- 1 Basics
- 2 Vala (by PTK, Kosovo Telecom)
- 3 IPKO
- 4 mts d.o.o. (regional, in Northern Kosovo)
Kosovo has two national mobile GSM networks, both of them used to have "foreign" international prefixes, From 14/FEB/2019 the Kosovo Code +383, is used as primary code. The now defunct code of +377 for Vala and +386 for IPKO made it quite a unique case.
- Vala (by Kosovo Telecom)
- IPKO (by Telekom Slovenje)
Telenor and Telekom Srbija used to have own coverage in Prishtinë and some other areas of Kosovo, but their towers have been mostly dismantled in Kosovo, so that GSM coverage is offered by the two Kosovo operators in most areas.
Only in the disputed northern area of Kosovo, which is administered by Serbia (that's north of Mitrovica around Leposavić, Zvečan and Zubin Potok), Telekom Srbjia remains the sole provider:
- mts d.o.o. (regional, by Telekom Srbija)
In all of the country 2G GSM is on 900 MHz, 3G coverage is on 2100 MHz and 4G/LTE is been rolled out on 1800 MHz (Band 3) only. Networks are still limited across the country since speeds vary a lot and the infrastructure is not upgraded to support fast mobile internet nor the vast amount of users. In 2009 the first MVNOs appeared in Kosovo: the biggest was Z Mobile, that closed down in 2019.
Due of the historical political situation, Kosovo didn't own an international prefix code. Until recently landline numbers used the +381 Serbian code, while the two mobile operators still use +377 Monaco prefix (for Vala) and +386 Slovenian one (for IPKO).
+383 country code
In 2015 Serbia and Kosovo signed an agreement to normalize relations between the two countries. Under the agreement, Kosovo is allocated its own international dialling code (+383), whilst Serbian Telekom (brand: MTS) offering services in northern parts of Kosovo is allowed to operate legally within all of Kosovo.
In 2017 the new +383 code was operational. Kosovo’s new +383 international dialing code was scheduled to be in force in 2018. But both mobile providers using Monaco and Slovenian prefixes have postponed the migration for commercial and technical reasons. The minister has now maintained that the +383 prefix need to be used by 15/JAN/2019 by all players in the Kosovo market or they will face a fine. Kosovo Telecom (PTK, Vala) was being fined 5,000 € per month by Kosovo's Regulatory Authority for Electronic Communications and Post (ARKEP) for failing to fully implement the +383 dialing code in 2021.
Kosovo unilaterally adopted the Euro as its currency in 2002; although, it's not an official Eurozone member.
In 2021 IPKO overtook Vala and became the market leader with a 47.2% share, up from 43.4% in 2020, followed by Vala with 47.0%, against 50.7 in 2020. Vala is notoriously cash-stricken and that's why IPKO may be the better choice now, but slightly more expensive.
Vala (by PTK, Kosovo Telecom)
Vala Network is owned by PTK (Posta dhe Telekomunikacioni i Kosovës), recently renamed to Kosovo Telecom. It's the old state-owned incumbent provider. Their calling prefix was +377 (for Monaco), but has been migrated to Kosovo's new code +383. This hasn't completed by 2021 and PTK is fined for that.
Vala started with 3G coverage on 2100 MHz in Pristina in 2014. Vala’s 3G network covers Pristina and the surrounding area, including Pristina International Airport, Vushtrri, Mitrovice, Ferizaj and Gjilan, whilst launches are also planned in Prizren, Gjakova and Suva Reka. Vala also has 4G/LTE coverage on 1800 MHz (Band 3), which works in many areas of Kosovo.
Note that PTK is notoriously cash-stricken and was saved recently from declaring bankruptcy.
Their prepaid SIM card is sold at 3 € at their points of sale. It comes with 1 € credit, 10 GB data and 50 minutes all valid for 15 days. Standard PIN is 0000.
Top-ups are sold at 1 € to 40 € giving validity of 7 to 365 days depending on the amount. Check credit balance by *101#.
