The Ukrainian mobile phone networks have improved within the last years. As one of the last countries to start 3G and 4G in Europe as late as 2015 and 2018, it now gives a reasonable coverage in populated areas at good prices.
There a 3 major national operators with 2G/3G and 4G/LTE coverage:
- Kyivstar (Russian-owned by VEON)
- Vodafone (now Azerbaijan-owned by Bakcell )
- lifecell (Turkish-owned by Turkcell)
Another 4th operator is
- 3mob (own 3G only in Kiew) roaming on Vodafone
In 2020 3Mob is on it's way to become a MVNO as it has shut down all its network bases except of Kiew and now relies mainly on 2G/3G network coverage via its existing domestic roaming partner Vodafone
Some other providers like Intertelecom and PEOPLEnet both run CDMA based networks that will be refarmed to LTE soon. They heavily market "3G", but this is based on EVDO and is not compatible with GSM devices. They don't offer 4G/LTE yet and PEOPLEnet don't give you SIM cards. For the moment, you'll need to buy a new CDMA device and activate it on their network. CDMA is now in the process of being shut down soon. That's why they are not mentioned any further in this article. Lycamobile started operating using the 3mob network since summer 2017.
The major three Kyivstar, Vodafone, lifecell provide good coverage in cities and some rural areas and would typically be your choice.
Both 3G and 4G/LTE started late in the country. 3G was first limited to 3mob exclusively, as more bandwidth was unavailable before it was freed up for the major three operators in 2015. It now covers more than 80% of the population.
4G/LTE started as late as 2018 with the three major operators on 1800 MHz (B3) and 2600 MHz (B7). In 2019 finally spectrum on the 800 MHz band (20) was added. At the end of 2019 each of the three networks covers 60-70 % of population by 4G. This is comparatively low for an European country, but a huge advancement within 5 years. In 2019 the three operators pledged to cover all of the country by LTE (within a not specified time period).
Their current 4G coverage of all 4 operators can be compared on this online map.
Due to the conflict with Russia in the Eastern region of Ukraine, the Ukrainian government has blocked some popular Russian-owned internet services like VKontakte, Odnoklassniki, Yandex and Mail.ru. This block can be bypassed by installing VPN on your device.
Since 2014 the former Ukrainian region of Crimea is under Russian administration. The Ukrainian mobile providers left the peninsula in 2015 and stopped operating there. This territory is now covered in a separate article.
Eastern regions Edit
Due to the ongoing military conflict in the Eastern part of the country (namely in the parts of Luhansk and Donetsk regions), the Ukrainian operators have not yet been able to deploy equipment there. The installations of Kyivstar, lifecell and 3mob were seized. They stopped to operate in these regions, as well as CDMA-based operators Intertelekom and Peoplenet, while Vodafone (formerly MTS Ukraine) still operates in some areas there. Two new operators: Phoenix in the Donetsk region and Lugacom in the Luhansk region were created based on the seized equipment and are shown at the bottom of this article. They have combined their networks, but are sold and marketed separately and have slightly different pricing.
EU roaming Edit
All three major operators in Ukraine offer quite cheap roaming packages for Europe and other parts of the world. While roaming with a foreign SIM in Ukraine can be very expensive, it might be cheap roaming with an Ukrainian SIM abroad.
Kyivstar (Київстар) Edit
Kyivstar is Ukraine’s largest mobile operator by subscribers and owned by Russian VEON, formely called Vimpelcom. It has currently the best coverage in the country at the highest rates. To check coverage check here.
3G on 2100 MHz has been available from 2015 and covers more than 80% of the population in 2019.
Kyivstar started its 4G/LTE as late as 2018 on 2600 MHz (B7) and 1800 MHz (B3) to be added by 800 MHz (B20) in 2019. In early 2020 it covers more than 70% of population.
Their SIM card is available at airports and lots of shops and their service centers (locator). It costs 25 UAH or less depending on shop.
Top-up vouchers are available in many more places starting from 50 UAH. To top-up type *123*<Voucher PIN>#. Kyivstar is known to decline most international Visa and MasterCards to top-up on their website, but Google Pay is now also accepted.
Check balance by *111#. The account remains active for 365 days after last top-up or any activity like making a call, surfing or sending a text message. To check expiry date, use *114#.
