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Best Prepaid SIM Card in Syria: Buying Guide

Syria – home to one of the oldest civilizations in the world, rich cultural heritage & for having impressive train stations.

While the current situation of the country is less than desirable, Syria used to be a thrilling travel destination.

It is, however, still possible to visit the country.

Most who do so are Syrians living abroad visiting family back home.

But there are many others who travel to the country for tourism purposes.

Especially Aleppo and Damascus, which are considered safe (for local standards, that is).

Even then, Syria may be one of the few countries where staying connected is a must – mostly for your safety.

Luckily, the mobile telecommunications infrastructure is still intact (in highly populated areas).

And anyone can still buy SIM cards – including tourists.

So, how much will a Syrian SIM card cost?

You can get a Syrian SIM card for 250 SYP (0.50 USD) from MTN, currently the only mobile operator, in their stores (called Service Centers). You may be able to get SIM cards at Damascus International Airport and Aleppo International Airport.

That price is not too bad, huh?

What if I told you that a data-featured plan with 1 GB of data valid for 30 days will cost you around 3 USD (4000 SYP).?

Things are not too pricey in Syria… because of inflation and the Syrian Pound becoming more worthless by the day.

Hopefully, that will reverse… one day.

In this guide, I will tell you everything you need to know about buying a SIM card in Syria. Let's do this.

Buying a SIM Card in Seychelles Guide (logo of MTN)

Original publication: 1st of November 2021. Last updated: 1st of November 2021.


Table of Contents

Can You Buy a SIM Card in Syria?

Anyone 18 years old or older living in or visiting Syria can buy a Syrian SIM card from MTN Syria, currently the only option, 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 Syria).

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

Where Can You Buy a SIM Card in Syria?

You can get a Syrian SIM card in MTN stores (called MTN Service Centers). It may be possible to get SIM cards at Damascus International Airport and Aleppo International Airport.

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

  • MTN Syria: 250 SYP
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Can You Use Your Phone in Syria?

Syria uses GSM technology for mobile communications. CDMA phones will not work in Syria. 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 Syria, 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 Syria.

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 Syria 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 Syria (to some extent) – also on 4G/LTE.

Mobile Operators, Networks & Frequencies in Syria

Syria currently has one mobile network operator:

  • MTN Syria (إم تي إن سوريا)

The following frequencies are used in Syria:

  • 2G: 900 MHz
  • 3G: 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 Syria, 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 Syriatel

Syriatel Logo
© Syriatel

Syriatel used to be the largest mobile operator in Syria until 2020.

The then CEO of Syriatel, Rami Makhlouf, was critical about the Syrian government's action.

He made several videos on Facebook in May 2020 criticizing the Al-Assad regime.

While explaining what exactly happened between the president and Makhlouf is beyond the scope of this guide (but this article can explain it in brief), this public feud resulted in Al-Assed shaking down Makhlouf – trying to limit the Billionaire's influence.

It mostly started with a Syriatel tax debt of around 134 billion SYP, which Makhlouf claimed was false.

Eventually, Makhlouf's (domestic) assets were frozen, and the government (somewhat) revoked Syriatel's license.

Now, MTN Syria is the only player left in the Syrian telecom market (and the MTN Group has already sold off its last 75% stake in the Syrian division).

The Syrian Ministry of Internal Trade and Consumer Protection has approved the establishment of a potential third mobile operator in June 2021.

Even if the license were to be granted tomorrow, this new mobile operator would still take years to have nationwide coverage.

5G NR in Syria

5G NR is not available in Syria as of 2021, and the Syrian government has not made any indications of when it will auction 5G licenses.

Best SIM Card in Syria

If you want to buy the best SIM card in Syria, then MTN Syria is your only option. It is currently the only mobile operator in Syria.

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SIM Card Registration in Syria

SIM card registration, with the use of your passport information, is mandatory in Syria. This will be done at the point of sale.

Internet Censorship in Syria

There is internet censorship in Syria. The government censors various things, such as LGBTQ content, pornography, political criticism & escort services.

Unlike some other countries in the region, internet censorship is prevasive in Syria.

