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Ukraine

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Basics Edit

There is a complicated situation with mobile telephony in Ukraine: The country has these GSM-based 3G providers:

  • Kyivstar (Київстар, Russian-owned - GSM, UMTS)
  • Vodafone, MTS (MTC, Russian-owned - GSM, UMTS)
  • lifecell (Turkish-owned - formerly called life:) - GSM, UMTS)
  • 3mob (by Ukrtelecom, U'tel - 3G UMTS only)

The first three (Kyivstar, Vodafone/MTS, lifecell) are the principal GSM providers. 3mob runs a limited 3G-only network. Another providers Intertelecom and PEOPLEnet runs CDMA-EVDO networks that are not compatible to GSM. That's why they are not mentioned any further.

History Edit

Up to 2014 all three providers only offered 2G up to EDGE (236 kbps) speed. Back in 2007 the first 3G/UMTS licence was given to state-owned Ukrtelecom and its subdivision U'tel that has marketed its 3G offer under brand name 3mob in some towns.

Things changed in 2015: the president ordered to free frequencies previously blocked by the military to be used for 3G and 4G. The three networks finally received licenses to operate 3G on 2100 MHz and all major providers started their 3G/UMTS networks in addition to 3mob. In 2016 MTS is trying to buy 3mob pending administrative approval. 4G/LTE is in testing stage and announced for 2017, but operators still await licensing.

The 3G coverage of all 4 operators can be checked on this updated map. Fast internet is still rare outside of towns. In 2016 Kyiystar has the best 3G coverage at 40% of population, followed by lifecell and Vodafone/MTS roaming on 3mob.

Censorship Edit

Due to the ongoing conflict with Russia, the Ukrainian government ordered to block Russian internet services VKontakte, Odnoklassniki, Yandex and Mail.ru as sanction against Russian companies in May 2017. All operators are complying with this ban. A further ban of all Russian-based websites is considered, but not yet implemented because of its high costs. You may install VPN or proxies on your device to bypass this blocking.

Crimea region Edit

Since 2014 the Crimean Peninsula is under Russian administration. Because of the special situation there with different providers regulated by Russia, this territory is now covered in a seperate article.

Eastern regions Edit

Greylist

Due to the ongoing conflict in the Eastern part of the country (namely in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions), the operators haven't been able to deploy any 3G yet. The equipment of Kyivstar, lifecell and 3mob was confiscated, so they stopped operating in those regions, while Vodafone still operates as Russian MTS (MTC) there. CDMA operators Intertelekom and Peoplenet ceased operating as well. Two new operators Phoenix in the Donetsk region and Lugacom in the Luhansk region were created and shown at the bottom of the article. They form a single network but sold and marketed separately and have slightly different rate for political reasons. This leaves these territories as one of the few places in Europe without any 3G access so far, that's why we greylist them here.

Kyivstar (Київстар) Edit

Kyivstar

New Kyivstar logo

Russian-owned Kyivstar is Ukraine’s largest mobile operator by subscribers and owned by Russian Vimpelcom (for coverage scroll down here). In 2016 it covers now more than 40% of population by 3G in 614 cities, towns and villages so far and 99% by 2G.

AvailabilityEdit

Their SIM card is available at airports and lots of shops and their service centers (locator). It costs 25 UAH or less depending on shop.

Top-up vouchers are available in many more places starting from 50 UAH. To top-up type *123*<Voucher PIN>#. Internatl. Visa and MasterCards can be used to top-up on their website. Check balance by *111#.

Data feature packagesEdit

The default rate on Talk plans is 50 MB at 5 UAH. These new monthly base packages are offered:

  • Talk (Розмови): 35 UAH - no data included, unlimited on-network calls, 30 mins to other networks, data at default rate
  • Talk+ (Розмови+): 55 UAH - unlimited 2G data, 100 MB 3G data, unlimited on-network calls, more data on default rate
  • Online (Онлай): 60 UAH - 1 GB data, unlimited on-network calls, 60 mins to other networks, more data: 1 GB add-on: 40 UAH - activation: *230#
  • Online+ (Онлай+): 90 UAH - 4 GB data, unlimited on-network calls, 100 mins to other networks, more data: 2 GB add-on: 60 UAH - activation: *230#
  • Online Extra (Онлай Екстра): 165 UAH - 6 GB data, unlimited on-network calls, 300 mins to other networks, more data: 3 GB add-on: 80 UAH - activation: *230#

To activate or change base plan call 477*1. Check data balances by *112#.