In 2019, Kyivstar has abolished all service plans with no periodic charge. Therefore you have to pay a periodic charge for domestic usage, even if you are a non-resident and maintain your SIM card for Kyivstar's cheap roaming or for visits to Ukraine. If you do not have sufficient balance to pay the periodic charge, then they charge you UAH 5.00 per day until your balance reaches zero.
Data feature packagesEdit
There is no data without a plan. These base packages are offered for 28 days:
|Communication||3 GB||30 mins||125 UAH||TV, 20 services in social media and messenger|
|Fun||6 GB||60 mins||175 UAH||TV, 32 services plus music streaming|
|Video||9 GB||90 mins||225 UAH||TV, 41 services plus video streaming|
All plans come with unlimited on-net calls and many zero-rated services. Check plan balances by *112#. When data is used up in limited packages speed will be throttled to 128 Kbit/s. By *112# you can add the default rate (see above) for more high speed data. Overuse rate is 100 MB at 10 UAH which is activated up to 10 times a day.
At the end of 2018 they've introduced an even more complicated monthly roaming scheme as alternative to their daily plans called Simple Roaming (as once-off) or Comfort Roaming (as recurrent). Both packs have the same price: 1000 UAH (€ 32) are charged for the 27 or 30 days Simple/Comfort package. Again, the advertised rates may be misleading as 500 UAH of this are simply lost and the other 500 UAH go into a special roaming account. From this roaming account data roaming is debited according to zones:
- in zone 1 (most of Europe): at "0.10 UAH" per MB (giving 5 GB for the 500 UAH account value)
- in zone 2 (most of overseas): at "0.20 UAH" per MB (giving 2.5 GB for the 500 UAH account value)
So the real debited rates are rather 0.20 and 0.40 UAH per MB for the 1000 UAH package price than the advertised rates. All non-used allowances in your monthly 500 UAH roaming account will be forfeited at the end of the month. As long as this roaming plan is active, you can use additional data at the advertised "0.10 or 0.20 UAH" rate (without anything lost) coming from your general account.
For zoning and more details check their dedicated roaming site that is complete only in Ukrainian and Russian.
- APN for prepaid: internet
- Check APN before use! Some phones may set default APN to 'xl.kyivstar.net'. This is an old APN and it charges in high rates (UAH 7 per day plus UAH 0.03/MB).
- Website in English: http://www.kyivstar.ua/en/
Vodafone (formerly MTS Ukraine) EditRussian-owned MTS Ukraine took over the brand of Vodafone and started with an own 3G coverage in 2015. In 2016 already more than 40% of the population are covered by their own 3G (3G coverage map). 4G/LTE is available in Lviv, Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odesa and Dnipro.
In 2015 MTS signed a strategic partnership with Vodafone to use their label for some products. This is mainly to conceal the Russian origin of the ownership, which is unpopular in Western parts of the Ukraine. MTS was re-branded into Vodafone in major parts of Ukraine at the end of 2015. In 2017 the official company name was changed to Vodafone Ukraine. In 2019 Azerbaijani mobile operator Bakcell which is part of Azerbaijan-based oil-construction-telecom-tech conglomerate Neqsol, which also owns Azertelecom bought Vodafone Ukraine from Russia’s MTS
In 2018 all special tariffs still marketed under the MTS Ukraine brand in the Eastern Regions "not controlled by the Ukrainian army" were shifted to the Vodafone brand as well. They announced that services have been disrupted in the area controlled by pro-Russian separatists in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions after a fibre-optic backbone line of the operator was damaged there. Parts of the equipment of Vodafone Ukraine is out of order in the area. Vodafone says that it won't be able to repair the network if the damage took place in the area controlled by separatists. They have completed the switch to the Vodafone brand in November 2018. The last plans under the MTS Ukraine brand have been ended and a switch to the Vodafone tariffs is free for subscribers using old MTS tariffs.
Vodafone SIM cards are available at airports and lots of shops (locator) and their service centers. Refills are available in many more places. Vodafone SIM cards are mainly sold in the Western, MTS in the Eastern part of the country.
In Odessa, Vodafone agents sell SIM card packs outside the main train station. They will also do top-ups and activate SIM cards on the spot and help you set them up as activation can require calling a Russian speaking phone number or following the instructions on Russian language text messages. As long as they are wearing their uniforms they are legitimate and will help you.
