Prepaid Data SIM Card Wiki
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2000px-Flag of Belarus (variant).svg.png

Basics[]

These mobile networks are operating in Belarus in 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE:

  • MTS [МТС] (owned by Beltelecom & MTS Russia)
  • A1 (formerly Velcom, owned by A1 Telekom Austria Group)
  • Life:) (mostly owned by Turkcell)
  • for 4G/LTE: beCloud (partly state-owned, providing only 4G/LTE, for all providers above)

Many people in Belarus carry two mobiles, one with an MTS and the other with a A1SIM card to avoid paying for more expensive cross-network calls. Life is in 3rd place with a lower coverage but very good prices.

2G is on 900 and 1800 MHz, 3G on 900 and 2100 MHz. In 2016 the two major operators cover 53%, which has been extended to more than 97% in the meantime.

4G/LTE has started in 2015. A 4th state-owned provider called beCloud had a monopoly license for 15 years and is building up the 4G/LTE network on 800, 1800 and 2600 MHz (bands 3, 7 and 20), which is marketed by the private operators. MTS has been launching its 4G/LTE marketing in 2015, life:) followed in 2016 and A1 in 2019.

BeCloud’s network in 2022 comprises 3,508 BTS operating in three bands (1800 MHz/B3, 2600 MHz/B7 and 800 MHz/B20), yielding combined network coverage of more than 97.4% of the population and 76.7% of the territory of Belarus. This is added by own deployments of the three local network providers.

The two bigger operators sell visitor or tourist SIMs that can be purchased and used without any local registration, but you still have to show your passport.

Regulations[]

All operators require you by law to show your passport when buying a SIM card in Belarus. Be aware that some local shops don't know how to deal with foreign (i.e. not Belarusian or Russian) passports. So it's advisable to buy only in operators' shops or in railway stations or airports.

Currency[]

In 2016 the currency was denominated and the new Belarusian ruble was introduced. They took away four 0s and 1 new ruble is now worth the same as 10,000 old rubles (BYR). From 2017 only the new Belarusian ruble (BYN) is valid. Therefore all prices given in this article are in new Belarusian rubles (BYN) now.

EU roaming[]

No roaming.jpg

Be aware that Belarus is not part of the EU, nor the EEA, where since June 2017 new international roaming rules have been enforced. Roaming rates on most European SIM cards are not capped or regulated in Belarus and can be much higher than anywhere else in Europe. So better buy a local SIM in the country instead.

MTS (МТС)[]

Mts.png

MTS (or МТС in Belarusian for "Мабільныя ТэлеСістэмы") is a joint venture co-owned by state owned Beltelecom and Russian owned MTS operator and is the leading provider in Belarus. Its network coverage is 98% on 2G and 95% on 3G. 4G/LTE reselling of beCloud started in 2015 and gained 1 million users by 2017. More details on their 2G/3G/4G coverage map.

SIMs cards on all tariffs expire after 180 days of non-use. You can keep it alive by sending a roaming SMS or a web text from MTS's web site. To top-up you can buy vouchers or do it online by international credit card (VISA, MasterCard).

Visitor plans[]

MTS has different visitor plans that don't require a registration with the authorities in Belarus, but you are still required to show your passport when buying the SIM card. Although these tariff offer pretty good rates, they don't allow international roaming, making it harder to keep the SIM card active after leaving Belarus.

The visitor SIM card is sold in their stores called MTS Centres (Центр МТС) (location map and list in English) with the same credit. Tourists arriving in the country are allowed to buy this tariff plan:

  • Bezlimitishe+ (Unlimited+) at BYN 26.75 per month. This subscription fee is deducted daily in equal installments. It comes with unlimited internet when using a cell phone or a tablet, but only 100 MB of internet in modem mode daily plus 400 minutes for calls to all domestic networks monthly

Subscribers who are foreign citizens or stateless persons can't use any international roaming. credit payment or allowed to change the price plan.

Other tariffs[]

To get other tariffs, you need to be registered with the authorities in Belarus. A stamp by your hotel on the back of the immigration card in your passport is sufficient, and this is routinely done by hotels upon check-in. Some MTS shops, particularly outside Minsk, might insist that you instead take the Guest tariff with a foreign passport, even if you are properly registered, so be prepared to demand a second opinion. Though they may give better rates, some Russian language skills are mandatory to manage the SIM.

