The island of Cyprus is de facto divided into four jurisdictions:
- 5,196 km² comprising the Greek-speaking part controlled by the government of the Republic of Cyprus (hereinafter referred to as "the South")
- 3,355 km² comprising the Turkish-speaking self-proclaimed "Kuzey Kıbrıs Türk Cumhuriyeti" (KKTC) or "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" (TRNC) (hereinafter referred to as "the North")
- 346 km² comprising the United Nations Buffer Zone (up to 7km wide separating the South and North)
- 254 km² comprising the British Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia (for telephony purposes part of the South)
This split is reflected in the phone system as well. In the South different providers operate from in the North, although there is now roaming between the two which wasn't the case in the past. A call between the South and the North is possible, but will be charged as a foreign call to another continent.
For a tourist it's very easy nowadays to cross between the South and North at multiple points and visit the other part. But you should know that you will lose coverage soon after doing so. Furthermore, EU law is suspended in the North, so roaming prices are not regulated. Visiting the entire island, you might consider buying two SIM cards because of the long-running situation. In the South, the highest rates for data within the EU used to be charged, but now some cheaper packages appeared on the local market. EU roaming is often a better option.
The networks in South are:
- Cyta Vodafone
- epic (formerly: MTN)
this is added by MVNO Cablenet.
The networks in the North are:
- KKTC Turkcell
- KKTC Telsim (Vodafone)
which are associated with the Turkish phone system. The restrictions about registration and taxes for foreign mobile devices in Turkey don't apply in the North of Cyprus.
2G is on 900 and 1800 MHz, 3G on 2100 MHz, 4G/LTE is in the South on all three networks on 1800 MHz (B3) available for prepaid. More spectrum on 800 and 2600 MHz (B20 and B7) followed. There is no 4G/LTE in the North yet. 5G NR has started in 2021 in the south by Cyta-Vodafone.
To avoid being connected to a network in the North by mistake, disable automatic network selection, make a manual network selection and lock the network in the South, if you are using a SIM card from the European Economic Area under "roam like at home" rules close to the border.
WE start with the South where data prices are among the highest in Europe similar to Greece, while network coverage is below par. So you might think of bringing your EU-issued SIM card with you and roam in the South. The only European prepaid SIM card that includes both parts of Cyprus at low domestic rates is of Vodafone Spain.
SIM cards in the South are without registration, whereas in the North all SIM cards need to be registered showing your passport or EU ID card since 2019. Even if you purchase a SIM card with some top-up or a pack, you may still have to activate those manually by following instructions on the receipt and entering the secret code from it, ask the seller for clarification. Otherwise you end up with the default package (which may include a small amount of data) and pay-as-you-go tariffs.
It's typical to have separate balances and separate top-ups for pay-as-you-go tariffs (calls, text, costly data per MB) and Internet data packs. For example, a "10 EUR top-up" may refer to either, be wary when buying top-ups. A data pack top-up typically includes "data" and the amount of data in its name, e.g. "10 EUR 5GB data top-up". You may be unable to buy a data pack from your pay-as-you-go balance if you buy the wrong top-up card.
Cyta (by Vodafone)
Cyta for CYprus Telecommunication Authority is jointly owned by the Government of the Republic of Cyprus and Vodafone and is still the largest operator in the country giving a reasonable coverage at the highest rates around.
4G/LTE started in 2015 in the towns of Nicosia, Limassol, Larnaca, Paphos. It's available for prepaid users without a surcharge. In 2021 Cyta-Vodafone started 5G NR on 700 MHz (n28) and 3500 MHz (n78) covering about 70% of the population so far. It's available to all their customers without surcharges.
Their prepaid SIM card is called "soeasy". They sell it everywhere (in the airports, supermarkets, kiosks etc.): store locator. Default PIN is 1234. The starter pack is sold for €2 with €1 free initial credit and a validity period of 90 days. You can also get it online delivered to a local postal address. To activate all 1882 from your mobile phone and select your preferred language (English or Greek).
The SIM card has a validity period of 90 days from the date of activation. If you don’t top-up within that 90-day period, outgoing calls are immediately terminated and for the next 7 days only incoming calls will be allowed. If you again do not top-up during this 7-day period, you have another 15 days left before your soeasy phone number is automatically cancelled.
