There are three GSM-based operators in Kyrgyzstan:
- Beeline (by Sky Mobile)
- MegaCom (by JSC Alpha Telecom)
- O! (by Nur Telecom)
2G/GSM is on 900 and 1800 MHz, 3G on 2100 MHz (and 900 MHz on MegaCom) in up to DC-HSPA speed on the three major operators. 4G/LTE started on O! in 2014 and on MegaCom and Beeline in 2016 on 800, 1800, 2100 and 2600 MHz (Bands 1, 3, 7 and 20). Their 4G/LTE networks now cover a significant proportion of the country as the 3 major mobile operators gain momentum in their rollout of these faster networks.
Coverage and speeds are generally good in the major cities, but can be very slow to non-existent in the countryside.
Buying a SIM card
When purchasing a SIM card, you officially have to show a photo ID (such as passport). Since 2014 SIM registration in Kyrgyzstan is compulsory. Existing SIM card holders must register personal ID details. All unregisted SIM cards have been disconnected in 2016. Start-up price for prepaid SIM cards is around 80-200 som.
There are many mobile provider shops in town and even more outlets to top up. Almost every 5th house in the country has a small store called "magazin" and does top-ups. On central squares, you can find small booths with ladies doing the recharge and self service terminals with touch screens. There you have to enter your mobile number and feed it with coins and notes. Language is Russian only, but quite easy to figure out because of lot of graphical elements on the screen.
The manned top-up outlets sell scratch cards. But mostly you just tell (or show) the lady your mobile number to top up. They will add a 5 som fee for the service and type in some special codes to add balance.
Beeline operated by Sky Mobile is the biggest competitor of MegaCom in the country and has a 36% market share. It has a limited 3G coverage shown in Russian or Kyrgyz only on these coverage maps. In 2016 it added 4G/LTE on the 800 MHz (B20) frequency.
Prepaid SIM cards available with top-ups of 150-200 som. Check balance by typing *102#. To top-up by scratch card type *104#<PIN code>#. Starting up, you will be in default tariff called "Start" (Старт). There is no need to change tariffs as all have the same data options to add.
For a start you are on the tariff plan called Start (Старт).To activate data, type *181#3#, to deactivate *182#3#. Unlike MegaCom you can stay on this plan as all package options can be added.
Data feature packages
Default rate is 1.1 som per MB. These weekly internet packages are available:
|1 GB||30 som||*777*1#|
|2 GB||40 som||*777*2#|
|5 GB||80 som||*777*5#|
|7 GB||95 som||*777*7#|
All packages auto-renew.
They additionally sell a data-only plan for tablets in tariff Твоё время. It has a monthly data allowance of 15 GB for all networks and 20 GB for 4G/LTE. Night traffic (midnight-6am) is free. The monthly fee is 600 som. Activation code: *5554*11#.
- APN: internet.beeline.kg
- Website in Kyrgyz and Russian only: http://beeline.kg
MegaCom, owned by JSC Alpha Telecom, is the market leader in this country with 37% customer share. It has the best coverage: 98% of the population are covered by 2G and about 2/3 of the populated areas by 3G in 2015. This means that you have good coverage in the cities, but it can become patchy elsewhere: coverage map.
In 2017 3G frequencies on 900 MHz were added for more coverage. They started 4G/LTE in the cities of Bishkek, Osh and Jalal-Abad in 2016 and started in regional cities in 2017, partly open for prepaid. The LTE network of Megacom reached 90% of the country's area in 2020, growing from just over 50% in 2018.
SIM cards are available in their stores and service points for around 10 som. If you want to get one as you arrive at Manas International Airport, you will find a MegaCom booth immediately to the right as you exit customs. For a map of other locations, go to the coverage map linked above.
There are numerous places to top-up your prepaid balance as well. Most small stores will do this for you for a small surcharge (of 5-15 som). To top-up by scratch card type *555*<PIN code>#.