That is why I would recommend using a VPN to browse the web in peace. I use both NordVPN and Surfshark.

NordVPN has the most servers of any VPN service out there, which I love.

Surfshark is insanely cheap for the price they charge.

Depending on where I am, I will either use NordVPN or Surfshark.

Neither VPNs have servers in Syria (obviously), which makes sense, but connecting to nearby countries will still result in fast browsing speeds.

You can get amazing discounts for both NordVPN and Surfshark when using these links. Stay safe, secure, and private in Syria!

(oh, by the way – VPNs are not illegal in Syria, but the authorities may not like it. But what are they going to do? You will be private anyway 😉 just do not do anything silly like insulting government officials… the Syrian Electronic Army will be after you if you do so).

Syria Mobile Speeds, Mobile Internet Prices & Insights

Flag of Syria

Earlier, we learned that the cost of Syrian SIM cards is low (at least, if you do not live in Syria).

I also mentioned that mobile data rates are low.

The average price for 1 GB of data in Syria is 7.15 USD, above the Middle Eastern average of 3.94 USD. The world average is 4.07 USD.

At least, that is according to Cable.co.uk.

This could have been true when Syriatel was still in the market.

This mobile operator was the best and probably charged a premium for its services.

However, currently, the average cost of 1 GB of data is close to 3 USD – in line with the Middle Eastern average.

So, let's talk about mobile speeds. Are mobile data speeds fast in Syria?

No, but it is not excruciatingly slow either.

Syria's average mobile download speed is around 19 Mbps, about 1/3th the global average.

Surprisingly, the country has faster average mobile download speeds than places like Algeria, India, Libya, Somalia & Sudan.

If you stay in the big cities like Aleppo and Damascus, you do not really have to worry about reception and speeds.

Outside of the big cities, coverage and speeds will significantly decrease.

And you should, of course, except no reception at all in the deserts, especially in the Homs district/Governorate.

With extremely cheap SIM cards, good nationwide coverage (in populated areas), decent mobile speeds, and low mobile data rates, you should have a decent network experience in Syria.

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Currency in Syria

200 Syrian Pound Bank Note
© Central Bank of Syria/مصرف سورية المركزي‎

Syria uses the Syrian Pound with the symbol SYP (which will be used throughout this article).

However, prices are often listed as £S or LS. For example, 25 SYP = £S/LS 25.

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

  • 10 SYP = 0.01 USD
  • 100 SYP = 0.10 USD
  • 1000 SYP = 0.80 USD
  • 10 000 SYP = 8 USD

For up-to-date SYP:USD exchange rates, search SYP to USD on Google, or replace USD with the currency you use.

Because of the current situation going on in Syria, the country is experiencing high inflation.

While 48.40 SYP used to be worth 1 USD back in 2005, you will get 2512 SYP for 1 USD (the official rate, the free market range is around 3300 SYP for 1 USD).

This situation can be favorable for visitors with any other currency than SYP – the case for the locals is not pleasant at all with these unfavorable rates

Because of inflation, MTN adjusts its prices regularly.

However, when considering the exchange rate, a price increase will most likely still result in lower prices for you.

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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Syrian Prepaid SIM Cards

Below, I will guide you through MTN Syria and go through:

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

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


MTN Syria (إم تي إن سوريا)

MTN Logo
© MTN

MTN Syria, just MTN but officially إم تي إن سوريا, is currently the only mobile operator in Syria after Syriatel collapsed in 2020.

As part of MTN's focus on Africa, it decided to sell its remaining 75% of shares of its Syrian division to TeleInvest – a Saudi company that had the other 25% remaining shares.

While the government is talking about allowing a new entrant into the Syrian telecom market, you will have to deal with MTN for the foreseeable future.

MTN uses the following frequencies:

  • 2G: 900 MHz
  • 3G: 2100 MHz
  • 4G/LTE: 1800 MHz

This is what you will learn about MTN:

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

Coverage – MTN Syria

MTN has decent coverage throughout Syria.

Coverage in populated areas is, surprisingly, good. But that is mostly on 3G.

