Montenegro is a Balkan state and is in South and/or Southeast Europe. The country is mainly known for its beaches, hiking trails, and historical towns.
Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro, has the famous Millenium Bridge over the Ribnica River. Lovçen is a mountain, which is cool for hiking. Our Lady of the Rocks is a cozy island with a church, and Crno Jezero, also known as Black Lake, is… a lake. A fascinating one, though!
What will fascinate you too is how much your provider can charge you for roaming in Montenegro. Roaming can be expensive in many cases, which is why many travelers prefer to buy local SIM cards, even in Montenegro.
In this article, I will go over everything you need to know about buying a SIM card in Montenegro. Let's do this.
Telecom Providers in Montenegro
Montenegro has 3 telecom providers: Telenor Montenegro, Crnogorski Telekom (T-Mobile), and m:tel. All operators have 2G, 3G, and 4G/LTE networks.
What SIM card should you buy when visiting Montenegro? If you want to buy a SIM card in Montenegro, I would recommend going with Crnogorski Telekom. Even though the coverage of both Telenor and Crnogorski Telekom is good and almost the same, Crnogorski Telekom is a bit cheaper than Telenor.
Just like most countries in the Balkans and Europe, you have to show your passport when buying a Montenegrin SIM card.
All Montenegrin operators offer highly attractive tourist SIM cards during the summer and winter season. Keep an eye out on those deals when you visit Montenegro during those seasons because you can get a lot of data for extremely low prices. These deals change per season and year, but I will mention them in this article as soon as I am aware of them.
A special reminder for those from the EU/EEA: Montenegro is not part of the EU or EEA, which means that the Roam like Home rule does not apply in Montenegro. Therefore, it is recommended that European citizens with EU SIM cards buy a Montenegrin SIM card instead of roaming with their providers. Some providers, however, offer free roaming in Montenegro, but this is not the case for all. Be sure to check your provider’s site to learn whether you can roam for free or not.
Additionally, as of April 2019, some Balkan states, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia, agreed to cap roaming costs in their nations. As a result, you will pay €0.025 per MB (or €25.60 per GB), €0.19 per minute, and €0.06 per SMS when roaming with a Montenegrin in those other countries.
Although still expensive, their plan is to abolish roaming costs entirely by summer 2021 in other to join the EU/EEA roaming zone, which would then allow EU/EEA SIM cards to roam for free in these nations and vice versa.
In the meantime, you will be better off buying a local SIM card when visiting those countries.
With that being said, let’s see what Montenegro has to offer to us.
Tip: Looking for cheap flights? Book with AirWander and add stopovers! Not in a hurry yet? Set up flight alerts with Airfarewatchdog and get notified when ticket prices for your preferred route(s) drop!
Telenor Montenegro, just Telenor, is the largest operator in Montenegro. Telenor is a Norwegian provider that is active throughout Europe and Asia. They cover 98% of the population with their 3G and 4G/LTE networks.
You can get a Telenor SIM card (either Sve u 1 or Start) for €5 ($5.40) with the same value in credit in Telenor stores, newsstands, and Tivat Airport. If you are planning on using data with data packs, it does not matter which SIM card you choose. You are better off buying your SIM card at a Telenor store because of the required registration procedure.
Telenor offers the following data packs, which can be activated on the Telenor app (Moj Telenor) or online:
- €0.60: 100 MB for 24 hours
- €3: 500 MB for 30 days
- €4: 1 GB for 30 days
- €6: 3 GB for 30 days
- €10: 10 GB for 30 days
- €15: 20 GB for 30 days
Your speed will be reduced to 1 Kbps if you go over your data allowance, which basically means that you cannot use the internet anymore.
Until the 31st of March 2020, you can get 10 GB, 1000 on-net minutes, and 100 off-net minutes for 15 days for €10. If the plan expires, you can get a new one for €4 instead.
Crnogorski Telekom (T-Mobile)
Crnogorski Telekom, which is indirectly owned by T-Mobile but directly by Croatian Telekom), is the second-largest operator in Montenegro. They used to be the largest until Telenor took that position. Crnogorski Telekom does, however, have a good network that is on par or slightly better than Telenor’s.
Crnogorski Telekom SIM cards, called Telekom Prepaid, are sold for €5 with 2 GB and €1 in credit in Crnogorski Telekom stores and kiosks, but you should buy it at official stores because of the registration requirement.
Top-up vouchers from Crnogorski Telekom are sold from €5 to €20 in many stores throughout the country. To recharge, dial *123*VoucherCode#. For example, if your voucher code is 123456, you would dial *123*123456#.
