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BasicsEdit

Operators Edit

Israel has three historical network operators that offer prepaid:

  • Cellcom
  • Partner (formerly Orange)
  • Pelephone

While there are several additional MVNOs, 4 of them offer prepaid options:

  • Hot Mobile (rebranding in Altice)
  • 019
  • Rami Levy
  • Golan Telecom

Frequencies and Coverage Edit

2G and 3G: GSM is on 900 and 1800 MHz, 3G is on 2100 MHz like in most of Europe with additional 850/900 MHZ. Most of the country is covered aside from parts in the unsettled north of the desert in the south, but mostly there is full coverage of the country, currently there is no coverage map available.

4G/LTE: LTE works in most big cities on 1800 MHz (band 3) and there are plans to add 2600 MHz (band 7) to all networks in the future.

The following table contains the frequencies of the local operators. Be advised to check, if your device is compatible to them or use the website Will My Phone Work?

Network Cellcom Partner Pelephone Hot Mobile

(Altice)

019
2G 1800 900, 1800 n/a Partner Partner
3G 850, 2100 900, 2100 850, 2100 2100 Partner
4G/LTE 1800 1800 1800 1800 Partner

Some more network providers only employ 4G/LTE networks like Golan Telecom or the new WE4G by Xfone and use roaming for 2G and 3G instead, but don't offer prepaid plans and are not mentioned any further.

Availability and Legal requirements Edit

Prepaid SIM cards are available in most cellphone shops (with many of them in every city) and in some kiosks. While you can find the 3 historical operators (Partner, Cellcom and Pelephone) in almost any store, the 2 MVNOs are a bit harder to find and not always available in all the stores. You can spot a sticker on the store front indicating, that they sell HOT Mobile or 019 SIM cards.

All Israeli prepaid SIM cards are anonymous and do not require any registration, ID checks or activation.

Israeli SIM cards cost nowadays around NIS 30-50 and come without any balance. That means you need to top-up when you buy them. Israeli regulations permit a mobile subscription to be disconnected (terminated) after 12 months without usage.

Currently there are only special tourist SIM cards in sale at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv (TLV), there is no place to buy any regular SIM cards there. It's very recommended to avoid buying these tourist cards in the airport because they are heavily overpriced. So wait until you get to town. There is also a free WiFi network at the airport.

Recharges Edit

You can go to any cellphone shop, post office and some kiosks in the country and ask to add credit to your phone number. As for recharging online, currently there appears to be only one option to use EPRS.co.il , but that one requires you to register in order to top-up online. Whether that service only accepts Israeli credit cards, or if foreign cards are accepted also, needs verification. As there are no other credit card recharge options from outside of the country, it's hard to maintain an Israeli SIM card from abroad. A possible solution is to use 3rd party agencies mentioned at the end of the article.

SIM Scams Edit

Beware that some shops may sell postpaid SIM cards as "prepaid" ones, Postpaid is cheaper in Israel, but it can leave the buyer with a problem: some SIM cards might be disconnect later as the seller removes the line and thinks that a tourist will not return to his shop.

Cellcom Edit

Cellcom

Cellcom logo with Hebrew

Cellcom is one of the historical providers. Shops and reloads can be found everywhere. They still have the most customers in the country on their network. Cellcom's prepaid plan is called "TalkMan" and referred as the generic word for prepaid cards in Israel.

Cellcom

Cellcom English text logo

To change your system language, dial *777, followed by 9 and 4 for English.

To check balance, dial *11777#.

Data and Talk packages Edit

Pay as you go rate for data 10 NIS per day for up to 50 MB, so better buy packages.

Price Data

Dom. Calls / SMS

Valid Extras

Data & Calls

29 NIS 150 MB unlimited 2 days
49 NIS 3 GB 1000 mins + 1000 SMS 7 days
60 NIS 5 GB 5000 mins + 5000 SMS 30 days 40 NIS for dom use

55 NIS for dom and intern. use

70 NIS 10 GB 5000 mins + 5000 SMS 30 days 70 NIS for dom use

65 NIS for dom and intern. use

79 NIS 30 GB 5000 mins + 5000 SMS 30 days
139 NIS 100 GB 5000 mins + 5000 SMS 30 days
140 NIS 100 GB 5000 mins + 5000 SMS 30 days 75 NIS for dom and intern. use
150 NIS 100 GB - 30 days 250 NIS for dom use

