There are these networks operating in Belarus:
- MTS [МТС] (Russian owned)
- Velcom (owned by Telekom Austria)
- Life:) (owned by Turkish Turkcell)
- beCloud (only 4G/LTE, for all three providers above)
Many people in Belarus carry two mobiles, one with an MTS and the other with a Velcom SIM card to avoid paying for more expensive cross-network calls. Life is in 3rd place with a lower coverage but very good prices.
2G is on 900 and 1800 Mhz, 3G on 900 and 2100 Mhz. In 2016 the two major operators cover 53%, which is expected to be extended to 97% by the end of the year.
4G/LTE has started in 2015. A 4th state-owned provider called beCloud has a monopoly license for 15 years and is building up the 4G/LTE network on 1800 and 2600 MHz, which is marketed by all three private operators. MTS has been lauching its 4G/LTE marketing in Dec 2015, the other two will follow in May 2016. It now covers central parts of Minsk and by end-2016 coverage will be extended to the regional cities of Brest, Vitebsk, Gomel, Grodno and Mogilev. By the end of 2018 the infrastructure operator’s 4G network will cover all regional centres and other towns with a population of 50,000 or more.
The two major operators sell visitor or tourist SIMs that can be purchased and used without any registration.
It's hard to buy a SIM card in Belarus without showing your passport. All operators require this by the law. Be aware that some shops do not know how to deal with foreign (not Belarussian and not Russian) passports.
Russian MTS (or MTC in Belarussian for Мабільныя ТэлеСістэмы) is the leading provider in Belarus. Its network is on par with Velcom, but 3G coverage is at 47% in 2016: MTS 2G 3G Coverage Map. 4G/LTE reselling of beCloud started in 2015.
Visitor plan (Гостевой)Edit
MTS has a visitor plan called Smart Guest (CMAPT Гостевой) that does not require the customer to be registered with the authorities in Belarus, but it is required to show your passport when buying the SIM card. Although this tariff offers cheaper international calls, it does not allow international roaming, making it harder to keep the SIM card active after leaving Belarus.
SIM expires after 180 days of non-use. You can keep it alive by sending a roaming SMS or a web text from MTS's web site.
To top-up you can buy vouchers or do it online by internatl. credit card (VISA, Mastercard).
The Smart Guest SIM card is sold at 120,000 BYR including 2 GB data for 1 month, another GB for the 2nd month, 1000 mins within the MTS network and reduced internatl. call rates. Monthly subscription price is 114,280 BYR. Default internet rate is 375 BYR per MB for overuse.
On their Smart Guest, you can add these packs for more data:
- daily flat called Hyper Net (Гипер.Net): 1 GB of data on a calendar day (0-24 hrs local time) for 19,688 BYR. To activate and deactivate, type *111*421#. Overuse only 16 BYR per MB
- or one of these data packs (Гостевой Инет):
|15 days||2 GB||72,813 BYR||*994#|
|4 GB||97,813 BYR||*995#|
|6 GB||124,896 BYR||*996#|
|30 days||2 GB||91,563 BYR||*991#|
|4 GB||122,813 BYR||*992#|
|6 GB||156,146 BYR||*993#|
Speed is up to 21.6 Mbps where 3G is available, which is only in the cities. You can book more than one pack at a time.
To get other tariffs, you need to be registered with the authorities in Belarus. A stamp by your hotel on the back of the immigration card in your passport is sufficient, and this is routinely done by hotels upon check-in. Though they may give better rates, some Russian language skills are mandatory to manage the SIM.
Their cheapest data plan is called Internet (Интернет) aimed at tablets and modems, but has voice and text too at high rates. You can change to this tariff by typing *111*13#.
These options are available for their Internet tariff line:
- daily flat called Hyper Net (Гипер.Net): 1 GB of data on a calendar day (0-24 hrs local time) for 19,688 BYR. To activate and deactivate, type *111*421#. Overuse: 16 BYR per MB
- 4 GB for 30 days: 72,813 BYR, overuse: 188 BYR/MB, activation: *534#, deactivation: *534*0#
- 8 GB for 30 days: 94,688 BYR, overuse: 188 BYR/MB, activation: *535#, deactivation: *535*0#
- 12 GB for 30 days: 130,105 BYR, overuse: 188 BYR/MB, activation: *536#, deactivation: *536*0#
- "unlimited" data for 30 days:
- with FUP: 100 MB/day: 78,021 BYR/month, activation: *741#, deactivation: *741*0#
- with FUP: 250 MB/day: 145.730 BYR/month, activation: *742#, deactivation: *742*0#
- with FUP: 1 GB/day: 260,313 BYR/month, activation: *743#, deactivation: *743*0#
- 4G/LTE packages using beCloud network:
- 25 GB for 30 days: 234,000 BYR, activation: *546#, deactivation: *546*0#
- 50 GB for 30 days: 320,000 BYR, activation: *547#, deactivation: *547*0#
All packages will auto-renew, if not disabled before.
