Politically the island of Cyprus is divided into two parts. The Greek-speaking Republic of Cyprus in the south which is a member of EU and the Turkish-affiliated part in the north which calls itself KKTC or TRNC in English.
This split is reflected in the phone system as well. In the south different providers operate than in the north and there is no roaming at all between them (even if Vodafone owns a network in every part). A call from north to south is possible, but will be billed as a foreign call to another continent. The sovereign base areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia are covered by the same operators as Southern Cyprus.
For a tourist it's very easy nowadays to cross the border at Nicosia and visit the other part. But you should know that you will lose coverage soon. Furthermore, the north is not part of EU, so roaming prices are not regulated.Visiting the entire island, you may think of buying two SIM cards because of the present situation. In the south, the highest rates for data within the EU used to be charged, but now some cheaper packages appeared. Compare EU roaming options to it.
First the networks of the south are shown:
- Cyta Vodafone
- epic (formerly MTN)
Then the networks in the north
- KKTC Turkcell
- KKTC Telsim (Vodafone)
which are associated with the Turkish phone system. The restrictions about registration and taxes for foreign mobile devices enforced in Turkey (see Turkey) don't apply to Northern Cyprus.
2G is on 900 and 1800 MHz, 3G on 2100 MHz, 4G/LTE is in the Republic (South) on all three networks on 1800 MHz (B3) available for prepaid. More spectrum on 800 and 2600 MHz (B20 and B7) followed.To avoid being connected to a KKTC network by mistake, disable automatic network selection, make a manual network selection and lock the southern network as long as you are using an European SIM card for roaming in the Rep. of Cyprus under "roam like at home" rules.
If your EU network includes free roaming in Turkey (for example UK Vodafone includes Turkey in its roam free countries) then you will have free roaming in all of Cyprus, including the North (TRNC/KKTC) as your phone will assume it's in Turkey when it finds a network. Most EU SIM cards will however charge the KKTC much higher on Turkish roaming rates.
We start with the Greek-speaking Republic of Cyprus. You will notice that data prices are among the highest in Europe, while network coverage is below par. So you might think of bringing your EU SIM card with you and better roam in the South. The only European SIM card that includes both parts of Cyprus at low domestic rates if that of Vodafone UK (including Voxi).
Cyta (by Vodafone)Edit
Cyta for CYprus Telecommunication Authority is jointly owned by the Government of the Rep. of Cyprus and Vodafone and still the biggest operator in the country giving a reasonable coverage at the highest rates around.
4G/LTE has started in 2015 in the towns of Nicosia, Limassol, Larnaca, Paphos. It's available for prepaid users without a surcharge.
Their prepaid SIM card is called "soeasy". They sell it everywhere (in the airports, supermarkets, kiosks etc.): store locator. Default PIN is 1234.
There are reload cards (vouchers) for €5, €10, €20 and €35 available. A top-up of €10 or more is valid for 365 days. You can recharge online with a non Cyprus-issued credit card, if you ask for an authorization code by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and use it here. Check balance by *110#.
This plan is for smartphones and talk, text and data. The starter pack is sold for €7.50 and contains 5 € credit and 100 domestic SMS valid for 90 days.
Default rate is still at high €0.244 per MB. So use packages. They offer either combo plans or data-only packages.
The combo packs need to be activated by texting "on soeasy plus" to 8000. These three monthly combos are sold:
|€ 10||100 mins||100||500 MB||€ 3|
|€ 20||300 mins||300||1 GB||€ 3|
|€ 35||600 mins||600||2 GB||€ 3|
These data packages are sold:
|soeasy MI day||1 day||100 MB||€ 1.50||MI Day|
|soeasy MI week||1 week||200 MB||€ 3||MI Week|
|soeasy MI month||1 month||1 GB||€ 10||MI Month|
|soeasy MI monthly XL||1 month||2 GB||€ 15||MI XL|
For activation, text activation code to 8000. After you have consumed the internet pack you have purchased, it will charge you a basic rate €0.25 per ΜΒ unless you purchase a new pack. For this reason they will inform you through SMS when your pack has been consumed. You can purchase as many mobile internet packs as you like at any moment. Consumption will take place from the pack you have purchased earlier until it is exhausted.
