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Basics Edit

Moldova has three mobile operators:

  • Orange
  • Moldcell
  • Unité (only on 3G/4G)

2G GSM is on 900 MHz on Orange and Moldcell, while Unité uses CDMA for it, which is not compatible. 3G is on all three networks on 2100 MHz in up to HSPA+ speed and 4G/LTE has started on Orange and Moldcell in 2012 on 2600 MHz and Unité in 2015 on 1800 MHz and is available in major city centres.

Each operator offers its own prepaid cards, that can be purchased easily, without providing any identification documents.

No roaming
Be aware that Moldova is not part of the EU, nor the EEA, where from June 2017 new international roaming rules are enforced. So roaming rates on European SIM cards are not capped or regulated in the country and can be much higher. Better buy a local SIM card instead.

The special situation in the breakaway state of Transnistria is highlighted at the end of the article. The following section is about the Republic of Moldova and not valid for Transnistria.

Orange Edit

Orange

Orange is the oldest operator and market leader in Moldova with about 57% of all mobile customers on its network. It covers 99% of population with 2G and 89% with 3G: Coverage map. 4G/LTE started in 2012; however, is no longer available for prepaid.

Orange has the best network in the country, but some users claim that speed is depriorised for prepaid.

Availability Edit

Their prepaid card is called Orange PrePay. It is sold at their stores: Store locator for 30 MDL with the same credit.

Recharge cards of 30, 50, 60, 100 and 200 MDL are available too. Recharge by typing *144*<PIN code>#. They offer different plans, which are all the same for data. They give data bonus for top-ups: 30 MB for 30 MDL, 50 MB for 50 MDL, 100 MB for 60 MDL, 200 MB for 100 MDL and 500 MB for 200 MDL. To activate, type *100*2# before recharging.

When entering Moldova via Chisinau Airport (KIV)  you can ask around if free SIM card packs are available. In 2015, they were giving out free Orange SIM cards to foreign travellers. These had to be activated in an Orange store in the city, but included some data and calls for free. There was no obligation to buy anything else from Orange or pay any fees at all to get the card activated.

Data feature packs Edit

Standard rate outside of packages is 3 MDL per MB. These tariffs can be booked on the PrePay cards:

Validity

Data

Price

1 day 500 MB 10 MDL
30 days 250 MB 20 MDL
1 GB 50 MDL
3 GB 100 MDL
5 GB 150 MDL

To activate the monthly packs, type *100*32# <call>, to activate the daily pack, type: *100*323# <call>

Data-only SIM Edit

For modems and tablets, they offer a data-only SIM called "Internet Acum PrePay" which is on 4G/LTE too. The starter pack comes as SIM-only for 50 MDL with 3 GB valid for 30 days Default rate is low 0.10 MDL per MB. Speed is up to 150 Mbps on 4G and 42 Mbps on 3G. 

There is only one top-up of 50 MDL for another 3 GB valid for 30 days.

More info Edit

  • APN for PrePay Cards: wap.orange.md
  • APN for Internet Acum PrePay: internet
  • Website in Romanian and Russian: http://www.orange.md

Moldcell Edit

Moldcell-1-

Moldcell is the second operator in the country with a fairly good coverage: Coverage map. 4G/LTE has been opened for prepaid.

AvailabilityEdit

Prepaid SIM card is called Cartelă Moldcell, costs 30 MDL and comes with 30 MDL credit in their stores Store locator and outlets.

Cartelă 30 is a special combo offer: For 30 MDL per month, you get 300 MB data in up to 4G/LTE and 30 domestic minutes and 300 domestic texts. This SIM renews every month with the same allowances. Activate by *222*0#

Top-up vouchers are sold in many shops for 50, 100 or 200 MDL. Check balance by *444#.

Default rateEdit

Default tariff is 3.50 MDL/MB up to 10 MB, 3 MDL/MB 17-70 MB, 2.50 MDL/MB 71-100 MB and 0.50 MDL/MB for more than 100 MB per day.