There are reload cards (vouchers) for €1, €3, €5, €10, €20, €35 and €50 available. The €1, €3 and €50 can't be used for Vodafone mobile internet. A top-up of €1 or €3 is valid for 30 days, of €5 for 180 days and 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 email@example.com and use it here.
They also offer data top-up cards with discounted mobile data:
- €5: 2 GB for 30 days
- €10: 6 GB for 30 days
- €15: 12 GB for 30 days
These data top-up cards are only valid on soeasy voice and data plans, not on Vodafone mobile internet plans (see below).
To top-up by voucher enter *115*<voucher code>#. Check balance by *110#.
Their combo prepaid plan for smartphones is called soeasy. It comes in different lines:
- Classic: without fee, but all services are at the default standard rate at high €0.15 per MB. Though you can add data vouchers or packs.
- Plus: combo plans with voice, text and data plus some credit (called pocket money) for 30 days
- Youth: combo plans for all under 27 y/o (not shown)
The following Plus combo packs need to be activated by texting "on soeasy plus" to 8000.
These soeasy plus combos are sold for 30 days:
|€10||200 mins||200||2 GB||€1|
|€20||1000 mins||1000||5 GB||€1|
|€35||2000 mins||2000||10 GB||€1|
|€50||3000 mins||3000||40 GB||€1|
You’ll need to activate it (opt in) once and then every time you top up €10 or €20 or €35 or €50 (in one top-up) your top-up will be converted into local minutes, SMS, Mobile Internet and pocket money for 30 days. The €1 pocket money allowance can be used for any service (charged at our standard rates). If you top-up €1, €3 or €5, the amount will be credited in your main account and it can be used at the standard price plan rates for any service (inc. Premium and non-geographic calls or texts, international calls etc.). If you top-up your account again within your current 30-day period you’ll get another allowance of minutes, SMS, Mobile Internet and pocket money for the next 30 days.
All packages renew, if you top-up. To deactivate Plus to go to Classic text 'off soeasy plus', to change Plus plans text 'on soeasy<plan>' to 8000. As promotion they give for soeasy Plus Cyta doubles minutes, SMS and MB with the 1st top-up every month, from €10 and above valid until the end of June 2022
Data feature packages
These data packages are sold for more data and can be added to all soeasy lines:
|soeasy MI day||1 day||200 MB||€1||MI Day|
|soeasy MI week||1 week||500 MB||€3||MI Week|
|soeasy MI month small||1 month||2 GB||€5||MI Small|
|soeasy MI month||1 month||6 GB||€10||MI Month|
|soeasy MI monthly XL||1 month||12 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 the default rate of €0.15 per ΜΒ unless you purchase a new pack. You will receive an sms notification when you have only 300MB left in your account, and again when you ran out of ΜΒ. Alternatively, you may check your soeasy account online through MyCyta. 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.
Alternatively, you can use data top-up cards mentioned above.
Vodafone mobile Internet
Vodafone mobile internet is their data-only SIM without voice is called VMB for Vodafone Mobile Broadband. Starters are sold for €14.95 including 1 GB data valid for 15 days. It can't be changed to soeasy.
These data packages can be added:
|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 expiry of the credit validity period unless you top-up your account before that date.
Cyta generally implements "roam like home" principles with roaming at domestic rates in the EU/EEA + UK on all its prepaid offers. The general rule for roaming like at home is that as long as you spend more time at home than abroad, or you use your mobile phone more at home than abroad during the last 4 months, you can roam at domestic prices when travelling wherever in the EU. Permanent roamers will face surcharges.
- APN: cytamobile
- Website in English: https://www.cyta.com.cy/personal/en
epic (formerly: MTN Cyprus)
Epic is the second network operator in the South: Coverage map. In 2018 it was sold to Monaco Telecom who rebranded it in 2019 to the Epic brand. It offers data at slightly more competitive rates than Cyta at a slightly lower coverage.
4G/LTE started in 2015 on 1800 MHz in major towns and is now available to prepaid users too. In 2017 about 93% of the population of the South is supposed to be covered on 1800 MHz (B3) and 800 MHz (B20).
The SIM card is available for €2 with €1 credit. They sell it everywhere (in the airports, supermarkets, kiosks etc.): Store locator.
