Hassle free but potentially costly? The mobile network in Turkey is excellent with reception nearly always available even in mountainous regions.
There are 4 main operators – Turkcell, Avea, Aycell and Telsim.
English SIM card
If you are able you can ask your UK provider to allow international roaming on you phone so you can then use your phone in Turkey. However, this is costly. Virgin mobile are one of the cheaper providers to use abroad but their costs are 25p for a text and 60p per minute for calls made and 30p per minute for received calls. You should receive a text when you arrive in Turkey that will tell you the costs. Check your phone to see if you can choose alternative providers, they may offer cheaper rates, but you will need to have researched this in advance to know!
Turkish Phone and SIM Card
You can now only use a registered phone to access the Turkish mobile phone network (as of 31 January 2006). Before you could have your UK phone unlocked and use that. You may still be able to register your English phone but we suspect that will be difficult.
Most phones work on pay-as-you-go basis. If you do not use or top up the phone for 3 months the SIM card will be disabled and you will need to apply for a new SIM card. So, if you go out of Turkey for more than this time you will need to leave your SIM and or phone will someone you trust along with a kontor card to keep it updated.
To purchase a SIM card and phone you will need your passport or driving licence. Choose a number from those on offer, sign the forms, put the SIM card in your phone, follow the instructions and put in the pin numbers and away you go.
Call costs vary depending on time or day, number type etc as in UK.
Top up cards are available in 100, 250, 500 and 1,000 unts. The more counters you buy the cheaper each unit becomes.
It generally costs 3 counters to send a text to UK – around 12p (cheaper compared to roaming costs with a UK phone in Turkey)