By *223*1*3# you can activate a discounted daily tariff at 0.10 MDL per MB for a 1 MDL per day fee. To deactivate text 2 to 2223, to check status 3 to 2223.

Data feature packages Edit

Their data plans on 3G and 4G are called Pachete Internet:

Validity Data Volume Price Activation
1 day 500 MB 10 MDL *202*0#
7 days 1 GB 25 MDL *202*1#
30 days 50 MB 10 MDL *202*2#
150 MB 20 MDL *202*3#
500 MB 40 MDL *202*4#
1 GB 60 MDL *202*5#
2 GB 80 MDL *202*6#
5 GB 100 MDL *202*7#
10 GB 140 MDL *202*8#

Dial *202# to activate. All packages auto-renew. To cancel a service, text 1 to 5678 (in case of the 10 GB text 0 to 5678). Check remaining balance: *444#, then option 1, 1. Even if a data package is activated, you need to have a positive balance on the SIM card for the data connection to work. Overuse fee is 0.50 MDL per MB.

You can add social media not to be debited from your account by *222*1*2# for 15 MDL per month. Facebook, Odnokassniki, Twitter and VKontakte are included.

More infoEdit

Unité Edit

Unite

Unité is the 3rd operator in Moldova. It started a CDMA network which is not compatible with GSM devices. In 2010 it added 3G internet on 900 and 2100 MHz which is GSM compatible. So you have the lowest coverage for 3G in the country mainly in the cities without a fallback to 2G. Better make a network scan before buying or check: Unité 3G coverage. In 2015 it has started 4G/LTE in Chisiniau on 1800 MHz, open to prepaid users and has to be activated by *500#.

Availability Edit

Don't buy their "Connect" cards on incompatible CDMA standard with speeds up to 2.4 Mbit/s, but their 3G HSPA+ brand called "Cartela Prepay Unité 3G" for 29 MDL, now on 4G too. It contains 200 domestic minutes, 200 MB data and 5 MDL credit, valid for 3 months.

To top-up, use vouchers available for 20, 50, 100, 200 and 300 MDL. Credit stays valid for 6 months and a 12 month grace period for incoming calls. Unité gives data bonus for recharges: for 11-20 MDL 100 MB, for 21-50 MDL 1 GB, for 55-99 MDL 2 GB and for 100 MDL or more 3 GB, all valid for 1 month.

Data feature packs Edit

Default data rate is 2.50 MDL per MB. This card can be loaded with following data packages:

Validity Data Volume Price
24 hours unlimited 15 MDL
30 days 500 MB 20 MDL
1 GB 35 MDL
3 GB 75 MDL
6 GB 125 MDL

To activate type *200# and choose package.

More info Edit

Transnistria (IDC) Edit

Transnistria is a breakaway state on the eastern border with Ukraine. Transnistria is seen by Moldova as the "Transnistria autonomous territorial unit with special legal status" and is governed as "Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic" (PMR), also known as under its Russian name of Pridnestrovie.

IDC

Transnistria has an own state-owned provider called Interdnestrcom (IDC) and Moldovian operators don't cover most of this region. The problem is that IDC has GSM-incompatible CDMA standard in 2G and uses EVDO in 3G. LTE has started on 800 MHz in major areas which is compatible with many GSM devices too, but not yet for prepaid.

Some users have remarked that as Transnistria is such a narrow territory, that anyone visiting is almost certainly going to be able to pick up the GSM network signal from Moldova or Ukraine anyway. If your device is already locked on to a network from either of those countries it's highly unlikely the signal will fade.

While there is border coverage, the area is almost 4000 km2 without own GSM antennas. Travellers will only face a temporary outages. But if you stay for longer, you need to buy a CDMA device which leaves this region as the only populated area in Europe without an own native GSM or UMTS coverage. That's why it's added to the Blacklist.

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