Networks and frequencies Edit
Romania has 4 network operators:
- Telekom Romania (formerly Cosmote)
- Digi Mobil (by RCS-RDS)
2G is on 900 and 1800 MHz, 3G on 900 and 2100 MHz, 4G/LTE on 800, 1800 and 2600 MHz (bands 3, 7, 20) on Orange, Vodafone and Telekom. Digi Mobil started 4G/LTE on 2600 MHz (band 38) as TD-LTE and in 2016 on 2100 MHz (band 1) as FD-LTE.
Purchase, recharges and taxation Edit
Romania is one of the few EU countries remaining where a SIM card can still be purchased without any necessary registration. This may change in the future as the government is considering a mandatory personal registration scheme, but nothing has been implemented so far.
For now you can also find free SIM card starter packs in shops close to (or inside) metro stations (before entering the station). They come without credit and are for free. Just ask for a prepaid card with number (if the seller does not understand English ask around any young to translate).
Then you can refill how much you need at recharging points or shops all over the country. Beware that these top-up machines don't give any change and all money once put into the machine is loaded into your account.
Romania has a adopted a creative way to hide the sales tax or VAT. All prices are advertised in Euro (EUR) and given like in the article below, but local currency is still Romanian Leu (RON). When topping up refill rates given in EUR are net rates before a 24% VAT locally called TVA that is deducted in the conversion to local RON. That's why you get about 1/4 less in effect on a very bad exchange rate. Therefore to all prices given below you need to add 24% taxes, which is quite unusual in Europe.
OrangeEditOrange is market leader in Romania. It has the best coverage and speed in the country. In 2014 Orange started 4G/LTE and in 2016 they signed a deal to share 4G/LTE with Telekom through national network sharing. They cover 97% of the population by 4G/LTE in 2017. It's open for prepaid without a surcharge. coverage map
Orange PrePay SIM cards are available at many newsstands or Orange shops (locator) for a small fee. Online a free SIM can be ordered to be sent to a Romanian postal address, Both ways, the SIM comes with 150 minutes of voice, unlimited domestic text and 50 MB of data preloaded.
You can buy top-up vouchers at their outlets, electronic top-ups online on your account require a Romanian credit card. Users from some countries (list) can use the internatl. Orange top-up site to recharge by credit card without additional fees (if you stick to EUR). Account information by code *100#.
Instead of using the preloaded starter pack, you can send a free SMS after activation containing "CREDIT" to 321 to change the preload into a 5 EUR credit. First send SMS to 321 with text "INTERNET" and then "2EUR" to activate data feature and the 1 GB for 2 €.
Data feature packs Edit
Data out of packages is 0.04 EUR per MB. These following monthly data packs are offered:
|1 GB (+ 1 GB)||5 EUR||net5|
|2 GB (+ 2 GB)||6 EUR||net6|
|4 GB (+ 4 GB)||8 EUR||net8|
|6 GB (+ 6 GB)||10 EUR||net10|
For activation text code to 321. All packages auto-renew after one month. Speed is up to 4G+ and 300 Mbps where available. As an ongoing promotion data volume is doubled.
Overuse is charged with 0.02 EUR per MB during the running time of the package or the default data rate (above) outside. Check remaining credit by *133#. Then you'll receive an SMS about remaining quota and validity period. You can buy a new package ahead of time, when the old one is exhausted.
In another promotion you can rollover up to 20 GB of unused data to the next month if you continue to activate a data bundle for at least 5 EUR.
- To find out your own number, call 222 then follow prompt (English available) (oct 2016: I have received a sms with the phone number the instant I have inserted the sim in my iphone without having to call 222)
- APN: net
- Website in Romanian: http://www.orange.ro/
Vodafone EditVodafone is the 2nd operator in the country almost on par with Orange. It has a good coverage on 3G with 90% of population covered. It started with 4G/LTE in some towns available on most tariffs; Vodafone coverage map.
