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Transnistria: Best Prepaid SIM Card Buying Guide (2022)

Transnistria (Pridnestrovie) – known for having the largest statue of Lenin (well, mainly his head).

The territory is referred to as an unrecognized breakaway state, although it has been recognized by Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) and South Ossetia – two other breakaway states.

The territory has its own passport, embassies (in Artsakh and Karabakh – basically useless for mostly everybody) & its own visa policy different from Moldova.

Anyone can stay in Transnistria for up to 45 days visa-free.

However, as you will have to enter Transnistria via Moldova or Ukraine, their visa policies are the de facto policies.

Regardless, I write guides for every country or territory with their own mobile operators 🤓.

But what can you do in Transnistria? Not much, honestly.

The best bang for your buck is to attend a tour.

If that is not your thing, the Iagorlîc is stunning.

Parque de Caterina is a must-see too, and so is the National Botanic Garden.

Oh, and you will see a lot of Soviet Union-style architecture.

Normally, I will tell you that international roaming is expensive and that you should not do it.

Which also applies to Transnistria. But you may not even have the option to roam there because of the lack of international roaming agreements between the national mobile operators and others.

But, you could use a Moldovan or Ukrainian SIM card with little disruptions, as their mobile operators cover most of the territory (with antennas near the borders – they are not operating in Transnistria itself).

But for the most optimal network experience, you want to get a SIM card from Internestrcom (IDC), which has become a lot more accessible over the years.

You can get a Transnistrian SIM card for 56 RUP (3.50 USD) from Interdnestrcom (IDC) in their stores.

That is not expensive, huh? But that should have been expected when knowing that Moldovan and Ukrainian SIM cards are inexpensive too.

But you are not here to read about Moldova or Ukraine – you want to know about Transnistrian SIM cards.

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

Buying a SIM Card in Transnistria Guide (logo of Interdnestrcom (IDC))

Original publication: 24th of January 2022. Last updated: 20th of September 2022.


Table of Contents

Can You Buy a SIM Card in Transnistria (Pridnestrovie)?

Anyone 16 years old or older living in or visiting Transnistria can buy a Transnistrian SIM card from Interdnestrcom (IDC) with no restrictions.

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

Moreover, you need a phone that supports the frequency used in the territory.

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

Where Can You Buy a SIM Card in Transnistria (Pridnestrovie)?

You can get a Transnistrian SIM card in Interdnestrcom (IDC) stores.

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

  • Interdnestrcom (IDC): 56 RUP
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Can You Use Your Phone in Transnistria (Pridnestrovie)?

Transnistria uses GSM and CDMA (EVDO) technology for mobile telecommunications services. Interdnestrcom (IDC) is phasing out its CDMA network (new customers cannot get CDMA plans anymore), so you should not bank on it. Moreover, you would not be able to use Interdnestrcom's CDMA network unless you buy a phone from them or roam.

Traditional European frequencies are used in Transnistria, 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 Transnistria.

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 you cannot use your phone in Transnistria because the terrotiry has no fallback frequencies (4G/LTE is on a European frequency only).

If you have a medium/high-end device with Tri-Band or Quad-Band support, you can use your phone in Transnistria.

Mobile Operators, Networks & Frequencies in Transnistria (Pridnestrovie)

Transnistria has only one mobile operator offering prepaid services:

  • Interdnestrcom (Интерднестрком – IDC)

The following frequencies are used in Transnistria:

  • 2G: N/A – never had it
  • 3G: N/A – on CDMA (EVDO). Not compatible with GSM and services not being sold to new customers since November 2021
  • 4G/LTE: 800 MHz (Band 20)

You can learn more about frequencies in the video below.

To check whether your phone will work in Transnistria, 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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VoLTE & VoWiFi in Transnistria (Pridnestrovie)

VoLTE (Voice over LTE (4G) – also known as HD Voice) is available in Transnistria. However, VoWiFi (Voice over WiFi – also known as WiFI calling) is not available (yet).

In fact, if your phone does not support VoLTE, you will not be able to make calls in Transnistria.

Of course, you are free to use VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) apps for calls, such as Facebook (Messenger) and WhatsApp (if you have an active Interdnestrcom (IDC) data plan).

