Flag of Hungary.svg.png

Basics[edit | edit source]

There are four mobile operators in Hungary.:

  • Magyar Telekom (a.k.a Telekom, formerly T-Mobile/Westel)
  • Telenor Hungary (formerly Pannon, partly state-owned)
  • Vodafone Hungary
  • [DIGIMobil (limited coverage, postpaid only)]

For the three major providers Telekom, Telenor and Vodafone 2G is on 900 and 1800 MHz, 3G is on 900 and 2100 MHz, while Digi works only on 1800 MHz with 2G/4G.

The big three carriers are offering 4G/LTE services since 2015 on 800, 1800 and partly 2100, 2600 MHz (bands 1, 3, 7 and 20). LTE-A is available by big three providers in bigger cities in up to 300 Mbit/s. Telekom and Telenor have network sharing agreement for 4G on 800 MHz (B20) outside of Budapest and have therefore almost the same coverage on 4G/LTE. Generally Hungary has a quite good coverage with 4G/LTE networks and high speeds in most areas except Digi.

Availability[edit | edit source]

SIM cards are available in shops of the providers. Bring your photo ID for registering and some time as you have to give a lot of signatures and paperwork for prepaid cards too. Prepaid SIM cards are also sold in big supermarkets like Tesco and Auchan or service stations. But buying it there, you still need to go to a store of the provider to register. For foreigners, this is the only way. So it's recommended to buy your SIM there in the first place.

Topping up prepaid SIM cards in Hungary always works by giving the phone number while buying it, so keep your Hungarian mobile number at hand.

Two MVNOs operate on Telekom network: blue mobile sold in Lidl supermarkets and MOL Mobile of the fuel station chain. The problem for foreigners is that MVNO registration is so far possible only over the phone in Hungarian only for Hungarian citizens. That's why purchase and registration in the stores of the providers are highly recommended instead and the MVNOs are not listed as long as this procedure is so unappealing to foreigners.

Hungary is one of the most complicated and time-consuming country in the EU to buy a prepaid SIM card as a non-citizen right now. So you might think of bringing an EU-issued SIM card from a different country and use it according to roam like at home rules in Hungary instead.

Registration[edit | edit source]

In 2016 parliament passed stricter rules on the use of prepaid SIM cards. According to the new law, subscription for prepaid mobile phone services must not be passed onto a third party without informing the service provider. In addition, the identity of customers has to be checked by service providers before signing up. Existing subscriptions have to be closed, if the identity of the customers is not checked by July 2017. Furthermore, operators must report any suspected criminal activity to the authorities.

Rules have been again tightened in 2017 after thousands of SIM cards registered on a dead person turned up in an anti-terrorist raid. Now, additionally the number of SIM cards registered to one person is limited to 10 SIM cards per individual subscriber and 50 SIMs for business subscribers. Customers who currently have prepaid subscriptions in excess of these limits must declare which ones they intend to keep; prepaid cards in excess of these limits will be terminated as of July 2017 (more info for affected customers see here).

In 2017 the regulator has announced that 68% of the country’s prepaid mobile SIM cards were verified by the legal deadline. Of the remaining 32% of prepaid SIMs, which have now had their network services suspended, a significant number were assumed to be inactive or unwanted cards, but users who missed the deadline can still re-activate any unverified SIM and recover any credit balance on the account by providing their ID data and signing an agreement with their network operator, with no time limit set for doing so.

Data verification or reconciliation (effective 2018)[edit | edit source]

In 2017 a data verification or reconciliation (in Hungarian: adategyeztetés) became mandatory for all prepaid subscribers. All operators are now required to verify the identity of their prepaid customers on a yearly basis. The deadline of this check is the anniversary of the prepaid subscription. Some days before this date, customers are notified by text messages. Hungarian citizens can re-register online. All foreigners who don't have an ID card issued by the Hungarian authorities must visit a branded store of the provider as an ID card or passport issued by another country can't be verified online, you have to show it in a store. This procedure is unique in Europe and possibly worldwide and makes it almost impossible to maintain an Hungarian SIM card from abroad.

EU roaming[edit | edit source]

EU flag.png
Hungary is part of the EU, where from June 2017 new international roaming rules are enforced. In most European countries you can now 'roam like at home' at domestic rates rather than excessive roaming rates.

On most plans and allowances EU roaming is now included without surcharges. For specifics about the new regulation check European Union chapter and every provider below.

