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Kosovo: 2 Best Prepaid SIM Cards Buying Guide (2022)

Kosovo – Europe‘s youngest nation after gaining independence from Serbia in 2008.

Although some countries do not recognize Kosovo as a nation, that should not withhold you from visiting the lovely nation.

From mosques to churches, from the peaceful countryside to busy Pristina – Kosovo has it all (except for beaches. The country is landlocked).

Regardless of what you plan on doing while in Kosovo, you certainly want to stay connected to learn more about what there is to do in Kosovo or just to show off your amazing travel experiences on social media.

Honestly, I cannot blame you for that. However, you should know that international roaming can be expensive. If unlucky, it can be bankrupting-expensive.

Fortunately, many countries worldwide let travelers buy local SIM cards, like a Kosovar one.

That way, you can enjoy local rates at a fraction of what your home mobile operator would have charged you while roaming.

So, how expensive are SIM cards in Kosovo?

You can get a Kosovar SIM card for 3 EUR (3.30 USD) from Vala (Kosovo Telecom) or between 4.95 EUR (5.40 USD) to 11.99 EUR (13 USD) from IPKO in their stores. SIM cards are also sold at Pristina International Airport Adem Jashari (PRN – IPKO only).

Not too expensive, right?

But, if you have been to the Balkans before, or have read my guides related to countries in the Balkans, then you know the cost for mobile data is low in this region.

But what about the quality? Does cheap not equal low quality? No – check out Canada, where they charge top-dollar rates for prepaid and dare to throttle your speeds.

The mobile operators in the Balkans do not play those jokes.

Looking to get your questions related to Kosovar SIM cards answered? You came to the right place, because…

In this guide, I will go over everything you need to know about buying a SIM card in Kosovo. Let's go.

Buying a SIM Card in Kosovo Guide (logos of Vala & IPKO)

Original publication: 21st of March 2020. Last updated: 19th of September 2022.


Table of Contents

Can You Buy a SIM Card in Kosovo?

Anyone 16 years old or older living in or visiting Kosovo can buy a Kosovar SIM card from Vala (Kosovo Telecom) and IPKO with no restrictions.

You do have to comply with the SIM card registration regulations.

Moreover, you need a phone that supports the frequencies used in the country (preferably all of them to have the most optimal experience while in Kosovo).

Furthermore, you need to have a SIM-lock-free device.

Where Can You Buy a SIM Card in Kosovo?

You can get a Kosovar SIM card in Vala (Kosovo Telecom) and IPKO stores. They are also sold at Pristina International Airport Adem Jashari (PRN – IPKO only).

You can expect to pay the following for Kosovar SIM cards:

  • Vala (Kosovo Telecom): 3 EUR
  • IPKO: 4.95 EUR, 5 EUR, 5.50 EUR, 7.99 EUR & 11.99 EUR

TIP: Check out my SIM card prices lookup tool for a detailed overview of SIM card starter pack benefits (for Kosovar SIM cards and SIM cards worldwide).

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Can You Use Your Phone in Kosovo?

Kosovo uses GSM technology for mobile communications. CDMA phones will not work in Kosovo. If your phone has a SIM card slot, then it supports GSMA (99% of the phones do support GSM nowadays).

Traditional European frequencies are used in Kosovo, which are mostly used in ITU Regions 1 and 3 (Africa, Asia (including the Middle East), Europe & Oceania).

The Americas (North-, Central– & South America + the Caribbean – ITU Region 2) use American frequencies, which differ from the European ones.

ITU Regions Map
By Maximilian Dörrbecker (Chumwa) – Own work, using this file by Denelson83, CC BY-SA 2.5

If you bought your phone in Africa, Asia, Europe, or Oceania (ITU regions 1 and 3), you should not experience any issues with using your phone in Kosovo.

If you purchased your phone in the Americas (ITU Region 2) and have a low/medium-end device (without Tri-Band or Quad-Band) support, then there is a possibility you cannot use your phone when in Kosovo or can only use slower networks (3G or 2G).

If you have a medium/high-end device with Tri-Band or Quad-Band support, you can use your phone in Kosovo (to some extent) – also on 4G/LTE.

Mobile Operators, Networks & Frequencies in Kosovo

Kosovo has three mobile operators offering prepaid services:

  • Vala (Kosovo Telecom)
  • IPKO
  • MTS Kosovo (northern Kovoso only)

The following frequencies are used in Kosovo:

  • 2G: 900 MHz & 1800 MHz
  • 3G: 900 MHz & 2100 MHz
  • 4G/LTE: 1800 MHz (Band 3)

You can learn more about frequencies in the video below.

