Moldova has three mobile operators:
- Unité (only on 3G/4G)
2G GSM is on 900 MHz on Orange and Moldcell, while Unité uses CDMA for it, which is not compatible. 3G is on all three networks on 2100 MHz in up to HSPA+ speed and 4G/LTE has started on Orange and Moldcell in 2012 on 2600 MHz and Unité in 2015 on 1800 MHz and is available in major city centres.
Each operator offers its own prepaid cards, that can be purchased easily, without providing any identification documents.
The special situation in the breakaway state of Transnistria is highlighted at the end of the article. The following section is about the Republic of Moldova and not valid for Transnistria.
Orange is the oldest operator and market leader in Moldova with about 61% of all mobile customers on its network in 2017. It covers 99% of population with 2G and 89% with 3G: Coverage map. 4G/LTE started in 2012; however, is no longer available for prepaid.
Orange has the best network in the country, but some users claim that speed is depriorised for prepaid.
Their prepaid card is called Orange PrePay. It is sold at their stores: Store locator for 50 MDL with the same credit. The SIM is valid active for 4 months and passive for 8 months without a recharge.
Recharge cards of 30, 50, 60, 100 and 200 MDL are available too. Recharge by typing *144*<PIN code>#. Top ups of less than 50 MDL are valid for 1 month, of more than 50 MDL for 3 months.
When entering Moldova via Chisinau Airport (KIV) you can ask around if free SIM card packs are available. In 2015, they were giving out free Orange SIM cards to foreign travellers. These had to be activated in an Orange store in the city, but included some data and calls for free. There was no obligation to buy anything else from Orange or pay any fees at all to get the card activated.
Data feature packs Edit
Standard rate outside of packages is 3 MDL per MB. These tariffs can be booked on the PrePay cards:
|1 day||1 GB (*)||10 MDL|
|7 days||2 GB||25 MDL|
|7 days||20 GB||150 MDL||unlimited voice|
|15 days||1 GB||50 MDL||unlimited voice|
|30 days||500 MB||40 MDL||60 mins/SMS|
|30 days||1 GB||60 MDL||100 mins/SMS|
To activate enter *100#.
(*) = The daily pack is doubled in size to 2 GB if bought through My Orange.
Data-only SIM Edit
For modems and tablets, they offer a data-only SIM called "Internet Acum PrePay" which is on 4G/LTE too. The starter pack comes as SIM-only for 50 MDL with 3 GB valid for 30 days. Default rate is low 0.10 MDL per MB. Speed is up to 150 Mbps on 4G and 42 Mbps on 3G.
There is only one top-up of 50 MDL for another 3 GB valid for 30 days.
More info Edit
- APN for PrePay Cards: wap.orange.md
- APN for Internet Acum PrePay: internet
- Website in Romanian and Russian: http://www.orange.md
Moldcell is the second operator in the country with a 28% market share and a fairly good coverage: Coverage map. 4G/LTE has been opened for prepaid.
Prepaid SIM card is called Cartelă Moldcell, costs 50 MDL and comes with 50 MDL credit in their stores Store locator and outlets. The SIM card is valid for 4 months and another 4 months incoming only without a recharge. It comes with 5000 mins on-net calls and 50 GB data for a year. This volume is given out monthly in 416 mins intervals and 4 GB data valid for 15 days which leaves you without included allowances for the other half of the month.
Top-up vouchers are sold in many shops for 50, 100 or 200 MDL. Check balance by *444#.
Default tariff is 3.50 MDL/MB up to 10 MB, 3 MDL/MB 17-70 MB, 2.50 MDL/MB 71-100 MB and 0.50 MDL/MB for more than 100 MB per day.
By *223*1*3# you can activate a discounted daily tariff at 0.10 MDL per MB for a 1 MDL per day fee. To deactivate text 2 to 2223, to check status 3 to 2223.
Data feature packages Edit
Apart from their standard plan, they offer three monthly all-in combos called Super Cartelă:
- 500 MB + 2.5 GB promotion + 120 dom. mins/SMS + unlimited to one number: 40 MDL
- 1 GB + 5 GB promotion + 180 dom. mins/SMS + unlimited to two numbers: 60 MDL
- 2 GB + 10 GB promotion + 240 dom. mins/SMS + unlimited to two numbers: 80 MDL
To activate the promotion text an empty SMS to 555.
Their data plans on 3G and 4G are called Pachete Internet:
|1 day||500 MB||10 MDL|
|7 days||1 GB||25 MDL|
|30 days||250 MB||20 MDL|
|1 GB||50 MDL|
|3 GB||90 MDL|
|5 GB||100 MDL|
|10 GB||140 MDL|
|20 GB||200 MDL|
Dial *202# to activate. All packages auto-renew. To cancel a service, text 1 to 5678 (in case of the 10 GB text 0 to 5678). Check remaining balance: *444#, then option 1, 1. Even if a data package is activated, you need to have a positive balance on the SIM card for the data connection to work. Overuse fee is 0.50 MDL per MB.