Magyar Telekom (Telekom, formerly T-Mobile/Westel)[edit | edit source]

Magyar.jpg

Magyar Telekom Nyrt., often simply called Telekom, is the largest Hungarian telecommunications company. The former monopolist is now a subsidiary of (German) Deutsche Telekom.

It has the best and fastest network with best coverage on 2G and 4G, but the worst 3G coverage on 2100 MHz up to 42 Mbit/s. 4G/LTE is available on 800, 1800 and 2600 MHz and covers 98% of the population coverage map in up to 150 Mbit/s.

Availability: Domino[edit | edit source]

The prepaid SIM cards are called Domino and come in different varieties sold at their stores called T-Pont (Store locator (hungarian)), online and other outlets:

Starter packs called Domino Quick are sold for 990 HUF with 500 MB and 40 domestic minutes and 1990 HUF with 1 GB and 80 domestic mins at some petrol stations like OMV and MOL, MediaMarkt, Tesco, Auchan, Edigital, Telekom stores and newspaper kiosks. Be aware that, when you buy a starter pack as a foreigner, you have to go to a T-Point (= Telekom) store for registration showing your photo ID or it will be shut off soon. So it's recommended to buy it there right away. All three SIM card sizes are sold.

Top-ups can be made at T-Points or at newsagents, post offices and service stations. Vouchers of 3,000, 5,000 and 10,000 HUF are available. You can also refill via the internet using a credit card. This online procedure is Hungarian only, but is workable using a translator.

To find out your own number, type *121#. To check your credit balance type *102#. To check remaining data balance, there's no code, but see the comments below to discover how to check via their website.

Domino data packages[edit | edit source]

The default tariff for data on all Domino cards is 181 HUF per calendar day for 10 MB.

Internet can be added by these packages which can be used in Hungary and all over the EU up to 300 Mbit/s:

Data EU cap Time Price
1 GB 700 MB 24 hours 525 HUF
unlimited 1.5 GB 990 HUF
unlimited 3 GB 3 days 1990 HUF
unlimited 20 GB 30 days 9900 HUF

Activation is by app or online. You will not be able to activate the same option (unlimited for 1 or 3 days) immediately after expiration. You will need to wait until the morning hours if the next day or choose a different option.

Furthermore, they sell "Maraton" packages that are valid indefinitely without expiration (except of the SIM card) or until used up in Hungary and the EU without a cap:

Data Time Price Activation
500 MB unlimited 1000 HUF by app

or online

1 GB 1640 HUF
4 GB 3550 HUF

Packages can be activated online on your account, by Telekom app, by calling 1777 or some by texting code to 1777. Check data balance by *102. For technical reasons, the same package can't be renewed ahead of time.

For Maraton users the validity of credit and SIM card needs to be shown as their data packages don't expire. The validity depends on the time and the amount of the last top-up: up to 2400 HUF for 180 days, up to 15,000 HUF for a year and beyond for 488 days. Then the SIM falls into passive mode for 90 days, when it can be revived by any top-up before it's finally terminated.

EU roaming[edit | edit source]

All domestic allowances like daily or monthly data packages shown above can be used for roaming in the EU too without surcharges, in some cases limited by the specified cap.

More information[edit | edit source]

  • Website: http://www.telekom.hu (English site is not updated, use Hungarian site and a translator)
  • Call 1777 (for free) and press 9 for an English speaking support agent
  • APN: internet.telekom

Telenor (formerly Pannon)[edit | edit source]

Telenor.png

Telenor in Hungary was sold by Telenor to the Czech PPF Group in 2018, and since 2019 25% of it is owned by the state. It has pretty good coverage throughout the country. Their 3G is on 900 and 2100 MHz up to 42 Mbit/s and their 4G/LTE is available on 800, 1800 and 2600 MHz covering 99% of the population up to 150 Mbit/s: coverage map at the end of 2017.

Availability [edit | edit source]

The starter pack comes Hello Kártyás for 450 HUF without any included volumes.

Refill cards of 1,500, 3,000, 5,000, 10,000 and 15,000 HUF are available at their stores (locator) and many more locations.

On the prepaid SIM they offer these monthly combo plan for 30 days:

  • Hello Chat: 2000 HUF with 1 GB data and unlimited zero-rated data (EU cap: 3.4 GB) for Facebook, FB Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram and Twitter

Data feature packs[edit | edit source]

The following data packs for 30 days can be activated for more data on all plans:

Data Price Activation
500 MB 750 HUF HELLO500MB
1 GB 1100 HUF HELLO1GB
3 GB 2500 HUF HELLO3GB
5 GB 3500 HUF HELLO5GB

For activation, text code to 1744. Packages can be used in EU roaming too without surcharges. All packages auto-renew. To stop enter code preceded by X. Weekly and daily packs are only available for old plans.