Voice and Data plans Edit
There is no data without a plan. Overuse data is charged at 7 UAH for every 200 MB. They sell these plans associated with starter packs. The only prepaid tariff are their SuperNet plans valid for 28 days:
|Start||90 UAH||4 GB#||80 mins||Online|
|Pro||105 UAH||10 GB||unlimited||Online, Video|
(#) = 2 GB promotion is for 3 months on new activations. All plans are for 28 days. Online Pass zero-rates Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, messaging (text and picture messages) in Viber, WhatsApp, Skype, Telegram and SnapChat. Video pass is for YouTube, Netflix, MEGOGO.
To activate one of these plans enter *101*444#, to check status or consumption, enter *101*4#.
Data-only plans Edit
For some time now they also market data-only plans for devices like watches, tablets or modems but can also be used in smartphones
- Device S: 50 MB/ day, 50 SMS/day, 50 mins/day - 45 UAH/month, overuse: 50 MB / 1 UAH
- Device M: 12 GB, Online and Video Pass - 80 UAH /month, overuse: 1 GB / 5 UAH
- Device L: 30 GB - 130 UAH /month, overuse: 1 GB / 5 UAH
For activation you need to buy the respective Device Starter Pack, which already includes monthly tariff cost. and activate it by calling 111 or by starting online session. Status can be checked online or by app.
Generally, the roaming offers of Kyivstar and lifecell are better. Vodafone in Ukraine gives out reduced roaming rates in about 50 so-called "Vodafone countries":
- Half G'byte on the road: 500 MB for 7 days: 150 UAH, activation: *600*4#, status: *600*41#, deactivation: *600*40#
- Roaming Weekend: 100 MB, 30 mins, 10 SMS for 3 days: 80 UAH, activation: *600*9#, status: *600*91#, deactivation: *600*90#
- Roaming like home: 200 MB, 100 mins for 7 days: 150 UAH, activation: *600#, status: *600*1#, deactivation: *600*0#
- in Poland only: 20 MB and 20 mins per day: 20 UAH, activation: *600*481#. status: *600*481*1#, deactivation: *600*481*0# or 200 MB and 200 mins per month: 99 UAH, activation: *600*480#. status: *600*480*1#, deactivation: *600*480*0#
- in Russia only: 200 MB and 200 mins per month: 100 UAH, activation: *607#. status: *607*1#, deactivation: *607*0#
A new very rigid FUP is enforced (see here). You need to stay on their home network from time to time to use roaming and top-ups can be only done by vouchers sold in Ukraine or through a few top-up agencies from abroad. A Vodafone SIM card needs to be topped up at least every 12 months to avoid suspension
- APN: internet (or on roaming: 3Mob's APN)
- Website in Ukrainian, Russian and English: https://www.vodafone.ua/en
lifecell (formerly known as life:) Edit
Lifecell was called life:) until 2016. It's the third largest Ukrainian mobile phone operator and fully owned by Turkish Turkcell.
3G started in 2015 on 2100 MHz and 4G in 2018 on 1800 MHz (B3) and 2600 MHz (B7). In 2020 Band 20 on 800 will be added. It's network is generally on par with the other major providers with a LTE coverage of about 60% at the end of 2019, see map.
Their SIM cards are available to buy at airports and many shops across the country (map available) for 15 UAH. For activation call 111 for free. Refills are available in many more places. In contrast to Kyivstar Lifecell also accepts foreign credit cards for online top-ups. To check balance, type *111# or *121#.
Lifecell allows you to purchase eSIM online that you may add to an iPhone anytime, even before visiting Ukraine. No need to visit the Lifecell store for that. It takes up to 3 business days for the eSIM to be available to you after the purchase, so it makes sense to plan it ahead of your visit to Ukraine. If your phone doesn't support eSIM,
Starter packs are sold for 150 UAH with the first month included. Lifecell has a number of somewhat overlapping plans valid for 28-30 days. At the moment they offer starters with Bomb, Hype and Lifehack Start (see below) tariffs included. All other can be changed from there:
- Bomb: 20 GB and +1 GB for every 60 min of outgoing minutes via BiP app with BiP Out option. 600 min for calls to all numbers within Ukraine plus unlimited social networks and messengers (Viber, Skype, Telegram, WhatsApp and Facebook) at 150 UAH all for 30 days, activation: *177#
- Lifehack: 20 GB + the data used in the the previous month, unlimited on-net mins, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, 1500 domestic mins for 175 UAH, activation: *705#.