Vodafone mobile InternetEdit
VMI is their data only SIM which is sold for €14.95 including 200 MB data.
|5 days||500 MB||€ 5|
|10 days||1 GB||€ 10|
|20 days||2.2 GB||€ 20|
|40 days||4.1 GB||€ 35|
The validity period is extended every time you top-up your account. The extension duration in days is shown in the table below. Your service will be deleted 180 days after the expiration of the credit validity period unless you top-up your account before that date.
EU roaming Edit
Cyta generally implements "roam like home" principles with roaming at domestic rates in the EU without restrictions on all their prepaid offers.
- APN: cytamobile
- Website in English: https://www.cyta.com.cy/personal/en
epic (formerly: MTN Cyprus)Edit
Epic is the second network operator in the Republic: Coverage map. In 2018 it was sold to Monaco Telecom and was rebranded in June 2019 to epic. It gives out data at slightly more competitive rates than Cyta at a lower coverage.
4G/LTE started in 2015 on 1800 MHz (B3) in the towns of Nicosia, Larnaca, Paphos and Limassol: 4G coverage and is now available to prepaid users too. In 2017 about 93% of the population are supposed to be covered.
SIM card is available for €2 with €1 and 50 MB pre-loaded credit. They sell it everywhere (in the airports, supermarkets, kiosks etc.): Store locator.
Top-ups are available through vouchers or electronic recharge. Denominations are €5, €10, €20, €35 and €50. Top-ups of €10 or more are valid for 365 days and come with additional airtime, data and SMS bonses. They offer a special data top-up card at € 15 with 2 GB for 30 days of validity. This data top-up card is only available for electronic top-up.
According to customer care top-ups with international credit cards are only available through a partner site, which however takes high commission. Alternatively you can top up commission-free online with JCCSmart. (This should work with the other providers as well.
Check your balance by dialing *202#.
Their voice and data plan is called Pay As You Go. Default rate for data is a high €1.02 per MB. You should buy better buy one of these bundles:
|1 day||100 MB||€ 1.5||data on day|
|1 week||300 MB||€ 4||data on week|
|1 month||1000 MB||€ 10||data on month|
|1 month||2000 MB||€ 15||data on month 2000|
Activation is by texting the code to 6040.
By texting the word 'ON' to 6040 you can activate their All in one Bonus Scheme for top-ups of €10 or more valid for 30 days:
|€ 10||40 mins||100||30 MB|
|€ 20||120 mins||250||60 MB|
|€ 35||240 mins||500||90 MB|
|€ 50||400 mins||750||150 MB|
Mega Bundle: 1000 minutes of airtime and 1000 SMS to all MTN numbers, as well as 1 GB for € 7. Validity period is 10 days. You can activate it with sending the text '''ON''' to the number 8500. You can activate more times, and you receive the airtime, SMS and MBs again.
Holiday Prepaid Pack Edit
For tourists they have introduced their Holiday Prepaid Pack. It's sold at €20 with 2 GB for 15 days. While data is on default at the excessive € 1.02/MB rate, you can add all 4 data packages from above to this tourist SIM. It includes reduced internatl. SMS and calls to Sweden, Norway, Russia, Germany and the UK.
The Holiday Prepaid Pack has a non-extendable validity period of 30 days upon activation. Any recharge will not extend the validity period irrespective of the recharge validity period. Upon expiration, the SIM card will become inactive and any unused monetary credit will be lost.
EU roaming Edit
Epic has generally implemented "roam like home" principles with roaming at domestic rates in the EU without restrictions on all their prepaid offers.
- APN: internet
- Website in English: http://www.mtn.com.cy/en/mobile/
PrimeTel PLC is a multiservice provider with various fixed broadband and mobile services. It is very popular for ADSL, TV and landline phone service in the South. It's the first MVNO in the Republic of Cyprus too.
It started in 2011 using the Cytamobile network. In 2014 they have been granted a license to build own physical network on 3G and 4G/LTE. It has already covered 60% of territory by its own 4G/LTE and 99% on its own 3G since 2015, making Cyta no more needed, but roaming with Cyta is still operational for 2G (GSM/GPRS/EDGE) modes. 4G/LTE is open for prepaid customers without surcharge. Be aware that 4G coverage is still spotty in rural areas.