Hello 2in1 is a combo plan with domestic minutes and data included:

Plan Data dom. Voice Time Price Activation
Week 200 MB 20 mins 7 days 500 HUF 2IN1HETI
S 500 MB 25 mins 30 days 1000 HUF 2IN1S
M 1.5 GB 50 mins 30 days 2500 HUF 2IN1M
L 3 GB 100 mins 30 days 3800 HUF 2IN1L

Activation is by texting code to 1744. All packages auto-renew.

Data-only SIM: Hipernet Praktikum[edit | edit source]

Their prepaid data-only SIM is called Hipernet Praktikum. It costs 990 HUF in their stores. Data default rate is at 7 HUF per MB. These two packages are available:

Price Volume Time
2,479.06 HUF 1 GB 45 days
4,959.91 HUF 5 GB 45 days

Data package can be used within the 45 days following activation. If you do not use it during this time, the balance of the data volume is lost. If you order a new data package prior to the expiration of the 45-day period, you will lose the remaining data quota in your previously ordered data package.

When you have used up 80% and 100% of the data quota, they will send you an SMS reminder, so you can always keep track of your current data traffic. Hipernet Praktikum does not support voice calls, but it can be used to send SMS messages and works in EU roaming too.

EU roaming [edit | edit source]

Telenor is giving out all their data packages at domestic rates for roaming in the EU.

More information[edit | edit source]

Vodafone[edit | edit source]

Vodafone.svg

Vodafone is the smallest provider in Hungary what the number of customers is concerned. It covers about 98% of the population on 2G and 3G and about 95% on 4G.

For 3G your device should be capable of the 900 MHz frequency, because most of its 3G antennas are based on it up to 21 Mbit/s. 4G/LTE network started in 2015 on 800 MHz and now available on 1800 and additionally on 2100 and 2600 MHz available for prepaid users in up to 75 Mbit/s: Coverage map

Availability[edit | edit source]

Their prepaid SIM is called Tuti+ (TutiPlus). You can change plans when you text 'TV' followed by the name of the plan to 1270.

Their SIM card is free when ordered online. Offline they may charge you 500 HUF activation fee in Vodafone stores (Store locator - in Hungarian only). English speaking staff is available here: stores

Top-ups can be made by vouchers or online on the "top-up centre" using international credit cards.

To find out your own number text SZAM to 1270.

TUTI+ is the name of their new base plan without any included allowances or as combo plan. Local calls cost 19 HUF/min (charged per minute). There is a daily cap for local calls, after 300 HUF local calls are free. You can add any of the data packages mentioned further below. These plans are given out for 30 days:

  • TUTI+: free, no data included, 300 HUF cap for local calls per day, activation: TV TUTI+
  • TUTI+ NET1GB: 1,190 HUF with 1 GB data and 300 HUF cap for local calls per day, activation: TV TUTI+NET1
  • TUTI+ NET3GB: 1,990 HUF with 3 GB data and 300 HUF cap for local calls per day, activation: TV TUTI+NET3
  • TUTI+ NET5GB: 2,490 HUF with 5 GB data and 300 HUF cap for local calls per day, activation: TV TUTI+NET5

Data feature packages[edit | edit source]

For more data, they offer these packages for 30 days to all prepaid plans:

  • 1 GB for 1,290 HUF (text HAVI1000E to 1270)
  • 3 GB for 2,190 HUF (text HAVI3GBE to 1270)
  • 5 GB for 2,590 HUF (text HAVI5000E to 1270)
  • 10 GB for 4,490 HUF (text HAVI10GBE to 1270)
  • 500 GB for 7,990 HUF (text HAVI500GBE to 1270)

Activation is by texting code to 1270. Package balance can be checked for free on your online account or by texting ‘IEGYENLEG' to 171 (SMS costs 49 HUF).

EU roaming[edit | edit source]

From 2017 all domestic allowances and add-on packs on the Tuti plans can be used in EU roaming too without surcharges.

DIGIMobil[edit | edit source]

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A 4th LTE license to Romanian-backed RCS & RDS company (brand name: 'DIGI') was given out in 2014. They started their own 2G and 4G network on 1800 MHz (band 3) in May 2019

Their coverage is very limited (check map) and there is no domestic roaming on other networks. They sell only postpaid packets. These are reasons why they are still not an option for travellers!

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