Two of the three Turkish
mobile phone companies have
prepaid calling plans: you buy a SIM
card for your GSM mobile
phone, register for service, and start
The problems start when they tell you that your phone must be registered with the government.
In my own experience, every person you talk with about registration provides differing and conflicting information on how registration is done, and what it may cost. You can spend a substantial amount of time and trouble, not to mention money, to register your phone for a pre-paid plan.
Most reports I have received from TTP travelers indicate that you can use your foreign mobile phone for calls in Turkey via international roaming for several weeks (anywhere from two to six—who knows?) before your service is blocked due to non-registration. International roaming can be expensive, so I use it only for SMS messages, quick calls, and emergency contact.
For all other communications, I use my phone, tablet and computer on Wifi, which is readily available in Turkey in virtually all hotels, some restaurants, intercity buses, and even some public locations. Skype, iMessage and similar programs provide clearer connections than the telephone network in most cases, and cost very little, or nothing at all.
Usage Units (Kontör)
If you do succeed in buying a Turkish SIM and registering your phone, your calls are tracked based on usage
The cost of a call depends upon your
plan (there are many), and
what you paid for your usage
In general, the more usage
units you buy at one time, and the
more you use,
the lower your per-minute charges can
Starter packets are offered by Turkey's
phone companies. You pay
for the packet (Shop around! Different
shops may charge more or less for the
phone companies are always offering
new and modified starter packets, and
the marketing programs can be complex