There are three GSM-based operators in Kyrgyzstan:
- MegaCom (by JSC Alpha Telecom)
- Beeline (by Sky Mobile)
- O! (by Nur Telecom)
3 other smaller operators called Katel, Nexi and Sapat Mobile use GSM-incompatible CDMA for 2G and are not on the list. 2G/GSM is on 900 and 1800 MHz, 3G on 2100 MHz (and 900 MHz on MegaCom) in up to DC-HSPA speed on the three major operators. 4G/LTE started on O! in 2014 and on MegaCom and Beeline in 2016 on 800, 1800, 2100 and 2600 MHz.
Coverage and speeds are good in the major cities, but can be very slow to non-existent in the countryside.
Buying a SIM card Edit
When purchasing a SIM card, you officially have to show a photo ID. Since March 2014 SIM registration in Kyrgyzstan is compulsory. Existing SIM card holders must register personal ID details. All unregisted SIM cards have been disconnected in February 2016. Start-up price for prepaid SIM cards is around 80-200 som.
There are many mobile provider shops in town and even more outlets to top up. Almost every 5th house in the country has a small store called "magazin" and does top-ups. On central squares, you can find small booths with ladies doing the recharge and self service terminals with touch screens. There you have to enter your mobile number and feed it with coins and notes. Language is Russian only, but quite easy to figure out because of lot of graphical elements on the screen.
The manned top-up outlets sell scratch cards. But mostly you just tell (or show) the lady your mobile number to top up. They will add a 5 som fee for the service and type in some special codes to add balance.
MegaCom, owned by JSC Alpha Telecom, is the market leader in this country with 37% customer share. It has the best coverage: 98% of the population are covered by 2G and about 2/3 of the populated areas by 3G in 2015. This means that you have good coverage in the cities, but it can become patchy elsewhere: coverage map.
In 2017 3G frequencies on 900 MHz were added for more coverage. They started 4G/LTE in the cities of Bishkek, Osh and Jalal-Abad in 2016 and started in regional cities in 2017, open for prepaid.
SIM cards are available in their stores and service points. If you want to get one as you land at Manas International Airport, you will find a MegaCom booth immediately to the right as you exit customs. For a map of other locations, go to the coverage map linked above.
There are numerous places to top up your prepaid balance as well. Most small stores will do this for you for a small charge (5-15 som). To top up by scratch card type *555*<PIN code>#.
Basic Plan Edit
Their default prepaid tariff is called Basic (Базалык). By typing *181*1# you activate data, by *181# you check data balance, by *181*0# you deactivate data.
Default data on the Basic plan is 17.7 som per MB from midnight to 6am and 35.3 som/MB from 8am until midnight. You can change the default rate:
- EasyInternet: connection fee 15 som, daily fee 0.95 som - rate: 1.95 som per MB 8am-midnight, 1.25 som per MB midnight-8am. Activation: *180*1#, deactivation: *180*0#.
- ActiveInternet: connection fee 15 som, daily fee 2.95 som - rate 1.50 som per MB 8am-midnight, 0.75 som per MB midnight-8am. Activation: *180*2#, decactivation: *180*0#.
- Available on internet: connection fee 15 som, daily fee 1.95 som - default rate 0.95 per MB all time. Activation: *180*3#, deactivation: *180*0#.
MegaCom has so-called "unlimited" internet options on a daily basis and classical monthly data packages. The "unlimited" options come in three sizes:
- Unlim24: 29.95 som. Up to 100 MB per day high speed, beyond throttled to 64 kbps. Activation by *194*1#, deactivation by *194*0#
- Unlim24+: 49.95 som. Up to 250 MB per day high speed, beyond throttled to 64 kbps. Activation by *194*1#., deactivation by *195*0#
- Unlimited Internet: 20 som per day for 100 MB per day, then throttled to 128 kbps. Activation by *191*1#, deactivation by *191*0.
- Unlimited Internet 200: 30 som per day for 200 MB per day, then throttled to 192 kbps. Activation by *191*2, deactivation by *191*0.
- to regain full speed for the daily packages (except Unlimited Internet), these add-ons called Nitro can be added:
- 50 MB: 10 som, activation: *190*50#
- 150 MB: 25 som, activation: *190*150#
- 500 MB: 75 som, activation: *190*500#
The classical data packs distinguish day and unlimited night traffic included plus bonus data on 4G only. They come in these monthly packs.
|Daytime Data||4G bonus||Price||Activation|
|200 MB||200 MB||50 som||*192*1#|
|500 MB||500 MB||100 som||*192*2#|
|1 GB||1 GB||200 som||*192*3#|
|2 GB||2 GB||350 som||*192*4#|
|5 GB||5 GB||700 som||*192*5#|
|15 GB||15 GB||1500 som||*193*1#|
|30 GB||30 GB||2500 som||*193*2#|
Daytime is 8am to midnight, nighttime midnight to 8am. Check data consumption by *505#. You can add 200 MB for 50 som, 500 MB for 100 som, 1 GB for 200 som, 2 GB for 350 son and 5 GB for 700 som.