You can add social media not to be debited from your account by *222*1*2# for 15 MDL per month. Facebook, Odnokassniki, Twitter and VKontakte are included.
Data-only SIM Edit
In 2018 Moldcell issued "Internet ca lumea" with an option of 4 GB for 50 MDL on an own starter pack for SMS and data only, no voice. The validity period of the card is for 4 months for surfing the Internet and receiving SMS; plus another 8 months only receiving SMS. Data speed is up to 4G/LTE and 150 Mbit/s.
The 4 GB package will be provided when the allowance has been depleted or 30 days have expired and if the amount available in the account is at least 50 MDL. It does not require activation and can be assigned multiple times a month. If there is not enough credit in your account to allocate the extra package, internet traffic fee will be 0.10 MDL per MB.
- APN: internet
- Website in Romanian and Russian: http://www.moldcell.md
Unité (by Moldtelecom) Edit
Unité is the 3rd operator in Moldova run by former state-owned Moldtelecom with only 10% of the market. It started a CDMA network which was not compatible with GSM devices. In 2010 it added 3G internet on 900 and 2100 MHz which is GSM compatible.
So you have the lowest coverage for 3G in the country mainly in the cities without a fallback to 2G. Better make a network scan before buying or check: Unité 3G coverage. In 2015 it has started 4G/LTE in Chisiniau on 1800 MHz (B3), open to prepaid users and has to be activated by *500#.
Don't buy their "Connect" cards on incompatible CDMA standard with speeds up to 2.4 Mbit/s, but their 3G HSPA+ brand called "Cartela Unité Prepay". It comes in two variations:
- for 29 MDL: 200 mins on-net, 200 mins landline, 200 MB data, 5 MDL credit
- for 50 MDL: 50 MDL credit, 500 MB data for 12 days
To top-up, use vouchers available for 20, 50, 100, 200 and 300 MDL. Credit stays valid for 6 months and a 12 month grace period for incoming calls.
Unité gives heavy bonuses for recharges, all valid for one month:
|15-24 MDL||100 mins||100 mins|
|25-48 MDL||1 GB||100 mins||100 mins|
|49-98 MDL||2 GB||500 mins||500 mins|
|> 99 MDL||5 GB||500 mins||500 mins|
Data feature packs Edit
Default data rate is 0.10 MDL per MB. Their card can be loaded with following data packages:
|24 hours||unlimited||15 MDL|
|30 days||1 GB||20 MDL|
|2 GB||35 MDL|
|5 GB||75 MDL|
|10 GB||125 MDL|
To activate type *200# and choose package.
More info Edit
- APN: internet3g.unite.md /or/ internet.unite.md
- Website in Romanian and Russian: http://www.3g.unite.md/
Transnistria EditTransnistria is a breakaway state on the eastern border with Ukraine. It's seen by Moldova as the "Transnistria autonomous territorial unit with special legal status" and is governed as "Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic" (PMR), also known as under its Russian name of Pridnestrovie.
To buy a prepaid SIM card you have to show a passport in one of the IDC stores (locations).
Interdnestrcom (IDC) Edit
Transnistria has an own state-owned provider called Interdnestrcom (IDC) and Moldovian operators don't cover most of this region. The problem is that IDC has GSM-incompatible CDMA standard in 2G and uses EVDO in 3G. 4G/LTE has started on 800 MHz (B20) in major areas which is compatible with most GSM devices too. IDC now runs a dual CDMA 3G and LTE 4G network.
Some users have remarked that as Transnistria is such a narrow territory, that anyone visiting is almost certainly going to be able to pick up the GSM network signal from Moldova or Ukraine anyway. If your device is already locked on to a network from either of those countries it's highly unlikely the signal will fade. While there is border coverage, the area is almost 4000 km2 without own GSM antennas. Travellers will only face a temporary outages.
If you use a non-CDMA device with 4G/LTE you need to have it configured in one of their stores. Be aware that there is no voice on most devices, except of a few VoLTE capable handsets. The inital cost of a Simple Starter is 56 rub. SIM card is valid for 90 days. You can extend validity for 3 rub per month.
You can activated these 3G/4G monthly data packs called Mobitel:
|# 2||1 GB||22.4 rub||*888*3211#|
|# 5||3 GB||56 rub||*888*3221#|
|# 8||6 GB||86.9 rub||*888*3231#|
|# 10||9 GB||112 rub||*888*3241#|
|# 15||15 GB||168 rub||*888*3251#|
To check remaining data, dial 868. All these packages above are valid for 1 month.
They also offer a 24 hours pack at 22.4 rub with unlimited traffic, activated online.
- more info in English from the only provider: http://www.idknet.com/en/