- Hand Made: a fully customizable plan with 0-500 mins, 0-20 GB, video, SMS and messengers for 65-400 UAH. check here.
- SIMKA LTE: 7 GB, 77 domestic mins, umlimited Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and messengers for 7 days: 70 UAH per week, activation: *141#
- BIP Heat: unlimited 2G internet (max. 256 kbit/s), 100 MB and 200 mins for BiP messenger: 45 UAH
- BIP Heat Plus: like above but with 3000 mins for BiP calls: 70 UAH
- 4 Unlims: unlimited on-net calls, unlimited messengers, unlimited video (YouTube and others) and unlimited Dacebook, Instagram, Twitter plus 100 MB/day at 60 UAH
- Platinum: premium tariff with 30 GB, 2500 dom. mins, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and special treats at 250 UAH. activation: *775#
- Gadget for data devices:
- Smart: 500 MB/day - 50 UAH, activation: *510*1#
- Tablet: 30 GB - 100 UAH, activation: *510*2#
- Router: 60 GB - 150 UAH, activation: *510*3#
- Router+: 100 GB - 250 UAH, activation: *510*4#
Most plans can be restarted ahead of time by *700# for the same price minus 10 UAH.
Data feature packages Edit
These packs can be activated on the base plan Flat or for additional data on any plan:
|1 GB||24 hours||15 UAH||*310#|
|1 MB||7 days||20 UAH||*123*7#|
|1.5 GB||30 days||35 UAH||*311#|
|3 GB||65 UAH||*312#|
|7 GB||100 UAH||*314#|
|15 GB night*||30 UAH||*123*1#|
|2G unlimited||50 UAH||*211#|
To check remaining balance dial *111# or *121#. All packages auto-renew. To stop dial *112#.
Lifecell released three roaming offers even beating Kyivstar's low rates in many countries. In now over 70 countries including all over the EU, Russia as well as the USA, Canada, Turkey, Egypt, China, etc.(for list scroll down here) they offer special reduced options. 4G/LTE roaming is only available in (these ) 40 countries so far. Have in mind that the list of countries differs between their 4 roaming offers:
- Default Roaming: 100 MB for the rest of the day: UAH 30. Packages are in 100 MB increments and valid for the rest of the day in Ukrainian time. You don't need to activate them as it seems. Check remaining data in your package by *108#.
- Roaming online and Roaming online plus: with time-based packages in about 80 countries. These packages can only be bought as once-off and can also be renewed ahead of time.
|Validity||Roaming online||Roaming online plus|
|7 days||500 MB: 175 UAH||1 GB: 185 UAH|
|14 days||1 GB: 320 UAH||2 GB: 350 UAH|
|30 days||2 GB: 600 UAH||4 GB: 600 UAH|
- Roaming Puzzle: with customizable packages ordered online or through the app for about 35 countries with voice, SMS and data:
|3 days||8 days||11 days||15 days||30 days|
|100 MB||45 UAH||75 UAH||85 UAH||90 UAH||100 UAH|
|200 MB||80 UAH||100 UAH||115 UAH||130 UAH||150 UAH|
|300 MB||90 UAH||150 UAH||165 UAH||180 UAH||200 UAh|
|500 MB||150 UAH||175 UAH||200 UAH||250 UAH||300 UAH|
|1 GB||295 UAH||310 UAH||315 UAH||320 UAH||400 UAH|
|2 GB||580 UAH||585 UAH||590 UAH||595 UAH||600 UAH|
For voice and SMS rates check here.
Furthermore 100 MB for their BiP app (see below) in roaming for 30 days is given without extra charge in about 70 countries. You can make about 250 mins of calls with this data volume.
BiP messenger Edit
Lifecell has an own messenger called BiP that can be downloaded from the Google Play or Apple app store. It enables to make VoIP calls via BiP, calls to all mobile numbers in Ukraine and exchange documents, photo, video, audio, and text messages. All incoming calls are free from other BiP users and outgoing calls to BiP users only consume data.