Popular Plan Edit
There is also weekly "Popular" (Eldik / Элдик) plan that include both calls, text messages, and data. They come in the following package sizes:
|Popular 50||300 / -||500||150 MB/day||50 som||*303*50*1#|
|Popular 80||500 / -||1000||300 MB/day||80 som||*303*80*1#|
|Popular 120||950 / 30||1500||500 MB/day||120 som||*303*120*1#|
|Popular 160||1300 / 30||2000||750 MB/day||160 som||*303*160*1#|
|Popular 210||1500 / 50||2500||1050 MB/day||210 som||*303*210*1#|
*) Voice: In / out of network. **) SMS: Text messages within the network.
An activation charge of 95 som applies if you are switching from a different plan.
The voice and text message allowances apply to the whole week while the data allowances are per day and will be reset every day at midnight. Outside of the Popular plan allowances, costs are as follows:
- In network calls: 0.95 som/min.
- Out of network cellular calls: 3.95 som/min.
- Fixed line calls: 5.50 som/min.
- In network text messages: 0.95 som/SMS.
- Out of network text messages: 6.00 som/SMS.
- Data: 0.95 som/MB.
Please note that you will automatically start paying per MB once you exhaust your data allowance and that you may end up with a negative balance on your account since it may not stop at exactly zero. If this happens, you will not be able to use more data the next day until you refill your account to reach a positive balance.
More info Edit
- APN: internet
- Website in Kyrgyz and Russian: http://megacom.kg/
Beeline by Sky Mobile is the biggest competitor of MegaCom and has a 36% market share. It has a limited 3G coverage shown in Russian or Kyrgyz only on these coverage maps. In 2016 it added 4G/LTE on the 800 MHz frequency.
Prepaid SIM cards available with top-ups of 150-200 som. Check balance by typing *102#. To top-up by scratch card type *104#<PIN code>#. Starting up, you will be in default tariff called "Start" (Старт). There is no need to change tariffs as all have the same data options to add.
To activate data, type *181#3#, to deactivate *182#3#
Data feature packages Edit
These daily packages are available. A day means 24 hours from activation:
- 5 MB: 6 som, activation: *505*05#, deactivation: *505*05*0#
- 10 MB 10 som, activation: *505*10# deactivation: *505*10*0#
- 25 MB: 20 som, activation: *505*25#, deactivation: *505*25*0#
- 50 MB: 30 som, activation: *505*50#, deactivation: *505*50*0#
- 100 MB: 50 som, activation: *505*100#, deactivation: *505*100*0#
These monthly packages are available:
|50 MB||50 som||*3133*50#|
|250 MB||150 som||*3133*250#|
|500 MB||220 som||*3133*500#|
|1 GB||350 som||*3133*1024#|
|2 GB||520 som||*3133*2#|
|5 GB||1200 som||*3133*5#|
|15 GB||2000 som||*4343*2#|
All packages auto-renew. To stop, text *3133*0#. To check balance, type *505#
Data-only SIM Edit
They additionall sell data-only SIM plans for tablets in tariff "Internet Tablet" (Планшет). They are on prepaid and have a monthly data allowance of 3 GB. The monthly fee is 600 som. For the first month they give 3 GB night traffic (1am-6am) for free. Activation is by *555#705#.
More info Edit
- APN: internet.beeline.kg
- Website in Kyrgyz and Russian only: http://beeline.kg
O! by Nur Telecom is the smallest of the three operators. It has a very limited coverage in the countryside. However in Bishkek, Osh and Jalal-Abad, it offers 4G/ LTE on 2600 MHz. Before buying a SIM card, make a network scan and check their coverage maps in 2G, 3G and 4G.
Prepaid SIM cards are available for 120-200 son in their offices (locator). Default standard tariff Away! (Оной!) plan charges 2.99 som per MB. You can add packages or switch to a data-only SIM for a lower default rate (see below).
Data feature packages Edit
- Your Unlimited: 500 MB per day, then throttled to 256 kbps, 20 som per day. Activation: *070*, deactivation: *707*0#. 1st activation is free, from 2nd activation there is a 20 som subscription fee.
- Tablet Unlimited: 1 GB per day, then throttled to 256 kbps: 40 som per day. Activation: *726#, deactivation: *726*0#.
- Night Unlimited: free internet (midnight-8am): 120 som for 30 days. Activation: *722*, deactivation: *722*0#.
On 2G and 3G they offer these monthly combo packages called 'Smart' with unlimited O! network calls and texts included for 30 days:
- 50 MB: 89.5 som
- 250 MB: 347.5 som
- 500 MB: 425 som
- 1 GB: 499 som
- 2 GB: 899 som
- 'unlimited' (FUP: 4 GB): 990 som, activation : *088#
For activation and deactivation type *720#. All packages auto-renew after 30 days.
These monthly data packages are for their new 4G/LTE network too:
- 2 GB: 190 som
- 4 GB: 450 som
- 6 GB: 850 som
- unlimited: 350 som per week, 1390 som per month
- NonStop: 8 GB at day, unlimited at night (1am-8am) 390 som
You can change a regular SIM to a data-only in tariff Internet+ by *155*9#. From next midnight voice and text services become unavailable and data stays at 1.99 som per MB all the time.
- APN: internet
- Website in Kyrgyz and Russian only: http://www.o.kg