Their starter packs are available at the airports, supermarkets, some kiosks, mobile phone shops and their own stores (shops list) for €2 with €1 credit and 50 MB preloaded.
For top-ups reload cards are sold with heavy bonuses for €5, €10, €20, €35 and €50. You can recharge online using any international Visa/MasterCard credit card on their website
They give the highest bonuses for top-ups. To activate this bonus text 'ON' to 8133. These bonuses are awarded valid for 30 days:
|€ 5||20 mins||20||0|
|€ 10||100 mins||150||100 MB|
|€ 20||250 mins||300||200 MB|
|€ 35||450 mins||600||350 MB|
|€ 50||unlimited||800||500 MB|
Voice minutes are on-net on Primetel only.
They also have released special data top-up cards in three denominations:
- € 5: 800 MB for 10 days
- € 10: 2 GB for 30 days
- € 15: 4 GB for 30 days
Check your account balance by *133#, check how much Internet left by*138*2#, check Super Bundle status and how much left, by *138*3#, check Bonus Balance by *138# and change language by *135*2# for English.
Super Bundle Pack Edit
This is probably the best offer for a short stay in Cyprus (South): you get 1.5 GB, 1000 minutes of calling to Primetel and 1000 SMS to Primetel network for 10 days at € 8. To get this package, send SMS with text 'ON8' to 8133.
Regular Pay As You Go rates Edit
For prepaid subscribers, default charge and overuse rate for mobile internet is € 0.25 per MB. These packages are offered:
|100 ΜB||€ 1.50||1 day||MB1|
|800 MB||€ 5||7 days||MB7|
|2 GΒ||€ 10||30 days||MB30|
|4 GB||€ 15||30 days||MB30 2500|
For activation text code to 8133.
Travel Internet Pack Edit
This is a special data-only SIM card made for tourists. Similar to MTN, they sell the SIM card at €20 with 2.5 GB pre-loaded valid for 20 days. You can buy this product at the airport arrivals (Larnaca or Pafos) and at selected kiosks all over the island.
To buy more data, you can add one of these packages:
|250 MB||2 days||€ 5|
|500 MB||7 days||€ 10|
|2 GB||14 days||€ 20|
|3.5 GB||20 days||€ 35|
|5 GB||30 days||€ 50|
Purchase of these packages is online through your account. 4G/LTE is supported. A triple size SIM (nano, micro, mini) is given out. Note that it supports only data, neither voice calls nor SMS service.
Check the detailed users guide in English from the official website. After the expiration of the initial data, you can purchase more data for a period of 90 days. After the 90 days of service the SIM card becomes inactive regardless of your loaded credit.
EU roaming Edit
Primetel has generally implemented "roam like home" principles with roaming at domestic rates in the EU without restrictions on all their prepaid offers.
More info Edit
- Tethering is allowed, speed is not limited, but Fair Use Policies (FUP) are active: using torrents or other P2P applications is limited by speed throttling.
- APN: ip.primetel
- Websites in English: http://primetel.com.cy/en/ and http://www.payasyougo.com.cy/en/
SOUTHERN PART (Republic of Cyprus, Greek) above
NORTHERN PART (KKTC, Turkish) below
Basic information Edit
The Turkish-controlled Northern part of Cyprus (called KKTC or in English Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, short: TRNC) is connected to the Turkish phone network, sharing the same country code with Turkey (+90). The prefix for KKTC Turkcell is +90 533 and for Telsim Vodafone +90 542.
Dialing from North to South is possible, but is billed as an international long-distance call. Generally it's not advisable to use a SIM from the South in the North or vice versa. A few European providers like Vodafone in the UK include both parts in their EU roaming zone and can be a good option.
In the KKTC prices are still sometimes shown as units (so-called Kontör) instead of the local currency TL (Turkish Lira). 1 unit equals 0.065 TL.Coming to the North, you will notice that prices are mich lower than in the South. But you will not be able to roam down there. A local SIM card from the North can only be used in mainland Turkey.
Furthermore, the KKTC is one of the very few regions in Europe in 2019 when still no 4G/LTE networks are operative. This is due to the lack of connectivity to the mainland. Now, 4G/LTE is finally announced for 2020 on both networks. So far you are confined only to 3G speeds for now in the KKTC.