Vodafone has the lowest rates of the three major providers, has a better 3G network than Telekom or Digi, but a worse 4G/LTE network than Orange and Telekom. Nevertheless, it scored the fastest network in Romania in the Ookla speed test in 2016.
Their prepaid SIM card called Cartela Vodafone can be bought sometimes for free without credit or normally for 6.20 EUR with 5 EUR credit at newsstands or in Vodafone stores (locator).
Top-ups can be made with vouchers. Online Vodafone is the only operator in Romania that acceps international credit cards for top-ups.
The SIM is valid for 30-90 days after you have recharged it + 300 days passive. They also have a special option to extend the validity of your credit for €1 (you can use this when your account validity has expired and you have entered the passive phase of credit validity).
Cartela Vodafone Edit
Vodafone offers its Cartela in different starters:
- for free: without credit mostly online and in promotions
- for 1 €: with 100 on-net mins/SMS or 10 all-net mins/SMS
- for 5 €: with unlimited on-net mins/SMS, 200 all-net mins/SMS and 100 MB data included
If data is all you need, you will have to request the credit to be re-credited by texting 'CREDIT' to 579 within 24 hours of activation and your credit will be moved to general balance.
Data feature packsEdit
Vodafone has changed its voice & data plans to combo packs. These monthly promotions are available, while some stores may offer you some additional discounts:
|Price||Data||max. Speed||Free units||Interntl. mins||Roaming mins||Extra
|5 €||2 GB||3G+||1000||100||----||2 GB||EO5|
|6 €||3 GB||4G/LTE||1500||200||----||10 GB||EO6|
|7 €||5 GB||4G/LTE||1500||200||50||10 GB||EO7|
|8 €||7 GB||4G/LTE||2000||400||2000||10 GB||EO8|
|10 €||7 GB||4G/LTE||2000||700||2000||10 GB||EO10|
|12 €||11GB||4G/LTE||2000||700||2000||10 GB||EO12|
Activate by texting code to 321 or by *100# and choose "Promoţie". All combo packs are valid for 28 days, the 7 € pack for 35 days and will auto-renew. To stop enter *100# "Contul meu" - "Opțiuni active" and deactivate. You can start a new bundle ahead of time, if you have used it up because overuse fee is a high 0.20 € per MB.
All bundles include unlimited calls to Vodafone Romania. Free units can be MB data, minutes of calls or SMS, both domestic and in the 8€ packs and higher for roaming in Europe too. The bonus of 2 or 10 GB is given once at the first activation by texting 'DA' to 2777. It can be used for 90 days as long as you have a minimum of 6 € in your account. As Extras free access to the digital music service Zonga is given, to the two largest packs additionally free HBO Go and unlimited calls to Vodafone Spain and Italy.
Roaming Offer Edit
The 2000 free units of the 8-11 € packages mentioned above can be used for roaming in the EU on data, calls and SMS.
Vodafone has changed its old Roaming pe Zi (= Roaming per day) offer. Now, up to 100 minutes or SMS and 300 MB from the domestic allowance from a data bundle can be used for a surcharge of 3 € per roaming day based on a calendar day in Romanian time. This needs to be activated by dialling *100#, choose Internațional și Roaming and Roaming pe Zi. It also no longer includes Turkey in the "Zona Principală" (so roaming in Turkey will cost 8 € per day like Switzerland and countries in Asia, Oceania, or the US). However, in exchange the 10-day limit and Vodafone partner network restrictions are removed, only requiring that a monthly plan is active on the account when roaming.
For laptops and modems, Vodafone sells their data only SIM called Cartela cu Net. It comes in two different forms:
- sold only online: for 5 EUR: with 500 MB preloaded and 1 GB night traffic (0-7am) valid for 10 days.
- sold in shops: for 1 EUR: with 150 MB preloaded valid for 3 days.