You can get any of these Crnogorski Telekom data packs, and activate them by dialing *111#:
- €0.40: 200 MB for 1 day
- €3: 3 GB for 7 days
- €4: 2 GB day data (8 AM to 8 PM) and 10 GB night data (8 PM – 8 AM) for 15 days
- €4: 5 GB for 15 days
- €7: 7 GB for 30 days
You can also get a Crnogorski Telekom data-only SIM card for €10 that comes with 200 GB. The following packs can be added:
- €1: 1 GB for 1 day
- €6: 5 GB for 7 days
- €10: 200 GB for 10 days (advertised as unlimited data)
- €12: 5 GB for 30 days
m:tel is the smallest operator in Montenegro with decent coverage throughout the country.
m:tel SIM cards come in the following variants:
- €1: €1 in credit (Hello One)
- €5: 5 GB for 15 days (Hello NET)
- €5: 10 GB and €1 in credit for 7 days (m:go tourist)
- €5: 10 GB and €1 in credit for 7 days. Additionally, free Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Instagram, Viber, Wikipedia, and Mondo Go for 6 months (m:go plus new)
Other Ways to Stay Connected When Traveling in Montenegro
I have discussed the relevant providers in Montenegro in this article because using a Montenegrin SIM card would be much cheaper than roaming with your provider… in most cases. However, buying a local SIM card is not the only way to stay connected in Montenegro. You can buy an international SIM card, use a mobile hotspot, or use free WIFI connections. Below, I will discuss the alternative options to use your phone in Montenegro.
Roaming in Montenegro with Your Provider
Roaming is a term used in wireless telecommunication that indicates a mobile device is outside the range of its home network and has connected to a different, available cell network. Let’s say your provider is TNM from Malawi, then you would be roaming with TNM in Montenegro.
The issue with roaming is that it can be expensive. There have been many horror stories where people had to pay thousands in roaming fees when coming back from their holidays, which is just a shame, in my opinion. However, roaming does not always have to be expensive, especially when visiting a neighboring country.
Many providers offer roaming plans. Some allow you to roam for free in Montenegro, while others would offer you a roaming bundle with a set number of minutes, SMS, and data. Finally, several operators let you use your plan’s allowance for a daily fee.
As you can see, there are many options out there, so be sure to explore the roaming options your provider has. Conveniently for you, I have reviewed the roaming options of many providers (and many more to come) and discussed everything you need to know about roaming with your provider. If you are lucky, you may not even have to buy a SIM card in Montenegro and can roam for free there.
No idea how roaming works? I made this comprehensive guide about what roaming is and how it works. It is worth the read – promised!
One thing I would not recommend doing is to Roam As You Go. Just like prepaid cards where you can buy bundles or Pay As You Go (as in, charged per minute, SMS, or MB), Roaming As You Go can be insanely expensive (that is how people get expensive roaming bills). So far, there are a handful of providers I have reviewed that offer affordable Roam As You Go rates. But generally, avoid it. Get a roaming plan if you can or buy a SIM in Montenegro.
Using an International SIM Card in Montenegro
International SIM cards are cards that have been made for travelers so that they do not have to deal with roaming costs.
The number of international SIM card providers is too many to count, but international SIM cards give you the same convenience as roaming with your provider. A few providers I know are OneSimCard, SimOptions, Surfroam, BNESIM, and SimCorner.
They allow people to call you at one number instead of five in case you are exploring multiple countries in one trip. Moreover, you do not have to deal with multiple SIM cards you will never use again. In short, international SIM cards have been made for the international traveler in mind.
Although this sounds fabulous, international SIM cards are much more expensive than local SIM cards in Montenegro. Some international SIM card providers charge ridiculous fees (sometimes, even more than roaming with your provider), while others offer awful service. It is, therefore, important to go with a reputable company so that you do not have to deal with surprised when traveling around the world.
On the other hand, international SIM cards are appealing to those who travel frequently or are visiting multiple destinations in one trip. Many countries in the Caribbean require you to register before you can use a SIM card, which can be a hassle for some. Additionally, the language barrier may be off-putting to some travelers, which is why an international SIM card can be handy. You order it before you depart and can use it in various destinations.
My recommendation, however, is to get a local SIM card if you are only visiting one destination. If you are visiting multiple ones, an international SIM card could be handy. If you want to learn more about international SIM cards, check out my international SIM card comparison article, where I analyze 10 international SIM card providers so that you do not have to.
Using Portable Hotspots (Pocket WIFI) in Montenegro
Portable hotspots, also referred to mobile hotspots or pocket WIFI, are routers small enough to bring with you everywhere you go. They are portable, battery-powered wireless routers that allow you to connect your phone, laptop, or tablet without needing multiple SIM cards for those devices to be connected to the internet. They are compact and lightweight so that you take them along with you whenever you need internet access on the go.
Just like with the number of international SIM card providers, there are so many mobile hotspots out there that it is challenging to keep track of them all. Skyroam, Vision Global Wireless, and Travelwifi are reputable pocket WIFI providers I know.
You can get a discount if you rent a router through Skyroam by using coupon code PHONETRAVELWIZ. Cellular access with Skyroam starts at $8 a day while using a Vision Global device starts at $2 a day. Teppy, the name of the pocket WIFI of Travelwifi, starts at $7 per day. All these services cover more than 130 destinations around the world.