- APN: internet.mts.by
- Username and Password: mts
- Website in English (showing only a part of the offers)
- Website in Russian (showing all offers)
VelcomEditAustrian-owned Velcom is the strongest competitor of MTS in Belarus. Its network is on par and 3G at 47% coverage too: Velcom 2G 3G coverage map
Their prepaid card is called Privet (ПРИВЕТ). Like MTS, Velcom has a tourist plan that does not require the customer to be registered with the authorities in Belarus.
The Tourist Plan is sold for 40,000 BYR in their stores called service centers (Фирменные центры) (locator in English). To subscribe to a data and voice SIM a fee of 31,146 BYR is charged, including 1 GB of data traffic within 1 month after activation. The SIM expiry policy is a bit worse too, as periodic top-ups are required.
Data feature packagesEdit
Default internet rate is 313 BYR per 50 KB outside of packages.
On a tourist line, you can add these monthly data packs:
|Volume||Price for 10 days||Price for 30 days|
|50 MB||10,313 BYR||13,438 BYR|
|250 MB||19,688 BYR||25,938 BYR|
|450 MB||25,938 BYR||31,146 BYR|
|900 MB||36,355 BYR||44,688 BYR|
|1.8 GB||62,396 BYR||78,021 BYR|
|3.6 GB||n.a.||150,938 BYR|
To activate type *121*1*6# Speed is up to 42 Mbps where 3G is available. To check the balance *120# and *120*3# to check the remaining internet traffic. Overuse is 313 BYR per MB in 50 KB increments.
To get other tariffs, you need to be registered with the authorities in Belarus. Though they may give better rates, some Russian language skills are mandatory to manage the SIM.
Here is a good survey of their local data tariffs on other Privet tariff lines: http://www.privet.by/en/tarifs/mobile_data/. They are too complicated to show them all and many visitors will stick to the visitor tariff without being registered.
- APN: wap.privet.by (for Tourist line)
- Username and Password: privet
- Website in English (for Velcom)
- Website in English (for Privet)
life:)EditTurkcell-owned, life:) is the smallest operator in Belarus. As its network is still limited, make a network scan before you buy a SIM card: life;) 2G and 3G coverage map. It's 3G is still much more limited to population centers, as the 900 MHz frequency is not yet employed. Where available, they give data at better rates, but can't be recommended for travelling within the country so far.
They have two visitor oriented tariffs for which you need to be registered with the authorities in Belarus. A stamp by your hotel on the back of the immigration card in your passport is sufficient, and this is routinely done by hotels upon check-in. Both starter packs are sold in their shops called salons (locator).
- start yo life:): starter pack sold for 15,000 BYR with 6,000 BYR credit
- world in your hand: starter pack sold for 45,000 BYR with 27,000 BYR credit
The "World in your hand" SIM gives discounted international call rates and is aimed at visitors, while on the "start yo life:)", their regular domestic SIM card, domestic calls and texts are cheaper. You can book the same data packs on both plans though.
Data feature packagesEdit
Default internet rate is 2,400 BYR per MB outside of packages. These daily packs, valid for 24 hours are offered:
- 250 MB: 10,800 BYR
- 1.5 GB: 21,900 BYR
- 3 GB: 29,900 BYR
To activate or deactivate type *110# and choose daily internet (Интернет на сутки).
On both plans these monthly packs can be booked, which have the same price as for local tariffs:
|50 MB||8,500 BYR|
|100 MB||11,800 BYR|
|250 MB||20,800 BYR|
|500MB + 1GB (1am-8am)||29,000 BYR|
|1 GB||40,000 BYR|
|2 GB||69,000 BYR|
|4 GB||79,000 BYR|
|8 GB||99,000 BYR|
|12 GB||139,000 BYR|
|16 GB||149,000 BYR|
To activate type *110*5*1# <call>. Speed is up to 21.6 Mbps where 3G is available, which is mainly in the cities. To check the balance type *100# and *105#. Unused data allowances of monthly packs will roll over to the next month, if you have activated their Накопление (accumulation) service by typing *110#. A maximum of two packages can roll over.
- APN: internet.life.com.by
- Website in English