If you have an "unlocked" or
"jailbroken" GSM phone
capable of operating in
the 900 Mhz
Mhz bands, you can probably
use it in Turkey—but see this
page about registering
a foreign phone with the Turkish
You can use it via international
but a cheaper way may be to buy a Turkish
SIM card (chip) and insert it into
A SIM (Subscriber
Identity Module) card is a small electronic
chip and memory card that stores
information on a mobile phone customer, the phone's
account, country of usage, and data such as SMS (Short
Message Service) messages.
In effect, it's the "hard
drive" or "memory chip" of your GSM
mobile phone. When you turn on your mobile phone, the
SIM tells the phone which network to connect to, who
you are (so people can call you), and your phone usage
||Works in Turkey, too...
Several companies (here's
one for the 1800 Mhz band) will
sell you SIM chips from Turkish mobile
phone companies in your home
so you'll be able to set up your phone
in Turkey, and make and receive calls
as soon as you arrive and register
your phone. More...
Otherwise, you can easily buy
a SIM card when you get to Turkey.
(Although there can be problems—read
Have your passport with you when
you go to buy a SIM card. Identification
is supposedly required when you register
a phone or phone number in Turkey.
(I welcome any further reports on this
Locked or Unlocked: GSM
phones are either "locked" (you
can't change your SIM card), or "unlocked" (you
can remove your SIM card and replace
it with a different one).
If you GSM phone is unlocked,
you will be able to remove (and save)
your current card, buy a new
Turkish SIM card, insert it
in your mobile phone, and use your
phone as a "local person," paying
local Turkish rates for calls.
This is usually much cheaper than international
In Turkey, a mobile
phone shop—they seem
to be everywhere in the cities—may
be able to "unlock" or
kiliti kırmak) your "locked"
GSM phone so that you can put in
a Turkish SIM card. They may charge TL10
for this service.
(In Istanbul, the quaking heart of
the mobile phone market—white, grey
and black—is the Doğu
Bank İş Hanı building, Hamidiye
Caddesi 10 [map].
Go here to buy, sell, crack, repair
or accessorize your phone. Not a lot
of English spoken, but they'll figure
out what you want.)
Mobile phone shops will also sell
you prepaid "starter" packets from any of the Turkish
mobile phone companies. The packet
contains a SIM card,
of services available, and instructions
for use—all of which may be
in Turkish! But the shop clerk should
be able to help you.
For my Turkish-bought phone, I just
removed the back, took out the battery,
inserted the SIM chip, replaced the
battery and the back, and then sync'ed
the phone with the network by pushing
the buttons as instructed.
With a new SIM chip, you'll probably
have to re-program all the phone numbers
you want in your phone (because the
SIM chip is where your numbers are
Making calls is usually
pretty easy to figure out, and the
phone shop staff will help you with
that, too. Here's
some help. If all else fails, Turkish
mobile phone companies have customer
service numbers that connect
to English-speaking operators who
may be able to help you.
Turkish mobile phone companies make
it easy for you to add calling units (kontör) to
your account. More...