To check whether your phone will work in Kosovo, check out this page by Will My Phone Work (may be outdated or inaccurate at times).

Again, make sure your phone is unlocked. Otherwise, you will not be able to use any SIM card except the one from your home operator (meaning you have to roam internationally or buy another unlocked phone that does support the frequencies listed above).

If you want to learn how international roaming works, this guide explains it in-depth. If you wonder why it is often so expensive to roam, this article explains the hidden reason they do not want you to know.

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A Note about MTS Kosovo

MTS Logo
© MTS

Coming soon.

VoLTE & VoWiFi in Kosovo

Both VoLTE (Voice over LTE (4G) – also known as HD Voice) and VoWiFi (Voice over WiFi – also known as WiFi calling) are not offered by the mobile operators in Kosovo (yet).

This means that when you make a call, your phone will downgrade to 3G (or 2G when 3G is not available) instead of staying connected to 4G/LTE.

This is also why you often cannot use mobile data while calling if not connected to WiFi.

VoWiFi is, as the name implies, calling on a WiFi connection as opposed to on a cellular network.

5G NR in Kosovo

5G NR is not available in Kosovo as of 2022, and the Kosovar government has not made any indications of when they will auction 5G licenses.

Best SIM Card in Kosovo

If you want to buy the best SIM card in Kosovo, I recommend going with Vala (Kosovo Telecom). It has the best coverage and the fastest speeds. While IPKO is cheaper in most cases, the difference is often just 1 EUR or 2 EUR – not worth the trade-off.

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Best eSIM in Kosovo

Unfortunately, none of the mobile operators offer eSIM (to prepaid customers) in Kosovo yet.

However, you can get the Kosovo (Kosnet) eSIM from Airalo with 1 GB of data valid for 7 days.

Kosovo Kosnet eSIM Airalo
© Airalo

With this eSIM, you can skip Kosovo's SIM card registration scheme entirely and use it immediately upon arriving in Kosovo!

If you plan on visiting other neighboring European nations, consider the Eurolink eSIM (six variants: 1 GB/7 days, 3 GB/30 daysvery popular with PTW readers, 5 GB/30 daysmost popular with PTW readers, 10 GB/30 days, 50 GB/90 days & 100 GB/180 days) in these other countries (but not Kosovo itself):

Eurolink Europe eSIM Airalo
© Airalo

With the Eurolink eSIM, you can save a lot of money by skipping the initial SIM card costs per country you visit – averaging 10.78 USD/country in Europe!

SIM Card Registration in Kosovo

SIM card registration with your passport information is required in Kosovo. It will be done at the point of purchase.

EU Roaming in Kosovo

European Union (EU) & European Economic Area (EEA)

Note that Kosovo is not part of the European Union (EU) nor European Economic Area (EEA), meaning that EU roaming regulations do not apply in Kosovo.

As a result, you should not expect to roam for free if you have an EU/EEA SIM card while traveling in Kosovo.

EU Roaming Banner
© European Parliament

It is unlikely that your mobile operator offers free roaming for Kosovo.

Western Balkans Roaming in Kosovo

Coming soon.

Roaming in the Western Balkans with Kosovar SIM Cards

Coming soon.

Kosovo Mobile Speeds, Mobile Internet Prices & Insights

Being redone.

Currency in Kosovo

Kosovo uses the Euro with the symbol EUR (which will be used throughout this guide).

However, prices are often listed as just . For example, 25 EUR = €25.

For reference, below are some exchange rates between EUR and USD (US Dollars):

  • 1 EUR = 1.20 USD
  • 10 EUR = 12.15 USD
  • 100 EUR = 121.55 USD

For up-to-date EUR:your currency (let's say USD) exchange rates, use the Wise Currency Converter tool.

If your credit/debit card charges you foreign exchange fees, get yourself a Wise Borderless Account and Debit Card.

Their fees are MUCH lower than banks, and credit card companies charge you (and Wise is transparent about their fees, unlike banks).

I have saved literal THOUSANDS of Euros, my main currency, when using Wise abroad when traveling compared to my debit and credit cards. Open a Wise account FREE!

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Kosovar Prepaid SIM Cards

Below, I will guide you through Vala (Kosovo Telecom) & IPKO, and go through:

  • Background information
  • Mobile coverage
  • SIM card types, prices & availability
  • Recharge / top-up information
  • Combo plans, data plans & special packs (such as social media packs)

With that being said, let’s see what Kosovo has to offer to us.