Top-ups are available through vouchers or electronic recharge. Denominations are € 1, €5, €10, €20, €35 and €50. The €1 top-up is only available anline and valid for 24 hours, the €5 for 180 days and all top-up of €10 or more for 365 days. To top-up by voucher enter *202*<voucher code>#. Check balance by *202#. When buying online, you can top-up your pay-as-you-go balance from epic's website, while for their pay-as-you-surf data packs you have to register separately at JCCSmart.com, buy a top-up card, and then activate it as if it was bought at a kiosk.
The top-ups translate into these free allowances. In order to start receiving free airtime, free SMS and bonus data volume with every top-up, you will first need to transfer to the new All In One Bonus scheme. To transfer to the new scheme just send “ON” to 8050 via SMS.
|€10||40 mins||100||30 MB|
|€20||120 mins||250||60 MB|
|€35||240 mins||500||90 MB|
|€50||400 mins||750||150 MB|
They also sell data top-up cards in these values:
- €5: 2550 MB for 10 days
- €10: 6 GB for 30 days
- €15: 12 GB for 30 days
The Data Top-Up cards are only available for electronic top-up and can only be used within Cyprus.
According to customer care, top-ups with international credit cards are available only through a partner site, which however takes a high commission. Alternatively you can top up commission-free online with JCCSmart. (This should work with the other providers as well.)
Pay As You Go
Default rate for data is a high €1.02 per MB. You should better change to Pay as you surf.
Pay as you surf
epic Pay As You Go subscribers, also have the option of activating the Pay As You Surf service. This is done automatically when you buy one of these data packs:
|1 day||100 MB||300 MB||€1.50||data on day|
|7 days||500 MB||1.5 GB||€4||data on week|
|30 days||2 GB||6 GB||€10||data on month|
|30 days||4 MB||12 GB||€15||data on month 2000|
(*) = the triple prepaid data offer is valid for at least February, March and April 2022, check locally if it's still going on.
Activation of packages is by texting the code to 6040. Be aware, that overuse is at excessive €1.02 per MB.
For tourists they have introduced their Holiday Internet pack. It's sold at €20 with 4 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 international. SMS and calls to Sweden, Norway, Russia, Germany and the UK.
The account is valid for 30 days from activation and can be renewed with top-up cards the validity period of which varies based on the value of the top up card. When the validity period of the account expires, any remaining balance will not be lost and can be used when the account is reactivated. The account can be reactivated within 180 days from its expiry. In any other case the SIM card number will be deactivated and may be allocated to another subscriber.
Epic has generally implemented "roam like home" principles with roaming at domestic rates in the EU/EEA + UK without restrictions on all their prepaid offers. The general rule is that as long as you use your mobile phone more at home than abroad you can roam in any EU country at domestic prices.
- APN: internet
- Website in English: https://www.epic.com.cy/en/page/start/home
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 used to be the first MVNO in the South 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. They are the first provider to issue eSIM for prepaid.
Their starter packs are available at the airports, supermarkets, some kiosks, mobile phone shops and their own stores (shops list, not including conveniece stores at the very least) 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 data bonuses for top-ups. To activate this bonus text 'ON' to 8133. These bonuses are awarded valid for 30 days:
|€5||€5||1 GB||5 days|
|€10||€10||1 GB||10 days|
|€20||€20||1 GB||20 days|
|€35||€35||1 GB||30 days|
|€50||€50||1 GB||30 days|
They also have released special data top-up cards in three denominations:
- €5: 3 MB for 10 days
- €10: 8 GB for 30 days
- €15: 15 GB for 30 days
Check your account balance by *133#, check how much internet is left by *138*1# or *138*2# (the former typically reports your data package, the latter reports your preloaded 50 MB data package), check Super Bundle status and how much left by *138*3#, check Bonus Balance by *138# and change language by *135*2# for English.