The first time I used a portable hotspot was when I was in Bangkok, Thailand, with my dad. He uses the Dutch telecom provider called KPN, which does not let you roam for free in Thailand. I was with 3 Denmark (3 Danmark), which also did not allow me to roam for free. The router was offered for free by our Airbnb host. Let me tell you how convenient that thing was!
I do not remember the exact brand router we used, but we could connect our phones to it, explore Bangkok, and upload highlights of our trip on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and WhatsApp without the need of connecting to unsecure and slow connections in Thailand.
That is why I often recommend those who are traveling in groups or with families to consider getting a pocket WIFI device so that each individual does not need to buy a local SIM card and data packages. In some countries, the cost of getting a local SIM card or packages is so low that it is not even worth getting a mobile hotspot. In others, it could save you money.
I recently wrote an article analyzing the 7 Best Mobile Hotspots for Travelers like yourself, which should be an interesting read if pocket WIFI is something you are considering. I do reviews of individual devices every now and then, so check out my mobile hotspot category to stay up to date.
Connecting to Free WIFI Networks in Montenegro
Finally, we have the most cost-effective way to stay connected in Montenegro which is using free WIFI networks.
Using WIFI networks should not cost you any money (unless you are connecting to premium hotspots), which is why it is a popular option for travelers. Go to a local café, buy a coffee, connect to their WIFI, and post your pictures to Facebook or Instagram. Straightforward, right? Well, let’s see if that is indeed the case.
First, you need to find hotspots. In some regions, they are readily available. In others, you cannot find any, require you to give your personal details (for commercial purposes), are restricted for those who are a subscriber of an operator’s, or are so slow that you wished you never connected to them.
In the case of Montenegro, you will find many hotspots throughout the country.
Public WIFI hotspots are unsecure. They are a prime target for hackers to steal your data and use it for illicit purposes. That is I use, and would recommend you to start using, a Virtual Private Network (VPN) if you connect to a public hotspot. What a VPN does is creating an encrypted tunnel between your device and the hotspot so that your data will stay private. I use NordVPN, and you can get up to 70% off when you get a NordVPN subscription. Get your subscription now!
The Best Way to Stay Connected When Traveling in Montenegro
Getting a SIM card from One would do you well when considering a Montenegrin SIM card. Be sure to explore the roaming options your provider offers you, as they may offer free or cheap roaming bundles.
You could also consider getting an international SIM card or using a portable hotspot. International SIM cards like OneSimCard, SimOptions, Surfroam, BNESIM, and SimCorner are attractive for those visiting multiple destinations at once or within a year. Portable hotspots like Skyroam, Vision Global Wireless, and Travelwifi will be useful when traveling with multiple people so that not each individual has to get a SIM card but can use the hotspot.
Visiting other countries in the Balkans? Check out my Balkans SIM card buying guide covering the other Balkan states, such as Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, (Croatia), Kosovo, and North Macedonia (and Serbia).
What about other places in Europe? My Europe SIM card buying guide covers all destinations in Europe, including those not part of the European Union/EEA, such as Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.
Going to other places around the world? Then you should also check out my SIM card buying guides for other destinations around the world.
What is next?
Looking for the best companies and gadgets to enhance your travel experience? Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel! Save money on plane tickets, bus rides, cruises, and accommodation. Besides that, I also list services and items I use to make my life easier – and I believe they will help you too!
Book Your Flight for Montenegro
It is time to book your flight. Find cheap flights with AirWander so that you can add free or cheap stopovers in destinations you have not considered yet before going to Montenegro. If you are not ready to take off yet, set up flight alerts with Airfarewatchdog, and they will notify you once ticket prices to Montenegro drop.
Travel by Train within Europe with InterRail or EURail
Although low-cost carriers are a big thing in Europe, they are not the best way to experience Europe. Everyone knows that the European railway system is awesome. InterRail/EURail makes it much easier to explore Europe by train by having one ticket for participating countries instead of having to buy multiple tickets per country. InterRail is for European citizens and EURail is for non-European citizens.
Book Your Accommodation for Montenegro
I am a huge fan of Airbnb because it allows me to live with a local or get a local place for myself. Staying in someone’s house or apartment feels much different than being in a ho(s)tel, especially in Montenegro. At least, that is how I see it. Moreover, Airbnb can often be much cheaper than staying in a Montenegrin hotel.
Get Your Travel Insurance for Montenegro
You will regret not having travel insurance once you actually need it and “forgot” to get it. Nowadays, travel insurance is cheap and comprehensive unlike back in the days. World Nomads is by far the best travel insurance for adventurous travelers like yourself. You can even get insured WHILE already traveling in Montenegro, which is not something many insurance companies allow you to do.
Get a Travel Debit Card
Travel Cheques are outdated. Paying with your credit card or debit card can be expensive because of all the exchange commissions banks charge you. TransferWise allows you to convert your main currency to the local currency for a small fee (up to 8 times less than with your bank!) Getting a Transferwise Borderless account is FREE, so you will get an instant return on your investment.
Enjoy your trip!