Following top-ups can be made:
|1 EUR||250 MB||3G+, 42.2 Mbps||3 days|
|5 EUR||1 GB||3G+, 42.2 Mbps||30 days|
|9 EUR||4 GB||4G/LTE, 100 Mbps||30 days|
|10 EUR||6 GB||4G/LTE, 100 Mbps||30 days|
|15 EUR||11 GB||4G/LTE, 100 Mbps||30 days|
|10 EUR||3 GB||4G/LTE, 100 Mbps||60 days|
|12 EUR||5 GB||4G/LTE, 100 Mbps||60 days|
This data-only card can be managed only online. For that you have to register an account on Vodafone (available in English) too.
- for Cartela Vodafone: APN: live.vodafone.com
- for Cartela Cu Net: APN and Username: internet.vodafone.ro - Password: vodafone
- Tethering is allowed and possible
- Skype and other VoIP providers are blocked
- Website in Romanian: http://www.vodafone.ro
Telekom Romania (formerly Cosmote)EditFrom 2014 Cosmote in Romania has been rebranded into Telekom. They only get rid of the green and bring in magenta, some new tariffs and have opened 4G/LTE for prepaid.
It's 3G network currently covers about only 60% of the population. So it has less 3G coverage than Orange, Vodafone or even Digi Mobil. For 3G better make a network check before buying. 4G/LTE has been started in the major towns and is now available on some prepaid rates: Telekom coverage map. Through network sharing allowing customers to use Orange's 4G/LTE on national roaming 96% of population is reached in 2016.
Their starter pack is available at Telekom stores, that they call Magazin (store locator) for free without credit or for 5 € with the same credit. There and in lots of more stores you can buy top up codes as well. Note, that electronic top-up by credit card requires a Romanian credit card. Use vouchers instead that are sold from 5 €. Check credit by *100# or *134#.
Telekom sells two different prepaid lines:
- Cartela Telekom with voice, text and data to be added by combo packages
- Cartela Internet Connect Free with text and data only to be added by data packages
Data feature packs Edit
On their voice, text and data SIM Cartela Telecom data is at 0.20 € per MB by default. These monthly packages can be booked on the card:
- My Way: 2 € with 50 MB in up to 3G only
- Opțiunea with unlimited Telekom mins and SMS, some domestic mins and SMS that can also be used for internatl. landlines, international mobile mins and a domestic data allowance for 30 days
|5 EUR||1000||100||5 GB|
|6 EUR||1500||200||6 GB|
|7 EUR||2000||250||7 GB|
|8 EUR||2000||300||8 GB|
Domestic mins and SMS can also be used for international landline calls. Unlimited WhatsApp use (no VoIP) is included for free.
Activation is by simply topping up a voucher of the face value (except My Way) or online in your account or by *100#, choose: Extraoptiuni. All packages auto-renew after one month, if there is enough credit. To deactivate you need to go to your online account or call customer service at 1234 for free.
In addition, there is the "GigaDay" promotion that lasts until June 15. Send a blank SMS to 888 after activating a monthly package and you will receive an extra 1 GB to use every day free of charge.
For more data, they sell these add-ons:
- 100 MB for one month, 3G: 1 € - activation: text 'A DS' to 638
- 500 MB for one month, 4G/LTE: 3 € - activation: text: 'A DM' to 638
- 1 GB for one month, 4G/LTE: 5 € - activation: text 'A DL' to 638
Their data- and text-only SIM for tablets and modems is called Internet Connect Free. The SIM card is sold for 7 € and contains 1 GB valid for 30 days. SMS are possible, but no voice. Card remains valid for 6 months after the last top-up.
If you to- up at least 10 €, they will give you 200 MB valid for 48 hours as bonus. These bundles are offered:
|XS||500 MB||7 days||2 €||21.6 Mbps
|S||1 GB||30 days||5 €||154||154|
|M||3 GB||7 €||150 Mbps
|L||6 GB||10 €||152||153|
|XL||13 GB||15 €||148||153|
These packs can be added online or by texting an empty SMS to the given number. When volume is used up, speed will be reduced to 128 kbps. Packs renew automatically, if there is credit with a 10% data bonus. Deactivation is made by an empty SMS to the given number.