Vala (Kosovo Telecom)

Vala by PTK Kosovo Logo
© Vala (Kosovo Telecom)

Vala (Kosovo Telecom) is the largest mobile operator in Kosovo.

It is also the fastest mobile operator in the country.

Vala/Kosovo Telecom is fully owned by the Kosovar government.

And people say state-owned entities are always bad 🤓.

Vala uses the following frequencies:

  • 2G: 900 & 1800 MHz
  • 3G: 900 MHz & 2100 MHz
  • 4G/LTE: 1800 MHz (Band 3)
  • VoLTE: No
  • VoWiFi: No

This is what you will learn about Vala:

* Coverage
* How to Get a Vala SIM Card & SIM Card Price
* Topping Up Options & Methods + Balance Check
* Plans & Packages
* APN/Internet Settings

Coverage – Vala (Kosovo Telecom)

Vala has the best coverage throughout Kosovo.

While Vala has an official coverage map, it has no legend.

Moreover, the map above is much more generous than the actual Vala reception throughout the country.

Below is a Vala coverage map produced by Speedtest:

SIM Card Price – Vala (Kosovo Telecom)

You can get a Vala SIM card for 3 EUR with 1 EUR credit, 3 GB of data, 50 local minutes & unlimited local SMS – all for 15 days in Vala/Kosovo Telecom stores. Vala SIM cards are sometimes (between April and September) sold at Pristina International Airport Adem Jashari.

Vala PTK Kosovo Telecom New SIM Card Offer
© Vala (Kosovo Telecom)

Vala has no eSIMs – not even for postpaid customers.

Therefore, if you wish to use an eSIM, you can go with the Kosovo (Kosnet) eSIM from Airalo with 1 GB of data valid for 7 days.

Kosovo Kosnet eSIM Airalo
© Airalo

Be aware that there is no VoLTE nor VoWiFi with Vala.

Vala SIM cards get deactivated if there has been no activity for 180 days (no top-up for 180 days or no activity for 180 days).

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Top-Up, Recharge & Balance Check – Vala (Kosovo Telecom)

Vala top-up vouchers are sold in Vala/Kosovo Telecom stores, grocery stores, corner shops & electronics shops throughout Kosovo.

The following (online) top-up options are available:

Top-UpValidity
0.50 EUR 7 days 
1 EUR10 days 
2 EUR20 days 
3 EUR30 days 
4 EUR45 days 
5 EUR60 days 
10 EUR120 days 
20 EUR 360 days 
40 EUR360 days 
50 EUR360 days 
Vala PTK Kosovo Telecom Top-Ups

To top up your Vala SIM card, dial *103*VoucherCode# or call 161, select option 2, and enter the VoucherCode.

For example, if your voucher code is 123456, you would dial *103*123456# or call 161, select option 2, and enter 123456.

Vala PTK Kosovo Telecom SIM Card
© Vala (Kosovo Telecom)

You can also recharge online with (international) debit and credit cards.

Dial *101# or call 161 and select option 1 to check your Vala balance.

You may have to reply with 1 if you get a text message asking you to select option 1 or 2.

Packages, Plans, Bundles & Offers – Vala (Kosovo Telecom)

Vala has four data-featured plans:

All Vala plans can be activated by texting the Activation Code to 50555.

Click on the links above to jump to the plan you are interested in.

Pakot e Kombinuara (Combined Packages) – Vala (Kosovo Telecom)

The Pakot e Kombinuara (Combined Packages) are combo plans with data, minutes & SMS.

The following Pakot e Kombinuara are available, which can be activated by texting the Activation Code to 50555:

PricePlanDataWestern Balkan DataOn-Net MinutesLocal MinutesLocal SMSValidityActivation Code
2.99 EURFOL S2 GBN/AUnlimited150 miutesUnlimited10 daysFOL S
4.99 EURFOL M3 GBN/AUnlimited300 minutesUnlimited30 days FOL M
5.99 EURINT M6 GB1.69 GB150 minutesShared with on-net call allowance150 SMS30 days INT M
7.49 EURFOL L4 GBN/AUnlimited700 minutesUnlimited31 daysFOL L
9.99 EURINT L15 GB 2.82 GBUnlimited200 minutesUnlimited30 days INT L
Vala PTK Kosovo Telecom Pakot e Kombinuara Combined Packages
Pakot Diaspora (Diaspora Packages) – Vala (Kosovo Telecom)

The Pakot Diaspora (Diaspora Packages) are combo plans with data, minutes & SMS.