143 NIS for dom and intern. use

159 NIS 55 GB 5000 mins + 5000 SMS 30 days
160 NIS 100 GB 5000 mins + 5000 SMS 30 days 100 NIS intern. use
Data-only
99 NIS 15 GB - 30 days
129 NIS 20 GB - 30 days
149 NIS 55 GB - 30 days

More info Edit

Partner (formerly Orange) Edit

Partner logo.svg

Partner, formerly known as Orange, is another historical provider. They are owned by local Partner Communications, who used the Orange brand under license until 2016, but have rebranded getting rid of the orange color.

Their pay-as-you-go plan is called "BigTalk".

Availability Edit

You can also buy Partner (ex Orange) SIM cards in many cellphones shops and retailers around Israel for 30~40 NIS without any credit on them.

To change system language dial *111 and press 7 and then 4 for English.

To check balance, dial *111#.

New SIM cards are enabled for 2G/3G networks only. To activate LTE/4G, dial *454 and follow voice instructions. Available languages: Hebrew, Russian, Arabic, English.

Data and Talk packages Edit

Using data without a plan: 4.01 NIS per MB. As this rate is very high, do not use data without a plan.

Price Data

Dom. Calls / SMS

Valid Extras
Data + Calls
29 NIS 1 GB unlimited 2 days
40 NIS 1 GB 25 on-net mins 7 days 45 NIS for dom and intern. use
50 NIS 4 GB 1500 mins + 1500 SMS 7 days
70 NIS 5 GB 1000 mins + 1000 SMS 30 days
75 NIS 5 GB 500 mins + 500 SMS 30 days 40 NIS for dom and intern. use
80 NIS 10 GB 1200 mins + 1200 SMS 30 days
85 NIS 10 GB 600 mins + 600 SMS 30 days 50 NIS for dom and intern. use
140 NIS 45 GB unlimited 30 days
145 NIS 55 GB unlimited 30 days
148 NIS 15 GB unlimited 30 days 75 NIS for dom and intern. use
150 NIS 45 GB 5000 min + 5000 sms on-net 30 days 300 NIS for dom use

100 NIS for dom and intern. use

159 NIS 50 GB 5000 mins + 5000 SMS 30 days 110 NIS for dom and intern. use

Data-only

19 NIS 1 GB - 30 days
59 NIS 4 GB - 30 days
79 NIS 6 GB - 30 days
99 NIS 10 GB - 30 days
149 NIS 59 GB - 30 days reduced speed after 59 GB
199 NIS 75 GB - 30 days reduced speed after 75 GB

Make sure to tell the person who recharges your credit what package you need. There are several packages at the same price, but without data package, you'll end up with high rate per MB.

More info Edit

  • APN: uinternet
  • Check balance: *11777#.

Pelephone Edit

Pelephone

Hebew logo

Pelephone-0

English logo

Pelephone was a CDMA-only network earlier and now became a "normal" GSM-compatible 3G/4G network. This means that only GSM phones supporting the 3G on 850 and 2100 MHz or 4G/LTE on 1800 MHz can use it. Today it is the only network without 2G coverage in Israel. The old CDMA network has been shutdown on July 2017. Check your device to make sure it supports the GSM frequencies mentioned above.

Pelephone pay-as-you-go plan is called "Talk & Go".

Data and Talk packages Edit

Using the SIM without a package NIS 3 for the first 10 MB, any additional MB is NIS 2 up to a daily max of NIS 49. So better use data packages. If your balance is below NIS 3, you won't receive any data at all.

Pelephone gives unlimited data on some packages not debited from the main data balance for these apps: Instagram, Waze, Facebook, WhatsApp, Snapchat.