On their Super Bundle 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
For prepaid subscribers, default charge and overuse rate for mobile internet is €0.25 per MB. These packages are offered:
|400 ΜB||€1.50||1 day||MB1|
|3 GB||€5||7 days||MB7|
|8 GΒ||€10||30 days||MB30|
|15 GB||€15||30 days||MB30 2500|
For activation, text the above code to 8133. To find out your available data balance dial *138*2#
Primetel is the first operator to offer eSIM for prepaid on compatible devices. It's issued for €16.95 and comes with 10 GB data and €1 balance for 30 days. The number is valid for 365 days and can be used for calls, texts and data and can be topped up like any usual SIM card. To change an eSIM between devices, or the installation, removal and re-installation in the same device is not supported. If you want to reinstall an eSIM profile, you will need to visit a Primetel store to get a new QR code, which you need for the installation. A deleted eSIM profile is not able to be recovered.
Their Travel Internet Pack is a special data-only SIM card made for tourists. They sell the SIM card at €20 with 10 GB preloaded valid for 20 days. It does not support voice calls or text. You can buy this product at the airport arrivals (Larnaca or Paphos) and at selected kiosks all over the island. After the expiry of the initial data, you can purchase more data for a period of 90 days. After the 90 days the product becomes inactive. Compared to their regular rates, this tourist SIM is not a bargain.
To buy more data, you can add one of these packages:
|1 GB||2 days||€5|
|3 GB||7 days||€10|
|8 GB||14 days||€20|
|15 GB||20 days||€35|
|25 GB||30 days||€50|
Purchase of these packages is online through your account.
Primetel has generally implemented "roam like at home" principles with roaming at domestic rates in the EU/EEA + UK without restrictions on all their prepaid offers.
- 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/
- At least one person had some issues connecting to 3G network with a cheap off-brand smartphone. Putting the SIM card into a good smartphone for a moment helped: the SIM card started working in both good and cheap smartphones in 3G mode. Or maybe it was few days of waiting after the purchase.
Cablenet (formerly: Lemontel)
Cablenet is a rival of PrimeNet and a MVNO in Cyprus marketing its prepaid offer under the brand Purple Loop. It uses the network of Cyta-Vodafone in 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE (see above). They used to market prepaid as Lemontel, but changed names.
The SIM card is available for €2 with €1 balance and is valid for 30 days from activation. The SIM can be bought in Cablenet stores, resellers, kiosks, and mini-markets.
Top-up cards are available for €2 extending the validity for 30 days, €5 extending validity for 180 days and €10, €20 and €50 extending validity for 365 days from the date they have been used. To top-up dial *103*<voucher code>#. To check balance use *101#. You can send credit to a friend with a Purple Loop SIM card by dialling *121*<loop number>*>amount>#.
To keep the SIM card alive from abroad is difficult, because Cablenet doesn't offer any way to purchase top-up cards online.
Data charges and bundles
The default rate is at low €0.01 per MB.
Bundles are called Loop Gimme and following packages are available valid for 60 days and multiple packages can be loaded.
|Gimme More||300||300||3 GB||€8|
|Gimme All||600||600||10 GB||€16|
|Gimme Data||10 GB||€10|
|Gimme Max||1000||1000||100 GB||€20|
To select a Loop Gimme package dial *141#.
Cablenet applies "Roam-like-at-home" in the EU/EEA + UK except for the Gimme Max bundle data is capped at 17 GB in roaming.
Roaming charges can be consulted here
CYPRUS (Greek-speaking) above
NORTH OF CYPRUS (Turkish-speaking) below
The North is connected to the Turkish phone network, sharing the same country code as 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 call. Generally it's not advisable to use a SIM from the South in the North or vice versa.
In the KKTC some prices are still sometimes shown as units (so-called Kontör) instead of the local currency ₺ or TL (Turkish Lira). 1 unit is equal to ₺0.065.
Coming to the North, you will notice that prices are much lower than in the South. A local SIM card from the North can only be used in mainland Turkey without surcharges, which bypasses Turkey's requirements to register foreign devices.
Note that Vodafone UK used to roam without surcharges in Turkey. This applied to the North as well until May 2020. From then on, it is surcharged. The only remaining SIM to include both the South and the North at domestic EU rates is that of Vodafone Spain.
Furthermore, the North 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 North.
All prepaid lines in the North must be registered by November 2019 or will be closed. So from now on you need to buy and register your prepaid SIM in a branded store of the operator by showing your ID (or passport). Due to the high inflation of the Turkish Lira, prices can be changed anytime.
KKTC Turkcell is the North of Cyprus subsidiary of the leading Turkish network provider Turkcell. Like with Vodafone below you can now use most data in the KKTC and Turkey without surcharges.
