Kosovo has two mobile GSM networks, both of them still with "foreign" international prefixes, making it quite a unique case in the GSM World market:
Telenor and Telekom Srbija (both Serbian operators) used to have own coverage in Prishtinë and some other areas of Kosovo, but their towers have been mostly dismantled in the Republic, so that GSM coverage is offered by the two Kosovo operators in most areas.
Only in the disputed northern area of Kosovo which is administered by Serbia (that's north of Mitrovica around Leposavić, Zvečan and Zubin Potok), Telekom Srbjia remains the sole provider:
- mts (for rates see Serbia)
The two other Serbian providers Vip and Telenor have ceased their operations there in May 2017.
2G GSM is on 900 MHz, 3G coverage is still limited on 2100 MHz and 4G/LTE is been rolled out on 1800 MHz only. Networks are still limited across the country since speeds vary a lot and the infrastructure is not upgraded to support fast mobile internet nor the vast amount of users. In 2009 the first MVNOs appeared in Kosovo: the biggest has become Z Mobile, using Vala's network.
Due of the historical political situation, Kosovo didn't own an international prefix code. Until recently landline numbers used the +381 Serbian code, while the two mobile operators still use +377 Monaco prefix (for Vala) and +386 Slovenian one (for IPKO). This is about to change in 2017/8.
+383 country code Edit
In 2015 Serbia and Kosovo signed an agreement to normalize relations between the two countries. Under the agreement, Kosovo is allocated its own international dialling code (+383), whilst Serbian Telekom (brand: MTS) offering services in northern parts of Kosovo is allowed to operate legally within all of Kosovo.
Finally in February 2017 the new +383 code is operational. It will take around 18 months to replace the existing codes. Subscribers to Vala's mobile service can use the new code straight away. Kosovo’s new +383 international dialling code will be come fully into force in June 2018, from which date the existing +377 and +386 codes will no longer be used,
EU roaming EditNote that provider IPKO is identified by some EU operators but not all as Slovenian because of its country code (+386). That's why roaming on IPKO, if supported by the operator, is often charged according to EU rules. Give it a try with a minimal volume to check how it's debited by the provider. But this will change as soon as IPKO is going to switch to the new code of Kosovo (+383), presumably in 2018.
Availability and currency Edit
Both IPKO and Vala have sales booths at the airport of Pristina, easily found in the public arrivals area. Either one can sell a SIM card and package and setup your phone before you leave the airport.
Kosovo unilaterally adopted the Euro as its currency in 2002; although, it's not an official Eurozone member.
Vala (by PTK, Kosovo Telecom)Edit
Vala Network is owned by PTK (Posta dhe Telekomunikacioni i Kosovës), recently renamed to Kosovo Telecom. It's the old state-owned incumbent provider. Their calling prefix is +377 (for Monaco), but is planned to be changed to Kosovo's new code +383 until June 2018. Vala has still the most customers with a 51% market share.
Vala started with 3G coverage on 2100 MHz in Pristina in 2014. Vala’s 3G network covers Pristina and the surrounding area, including Pristina International Airport, Vushtrri, Mitrovice, Ferizaj and Gjilan, whilst launches are also planned in Prizren, Gjakova and Suva Reka.
Vala also has 4G/LTE capability on 1800 MHz, which works in most areas of Kosovo.
Their prepaid SIM card is sold at 3 € at their points of sale. It comes with 1 € credit and 700 MB data
Top-ups are sold at 1-50 € giving validity of 7-365 days. Check credit balance by *101#.
SIM card stays valid for 180 days without a top-up plus 45 more days in passive mode. You may have to enable data by texting "data plus" to 50555.
Data feature packages Edit
Default rate is only at 1c per MB. They sell these combo bundles for 28 days:
- S package: 3.99 € including 100 domestic minutes, 500 MB internet and 100 national SMS. To activate text 'Pako S' to 50555.
- M package: 9.99 € inlcuding 200 domestic minutes, 1 GB internet, 300 national SMS, 10 minutes to European countries (including Germany, France, Switzerland, Austria) as well as 100 MB roaming data in the mentioned countries. To activate text 'Pako M' to 50555.
Alternatively, these data bundles are sold:
|7 days||1 GB||1.50 EUR||3|
|15 days||2 GB||2.50 EUR||4|
|25 days||3 GB||3.50 EUR||5|
|31 days||5 GB||6.00 EUR||6|
To activate a bundle call 161, then press 7, then the code from the table and finally confirm with 1.