You can activate one of the following Pakot Diaspora by texting the Activation Code to 50555:

PricePlanDataRoaming Data 1Local MinutesLocal SMSValidityActivation Code
3 EURDiaspora 22 GBN/A200 minutes200 SMS30 days Diaspora 2
5 EURDiaspora 44 GB500 MB400 minutes400 SMS30 days Diaspora 4
10 EURDiaspora 1010 GB1000 MB700 minutes1000 SMS30 days Diaspora 10
15 EURDiaspora 1515 GB1500 MB1500 minutes1500 SMS30 days 2Diaspora 15

1 in Albania on ALBtelecom
2 extends the SIM validity to 1 year instead of 180 days

Vala PTK Kosovo Telecom Pakot Diaspora Packages
Internet Në Mobil (Data Bundles) – Vala (Kosovo Telecom)

The Internet Në Mobil (Data Bundles) are, as the name suggests, data plans.

Text the Activation Code to 50555 to activate Internet Në Mobil:

PriceDataValidityActivation Code
0.50 EUR500 MB1 day 500MB
1.50 EUR1 GB7 days 1GB
2.50 EUR2 GB15 days 2GB
3.50 EUR3 GB21 days 3GB
6 EUR5 GB31 days 6GB
7.50 EUR8 GB31 days 8GB
Vala PTK Kosovo Telecom Internet në Mobil Data Bundles
N'Trip Plan – Vala (Kosovo Telecom)

The N'Trip Plan is a 2 GB data bundle valid for 30 days for the youth between 16 to 27 years old.

Sorry, this plan is not for you, you oldie 🤪.

Age verification has to be done in a Vala/Kosovo Telecom store.

Once approved, you have to text Trip plus to 50555 to activate N'Trip.

PriceDataValidityActivation Code
2.99 EUR2 GB30 daysTrip plus

APN/Internet Settings – Vala (Kosovo Telecom)

  • Name: Vala
  • APN: vala

Note: leave anything not mentioned above untouched.

Jump back to the Table of Contents.

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IPKO

IPKO Kosovo Logo
© IPKO

IPKO is the second-largest mobile operator in Kosovo.

It is run by Telekom Slovenije from Slovenia.

IPKO uses the following frequencies:

  • 2G: 900 MHz & 1800 MHz
  • 3G: 900 MHz & 2100 MHz
  • 4G/LTE: 1800 MHz (Band 3)
  • VoLTE: No
  • VoWiFi: No

This is what you will learn about IPKO:

* Coverage
* How to Get an IPKO SIM Card & SIM Card Price
* Topping Up Options & Methods + Balance Check
* Plans & Packages
* APN/Internet Settings

Coverage – IPKO

IPKO has the best 4G/LTE coverage throughout Kosovo.

However, Vala (Kosovo Telecom)'s overall coverage is better.

Below is IPKO's coverage map:

SIM Card Price – IPKO

You can get an IPKO SIM card for between 4.95 EUR to 11.99 EUR with various perks in IPKO stores. However, if you want a regular IPKO SIM card, called SIM + Refill, it costs 5 EUR with 3 EUR credit for 30 days.

Below is an overview of the five IPKO SIM cards:

PriceSIM CardCreditDataLocal MinutesLocal SMSValidity
4.95 EURSIM +TiP BazikN/A1 GB200 minutesUnlimited7 days
5 EURSIM + Refill3 EURN/AN/AN/A30 days
5.50 EURSIM + TiP TrendyN/A2 GB150 minutesUnlimited21 days
7.99 EURSIM + TiP AktivN/A6 GB200 minutesUnlimited30 days
11.99 EURSIM + TiP Ndryshe N/A10 GB250 minutesUnlimited30 days
IPKO Kosovo SIM Card Offers

IPKO has no eSIMs – not even for postpaid customers.

Therefore, if you wish to use an eSIM, you can go with the Kosovo (Kosnet) eSIM from Airalo with 1 GB of data valid for 7 days.

Kosovo Kosnet eSIM Airalo
© Airalo

Be aware that there is no VoLTE nor VoWiFi with IPKO.

Text English to 50505 to change the system's language to English (or replace English with Shqip for Albanian or Srpski for Serbian).

IPKO SIM cards get deactivated if there has been no activity for 60 days (no top-up for 60 days or no activity for 60 days).

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Top-Up, Recharge & Balance Check – IPKO

IPKO top-up vouchers are sold in IPKO stores, grocery stores, corner shops & electronics shops throughout Kosovo.