4G/LTE reception is rare in the country.

Do note that due to the current situation, local internet blackouts may happen.

It is hard to stay connected when towers get blown away.

Even then, coverage is astonishngly decent.

Below is MTN's coverage map:

SIM Card Price – MTN Syria

You can buy an MTN SIM card for 250 SYP in MTN stores, called MTN Service Centers. MTN SIM cards may be available at Damascus International Airport and Aleppo International Airport.

Dial *111# to access the MTN menu.

MTN SIM cards get deactivated if there has been no activity for 125 days (no top-up for 125 days or no activity for 125 days).

However, your line will be frozen after 95 days of no inactivity.

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Top-Up, Recharge & Balance Check – MTN Syria

MTN top-up vouchers are sold in MTN Service Centers, grocery stores, corner shops & electronics shops throughout Syria.

The following top-ups are available at MTN Service Centers:

Top-UpCredit
50 SYP46 SYP
75 SYP70 SYP
100 SYP95 SYP
150 SYP142 SYP
200 SYP191 SYP
250 SYP238 SYP
300 SYP287 SYP
500 SYP479 SYP
650 SYP620 SYP
750 SYP718 SYP
1000 SYP959 SYP
1200 SYP1151 SYP
1500 SYP1438 SYP
2000 SYP1919 SYP

The following top-ups are available from dealers:

Top-UpCredit
90 SYP94 SYP
100 SYP105 SYP
105 SYP110 SYP
150 SYP157 SYP
200 SYP209 SYP
225 SYP235 SYP
250 SYP261 SYP
300 SYP313 SYP
350 SYP365 SYP
400 SYP418 SYP
450 SYP470 SYP
500 SYP522 SYP
650 SYP678 SYP
750 SYP783 SYP
900 SYP939 SYP
1000 SYP1043 SYP
1200 SYP1252 SYP
1500 SYP1565 SYP
1950 SYP2034 SYP
2000 SYP2086 SYP
2500 SYP2608 SYP
4000 SYP4172 SYP
5000 SYP5215 SYP
6000 SYP6258 SYP
10 000 SYP10 430 SYP
15 000 SYP15 645 SYP
20 000 SYP20 860 SYP

To top up your MTN SIM card, you would dial *110*VoucherCode# or call 1818 and follow the instructions.

For example, if your voucher code is 123456, you would dial *110*123456#.

Dial *100# to check your MTN balance.

You can also top up and check your balance on the myMTN Syria app.

MTN Syria myMTN Syria App
© MTN Syria

Do note that this app is for Android devices only and is only available on the MTN website.

The page will give you an .apk file for you to download.

I would always be weary of why an official app is not available on the Play Store or App Store.

Proceed with caution – even though the app is on MTN's official website.

If the Syrian government can make the largest mobile operator in the country collapse due to political feuds, it can certainly instruct anyone to upload a malicious .apk file on the MTN website.

Packages, Plans, Bundles & Offers – MTN Syria

MTN has nine data-featured plans:

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

Yalla Bundles – MTN Syria

The Yalla Bundles are combo plans with data, minutes, & SMS.

These Yalla Bundles can be activated by dialing *444#:

PriceDataLocal MinutesLocal SMSValidity
100 SYP10 MB10 minutes10 SMS1 day
200 SYP20 MB20 minutes20 SMS5 days
300 SYP30 MB30 minutes30 SMS5 days
500 SYP150 MB30 minutes30 SMS5 days
600 SYP50 MB150 minutes50 SMS3 days
MTN Shabab Bundles – MTN Syria

The MTN Shabab Bundles are combo plans with data, minutes & SMS exclusively for the Shabab tariff plan.

MTN Shabab Bundles get automatically activated if you top-up enough for the bundle you want:

PriceCreditDataLocal SMSLocal MMSValidity
225 SYP169 SYP2.5 MB50 SMS5 MMS30 days
450 SYP337 SYP5 MB100 SMS10 MMS45 days
MTN Syria Shabab Bundles
© MTN Syria
Deluxe Bundles – MTN Syria

The Deluxe Bundles are combo plans with data, social media data (for unspecified apps), minutes & SMS.