5G NR in Transnistria (Pridnestrovie)

5G NR is not available in Transnistria as of 2022, and the Transnistrian government has not made any indications of when it will auction 5G licenses.

Best SIM Card in Transnistria (Pridnestrovie)

If you want to buy the best SIM card in Transnistria, then Interdnestrcom (IDC) is your only option. It is currently the only mobile operator in Transnistria.

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Best eSIM in Transnistria (Pridnestrovie)

Unfortunately, Interdnestrcom (IDC) does not offer eSIMs (yet).

However, you can use the Moldova (Soroca Mobile) eSIMs (1 GB/7 days, 3 GB/30 days & 5 GB/30 days) or the Ukraine (Lavranet) eSIMs (1 GB/7 days, 3 GB/30 days & 5 GB/30 days) and still be connected in Transnistria due to how narrow the territory is.

Note: due to the current unnecessary and wasteful invasion by Russia, telecommunications in Ukraine have severly been affected. Stick to the Moldova (Soroca Mobile) eSIM if you plan on getting an eSIM from Airalo.

Moldova Soroca Mobile eSIM Airalo
© Airalo
Ukraine Lavranet eSIM Airalo
© Airalo

TIP: use the Moldova eSIM – speeds in Ukraine, and especially near Transnistria, are significantly slower than in Moldova.

With these eSIMs, you can skip Transnistria's SIM card registration scheme entirely and use it immediately upon arriving in Transnistria!

If you plan on visiting other neighboring European nations, consider the Eurolink eSIM (six variants: 1 GB/7 days, 3 GB/30 days, 5 GB/30 days, 10 GB/30 days, 50 GB/90 days & 100 GB/180 days) “in Transnistria” and these other countries:

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 6 USD/country in Europe!

SIM Card Registration in Transnistria (Pridnestrovie)

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

Using Moldovan and Ukrainian SIM Cards in Transnistria (Pridnestrovie)

The Moldovan and Ukrainian mobile operators do not allow you to roam for free in Transnistria. However, you can still use their SIM cards in the territory with some disruptions.

Transnistria is rather long in height but skinny in width – just like Chile (but much shorter – like myself🤭).

Transnistria on Map
By TUBS – Own work, using this file, CC BY-SA 3.0

In many cases, the Moldovan mobile operators (Orange Moldova, Moldcell & Moldtelecom (formerly Unité) and the Ukrainian mobile operators (Kyivstar, Vodafone Ukraine, Lifecell, 3Mob & Lycamobile Ukraine) will cover most of Transnistria (without international roaming).

However, your reception may be spotty, and speeds may be slower than you are used to.

But if you want the most optimal experience, you should get an Interdnestrcom (IDC) SIM card.

Remember to turn international roaming off if you use a Moldovan or Ukrainian SIM card in Transnistria to avoid accidental roaming charges.

Moreover, Interdnestrcom does not allow you to roam for free in Moldova.

Currency in Transnistria (Pridnestrovie)

1 Transnistrian Ruble Bank Note
© [The] Transnistrian Republican Bank/Приднестровский республиканский банк

Transnistria uses the Transnistrian Ruble with the unofficial symbol RUP (which will be used throughout this guide).

However, prices are often listed as ПМР. For example, 25 RUP = 25 ПМР.

The Transnistrian Republican Bank has tried, and quite successfully, pegged RUP to the US Dollar (USD – 16.10 RUP = 1 USD) and the Euro (EUR – 18.28 RUP = 1 EUR) for years.

10 US Dollar Note
© U.S. Currency Education Program
50 Euro Bank Note
© European Central Bank (ECB)

However, the central bank may devalue its currency on any given workday.

But the current peg has been in place since 2019.

Unofficially, you can pay for some services in USD (best exchange rates) or EUR (at reasonable exchange rates).

Some businesses may even accept the (British) Pound Sterling (GBP), Moldovan Leu (MDL) & Ukrainian Hryvnia (UAH).

10 Pound Sterling Bank Note
© Bank of England
100 Moldovan Leu Bank Note
© National Bank of Moldova/Banca Naţională a Moldovei
500 Ukrainian Hryvnia Bank Note
© National Bank of Ukraine (NBU)/Національний банк України (НБУ)

However, the exchange rates will be poor (especially for GBP).