Most voice and data SIM cards have these daily options for data:

  • Бит (Bit): 250 MB per day for BYN 9.67 per month, activation: *741#
  • СуперБит (SuperBit): 500 MB per day for BYN 18.14 per month, activation: *742#
  • БезлимитVIP (UnlimitedVIP): 1 GB per day for BYN 32.34 per month, activation: *743#
  • Пикник (Picnic): 2 GB per day for BYN 1.08 per day, activation: *744#
  • Безлимит на сутки (Unlimited per day): unlimited data each day for BYN 3.12 per day, activation: *746#

All the above packages are marketed as "unlimited", but they are throttled to 256 Kbps after reaching the quota. The daily quotas can be doubled until the end of the day by dialling *714# at a similar daily charge. The quota is reset at the end of the day. All packages auto-renew. To stop, send code *74?*0#.

Their cheapest data plan is simply called Internet (Iнтэрнэт), aimed at tablets and modems, but has voice and text too at high rates. You can change to this tariff by typing *111*13#. It doesn't have a monthly fee, but you need to add one of these packages for 30 days (overuse is charged at BYN 0.02 per MB):

  • Mini - 10 GB: BYN 9.50, activation: *534#, deactivation: *534*0#
  • Midi - 15 GB: BYN 13.50, activation: *535#, deactivation: *535*0#
  • Maxi - 30 GB: BYN 18.50, activation: *536#, deactivation: *536*0#

To know the remaining megabytes use code *558#. for the remaining credit code *100#.

Disabling useless options[]

Those options are enabled by default and cost useless money:

  • "Тонинг"/"Мелодия дня"(= ring-back tone): 0.72 BYN per month. Disabling has a one-off cost. To disable *300# (for BYN 0.006 ) or text "off" to number 300 (for BYN 0.028 )
  • Voicemail: To disable enter ##002#.
  • "Будь в курсе" (= spam message): This service is free, but if you press "OK" in any of the spam messages, you'll have to pay. To disable enter *987*0#.
  • Possibility to go to negative credit. You don't want to owe money to mobile operator. To disable negative credit and be fully prepaid enter *150*0#.

More info[]

  • Foreign citizens and stateless persons don't have access to roaming services abroad.
  • APN: internet.mts.by
  • Username and Password: mts
  • Website in English (showing only the visitor plan): https://www.mts.by/en/
  • Website in Belarusian and Russian (showing all offers): https://www.mts.by/

A1 []

new brand

A1 is the strongest competitor of MTS in Belarus with almost the same 2G/3G coverage: coverage map. About 76% of the population are covered by 4G/LTE in 2020. It was called Velcom before.

In 2019 Velcom phased in the A1 brand of its parent A1 Telekom Austria Group. The operator announced that rebranding from Velcom to A1 is gradual. In summer this transition seems to be completed and marketing is now under the new A1 brand though you might still spot their old Velcom sign.

In 2019 A1 has finally announced the launch of 4G/LTE services in the city of Minsk and parts of the Minsk region, using the common infrastructure of national LTE access provider beCloud. Coming more than three years after rivals MTS and life.

Tourist plan[]

A1's prepaid card is called Privet (Привет meaning hello/hi). Like MTS, A1 has a tourist plan that doesn't require the customer to be registered with the authorities in Belarus.

  • No Limits 2.0 (Без Лимита 2.0) that includes unlimited internet for 30 days, 600 domestic minutes to all networks: BYR 15 / BYN 29.99

Services on the tariff are provided subject to mandatory prepayment in the amount of the BYN 15 subscription fee of the service package for 30 days. In the future, the cost of a service package for 30 days is BYN 29.99 per month.

The SIM expires one year after the last top-up. Check balance by *120# and data balance by *127*2#.

To switch language into English dial 150 (free of charge) and then 5.

Other tariffs[]

To get other tariffs, you need to be registered with the authorities in Belarus. Though they may give better rates, some Russian language skills are to manage the SIM. They are too complicated to show them all and many visitors will stick to the visitor tariff without being registered.

For data only aimed at tablets and modems they sell the 'Privet. Internet+' plan for BYN 1.99 and BYN 5 for activation. Default rate is BYN 0.05 per MB. These two packages are offered for 30 days:

  • 500 MB: BYN 4.21
  • 900 MB: BYN 9.13

To activate or check remaining data type *127#.

Local Privet plans are active only if there’s a positive balance on the phone. The plan is active for 365 days from the moment of activation, so you can use the SIM card when returning to Belarus during the year.

Disabling useless options[]

Those options are enabled by default and cost useless money.