Dial *2000# to activate Deluxe Bundles:

PriceDataSocial Media Data 1Local MinutesLocal SMSValidity
12 000 SYP3000 MB1000 MB500 minutes500 SMS30 days
20 000 SYP10 000 MB2000 MB1000 minutes1000 SMS30 days
50 000 SYP50 000 MBN/A5000 minutes5000 SMS30 days

1 unspecified social media apps

MTN Syria Deluxe Bundles
© MTN Syria
GPRS Daily & Monthly Bundles – MTN Syria

The GPRS Daily & Monthly Bundles are data-only plans.

Be aware that although these are the cheapest data plans available from MTN, all speeds will be restricted to 2G speeds only.

2G is infuriatingly slow for modern data browsing.

However, it can work decently for text-based communications.

GPRS Daily & Monthly Bundles can be activated by dialing *111#:

PriceDataValidity
50 SYP5 MB1 day
60 SYP3 MB30 days
90 SYP5 MB30 days
100 SYP10 MB1 day
180 SYP12 MB30 days
200 SYP25 MB1 day
300 SYP25 MB30 days
600 SYP50 MB30 days
1000 SYP100 MB30 days
1500 SYP200 MB30 days
MTN Syria GPRS Bundles
© MTN Syria
3G Hourly, Daily & Monthly Bundles – MTN Syria

The 3G Hourly, Daily & Monthly Bundles are, as the name implies, data-only plans restricted to 3G speeds.

These 3G Hourly, Daily & Monthly Bundles are available by dialing *234#:

PriceDataValidity
462 SYPUnlimited1 hour
1500 SYP2 GB1 day
2300 SYP500 MB30 days
4000 SYP1 GB30 days
6750 SYP2 GB30 days
9500 SYP3 GB30 days
11 500 SYP4 GB30 days
13 000 SYP5 GB30 days
MTN Syria 3G Monthly Bundles
© MTN Syria
3G Off-Peak Bundles – MTN Syria

The 3G Off-Peak Bundles are data-only bundles that can only be used between 3:00 to 12:00.

DIal *234# to activate 3G Off-Peak Bundles:

PriceDataValidity 1
550 SYP100 MB1 day
2200 SYP500 MB5 days
5500 SYP2 GB7 days

1 between 3:00 – 12:00

MTN Syria 3G Off-Peak Bundles
© MTN Syria
Data Bundles – MTN Syria

The Data Bundles are, as the name suggests, data-only plans.

These Data Bundles are available, which you can activate by dialing *111#:

PriceDataValidity
3000 SYP500 MB30 days
5200 SYP1000 MB30 days
8800 SYP2000 MB30 days
12 350 SYP3000 MB30 days
14 950 SYP4000 MB30 days
16 900 SYP5000 MB30 days
19 500 SYP7000 MB30 days
20 800 SYP25 000 MB30 days
23 800 SYP35 000 MB30 days
65 000 SYP50 000 MB30 days
LTE Monthly Plans – MTN Syria

The LTE Monthly Plans are data-only bundles allowing you access to MTN's 4G/LTE network.

The following LTE Monthly Plans are available by dialing *234#:

PriceDataValidity
4000 SYP1 GB30 days
6750 SYP2 GB30 days
9500 SYP3 GB30 days
11 500 SYP4 GB30 days
13 000 SYP5 GB30 days
MTN Syria LTE Monthly Plans
© MTN Syria
Social Bundles – MTN Syria

The Social Bundles are data-only plans for select social media apps, including Botim, Facebook, IMO, Telegram, WhatsApp & YouTube individually.