Price Data Dom. Calls / SMS Valid Extras
Data-only
39 NIS 5 GB - 30 days
70 NIS 15 GB - 30 days
135 NIS 100 GB - 30 days unlimited apps
Data, Texts & Calls
25 NIS 300 MB 300 mins, 300 SMS 3 days
55 NIS 1 GB 250 mins, 250 SMS 45 days 750 mins for on-net calls
59 NIS 12 GB 3000 mins, 3000 SMS 30 days
72 NIS 20 GB 3000 mins, 3000 SMS 30 days 30 NIS for calls outside Israel
79 NIS 30 GB 3000 mins, 3000 SMS 30 days
99 NIS 50 GB 3000 mins, 3000 SMS 30 days unlimited apps
140 NIS 100 GB 3000 mins, 3000 SMS 30 days 70 NIS for internatl. calls, unlimited apps
145 NIS 6 GB 3000 mins, 3000 SMS 30 days 100 NIS for internatl. calls, unlimited apps

More info Edit

HOT Mobile (Hottalk) by Altice Edit

Hot mobile

HOT Mobile together with Golan Telecom (another operator which is hard to use for foreigners) started a "mobile revolution" in Israel in 2012. They are 3G and 4G-only networks, but there is a national network sharing agreement with Partner, so you get full coverage including 2G fallback. You may need to enable data roaming on your phone to get stable internet connection all over Israel, without surcharges. 2G is on 900 and 1800 MHz on Partner network, 3G on 900 MHz (through Partner) and on 2100 MHz (own network). 4G/LTE started recently on own 1800 MHz network.

From 2017 HOT Mobile is rebranding as Altice, the name of its new parent company. The rebranding will take place gradually but will be completed by the end of the second quarter of 2018.

Altice

Hottalk Edit

In summer 2015 they started classical prepaid SIM cards called Hottalk. They can be purchased at their sales centers and many post offices and shops for a 49 NIS fee and are valid for 180 days.

Their basic pack has only one default rate of 0.49 NIS per 1 minute, 1 outgoing SMS or 1 Mb of data. They offer different packages that you need to book at point of purchase or by calling customer service at *6733.

Data and Talk packages Edit

Price

Data Dom. Calls / SMS Valid Extra
Data & Calls
35 NIS 1 GB - 10 days
50 NIS for dom. and intern. calls
50 NIS 9 GB 3000 mins + 3000 SMS 30 days
59 NIS 10 GB 3000 mins + 3000 SMS 30 days + 30 NIS for dom. and intern. calls
69 NIS 15 GB 3000 mins + 3000 SMS 30 days
89 NIS 20 GB 3000 mins + 3000 SMS 30 days
99 NIS 30 GB 3000 mins + 3000 SMS 30 days + 40 NIS for dom. and intern. calls Bonus : + 15 GB
139 NIS 30 GB 3000 mins + 3000 SMS 30 days + 100 NIS for intern. calls Bonus : +10 GB
Data-only
49 NIS 10 GB - 30 days Bonus : +10 GB
100 NIS 40 GB - 30 days Bonus : +10 GB
140 NIS 50 GB - 30 days Bonus : +10 GB

More info Edit

019 mobile Edit

019

019 mobile is operated by 019 Telzar International Telecommunication Services LTD. It's a fairly new Israeli cell phone company that offers various telecommunications services and now offers a mobile prepaid plan. Without any own infrastructure so far, it operates as MVNO on the Partner network in 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE under a national roaming agreement.

Availability Edit

You can find 019 SIM cards in many cellphone shops around Israel. While not as common as Partner/Cellcom/Pelephone SIM cards, it isn't difficult to find them. Most stores who sell them will have a 019 sticker on the front of the store.

It appears that the retail system of 019 allows the re-sellers and shops to adjust the price that is shown on the screen. So some shops might show you higher prices than the official ones. Better double check when adding credit, so you won't pay more then you have to.

Data and Talk packages Edit

Pay as you go rate on 019 cards is 4 NIS per MB. So better buy packages. To check balance, type *019.

  • All 019 "unlimited" plans come with "unlimited" domestic calls and SMS and a FUP of 3000 minutes and 3000 SMS per week or month depending on plan.
Price Data

Dom. Calls / SMS

Valid

Extras

Data & Calls
35 NIS 1 GB unlimited 7 days
49 NIS 9 GB unlimited 30 days
59 NIS 6 GB unlimited 30 days + 30 NIS for intern. calls
69 NIS 15 GB unlimited 30 days
74 NIS 10 GB unlimited 30 days + 40 NIS for intern. calls
75 NIS 2 GB unlimited 14 days + 500 minutes intern. calls to landline
99 NIS 25 GB unlimited 30 days
150 NIS 10 GB unlimited 30 days + 100 NIS for intern. calls
170 NIS 14 GB unlimited 14 days + unlimited intern. calls (unknown countries)
Data-only
29 NIS 1 GB - 30 days
42 NIS 6 GB - 30 days
65 NIS 15 GB - 30 days
125 NIS 30 GB - 30 days

Airport Plans Edit

019 had added a mobile store, located in the Arrivals hall at Ben Gurion airport that sells "special tourist" packages with data and international calls on arrival, the website (Link) indicates a booking is needed to get a SIM, but it's likely that you can also buy in on arrival to the shop.