They have a big selection of different plans to choose from:
Standard (Стандарт) Plan
Their standard plan is the most universal. A change costs 40 som by *303*44*1#. Data is 2.5 som per MB by default in up to 4G/LTE. These data options can be added:
- for a lower default rate: Affordable Internet option - connection fee for an option change is 10 som:
- 0.4 som per MB: 1 som per day, activation: *135*1#
- 0.4 som per MB + 10 MB: 2 som per day, activation: *135*2#
- 0.25 som per MB + 25 MB: 3 som per day, activation: *135*3#
- as daily packages - connection fee is 10 som:
- Unlim 1GB: 55 som per day. Up to 1 GB per day high speed, beyond throttled to 1 Mbps, beyond 5 GB throttled to 256 kbit/s. Activation by *194*1#., deactivation by *195*0#
- Unlimited Night: unlimitied traffic, valid midnight to 8am, 2.5 som per night, activation: *091*1#, deactivation: *091*0#
- to regain full speed for the daily packages, these add-ons called Nitro can be added:
- 500 MB: 15 som, activation: *190*1*1#
- 1 GB: 30 som, activation: *190*1*2#
- 5 GB: 90 som, activation: *190*1*3#
- monthly packages called "day and night":
|Daytime Data||4G Bonus||Price||Activation|
|200 MB||200 MB||25 som||*191*1#|
|500 MB||500 MB||45 som||*191*2#|
|3 GB||3 GB||180 som||*191*3#|
|8 GB||8 GB||350 som||*191*4#|
The daytime allowance is valid 8am-0.30am and doubled for 4G data. Data allowance in the nighttime hours (0.30am-8am) is unlimited. Check package balance by *505#
Popular (Элдик) Plan and Popular Internet (Элдик Интернет) Plan
There are the weekly combo Popular (Элдик) plans that include calls, SMS and data including 4G/LTE. It comes in the following package sizes valid for 7 days:
|Popular (Элдик) plans:|
|Popular 50||1 GB||300 mins||500||50 som||*303*50*1#|
|Popular 80||2.1 GB||500 mins||1000||80 som||*303*80*1#|
|Popular 120||3.5 GB||950 mins||1500||120 som||*303*120*1#|
|Popular 160||5.25 GB||1300 mins||2000||160 som||*303*160*1#|
|Popular 210||7.35 GB||1500 mins||2500||210 som||*303*210*1#|
|Popular Internet (Элдик Интернет) plans:|
|Popular Internet 90||6 GB||100 mins||100||90 som||*303*90*1#|
|Popular Internet 130||8 GB||200 mins||200||130 som||*303*130*1#|
|Popular Internet 170||12 GB||300 mins||300||270 som||*303*170*1#|
All included voice calls and SMS are on-net only. An activation charge of 60 som applies if you are switching from a different plan by the given activation code. Outside of packages, data is at 0.95 som per MB. You can add for more data:
- Turboknopka 2 GB: 50 som - *290*2*1#
- Turboknopka 5 GB: 100 som - *290*5*1#
- Turboknopka 10 GB: 150 som - *290*10*1#
To check credit balance use *500#, to check data and minutes balance use *678*2#.
Packages auto renew if sufficient balance, if insufficient balance, extra data use will be charged at base tariff, be careful!
Recently they have started an unlimited 4G plan (Чектөөсүз 4G) with unlimited data on 4G networks, but only throttled data on 2G and 3G networks (at 512 kbit/s). It costs 1290 som per month and includes voice and texts for extra fees. Activation: *303*40#.
- APN: internet
- Website in Kyrgyz and Russian: http://megacom.kg/
O! by Nur Telecom used to be the smallest of the three operators. Starting in Bishkek, Osh and Jalal-Abad, it offers 4G/LTE on 800 and 2600 MHz (B7 and 20). This has now spread to the country side and 97% of the population are covered in 2020 by LTE: coverage maps in 2G, 3G and 4G.
Prepaid SIM cards are available for 120-200 son in their offices (locator). Default standard tariff Away! (Оной!) plan charges 2.99 som per MB. Data stays in up to 3G only.
By *155*9# you can migrate within 24 hours after activating your SIM card to plan Internet+ (Интернет+) without a base rate, but including 4G/LTE and a default rate of 1.39 som per MB.
These combo plans are offered
- O! 95: 10 GB data, 5 off-net mins, unlimited on-net mins for 7 days: 95 som, activation: *155*77#
- O! 135: 16 GB data, 15 off net-mins, unlimited on-net mins for 7 days: 135 som, activation: *155*8#
- O! Premium: 20 GB data, 60 off net-mins, unlimited on-net mins for 7 days: 290 som, activation: *155*99#
Data-only SIM - unlimited internet
You can change a regular SIM to a data-only in tariff Unlim Internet+ by *726# with 8 GB per day and unlimited per night (1am-8am) for 390 som. For overuse data will be throttled to 256 kbit/s.
A similar tariff gives 20 GB during daytime and another 20 GB at night (1am-8am) for 30 days at 850 som.
Tethering (mobile hotspot use)
By default, even if you set up the APN, personal hotspot / tethering will not work on O!. To enable it, you must dial *711# . Enabling tethering costs an additional 40 som per week or 100 som per 30 days (depends on whether your current tarriff is billed by the week or month).
- APN: internet
- Website in Kyrgyz and Russian only: http://www.o.kg