  • "Мелофон" (= ring-back tone): BYN 0.04 /day (BYN 1.2 /month). To disable enter *424*5*1#.
  • Voicemail: to disable enter *441*1#.
  • "Что нового" (= spam messages): The service is free, but if you press "OK" in any of the spam messages, you'll have to pay. Go to SIM toolkit and choose «Что нового», «Настройки», «Сервис включен», «Отключить» and «Подтвердить».
  • Possibility to go to negative credit: you don't want to owe money to mobile operator. To disable negative credit and be fully prepaid enter *145*9#.

More info[]

life:)[]

new logo

Turkish owned life:) is the smallest operator in Belarus. As its network is more limited, make a network scan before you buy a SIM card: Its 3G is still more limited to population centers as the 900 MHz frequency is not yet employed. Where available, they give data at much better rates, but at a lower coverage: coverage map.. Better make a network check, if you want to use it at a particular location.

4G/LTE reselling of beCloud by life has started in 2016 and can be used on special data packages shown below. You may need to change to a new SIM card, if it's not yet LTE-enabled.

Be aware of their complex validity rules: If you don’t make a payment for 180 days, starting the 181st day you will pay a fee of BYN 0.25 per day. If after 180 days since the last refill or SIM card activation, there was no refill and the subscriber doesn’t have enough funds on the account, the contract is suspended for 90 days. If there’s no account replenishment during this time, the SIM card will be automatically terminated.

Tariffs[]

They only have tariffs for which you need to be registered with the authorities in Belarus. A stamp by your hotel on the back of the immigration card in your passport is sufficient, and this is routinely done by hotels upon check-in. Starter packs are sold in their shops called salons (locator). They offer these monthly plans that are discounted for the first subscription:

Plan Data Voice Price Extras
Shake Mini

Шейк Мини

5 GB* 300 mins BYN 9.90

(BYN 5 )

unlimited messengers
Shake

Шейк

10 GB* 500 mins BYN 13.90

(BYN 7 )

unlimited messengers,

and social media apps

All inclusive

Всё включено

unlimited unlimited BYN 21.90

(BYN 14.90 )

Play 50 GB* unlimited BYN 19.90

(BYN 15.90 )

(*) = when connected, the default tariff includes unlimited internet at speeds up to 1 Mbit/s for free for 3 months, then the service will last for BYN 0.99 per month. You can turn it off and use the tariff on standard terms shown on the table.

Prices in brackets are for 1st time subscriptions only. In the stores they will charge you slightly more for activation. This will be credited on your SIM card. Check balance by *100#.

You can alternatively subscribe to their "Start" plan without any allowances, free WhatsApp and Telegram for BYN 1.50 per month. They will charge you BYN 3 in the shop which will be credited on your SIM card. You can check your current plan and balances by *105#.

Data feature packages[]

For both plans/starters default internet rate is a high BYN 0.70 per MB outside of packages.

  • daily packs for 24 hours:
    • 250 MB: BYN 1.50 - *8251#
    • 2 GB: BYN 2.90 - *8151#
    • 3 GB: BYN 3.80 - *8301#
  • weekly packs for 7 days:
    • 250 MB: BYN 2.10 - *8257#
    • 2 GB: BYN 3.80 - *8157#
    • 3 GB: BYN 4.40 - *8307#

Packages auto-renew. To deactivate. type *110# and choose daily internet (Интернет на сутки).

On all plans these monthly packs can be activated, which have the same price as for local tariffs:

Data Price Activation
100 MB BYN 1.80 *8100#
500 MB BYN 3.90 *8500#
1 GB BYN 5.60 *8036#
2 GB (x3) BYN 7.60 *8102#
3 GB BYN 7.90 *8117#
4 GB (x3) BYN 8.60 *8104#
5 GB BYN 9.90 *8142#
8 GB (x3) BYN 11.60 *8108#
10 GB BYN 14.60 *8110#
12 GB BYN 15.90 *8112#
16 GB BYN 18.90 *8116#
20 GB BYN 19.90 *8120#
30 GB BYN 21.90 *8130#
50 GB BYN 32.60 *8150#

To check the balance type *100# and *105#. All packages marked (x3) are tripled in size for the first month after subscription. All packages auto-renew. To stop, dial *110#.

Disabling useless options[]

Those options may be enabled by default and cost useless money:

  • Subscriber unavailable: to disable enter *120*5*3#
  • Voicemail: to disable enter *120#.
  • Who called?: to disable enter *120#
  • automatic cost information after each debit (at BYN 0.60 per month): disable by *101#

More info[]

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