Price

Data

Calls / SMS

Validity

Extras

29 US$ 10 GB unlimited 10 days Unlimited international calls,

see additional info below

39 US$ 20 GB unlimited 20 days
49 US$ 30 GB unlimited 30 days

019 offers unlimited landline calls to the following countries: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Swaziland, Sweden, Taiwan, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela.

019 also added mobile calls to the next countries: Canada, India, United States.

More info Edit

  • APN: netazi or 019 (enable data roaming)
  • Website (in Hebrew): http://019mobile.co.il/
  • Website (In English, for airport shop) https://019mobile.com
  • to check your mobile phone number, dial *725
  • to check balance, dial *019

Golan Telecom Edit

Golan Telecom started offering prepaid plans under the brand GOLANtalk from June, 2018 on a promotional basis. According to a press release, the plan includes 18 GB of data and unlimited calls and messaging valid for 2 months for 45 NIS. Later this plan is said to move to 90 NIS per month.

Israeli SIM resellers Edit

If you need to order the SIM card before your visit to Israel, you can use 3rd party dealers who sell them online with worldwide delivery. Please note that it's usually much more expensive than buying it in Israel (due to the shipping fee, processing fee and dealer surcharge), but if you need it - it can be a solution. eBay is a good platform to look for a SIM card too. Check price and delivery, compare with the offers given here for Israel and if it's worth the surcharge.

Also there is still a problem to recharge Israel SIM cards online. There is no official way to load some credits from outside Israel as no credit card payment and no PayPal are accepted. This makes it very hard to keep a SIM card alive from out of the country. Some vendors offer top-ups for a surcharge.

SIMPATIC Edit

Simpatic.net is an Israeli SIM service provider that offers worldwide delivery, permanent sim cards, 24/7 customer service (North America and Israel) with some pick-up points in USA and Canada. Please note that this is a 3rd party dealer and therefore quite more expensive than local options.  They offer 2 plans:

  • LOCAL PLAN: "unlimited" calls, SMS and data in Israel. Price starts at $ 2.97 per day with a flat fee when order 18+ days.
  • INTERNATIONAL: same as the LOCAL plan but with calls to USA and Canada included. Price starts at $ 4.97 per day with a flat fee when order 18+ days.

Hidden in their T&Cs that are only displayed when you make an order, is a FUP of 10 GB before they throttle to 3G speeds.

Website: https://www.simpatic.net/israel-sim-card/

PCWorks Edit

PCWorks based in Tel-Aviv is a reseller of Israeli SIM cards. Through their website they offer SIM cards and top-ups of major providers. Please note that this is a 3rd party dealer with worldwide delivery and therefore quite more expensive than local options.

Prepaid Israel SIM Edit

PrepaidIsraelSIM sell SIM cards of all Israel operators with free worldwide delivery and also some pick-up points in USA. Please note that this is not an official service, but a 3rd party dealer and is more expensive than local options.

Call IsraelEdit

Call Israel was established in 2008 in Calabasas, California, USA with its first product the 'Call Israel' phone card'. Call Israel now offers also mobile phone and SIM card rental with its "unlimited" service while in Israel. An Israel SIM card is provided as short term option for tourists and visitors in Israel too. Please note that this is not an official provider, but a 3rd party dealer who is more expensive than local options.

Sim to Israel Edit

Sim to Israel, formerly known as "Snapir," is a mail order SIM card service for Israel travel. The service is well reviewed on Trip Advisor. Numerous packages are offered and include delivery to your home abroad if time allows or to your hotel if not. Also included is a free virtual US number to allow family and friends to call. Tethering is also included. The actual network operator used by SIMToIsrael is Cellcom.