In international roaming calls are at the price of regular calls in Ukraine. This applies to all mobile and landline numbers of all Ukrainian operators and all mobile and landline numbers of the visited country and other countries operators.
- in English from any landline: 0800 205 433
- in English from life:): 5422
- to switch system messages to English, dial *133#
- Website https://www.lifecell.ua/en/ (in English, Ukrainian and Russian)
- APN: internet
3Mob (aka U'tel, Ukrtelecom)Edit3Mob (spelled as "TriMob") used to be the only provider of 3G/UMTS internet in a limited area of the country until 2014. In 2015 3Mob and Vodafone signed a national roaming agreement giving 3Mob users free access to Vodafone's 2G network in domestic roaming without surcharges.
In 2020 3Mob has shut down all its network base stations except those in Kiev and will now rely mainly on 2G/3G network coverage via its existing domestic roaming partner Vodafone Ukraine. 3iMob’s mobile network user base numbers is less than 260,000, and whilst the group had held 2×15MHz of 2100MHz national spectrum since 2005, the annual fees required to retain the frequencies represented an extra financial burden on the struggling operator.
3G speed of 3Mob is up to 7.2 Mbps in their rather limited coverage area: dark green: 3mob - 3G, bright green MTS - 2G.
A starter pack of their Green plan costs 35 UAH in their stores and partner agencies: Store locator in Ukranian. A special plan is sold with an eSIM card, see below.
You can top-up your SIM card on the main page of their website using a credit card.
They offer various monthly packages with free roaming on 2G MTS outside its own 3G coverage:
Their default plan is called Green Plan: You need to buy a new starter or you can switch all other plans by sending a SMS to 2209. For the Green plan, the sell these data-only packages:
- 2 GB for 30 days + unlimited on-net calls: 30 UAH, activation: A
- 10 GB for 30 days + unlimited on-net calls: 70 UAH, activation: B
- 5 GB for 30 days + 300 don. mins + unlimited on-net calls: 75 UAH, activation: R
Overuse is charged with 0.30 UAH per MB. For activation text code letter to 2209. Packages can be booked multiple times. Check data balance by *121#.
These other plans and options are offered:
- Annual Plan: for 250 UAH per year giving you 2.5 GB per month for a year. Change to this plan by texting '7' to 2203.
- Internet Unlim: real unlimited 3G data for 382 UAH per 30 days period, plus 1000 mins and SMS and unlimited on-net calls
- eSIM card: if available in stores this is their only plan with 7.5 GB, 100 mins and 100 SMS for 80 UAH
- APN: 3g.utel.ua
- Website, partly in English: http://3mob.ua/?lang=en
Lycamobile Ukraine Edit
In 2017 Lycamobile from the UK started as first MVNO in the country. It operates on the 3G-only network of 3mob with very limited coverage in major cities so far and 2G and 3G roaming on Vodafone UA elsewhere (see 3 Mob map above), but not 4G/LTE so far.
Their SIM card in all three sizes is available for free either online sent to an Ukrainian postal address or at their sales points. You need to top-up starting from 100 UAH. This can also be done online by credit card after having registered your SIM. Check balance by *111#.
Normally they will keep your number for 120 days, if you do not use their service. However, you may also keep your Lycamobile number for up to 1 year without using by dialling *139*9999# from your Lycamobile and follow the instructions on the screen. This extension is at a fixed annual fee of 100 UAH, which will be deducted from your balance.
Data options Edit
Default data rate without a package is 0.20 UAH per MB.
They offer these packages valid for 30 days:
- 1 GB data: 20 UAH, activation: *139*1001#
- 3 GB data: 50 UAH, activation: *139*1002#
- 4 GB data, 60 mins, 30 SMS: 30 UAH, activation: *139*1051#
- 8 GB data, 650 dom. mins, 30 interntl. mins, 50 SMS: 50 UAH, activation: *139*1052#
- 12 GB data, 800 dom. mins, 40 interntl. mins, 100 SMS: 80 UAH, activation: *139*1055#
Allowances can only be used in Ukraine. Combo mins and SMS are to all domestic networks, Lycamobile on-net is unlimted. Auto-renewal is not quite clear, in personal area I can see button 'Cancel auto renewal' so I guess by default all packages renew automatically if not cancelled.
