There are 4 GSM network operators in the country:
- Babilon Mobile
2G is on 900 MHz and 1800 MHz, 3G on 2100 MHz. 4G/LTE started in 2014 on 800 MHz on Tcell and MLT and on 1800 and 2100 MHz with Babilon and later on MegaFon too. A 5th provider TK-Mobile is not mentioned any further as they use CDMA that is incompartible to GSM devices.
Lonely Planet found the widest coverage for mobile networks to be on T-Cell (best for Murgab and the only choice for the Eastern Wakhan) and MegaFon (only carrier in parts of the Zerafshan Valley and Alichur), though Beeline and Babilon also have a few places where they too seem to be the only carrier. As buying a SIM card rarely costs more than 5 TJS (including the same credit), consider buying a SIM for each carrier.
For a long time SIM cards were available to foreigners only on the shadow market. That's why we had to greylist this country. This has changed now as more vistors report of having bought a SIM card the legal way.
Up to 2016 it was estimated that 70% of active SIM cards had been sold out without producing proper identification. Authorities are worried that unregistered SIM cards are making their way into the hands of terrorists. A campaign to confiscate ‘illegally-sold’ SIM cards was conducted in 2016 and the ban of illegally sold SIM cards is now much stricter enforced.
The government has started a second registration or re-registration of all SIM cards in 2016. From November SIM card owners must bring their passport or other official ID documentation and their SIM to one of the cellco’s service centres to register their identity in compliance with the order. All new SIM cards are now legally only given out at the provider stores after having shown your passport and visa. This applies to visitors and tourists as well.
Control over the internet has tightened in 2016 when laws for blocking of internet and telephone services during so-called 'counterterrorism operations' were introduced. Tajikistan adopted a law prohibiting the use of unidentified SIM cards.
From 2017 Tajikistan citizens are only allowed to buy up to two SIM cards from one operator. Any additional SIMs per person will be blocked. Parents buying SIMs for their children will need to present a birth certificate. In summer 2017 around 20% of all SIM cards in Tajikistan were disconnected, after the users failed to register their personal details.
VoIP call ban Edit
In 2018 Tajikistan's national telecommunications watchdog has annulled licences for IP telephony services. As a result, mobile operators and ISPs have been forced to disconnect their voice applications. State institutions also plan to forbid voice or video calls over foreign messengers and VoIP applications.
It was confirmed that all mobile providers Babilon-M, Tcell and Beeline Tajikistan were among those forced to disconnect their IP voice services, whilst in Babilon-M’s case the company’s headquarters were reportedly raided by law enforcement agents to ensure compliance under threat of a total operational shutdown. The government’s decision to close Tajik operators’ VoIP services was in response to reduced tax income from voice calls. The state tax authority also notes that foreign-based, over-the-top (OTT) VoIP/messaging applications such as Skype, Viber, WhatsApp, WeChat and others also contribute to decreasing tax income from the voice segment, although the ban does not yet cover these third-party services.
SIM card cost hike (expected for 2019) Edit
The cost of a new SIM card in Tajikistan will most likely jump sharply to 250 TJS (US$ 26). That's equal to an around 50-fold increase from previous 5 TJS following the Order of the Antimonopoly Service under the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan dated August 23, 2018, under the number 89 "On service and connection (one-off) to the network of mobile operators".
Mobile operators will be obliged to transfer the funds received to the national telco regulator. As before one subscriber is currently able to hold up to 2 SIMs from the same operator. The initial proposal for the SIM price announced by law enforcement authorities was equal to US$ 104. The same 250 TJS will be charged when you lose your SIM and have to re-register it.
The two leading providers in the country Tcell in this notice and Babilon in this notice have stated to their new clients, that the expected price hike wont put into effect until 01/01/2019 or even later. The actual start date of the price rise remains unclear and whether there will be any exceptions for short-term activations. We'll keep you updated.
Tcell is the dominant mobile provider in the country. It has more than 2/3 of the national subscribers. It was owned by Swedish Sonera group, who decided to exit their Asian markets and divested it to the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED) in 2016.
It has the best coverage in 2G and 3G. 4G/LTE started in 2014 in the capital of Dushanbe and Ghafurov, Chkalovsk, Khujand and Kayrakkum on 800 MHz: 4G coverage areas.
Their SIM card is sold in many shops for 5-20 TJS (expected to raise to state-ordered 250 TJS in 2019). Because of the new regulations you should buy SIM cards at their shops (service point locator) showing your passport, visa, and hotel registration. Their prepaid SIM cards have different tariffs with daily, weekly or monthly base rates, but the same packages can be activated on them.
You can top-up at pay terminals, located everywhere. Check balance by *109#.
LTE activation Edit
For 4G/LTE you need a 4G-enabled SIM card. To check type *871#. If you receive "Hizmatrasonii LTE ba sim-korti shumo dastras ast, fa'olkuni" your SIM card supports LTE. If you get "Hizmatrasonii LTE ba sim-korti shumo dastras nest. Mufassal www.tcell.ti" you'll need to change your SIM card for LTE.
If your SIM card supports LTE call *871*1# and LTE will be activated in next 12 hours. You will get "Hizmatrasonii LTE bo muvaffakiyat paivast karda shud" when activation is done.
Data feature package Edit
Default rate differs between tariffs. Internet packages called G+ can be activated on any plan and work on 4G/LTE too, all valid for 30 days:
|Day data||Night data||Price||Activation|
|250 MB||250 MB||13 TJS||*970*500#|
|500 MB||500 MB||25 TJS||*970*1000#|
|1 GB||1 GB||38 TJS||*970*2000#|
|2 GB||2 GB||63 TJS||*970*4000#|
|3 GB||3 GB||85 TJS||*970*6000#|
|5 GB||5 GB||112 TJS||*970*10000#|
All packages auto-renew. To stop them from recurring type *970*0# twice. To check status of the packages, type *970#. Daytime is 7am to midnight, nighttime midnight to 7am. Overuse fee is 0.10 TJS per MB at daytime and 0.05 TJS/MB at night.