Roaming packages Edit
These packages are offered for roaming:
- for Turkey (on Vodafone), Montenegro (on m:tel and Telenor), Albania (on Vodafone, Plus and Telekom), in Macedonia (on all networks) and Bulgaria (on Mobitel):
- 1 day: 60 MB, 1.99 EUR - activation: Region1
- 4 days: 200 MB, 4.99 EUR - activation: Region 4
- 10 days: 300 MB, 6.99 EUR - activation: Region10
For activation, text code to 50555.
Vala has public Wifi hotspots available throughout central Pristina. Look for the 'VALA' SSID. Access is available to Vala phone users, login details here (in Albanian but the screen images are in English). As of May 2017, a slower Vala Wifi connection is available to non-clients too.
More info Edit
- APN: vala /or/ wave
- Website: http://www.kosovotelecom.com/tk/
IPKO is owned by Telekom Slovenije (Si Mobitel), hence IPKO's mobile phone number calling prefix is +386 (for Slovenia). This code will be migrated to the new Kosovo code +383 until June 2018.
IPKO has 3G coverage on 2100 MHz: IPKO 3G coverage map. Its population coverage on 3G is 90% and on 4G/LTE is 84% in 2017.
IPKO's coverage is on par with Vala's, but still lags behind in customer numbers at around 37% market share.
Their prepaid SIM card is called IPKO Fol me ton’ (talk to all) and costs 3€ at their points of sale.
Top-up vouchers are available for 5€ - 90 days, 10€ - 180 days and 20€ - 330 days. To refill, type *123*<16-digit code>#. You can also use eTopUp and choose on any monetary value from 1-50€.
Default data rateEdit
First you need to activate data by texting "Plus GPRS" to 121 or type *321#
The price for the first 100 KB is 0.21 EUR, while each 100 KB after that costs 0.01 EUR. You need to have more than 0.28 EUR in your account, in order to use internet on your mobile phone.
Data feature packsEdit
These packages can be activated for data on 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE:
|1 day||500 MB||5 GB||0.509 EUR||*900*0#|
|7 days||1 GB||1.50 EUR||*900*1#|
|14 days||2 GB||2.50 EUR||*900*2#|
|21 days||3 GB||3.50 EUR||*900*3#|
|30 days||5 GB||5.50 EUR||*900*5#|
|7 GB||7.50 EUR||*900*7#|
Packages will renew automatically. To stop enter *900*9#, to check data volume type *900#. Overuse is charged by the default rate. All packs include IPKO WiFi (Wi-Fi map).
Roaming packages Edit
Two different packages are offered for roaming:
- for EU countries and Switzerland
- daily package: 50 MB - 2.50 €, activation: *345*1# for EU, *345*3# for Switzerland
- weekly package: 200 MB - 10 €, activation: *345*2# for EU, *345*4# for Switzerland
Check account balance by *345#.
- for Albania (on Eagle, Telekom Albania and Vodafone), Macedonia (on One/Vip), Serbia (on Vip), Montenegro (on m:tel), Greece (on Cosmote), Bosnia and Herzegovina (on m:tel) and in Turkey (on Vodafone):
- 200 MB for 1 day: 1.50 EUR, activation: *478*1#
- 1 GB for 1 week: 5 EUR, activation: *478*2#
- 2 GB for 1 month: 10 EUR, activation: *478*3#
Check data use by typing *478#.
- APN: IPKO
- Proxy: 220.127.116.11
- Proxy port: 8080
- Website in English: https://www.ipko.com
Z Mobile Edit
Z Mobile is owned by Devolli and is a MVNO on the Vala network in 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE with a Monaco prefix changed to +383 soon. It's the most successful MVNO so far with a 10% share in the country.
Their SIM card is sold at their stores (list) for 3 €.
To top-up purchase Z Mobile refilling cards for 3-20 € at their selling points or authorized distributors. To charge your account, first of scratch off the hidden numbers in the scratching card then write the numbers as follows: *103*<voucher code># After the recharging, you will receive a confirmation that your account is charged with success by showing you the current balance.
Data feature packages Edit
These data packages are given out for 2G, 3G and 4G:
|2 GB||7 days||1 EUR||*135*2*01#|
|4 GB||14 days||2 EUR||*135*2*02#|
|8 GB||30 days||4 EUR||*135*2*03#|
More information Edit
- APN: z-int
- Website partly in English: http://zmobileonline.com