KKTC TurkcellEditKKTC Turkcell is the North Cyprus branch of the leading Turkish network provider Turkcell. Like with Vodafone below you can now use data in KKTC and Turkey without surcharges.
The rates are still charged in "Kontör" = units. 1 unit is 0.065 TL.
The SIM card is sold in all Turkcell shops (store locator) for 15 TL with 100 units (worth 6.5 TL) of credit.
You can recharge online using almost any credit card (Visa/MasterCard) on the following website. Process is pretty straightforward (in English), it recharges your account instantly. Minimal amount to load is 400 units or 26 TL.
Data feature packsEdit
Default data rate is 11 units (0.715 TL) per 100 KB. The following packages can be activated:
|100 MB||1 day||77||5||GUNLUK|
|1 GB||7 days||291||19||HAFTALIK1|
|500 MB||30 days||538||35||500|
|1 GB||30 days||692||45||1|
|2 GB||30 days||849||55||2|
|4 GB||30 days||1154||75||4|
|10 GB||30 days||1369||89||10|
|20 GB||30 days||1769||115||15|
|30 GB||30 days||2138||139||20|
For activation text code to 1111. Wait until the package is confirmed by text message. To deactivate text "IPTAL" to 1111.
Tourist SIMs Edit
For visiting tourists they sell special packages:
- Haftalık Turist Surfer Paketi (= weekly Tourist Surfer Package) with 2 GB, 50 internaional mins and 500 international SMS at 39 TL. To re-activate, text 'SURFER' to 2966
- Monthly Tourist Flex Package comes in three sizes:
- 2 GB and 50 international mins: 50 TL, activation 'FLEX1' to 1001
- 1 GB and 100 international mins: 50 TL, activation: 'FLEX2' to 1001
- 500 MB and 150 international mins: 50 TL, activation: 'FLEX3' to 1001
Unlimited Lifecell WiFi is added for free.
- APN: cepten.kktcell /or/ internet.kktcell
- Website in English: https://www.kktcell.com/en
Telsim Vodafone (KKTC Telsim) Edit
Telsim Vodafone, aka KKTC Telsim is the only competitor of KKTC Turkcell and the local branch of Vodafone Turkey. They are not allowed to be called Vodafone for legal reasons as Vodafone has an own network in the southern part of the island too. But it's origin is pretty obvious looking at their branding.
Their data packages are valid on Vodafone network in Turkey too, but not on the Cyta-Vodafone network in the south of the island. Vodafone generally sells data cheaper than KKTC Turkcell and has still a reasonable network. Don't expect high speeds in the absence of 4G/LTE.
Their standard SIM is for 10 TL without any credit. Default data rate is 0.162 units per MB. Like in Turkey, they heavily advertise combo packages as base plans.
Data feature packsEdit
They have one daily package of 1 GB at 10 TL that is sold as scratch card called Günlük Internet Paket. It's valid for 24 hours and you have to text the 'GUNLUK' <6-digit code from the card> to 8484. Check your balace by texting 'KALAN' ro 8484.
The following monthly data bundles are available and valid in Northern Cyprus and Turkey and some are only available through their app MyVodafone:
|1 day||1 GB||18|
|7 days||2 GB||35|
|30 days||3 GB||59||through app|
|6 GB||69||through app|
|12 GB||74||through app|
|18 GB||84||through app|
|24 GB||94||through app|
|35 GB||118||through app|
Packages must be purchased calling customer service on 548 (call for 8 units), in Telsim Shops or online on your account. Cheaper data packs shown in the table must be purchased through the MyVodafone app of the country.
All data packages are valid without roaming surcharges on the Vodafone network in Turkey too. To check consumption, text 'DURUM' to 2121 for free. For Facebook and Twitter use they offer a social bundle with 1 GB for these two apps and 20 MB general data valid for 30 days at 77 units = 5 TL. Activation by *8484#.
Tourist SIM Edit
Telsim sells a special tourist SIM in the streets of Lefkosa and on the nothern coast in tourist places. It goes for 60 TL and includes 10 GB data, 50 international mins and 500 international SMS all valid for 1 week.
- APN: internet
- Website in English: https://www.kktctelsim.com/en/