Kyrgyzstan may be one of the most mispronounced countries in the world, but that does not make it an uninteresting travel destination. From a ski resort in Karakol to museums and monuments in Osh, there are plenty of things to do in Kyrgyzstan.
What you may not want to do, however, is roaming with your provider. Roaming can be expensive in many cases, which is why many travelers want to buy a local SIM card so that they can enjoy domestic rates. In this article, I will go over everything you need to know about buying a SIM card in Kyrgyzstan. Let's go.
Telecom Providers in Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan has 3 telecom providers: Beeline Kyrgyzstan by Sky Mobile, MegaCom by JSC Alpha Telecom, and O! by Nur Telecom. All providers have 2G, 3G, and 4G/LTE networks. All operators have good speeds and coverage in the cities. However, as soon as you go to the countryside, you will barely find any connections – be aware of that.
What SIM card should you buy when visiting Kyrgyzstan? If you want to buy a SIM card in Kyrgyzstan, I would recommend going with MegaCom Kyrgyzstan. Not only do they have the best coverage in the country, but they also have the most choice in terms of data packs.
Just like other countries in Central Asia, you have to show your passport when buying a SIM card. SIM cards can be bought in stores from the operators themselves or in kiosks. You can even get them from self-service terminals, though they are only in Russian.
Do note that every vendor will charge you a small fee of max. 15 KGS ($0.20) for topping up your card.
There is not much else to say about telecom providers in Kyrgyzstan, so let’s see what the three operators have to offer to us.
MegaCom Kyrgyzstan, just MegaCom, is the largest operator in Kyrgyzstan with a market share of more than 40%. They have the best coverage with 98% of the population being covered with 2G and around 70% with 3G. 4G/LTE is still being rolled out to the rest of the country.
MegaCom SIM cards are sold for 10 KGS, even at Manas International Airport.
MegaCom sells several packages, which will be discussed below.
The MegaCom Standard Plan costs 40 KGS. The following daily packages are available. Add a 10 KGS connection fee to the prices listed below:
- 2.5 KGS: Unlimited data from midnight to 8 AM
- 55 KGS: 1 GB high-speed data throttled to 1 Mbps after using 1 GB. After using 5 GB, throttled to 256 kbit/s.
Want more high-speed data? You can add more for the following prices:
- 15 KGS: 500 MB
- 30 KGS: 1 GB
- 90 KGS: 5 GB
You can also add the following monthly packs, which gets you the same amount in 4G allowance. For example, the 25 KGS plan gets you 200 MB and 200 MB for 4G/LTE, even though only 200 MB will be listed below:
- 20 KGS: 200 MB
- 45 KGS: 500 MB
- 180 KGS: 3 GB
- 350 KGS: 8 GB
From 12:30 AM until 8 AM, you can use unlimited data.
The MegaCom Popular (Internet) plans are weekly combo plans. The plans are outlined below:
- 50 KGS: 1 GB, 300 minutes, and 500 SMS
- 80 KGS: 2.1 GB, 500 minutes, and 1000 SMS
- 90 KGS: 6 GB and 100 minutes/SMS
- 120 KGS: 3.5 GB, 950 minutes, 1500 SMS
- 130 KGS: 8 GB and 200 minutes/SMS
- 160 KGS: 5.25 GB, 1300 minutes, and 2000 SMS
- 210 KGS: 7.35 GB, 1500 minutes, and 2500 SMS
- 270 KGS: 12 GB and 300 minutes/SMS
The minutes and SMS are for on-net use only (so to other MegaCom numbers). If you call to Beeline or O! numbers, you pay standard rates.
More data can be added for the following prices:
- 50 KGS: 2 GB
- 100 KGS: 5 GB
- 150 KGS: 10 GB
Finally, you have the MegaCom 4G unlimited plan that gives you unlimited data on 4G/LTE. If 4G/LTE is not available, then you will be throttled to 512 kbit/s on 2G and 3G networks. This makes this plan only useful if you are sure you will have 4G/LTE connectivity where you are. The MegaCom 4G Unlimited Plan costs 1290 KGS for a month, which does not include any calls or SMS.
Beeline Kyrgyzstan, just Beeline, covers a large portion of the population. With a market share of close to 40%, it is MegaCom’s biggest competitor. A Beeline SIM card will cost you 200 KGS ($2.90), but you can get it cheaper from some kiosks. The following weekly data packages can be added:
- 30 KGS: 1 GB
- 40 KGS: 2 GB
- 80 KGS: 5 GB
- 95 KGS: 6 GB
You can also get a data-only SIM that is sold for 600 KGS. You get 15 GB and 20 GB for 4G/LTE for 30 days. Using your SIM card from midnight and 6 AM is free.
O! is the smallest operator in Kyrgyzstan with more than 1 million subscribers. They were the first Kyrgyzstani provider to have a 4G/LTE network in Kyrgyzstan. O! SIM cards are sold for 200 KGS in O! stores. The following weekly combo packs can be added:
- 95 KGS: 10 GB, unlimited on-net calls, and 5 domestic minutes
- 135 KGS: 16 GB, unlimited on-net calls, and 15 domestic minutes
- 290 kGS: 20 GB, unlimited on-net calls, and 60 domestic minutes
O! also has a data-only SIM card that gets you 8 GB per day (unlimited use from 1 AM to 8 AM) for 390 KGS. For 850 KGS per month, you can get 20 GB per day and 20 GB at night (not unlimited).
Other Ways to Stay Connected When Traveling in Kyrgyzstan
The Best Way to Stay Connected When Traveling in Kyrgyzstan
Getting a SIM card from MegaCom would do you well when considering a Kyrgyzstani SIM card.
Local Prepaid SIM Card in Other Asian Countries
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