140 NIS for 100 GB
Looking for cheap flights and want to explore a city for a day or two before going to Israel? Add cheap stopovers with Airwander – the best flight search engine for finding stopovers.
019 mobile is an MVNO using the Partner network, which allows them to use Partner’s 2G, 3G, and 4G/LTE network. They offer attractive plans that come with unlimited calls and SMS (with a fair use policy of 3000 minutes and SMS per week or month, depending on the plan):
- 35 NIS: 1 GB for 7 days
- 49 NIS: 30 GB for 30 days
- 59 NIS: 6 GB and 30 NIS for international calls for 30 days
- 69 NIS: 100 GB for 30 days
- 74 NIS: 20 GB and 40 NIS for international calls for 30 days
- 75 NIS: 2 Gb and 500 international minutes to landline phones for 14 days
- 99 NIS: 45 GB and 45 NIS for international calls for 30 days
- 150 NIS: 30 GB and 100 NIS for international calls for 30 days
- 170 NIS: 14 GB with unlimited international calls to select countries for 14 days
Are calls and SMS unnecessary for your visit to Israel? Get 019 mobile’s monthly data-only plans:
- 29 NIS for 1 GB
- 42 NIS for 6 GB
- 70 Nis for 30 GB
019 mobile sells airport plans at Ben Gurion International airports, but you can also book them online. They allow you to make unlimited calls and SMS to Israeli numbers, and unlimited calls to various countries. Moreover, 10 GB to 100 GB of data is added to these plans to0. The plans are sold in US dollars. I have listed the price in Israeli New Shekel (NIS) for easy comparison.
- $29 (100 NIS): 10 GB for 10 days
- $49 (170 NIS): 30 GB for 30 days
- $59 (205 NIS): 100 GB for 30 days
(Pelephone’s 100 GB plan is sold for 140 NIS… just letting you know)
Unlimited calls can be made to the following countries on landline phones:
- Canada *
- Czech Republic
- Eswatini (Swaziland)
- Hong Kong
- India *
- The Netherlands
- New Zealand
- South Africa
- South Korea
- The United Kingdom
- The United States *
*Unlimited calls to mobile numbers
Golan Telecom is another operator in Israel. They started mid-2018, which makes it harder to find Golan Telecom SIM cards around Israel. They offer four different packages, all valid for 30 days:
- 39 NIS: 10 GB
- 45 NIS: 9 GB, 2000 minutes, and 1000 SMS
- 49 NIS: 30 GB, 2000 minutes, and 1000 SMS
- 69 NIS: 50 GB, 2000 minutes, and 1000 SMS
012 Mobile is operated by Partner but offers lower rates. They started around the same time as Golan Telecom did. Just like with Golan Telecom, it may be challenging to find 012 Mobile SIM cards in Israel. The following packages are offered by 012 Mobile:
- 25 NIS: 6 GB for 14 days
- 45 NIS: 1 GB, 3000 minutes, and 3000 SMS for 30 days
- 50 NIS: 20 GB, 3000 minutes, and 3000 SMS for 30 days
- 60 NIS: 25 GB, 3000 minutes, and 3000 SMS for 30 days
- 70 NIS: 30 GB, 3000 minutes, and 3000 SMS for 30 days
Rami Levy Mobile
Rami Levy is an Israeli supermarket that started an MVNO on the Pelephone network. Remember, Pelephone has no 2G network, which means that Rami Levy does operate on a 2G network either. The following 30-day packs are sold, which all come with unlimited calls and texts:
- 25 NIS for 1 GB
- 28 NIS for 3 GB
- 30 NIS for 5 GB
- 40 NIS for 15 GB
- 50 NIS for 25 GB
- 60 NIS for 40 GB
- 80 NIS for 50 GB
Other Ways to Stay Connected When Traveling in Israel
The Preferred Way to Stay Connected When Traveling in Israel
Getting a SIM card from HOT Mobile, 012 mobile, Pelephone, or Rami Levy Mobile would do you well when considering an Israeli SIM card.
Local Prepaid SIM Cards in Other Middle Eastern 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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Check Out My Resource Page
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