Kosovo has two mobile GSM networks, both of them used to have "foreign" international prefixes, (from 14.02.2019 the Kosovo Code +383, is used as primary code but still active the +377 for Vala and +386 for ipko) making it quite a unique case in the GSM World market:
Telenor and Telekom Srbija (both Serbian operators- Officially is running only Telecom Serbia in limited area of the country ,from May 2018 other Serbian operators have been moved from the country based on the agreement) used to have own coverage in Prishtinë and some other areas of Kosovo, but their towers have been mostly dismantled in the Republic, 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 (for rates see Serbia)
The two other Serbian providers Vip and Telenor have ceased their operations there in 2017.
2G GSM is on 900 MHz, 3G coverage is still limited 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 has become Z Mobile, using Vala's network.
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) which is scheduled to be changed soon, but postponed.
+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.
Finally in February 2017 the new +383 code is operational. It will time to replace the existing codes. Kosovo’s new +383 international dialling code will be come fully into force in 2018, from which date the existing +377 and +386 codes will no longer be used. 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.
RoamingNote that provider IPKO is identified by some EU operators but not all as Slovenian because of its country code (+386). That's why roaming on IPKO, if supported by the operator, is often charged according to EU rules. Give it a try with a minimal volume to check how it's debited by the provider. But this will change as soon as IPKO is going to switch to the new code of Kosovo (+383), presumably in 2019.
In April 2019 Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, (North) Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia agreed to reduce roaming charges between their Balkan countries. The agreement will come into effect from July 2019 when roaming costs will be lowered and mobile calls will cost 0.19 € per minute, an SMS will cost 6 cents and internet will be 2.5 cents per MB roaming between these countries. It's intended to end all roaming surcharges by summer 2021 which is a prerequisite to eventually join the EU/EEA common roaming zone.
In May 2019 Albania and Kosovo have finalised an agreement to reduce roaming fees between the two countries, applying the same principles of the EU’s ‘roam like home’ policy. Under the agreement, regulated pricing structures will be put in place from 15 June 2019 to ensure that mobile subscribers from Kosovo do not pay higher tariffs for services whilst roaming in Albania (and vice versa) than they would in their home market. Operators are allowed to charge a small surcharge during a transitional period, whilst roaming fees will be lifted entirely from 1 July 2021, when a wider region-wide agreement comes into effect.
Availability and currency
Both IPKO and Vala have sales booths at the airport of Pristina, easily found in the public arrivals area. Either one can sell a SIM card and package and setup your phone before you leave the airport.
Kosovo unilaterally adopted the Euro as its currency in 2002; although, it's not an official Eurozone member.
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 is +377 (for Monaco), but is planned to be migrated to Kosovo's new code +383 until 2018/9. Vala has still the most customers with a 51% market share.
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 capability 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 and 700 MB data
Top-ups are sold at 1€ to 40 € giving validity of 7 to 365 days. Check credit balance by *101#.
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 only at 1c per MB. They sell these combo bundles for 28 days:
|2 GB||300 mins||300||10 days||2.99 EUR||FOL S|
|3 GB||600 mins||600||30 days||4.99 EUR||FOL M|
|4 GB||1400 mins||1400||30 days||9.99 EUR||FOL L|
|8 GB||200 mins||200||30 days||4.99 EUR||INT M|
|20 GB||600 mins||600||30 days||9.99 EUR||INT L|
Voice and SMS are on-net only. To activate package, text code to 50555.
These packages are offered for roaming:
- for Albania on (Eagle Mobile):
- for 1 day: 500 MB, 1.99 EUR - activation: Alb 500
- for 4 days: 1 GB, 3.99 EUR - activation: Alb 1000
- for 10 days: 2 GB, 4.99 EUR - activation: Alb 2000
- for 30 days: 4 GB, 8.99 EUR - activation: Alb 4000
- for Turkey (on Vodafone and Türkcell), Montenegro (on m:tel and Telenor), Albania (on all networks), in Macedonia (on all networks), Serbia (on Telenor) and Bulgaria (on Mobitel):
- 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.
- APN: vala /or/ wave
- Website: http://www.kosovotelecom.com/tk/
IPKO is owned by Telekom Slovenije (Si Mobitel), hence IPKO's mobile phone number calling prefix is +386 (for Slovenia). This prefix code will be migrated to the new Kosovo code +383 until 2018/9.
IPKO has 3G coverage on 2100 MHz: IPKO 3G coverage map. Its population coverage on 3G is 90% and on 4G/LTE is 84% in 2017.
IPKO's coverage is on par with Vala's, but still lags behind in customer numbers at around 37% market share.
Their prepaid SIM card is called IPKO Fol me ton’ (talk to all) and costs 3€ at their points of sale.
Top-up vouchers are available for 5€ - 90 days, 10€ - 180 days and 20€ - 330 days. To refill, type *123*<16-digit code>#. You can also use eTopUp and choose on any monetary value from 1-50€.
Default data rate
check balance and credit validity *123#
First you need to activate data by texting "Plus GPRS" to 121 or type *321#, to activate 4G/LTE type *583#.
The price for the first 100 KB is 0.21 EUR, while each 100 KB after that costs 0.01 EUR. You need to have more than 0.28 EUR in your account, in order to use internet on your mobile phone.
Data feature packs
These packages can be activated for data on 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE:
|1 day||500 MB||5 GB||0.509 EUR||*900*0#|
|7 days||1 GB||1.50 EUR||*900*1#|
|14 days||2 GB||2.50 EUR||*900*2#|
|21 days||3 GB||3.50 EUR||*900*3#|
|30 days||5 GB||5.50 EUR||*900*5#|
|7 GB||7.50 EUR||*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).
Two different packages are offered for roaming:
- 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#
Check account balance by *345#.
- for Albania (on Eagle, Telekom Albania and Vodafone), Macedonia (on One/Vip), Serbia (on Vip), Montenegro (on m:tel), Greece (on Cosmote), Bosnia and Herzegovina (on m:tel) and in Turkey (on Vodafone):
- 200 MB for 1 day: 1.50 EUR, activation: *478*1#
- 1 GB for 1 week: 5 EUR, activation: *478*2#
- 2 GB for 1 month: 10 EUR, activation: *478*3#
Check data use by typing *478#.
- APN: IPKO
- Proxy: 126.96.36.199
- Proxy port: 8080
- Website in English: https://www.ipko.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 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.