The following (online) top-up options are available:

Top-UpValidity
1 EUR10 days 
2 EUR20 days 
3 EUR – 4 EUR30 days 
5 EUR – 9 EUR60 days 
10 EUR – 19 EUR90 days 
20 EUR => 360 days 
IPKO Kosovo Top-Ups

To top up your IPKO SIM card, dial *123*VoucherCode#.

For example, if your voucher code is 123456, you would dial *123*123456#.

You can also recharge online with (international) debit and credit cards.

Dial *123# to check your IPKO balance.

You can also top up and check your balance on the My IPKO app (Android/iOS).

IPKO Kosovo My IPKO App
© IPKO

Packages, Plans, Bundles & Offers – IPKO

IPKO has four data-featured plans:

Click on the links above to jump to the plan you are interested in.

TiP Packages – IPKO

The TiP packages are combo plans with data, minutes & SMS.

The following TiP packages are available, which can be activated by dialing the Activation Code:

PricePlanDataRoaming Data 2On-Net MinutesLocal SMSValidityActivation Code
2.95 EURTip Bazik1 GBN/A200 minutesUnlimited7 days *110*2#
3.50 EURTip Trendy2 GBN/A150 minutesUnlimited21 days *110*4#
5.99 EUR 1Tip Aktiv6 GB1693 MB200 minutesUnlimited30 days *110*5#
9.99 EUR 1Tip Ndryshe10 GB2823 MBUnlimited 3Unlimited30 days *110*7#

1 can also be used in the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia & Serbia)
2 in Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia & Serbia)
3 +250 off-net minutes

IPKO Kosovo TiP Packages
Hej! Plans – IPKO

Hej! is an exclusive plan for those between 16 & 28. You get data, unlimited social media data (Instagram alone or Facebook and Instagram), local minutes, and local SMS. Hej! can only be activated once an IPKO agent has confirmed your age.

The Hej! plans are combo bundles with data, minutes & SMS for the youth between 16 to 28 years old.

Sorry, this plan is not for you, you oldie 🤪.

Age verification has to be done in a Vala/Kosovo Telecom store.

Once approved, you have to text the Activation Code to 50888 to activate Hej! plans:

PricePlanDataSocial Media DataHej! MinutesIPKO MinutesHej! SMSIPKO SMSValidityActivation Code
3.99 EURHej! Special 3 GBUnlimited 1Unlimited 100 minutes UnlimitedN/A30 days hej2
5 EURHej! Pro5 GB Unlimited 2Unlimited Unlimited UnlimitedUnlimited 30 days hej4

1 for Facebook & Instagram
2 for Instagram

Diaspora Plans – IPKO

The Diaspora plans are combo bundles with data, minutes & SMS.

Dial the Activation Code to activate Diaspora:

PricePlanData 1Local MinutesLocal SMSValidityActivation Code
20.20 EURDiaspora 210 GB500 minutes500 SMS20 days *115*2#
30.20 EURDiaspora 320 GB 1000 minutes500 SMS30 days *115*3#

1 can also be used in the Western Balkans and various other countries: Albania (One Telecommunications & ALBtelecom), Bosnia and Herzegovina (BH Telecom), Croatia (Hrvatski Telekom), Greece (COSMOTE), Montenegro (M:tel), North Macedonia (One & A1 – formerly VIP), Serbia (A1 – formerly VIP) & Turkey (Turkcell)

IPKO Kosovo Diaspora Plans
Interneti në Mobil (Mobile Internet Plans) – IPKO

The Interneti në Mobil (Mobile Internet Plans) are, as the name suggests, data bundles.

Dial the Activation Code to activate Interneti në Mobi:

PriceDataValidityActivation Code
1.99 EUR1 GB7 days *900*1#
2.99 EUR2 GB10 days *900*2#
3.99 EUR3 GB14 days *900*3#
5.99 EUR5 GB30 days *900*4#
7.99 EUR7 GB 30 days*900*5#

Interneti në Mobil auto-renew. To disable auto-renewal, dial *900*9#.

IPKO Kosovo Mobile Internet Plans

APN/Internet Settings – IPKO

  • Name: Ipko
  • APN: ipko

Note: leave anything not mentioned above untouched.

Jump back to the Table of Contents.

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The Preferred Way to Stay Connected When Traveling in Kosovo

Getting a SIM card from Vala (Kosovo Telecom) would do you well when considering a Kosovar SIM card.


Next Steps to Enhance Your Travel Experiences

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If I can start a business about something I am passionate about (phone travel), then you can do it too!

Learn About Your Phone Travel Options

You can buy local prepaid SIM cardsinternational SIM cardsmobile hotspots, or roam internationally.

Each of these options has its pros and cons. Learn more about them, and find the best option for you.

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