Vala SIM card stays valid for 180 days without a top-up plus 45 more days in passive mode. You may have to enable data by texting "data plus" to 50555.
Data feature packages
Default rate is at 0.15 c per 100 KB. They sell these combo bundles:
|2 GB||300 mins||10 days||2.99 €||FOL S|
|3 GB||600 mins||30 days||4.99 €||FOL M|
|4 GB||1400 mins||30 days||9.99 €||FOL L|
|6 GB||100 mins||30 days||4.99 €||INT M|
|15 GB||300 mins||30 days||9.99 €||INT L|
Voice and SMS are on-net only. To activate package, text code to 50555.
For data only they sell these packages:
|500 MB||1 day||0.50 €||500mb|
|1 GB||7 days||1.50 €||1gb|
|2 GB||15 days||2.50 €||2gb|
|3 GB||21 days||3.50 €||3gb|
|5 GB||30 days||6 €||4gb|
|8 GB||31 days||7.50 €||5gb|
Activation is by texting code 50555. Data is on 3G and 4G networks. Vala writes: After purchasing the internet package, it's recommended that you activate plane mode on your phone, wait 10 seconds, and deactivate plane mode again.
Theoretically, Roam like home should works, but applies only for the default rate, not data packages right now. These packages are offered for roaming:
- for Albania (on all operators):
- for 1 day: 500 MB, 1.49 EUR - activation: Alb 500
- for 4 days: 1 GB, 4.49 EUR - activation: Alb 1000
- for 10 days: 2 GB, 7.49 EUR - activation: Alb 2000
- for 30 days: 4 GB, 12.49 EUR - activation: Alb 4000
- for Bulgaria, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Turkey and Serbia:
- for 1 day: 200 MB, 1.99 EUR - activation: Reg 200
- for 4 days: 500 MB, 4.99 EUR - activation: Reg 500
- for 10 days: 750 MB, 6.99 EUR - activation: Reg 750
- for 15 days: 1 GB, 9.99 EUR - activation: Reg 1000
To activate text code to 50555.
Vala has public Wifi hotspots available throughout central Pristina. Look for the 'VALA' SSID. Access is available to Vala phone users, login details here (in Albanian but the screen images are in English). As of May 2017, a slower Vala Wifi connection is available to non-clients too.
|1 GB||7 days||0.50 €||wifi1|
|2 GB||15 days||0.95 €||wifi2|
|5 GB||30 days||1.95 €||wifi3|
To activate text code to 50555.
- APN: vala /or/ wave
- Website: http://www.kosovotelecom.com/tk/
IPKO is owned by Telekom Slovenije (Si Mobitel) from Slovenia, hence IPKO's mobile phone number calling prefix was +386 (for Slovenia) before fully migrated to the new Kosovo code +383. Telekom Slovenije has stopped the sale of its 100% stake in Kosovo-based operator IPKO in 2020 and IPKO will remain part of Telekom Slovenije Group.
IPKO has 2G on 900 MHz and 3G coverage on 2100 MHz. Its population coverage on 3G is 90% and on 4G/LTE is 84% in 2017. It claims to have the largest 3G and 4G coverage and WiFi network in the country in 2021.
IPKO's coverage is now often better than Vala's and some users have switched providers form Vala to IPKO making this provider market leader in 2021 for the first time, but at somewhat higher prices.
Their prepaid SIM card is called IPKO Fol me ton’ (talk to all) andcosts 3 € at their points of sale. It includes 10 GB data, 100 mins and 100 SMS for 15 days.
Top-up vouchers are available for 1 - 20 € giving a validity of 10 to 360 days. To refill, type *123*<16-digit code>#. You can also use eTopUp and choose on any monetary value from 1-50 €. Top-up cards of 5 €, 10 € and 20 € are sold. To check balance, type *110#.
Default data rate
The price for the first 100 KB is 0.21 €, while each 100 KB after that costs 0.02 €. You need to have more than 0.28 € in your account, in order to use internet on your mobile phone.