Dial *111# to activate Social Bundles:

PriceDataApp(s)Validity
50 SYP20 MBFacebook1 day
85 SYP20 MBFacebook1 day
85 SYP100 MBWhatsApp1 day
175 SYP100 MBIMO & Botim1 day
175 SYP100 MBTelegram1 day
250 MB200 MBUnspecified (“Gaming”)1 day
250 MB200 MBUnspecified (“Social Media”)1 day
350 SYP50 MBTelegram30 days
350 SYP50 MBWhatsApp30 days
350 SYP500 MBYouTube1 day
475 SYP50 MBTelegram30 days
475 SYP50 MBWhatsApp30 days
750 SYP100 MBFacebook30 days
1000 SYP100 MBFacebook30 days
1200 SYP200 MBUnspecified (“Social Media”)30 days
1500 SYPUnlimitedYouTube24 hours
1600 SYP200 MBUnspecified (“Social Media”)30 days
1950 SYP1000 MBFacebook30 days
2600 SYP1500 MBUnspecified (“Social Media”)30 days
MTN Syria Go Social Media Bundles
© MTN Syria

APN/Internet Settings – MTN Syria

  • Name: MTN Syria
  • APN: internet

Note: leave anything not mentioned above untouched.

Jump back to the Table of Contents.

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Other Ways to Stay Connected When Traveling in Syria

I would highly encourage anyone visiting Syria to get themselves a Syrian SIM card – you will be saving a lot of money when you do so.

However, for some, getting a Syrian SIM card is not an option.

For example, your device may be SIM-locked, meaning that you cannot use any other SIM card other than the SIM card provided by your operator.

There are other ways to stay online while in Syria, but they may not be cheap.

International Roaming

International roaming is the most convenient way to stay connected when traveling in other countries because you do not have to buy a new SIM card, have to deal with SIM card registration regulations, nor have multiple phone numbers to deal with.

However, international roaming has proven to be expensive in many cases, especially compared to buying local SIM cards.

That is why many travelers are not fond of international roaming.

International roaming has its pros and cons. However, it is important to know how it works. This in-depth guide explains it all.

Find out whether your mobile operator has attractive roaming rates for Syria here.

Using an International SIM Card or Travel SIM Card

International SIM cards are SIM cards made for the traveler in mind. Using them is often cheaper than international roaming.

However, they are almost always more expensive than using a local SIM card.

There are many other advantages and disadvantages of getting international SIM cards, which you can learn about here.

Using a Mobile Hotspot (Pocket WIFI)

Mobile hotspots, or pocket WIFI, are small devices that connect to the local mobile 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.

You can either buy a mobile hotspot or rent one.

Using Free WIFI Networks

Using free WIFI connections is the cheapest way to stay connected because they are free.

The major downside of trying to use WIFI hotspots is that you will have to locate them, and they are not available on every corner in Syria.

Make sure to protect your internet traffic with a VPN so that hackers cannot steal your personal data.


The Preferred Way to Stay Connected When Traveling in Syria

Getting a SIM card from MTN would be your only option when considering a Syrian SIM card.

Local Prepaid SIM Cards in Other Middle Eastern Countries

Visiting other countries in the Middle East? Check out my Middle Eastern SIM card buying guide, covering other Middle Eastern countries, such as:

Going to other places around the world? Then you should also check out my sim card buying guides for other destinations around the world.


Next Steps to Enhance Your Travel Experiences

Looking for the next steps to enhance your phone travel experiences? Here is what to do:

Support Phone Travel Wiz

It takes a lot of time to analyze, translate, and review the SIM card options worldwide (especially to test them out).

Your support helps me keep producing impartial content by eliminating the need to recommend international SIM cards as the best local SIM card (but some of them CAN be useful)

Every Ko-Fi donation, one-time or monthly, helps me to spend more time creating local SIM card buying guides.

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Check Out My Resource Page

Looking for the best companies and gadgets to enhance your travel experience? Check out my travel resources page for the best companies to use when you travel!

Save money with international SIM cards, 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!

Start Your Own Online Business – Make Money While Traveling

Do you want to learn how I started an online business that allows me to generate income while traveling?

In my starting an online business guide, I tell you which tools, services, and products I have for this site and my YouTube channel.

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 cards, international SIM cards, mobile hotspots, or roam internationally.

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

Phone Travel Tips, Tricks & Hacks

I have written many articles with tips and hacks to save money on mobile costs while abroad. You surely want to check them out!

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