Lycamobile offers these bundles for EU roaming (all valid 30 days):
- EU Data Pass S: 1 GB, 150 UAH: activation: *139*1021#
- EU Data Pass M: 2 GB, 200 UAH: activation: *139*1022#
- EU Data Pass L: 4 GB, 380 UAH, activation: *139*1024#
- EU Pass Mini: 30 local mins, 30 local SMS, 250 MB in Ukraine & EU, 50 mins to EU, 100 UAH, activation: *139*2100#
More information Edit
- APN: data.lycamobile.ua Username: lmua (or empty) Password: plus (or empty)
- Website in English: http://www.lycamobile.ua/en/
Phoenix (in the Donetsk region only)Edit
Phoenix (in Russian: феникс) is a new operator created in 2015 based on seized Kyivstar equipment in part of the Donetsk region that is not controlled by the official government.
It used to be in 2G-only on 900 and 1800 MHz, but have started in 2017 with 3G and 4G LTE on 800 MHz (B20) and 1800 MHz (B3) in the towns of Donetsk, Makiivka and Horlivka. For coverage check this map.
You can call to Russia and abroad, but not to Ukraine and no roaming on their SIM cards. Vodafone may work in some parts of the region.
The SIM card is sold in post offices and their office. Full list of points of sale: list (in Russian-only). You need a passport to purchase a SIM and only 5 SIMs per person are allowed. The price is 120 RUB without any credit.
Refills are available there as well and are also available at supermarkets and other shops (list). Due to the unrecognized status of the region there is no way to refill using an international credit card. Check balance by *101#.
These plans are available:
- Free (СВОБОДНЫЙ): without a base fee and any data. You can add daily or monthly packs, see below.
- People's tariff (НАРОДНЫЙ) for 50 RUB per month and includes unlimited in-network calls and 300 in-network SMS, but no data.
- People's internet tariff ("НАРОДНЫЙ ИНТЕРНЕТ") for 95 RUB per month and includes 100 minutes per day in-network calls and 100 in-network SMS, and unlimited data.
Data feature packs Edit
To have (more) data you need to get one of these packs valid for 30 days:
- 1 GB: 50 RUB, activation: *109*2*1#
- 5 GB: 100 RUB, activation: *109*2*5#
- 50 GB: 500 RUB, activation: *109*2*50#
More infomation Edit
- Website: http://phoenix-dnr.ru (Russian-only)
- APN: internet, username: phoenix, password: phoenix, auth: PAP
Lugacom (in the Luhansk region only)Edit
Lugacom (in Russian: Лугаком) is a new operator started in 2016 using seized Kyivstar equipment in part of the Luhansk region that is not controlled by the official Ukrainian government. It's so far in 2G-only on 900 and 1800 MHz. The mobile network situation in Luhansk is much worse than in the Donetsk area. In certain areas only Vodafone works and Intertelecom on CDMA standard.
The SIM card is sold in post offices. Full list of points of sale: list (Russian only). You need a passport to purchase a SIM and only 2 SIMs per person are allowed. The price is 120 RUB without any credit. Refills are also available there or from independent shops.
Different plans are available:
- Folk (Народный): for 50 RUB/month, data at 0.70 RUB/MB
- Optimal (Оптимальный) for 96 RUB/month with 1 GB data, overuse 0.10 RUB/MB
- Optimal+ (Оптимальный+) for 200 RUB/month with 5 GB data, overuse 0.10 RUB/MB
- All Inclusive (Все включено) for 500 RUB with 25 GB data, overuse: 236 Mbit/s
Data feature packs Edit
- for the Folk plan:
- unlimited internet per day: 3 RUB per day, activation: *110*3#
- for the Optimal, Optimal+ and All Inclusive plans:
- 1 GB per day: 25 RUB per day, activation: *110*15#
- 1 GB per month: 50 RUB, activation: *110*16#
- 5 GB per month: 100 RUB, activation: *110*17#
Beware that you can normally get only to EDGE speed (max. 150 kbit/s). As of 2019 3G or 4G is in test mode so far so far unlike in the Donesk region.
- Website: http://lugacom.su (Russian-only)
- Calls to other parts of Ukraine and world are flapping or don't work at all
- APN: lugacom