You can buy additional packages with:
- 500 MB at day and 500 MB at night for 14 TJS by code *970*1*1000#
- 1 GB at day and 1 GB at night for 23 TJS by code *970*1*2000#
More info Edit
- APN: tcell
- Tethering: allowed
- Website in English: http://tcell.tj/en/
Babilon Mobile Edit
Tajikistan-based mobile operator Babilon-M is the 2nd provider in the country. It was the first to launch 4G/LTE in 2012 using 1800 and 2100 MHz in Dushambe. Recently it has expanded the coverage of its LTE network for the first time. New cities covered by the expansion include Khujand, Qurghonteppa (formerly known as Kurgan-Tyube) and Kulob: 2G 3G and 4G coverage maps.
Babilon Mobile sells many different tariff packs for starters in their stores. The voice and data packs all have a monthly base rate and most include a data quota and domestic voice and SMS too. If you mainly need data it's better to choose a low base rate and add data packages instead.
All starters are for 5 TJS (expected to be hiked to 250 TJS in 2019). The "Mufit" tariff is the only voice plan that doesn't have an allowance. It costs 0.50 TJS per day and data 0.30 per MB. The data-only 'Mobinet 3G' has a default rate of 0.25 TJS per MB.
To top-up you can add voucher cards with *2002*<voucher code>#. To change default language to English press * 2022#3#.
Data feature packages Edit
Babilon calls their data packs Mobipackets. They used to have a very flexible system of topping up any amount of data resulting in an descending per MB price. This scheme seems now to be faded out for regular data packs with a fixed quota and price. All these packs below are valid for 90 days:
|250 MB||10 TJS||*323*250#|
|500 MB||20 TJS||*323*500#|
|1 GB||35 TJS||*323*1000#|
|3 GB||65 TJS||*323*3000#|
|6 GB||99 TJS||*323*6000#|
|10 GB||160 TJS||*323*10000#|
|20 GB||300 TJS||*323*20000#|
|30 GB||400 TJS||*323*30000#|
|60 GB||600 TJS||*323*60000#|
All packages are for 90 days. Packages can be booked on all tarriffs. These packages don't renew. To check data balance type *122*3#.
- APN: babilon
- Website in English: http://www.babilon-m.tj/en/
MegaFon (formerly MLT) Edit
Russian-owned MegaFon operates 2G and 3G networks in Tajikistan. As of 2014 it was the country’s 3rd largest mobile service provider in terms of subscribers with a 20% market share. In 2014 MegaFon’s 4G LTE pilot network covering the cities of Dushanbe and Khujand was started available over its 800 MHz LTE test network. The 4G network is now available in the cities of Dushanbe, Khujand and Kurgan-Tube: 2G/3G/4G coverage map
Their SIM card can be bought in one of their shops and outlets (locator) for 5 TJS (which may go up to 250 TJS in 2019). Most of their tariff lines include a monthly base plan with minutes, SMS and data. Only two Реальный безлимит (= Real Unlimited) and Istiqbol Samimi come without a base rate. Data is by default at 0.5097 TJS per MB. Even their "Warm Welcome" plan from Russia based in Moscow and payable in RUB is marketed in Tajikistan.
Top-ups are by vouchers. Check credit by *100#. Take care that like in Russia Megafon enables some payable services that are hard to get rid of.
Data feature packages Edit
Megafon sells different monthly packages for their 4G and 3G coverage areas:
|4G/LTE data packages:|
|2 GB||55 TJS||*140*1#||*140*11#|
|3 GB||80 TJS||*140*2#||*140*21#|
|5 GB||115 TJS||*140*3#||*140*31#|
|10 GB||200 TJS||*140*4#||*140*41#|
|3G data packages:|
|300 MB||13 TJS||*170*6#||*170*61#|
|1 GB||33.60 TJS||*170*1#||*170*11#|
|2 GB||56 TJS||*170*2#||*170*21#|
|3 GB||71.36 TJS||*170*3#||*170*31#|
|5 GB||101.94 TJS||*170*4#||*170*41#|
|10 GB||180 TJS||*170*5#||*170*51#|
As add-on packages Megafon sells:
- on 4G/LTE packages 1 GB for 20 TJS by *140*5#
- on 3G packs of 1 GB and more 1 GB for 20.39 TJS by *170*0#.
More info Edit
- APN: internet
- Website in Russian only: http://www.megafon.tj/
Beeline by Russian-owned Vimpelcom is the smallest operator in Tajikistan now with a 2G and 3G network, but no 4G/LTE: 2G/3G coverage area. It has the lowest coverage in the country at the lowest prices too.
You can get their SIM card in one of their shops (locator) for 20 TJS (expected to be 250 TJS in 2019). They have different tariff lines, but the same data packages can be added.
Data feature packages Edit
These monthly data packs called Чаққон (= active) are offered:
|350 MB||12 TJS||*110*422#|
|450 MB||15 TJS||*110*423#|
|750 MB||25 TJS||*110*424#|
|1.2 GB||33 TJS||*110*414#|
|2.2 GB||55 TJS||*110*415#|
|4.2 GB||80 TJS||*110*416#|
|6.2 GB||95 TJS||*110*417#|
|8.2 GB||125 TJS||*110*418#|
|12.2 GB||160 TJS||*110*419#|
Check data balance by *114#. All packages auto-renew. To stop type *110*420#.
More info Edit
- APN: intenet.beeline.tj
- Username and Password: beeline
- Website in Tajik and Russian: http://beeline.tj