The de facto currency in the North is the Turkish Lira (TRY or ₺). However, some rates are still charged in "Kontör" (units). 1 unit = ₺0.065.
The SIM card is sold in all Turkcell shops (store locator) for ₺45 with 25 units (worth ₺1.625) of credit.
You can recharge online using almost any credit card (Visa/MasterCard) on the following website. The process is pretty straightforward (and given in English); it recharges your account instantly.
Data feature packs
Default data rate is at high 0,162 units per KB which is 162 units (= ₺10.53) per MB
The following packages can be activated:
|500 MB*||1 day||₺5||CEREZ 500 to 4455|
|500 MB||30 days||₺49||YILDIZ MINI to 5588|
|1 GB||30 days||₺149||KONUSTURAN2 to 5001|
|5 GB||30 days||₺149||online or by app|
|6 GB||30 days||₺159||online or by app|
|10 GB||30 days||₺179||online or by app|
Data can be used in the KKTC and in Turkey except (*) of the daily pack which can only be used in the KKTC.
For users under 27 y/o and students they have issued a special GNC youth line, that is not shown here.
For visiting tourists, they sell a special Tourist Surfer Package with 50 mins towards international lines, 500 local and international SMS and 2 GB data for 7 days at ₺39 which is a very good deal. The Monthly Tourist Flex Package has been discontinued. Data is valid in the KKTC only.
- APN: cepten.kktcell /or/ internet.kktcell
- Website in English: https://www.kktcell.com/en
Telsim Vodafone (KKTC Telsim)
Telsim Vodafone, a.k.a. KKTC Telsim is the only competitor of KKTC Turkcell and the local subsidiary of Vodafone Turkey. They are not allowed to be called simply "Vodafone" for legal reasons as Vodafone jointly owns a network in South. 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 somewhat cheaper than KKTC Turkcell and has still a reasonable network. Don't expect high speeds in the absence of 4G/LTE.
Like with its competitor, the rates used to be charged in units: 1 unit is ₺0.065, but they have gone to prices in ₺ recently. SIM cards are available in Telsim Shops (list) or in Telsim Silver Shops (list).
Their standard SIM is for ₺10 without any credit. Default data rate is at high 0.162 units per KB which adds up to 162 units (= ₺10.53) per MB. So better add a data package or convert to a combo plan.
Like in Turkey, they heavily advertise combo packages as base plans. For data they have issued a combo plan called Databol and VOV for 30 days:
- Databol S: 6 GB + 1 GB if you use the my Vodafone app, unlimited on-net calls, 10,000 domestic SMS, 200 mins local and to TR: ₺125
- Databol M: 8 GB + 1 GB if you use the my Vodafone app, unlimited on-net calls, 10,000 domestic SMS, 300 mins local and to TR: ₺150
- Databol L: 10 GB + 1 GB if you use the my Vodafone app, unlimited on-net calls, 10,000 domestic SMS, 400 mins local and to TR: ₺180
- VOV 15: 15 GB + 3 GB if you use the my Vodafone app, 500 domestic SMS, 50 mins local and to TR: ₺160
- VOV World: 15 GB + 3 GB if you use the my Vodafone app, 500 domestic SMS, 50 international mins: ₺170
For more data you can make a data reset for the rest of the month at ₺90.
Data feature packs
The following monthly data bundles are available and valid in the North of Cyprus and Turkey and some are only available through their app MyVodafone:
|1 day||1 GB||₺27|
|7 days||2 GB||₺55|
|30 days||3 GB||₺100||through app|
|6 GB||₺110||through app|
|12 GB||₺120||through app|
|18 GB||₺140||through app|
|24 GB||₺150||through app|
|35 GB||₺180||through app|
Offline packages must be purchased calling customer service on 548 (call for 8 units), in Telsim Shops or online on your account. Online data packs shown in the table must be purchased through the My Vodafone app of Telsim. Data is valid in the KKTC and Turkey.
All data packages are valid without roaming surcharges on the Vodafone network in Turkey too. To check consumption, text 'DURUM' to 2121 for free.
Telsim sells a special tourist SIM in the streets of Lefkosa and on the northern coast in tourist places. It's at ₺90 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/