- APN: broadband (only for this plan on old Cosmote or new Telekom cards)
- Website in Romanian: http://www.telekom.ro/
Digi Mobil run by RCS-RDS of an local entrepreneur has the smallest network in Romania with the best rates. It only covers major cities and roads by 3G on 900 and 2100 MHz and focuses more on quadruple play. It has no 2G/GSM to fall back.
They have extented their national roaming agreement with Vodafone for mobile voice and data services. National voice in roaming will still be offered at no extra cost to Digi Mobil users, but mobile data in roaming are charged starting from April 2016. The outdoor coverage of Digi Mobil's 3G rose to over 94% of the country's population in 2016. Still for travelling in the country, Orange or Vodafone may be the better choice.
4G/LTE has started in 2015 on the rare 2600 MHz TDD (band 38) frequency band in Arad, Bucharest, Brasov, Cluj, Constanta, Craiova, Iasi, Oradea, Pitesti, Ploiesti, Sibiu and Timisoara. In 2016 the 2100 MHz (band 1) was added for FD-LTE, which is still open to contract subscribers only, not to prepaid customers.
Data feature packagesEdit
They offer these combo plans with unlimited Digi Mobil calls and texts included:
|Hipsterova||2 EUR||1 month||1 GB||150 mins||*110*2*1*1#|
|Diva||2 EUR||3 months||2 GB||200 mins||*110*2*2*1#|
|Bogatinov||3 EUR||1 month||2 GB||250 mins||*110*2*3*1#|
|Deluxovici||3 EUR||3 months||3 GB||300 mins||*110*2*4*1#|
|Dinerovich||4 EUR||1 month||3 GB||400 mins||*110*2*5*1#|
|Bashtanov||4 EUR||3 months||4 GB||450 mins||*110*2*6*1#|
All data allowances are on Digi Mobil's 3G network only. Voice allowances to all domestic networks. For national roaming on Vodafone they add 100 MB for free to every plan above. When this 100 MB is used up, data roaming will be shut off. For more data on Digi Mobil network only, you can add an Extranet 1 GB package with 1 GB for 1 €.
- APN (for prepaid only): prepaid
- Website in Romanian: http://www.rcs-rds.ro
In 2014 UK-based Lycamobile started one of the first MVNOs with its Romanian operation. It operates on the network of Telekom in 2G and 3G only, no 4G/LTE. For coverage see Telekom above. But unlike in other countries, their rates for data don't seem to be so competitive compared with the network operator. But compare for yourself.
As usual their SIM card is available for free online here but to be sent to an Romanian address only. To get it in stores, you have to look for their logo, which may be hard to find, as Lycamobile doesn't publish a list. You have to top-up right away or online by international credit card.
Data feature packs Edit
Default data rate outside of packs and for overuse is 0.09 € per MB. So use these data packages:
|2 EUR||200 MB||1 day||*139*10200#|
|2.50 EUR||300 MB||30 days||*139*10300#|
|3.50 EUR||500 MB||30 days||*139*10500#|
|5 EUR||1 GB||30 days||*139*11000#|
|13 EUR||3 GB||30 days||*139*12000#|
|20 EUR||5 GB||30 days||*139*13000#|
To activate enter code. All packages auto-renew, if there is enough credit. To stop, dial *190# at least one day before auto-renewal. Using more data, you will be charged at the default rate. You can add bold-ons for extra data, valid for the remaining time of the base package:
- 5 EUR: 500 MB, activation: *139*601#
- 9 EUR: 1 GB, activation: *139*602#
More info Edit
- APN: data.lycamobile.ro
- Username: lmro (that's lowercase L, not capital i).
- Password: plus
- Lycamobile actively prevents tethering (hotspot use) in many countries
- Website in English: http://www.lycamobile.ro/en/