Note that Interdnestrcom (IDC) will only accept RUP.

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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Transnistrian (Pridnestrovien) Prepaid SIM Cards

Below, I will guide you through Interdnestrcom (IDC), 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 Transnistria has to offer to us.


Interdnestrcom (Интерднестрком – IDC)

IDC (Interdnestrcom) Transnistria Logo
© Interdnestrcom (IDC)

Interdnestrcom (Интерднестрком), going by its shorter name IDC (which I will be using throughout this section), is the only mobile operator in Transnistria.

It used to be a CDMA-only mobile operator, making it impossible for tourists to use its services.

But that has changed over the years when IDC launched a 4G/LTE network.

IDC uses the following frequencies:

  • 2G: N/A – never had it
  • 3G: N/A – on CDMA (EVDO). Not compatible with GSM and services not being sold to new customers since November 2021
  • 4G/LTE: 800 MHz (Band 20)

This is what you will learn about IDC:

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

Coverage – Interdnestrcom (IDC)

IDC has extensive coverage throughout Transnistria.

It even has some native coverage in various Moldovan and Ukrainian towns, but your network experience will not be pleasant.

Below is IDC's coverage map:

SIM Card Price – Interdnestrcom (IDC)

You can buy an IDC SIM card for 56 RUP in IDC stores.

IDC has no eSIMs – not even for postpaid customers.

Moreover, there is no reputable eSIM reseller with eSIMs for Transnistria.

However, you can use the Moldova (Soroca Mobile) eSIMs (1 GB/7 days, 3 GB/30 days & 5 GB/30 days) or the Ukraine (Lavranet) eSIMs (1 GB/7 days, 3 GB/30 days & 5 GB/30 days) and still be connected in Transnistria due to how narrow the territory is.

Note: due to the current unnecessary and wasteful invasion by Russia, telecommunications in Ukraine have severly been affected. Stick to the Moldova (Soroca Mobile) eSIM if you plan on getting an eSIM from Airalo.

Moldova Soroca Mobile eSIM Airalo
© Airalo
Ukraine Lavranet eSIM Airalo
© Airalo

Note that IDC offers VoLTE (Voice over LTE (4G)) if your phone supports it and if you have enabled it in the settings but no VoWiFi (Voice over WiFi).

Without VoLTE, you will not be able to make calls in Transnistria due to the lack of 2G and 3G (GSM) networks.

Call 883 to access the IDC menu.

IDC SIM cards get deactivated if there has been no activity for 6 months (no top-up for 6 months or no activity for 6 months).

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Top-Up, Recharge & Balance Check – Interdnestrcom (IDC)

IDC top-ups are available at IDC stores and from various other retailers, including kiosks & post offices & gas stations throughout Transnistria.

To top up your IDC SIM card, the salesperson how much credit you want, your phone number, pay, and they will top up your SIM card with the POS system.

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

Call 878 to check your IDC balance.

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

IDC (Interdnestrcom) Transnistria Мой IDC My IDC App
© Interdnestrcom (IDC)

Packages, Plans, Bundles & Offers – Interdnestrcom (IDC)

IDC has only one data-featured plan: ExTra Мобильный интернет/ExTra Mobile Internet. It is a data-only bundle.

The following ExTra Мобильный интернет plans are available, which can be activated by dialing the Activation Code:

PriceDataValidityActivation Code
10 RUP1 GB24 hoursApp only
25 RUP1 GB1 month888*0211
55 RUP3 GB1 month888*0212
85 RUP6 GB1 month888*0213
120 RUP10 GB1 month888*0214

Do not add a “*” or “#” in front or behind the activation code – those were not omitted by mistake. They are not needed

IDC (Interdnestrcom) Transnistria ExTra Мобильный интернет Extra Mobile Internet Plans

APN/Internet Settings – Interdnestrcom (IDC)

  • Name: IDC LTE
  • APN: 4g.idknet.com
  • Username: idc
  • Password: idc

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 Transnistria (Pridnestrovie)

Getting a SIM card from Interdnestrcom (IDC) would be your only option when considering a Transnistrian SIM card.


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