Data feature packs
These data packages can be activated for data on 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE:
|7 days||1 GB||5 GB||1.99 €||*900*1#|
|10 days||2 GB||2.99 €||*900*2#|
|14 days||3 GB||3.99 €||*900*3#|
|30 days||5 GB||5.99 €||*900*5#|
|7 GB||7.99 €||*900*7#|
Packages will renew automatically. To stop enter *900*9#, to check data volume type *900#. Overuse is charged by the default rate. All packs include IPKO WiFi (Wi-Fi map).
Practically, Kosovo should have implemented the Western Balkans roaming, but this only refers to the default rate, not any packages. These packages are issued for roaming instead:
- for EU countries
- daily package: 50 MB - 2.50 EUR, activation: *345*1#
- weekly package: 400 MB - 10 EUR, activation: *345*2#
- monthly package: 1 GB - 20 EUR, activation: *345*5#
- for Western Balkans, Turkey, Croatia and Greece:
- daily package: 200 MB - 1.50 EUR, activation: *478*1#
- weekly package: 1 GB - 5 EUR, activation: *478*2#
- monthly package: 2 GB - 10 EUR, activation: *478*3#
Check account balance by *345#, Check data use by typing *478#.
- APN: IPKO
- Proxy: 18.104.22.168
- Proxy port: 8080
- Website in English: https://www.ipko.com
mts d.o.o. (regional, in Northern Kosovo)
Under a special legislation Serbian provider mts is allowed to operate in special regions of the country. That concerns the disputed northern area of Kosovo which is administered by Serbia (that's north of Mitrovica around Leposavić, Zvečan and Zubin Potok). Here mts offers a very similar portfolio to m:tel in Serbia. In some of these villages and towns, it's the only provider with 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE up to 64 Mbit/s.
You can get a MTS SIM card for 2.36 € with 0.20 € credit in MTS stores (list). New customers can take advantage of a promotion (Promo Za Nove Korisnike), which gives 10 GB, 10 000 on-net minutes, and 10 000 local SMS, all valid for 7 days by dialing *100# within 60 days of purchasing the SIM card. You also get free data and unlimited social media data (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, Twitter, Viber & WhatsApp) if you top up at least 3.50 €.
The SIM card gets deactivated if there has been no top-up for 90 days. Top-up vouchers are sold in MTS d.o.o. stores and many other stores in Northern Kosovo, such as corner shops, gas stations, and grocery stores. To top up, dial *100# and follow the instructions. The same short code can be used to check your balance.
Default data rate
Standard rate without package is 0.05 € for 100 KB.
Data feature packs
Their data add-ons are called internet dodaci and sold in these sizes:
|100 MB||1 day||0.40 €||NET50|
|1 GB||1 day||0.80 €||NET100|
|200 MB||7 days||1 €||NET125|
|1 GB||7 days||1.60 €||NET200|
To activate send code to 687. It will auto-renew. To stop, send Activation code added by STOP to 687. To check data balance type *105#. They also sell social media options with zero-rating for 30 days for Facebook, Twitter, Viber, WhatsApp and Instagram.
Note that these options only work in the Serbian controlled part of northern Kosovo and most likely not abroad, except of Serbia.
- APN: gprswap
- Proxy: 172.017.088.198
- Proxy port: 8080
- Website in Serbian: https://mtsdoo.com/
In 2019 Telecom Kosovo has allowed its host network agreement with Dardafon – which offered wireless services under the Z Mobile brand – to expire after the two failed to agree on terms for the renewal of the controversial contract. In August the regulator directed Z Mobile not to issue any new SIM cards, enter new contracts with customers or create new packages for the moment.
The regulator later ruled that subscribers to services provided by Z Mobile will be transferred to network host Telecom Kosovo (TK), along with the numbering resources currently assigned to the reseller. This transfer was completed at the end of 2019 and Z Mobile closed.