All packages include free Wikipedia use. All Online-branded packages include free use of Facebook, VKontakte, Odnoklassniki, Twitter, Viber and WhatsApp.

These add-on packages can be booked:

  • 1 GB: 40 UAH - activation: *230#
  • 10 GB nighttime use (midnight to 8am): 10 UAH - activation *529*15# to all plans
  • 1 GB for 1 day: 15 UAH - activation: *263*1# only to Online plans

Tablet+ plan Edit

This Tablet+ (Планшет+) plan is their cheapest rate for data right now: 50 UAH including 2 GB data for a month. It has voice and text too. You can add more data with an 1 GB add-on: 30 UAH - activation *230#. The add-on packs (see above) can be added too. Free social media like on Online packages is included too.

If you've chosen Tablet+, but don't use the mobile internet every day, you can activate “payment in a day of use” option. To use the option, you don't need to top-up your account first monthly subscription fee. Under the terms of the options, you can get 5 packages of 500 MB per day at 10 UAH each. When this amount of megabytes is over, the internet will work for free, but at reduced speed of 32 Kbps.

While connecting “Payment in a day of use” option, subscription fee under the terms of the tariff plan isn’t charged, and the package's 2 GB aren't debited. If you have unused data from this volume, it will be cancelled as soon as you connect the option. Additional package of 1 GB is also deactivated. This option can be activated an unlimited number of times by *477*1#. To check data consumption, enter *252#, to deactivate option, dial *229*0#. After deactivation you'll get 2 GB under your regular plan conditions and your account will be charged a monthly fee. Check status of plan by *229*2#.

Roaming offer Edit

They give out roaming data on a daily basis in all European countries and some more countries beyond. Per day 35-60 UAH (€ 1.25-2.14) are charged in 100 MB increments up to max. of 2 GB based on Kyiv time (UTC+3). This is one of the cheapest option for Europe and the rest of the world. For details check our featured site Euro9.

More informationEdit

  • APN for prepaid: www.ab.kyivstar.net. Warning! Check it before use! Some phone models (Xiaomi and some others) set xl.kyivstar.net as default. It is charged in another rates above selected plan (7UAH per day plus 0.03UAH/Mb +taxes) https://kyivstar.ua/en/mm/services/comp/arhive/internet_xl

Vodafone, MTS Ukraine (MTC Україна) Edit

MTS

Russian-owned MTS Ukraine used to be on par with Kyivstar. They started with an own 3G coverage in 2015. In 2016 already more than 40% of the population are covered by their own 3G (3G coverage map)

MTS and 3mob (see below) signed a national roaming agreement to take in effect in 2015. This enables MTS users to get access to 3mob's 3G network in another 50 cities.

Vodafone-0

In 2015 MTS signed a strategic partnership with Vodafone to use their label for some products. This is mainly to conceal the Russian origin of the ownership, which is unpopular in parts of the Ukraine. MTS is re-branded into Vodafone in major parts of Ukraine at the end of 2015. It includes the transition of MTS’ retail outlets and the majority of its dealerships. The Vodafone brand won't be used in territories currently not under the direct control of the Ukrainian government in the east of the country.

In 2017 the official company name was changed to Vodafone Ukraine. Only in the Eastern regions the MTS brand will be maintained for now.

Availability Edit

Vodafone/MTS SIM cards are available at airports and lots of shops (locator) and their service centers. Refills are available in many more places. Vodafone SIM cards are mainly sold in the Western, MTS in the Eastern part of the country.

In Odessa, MTS/Vodafone agents sell SIM card packs outside the main train station. They will also do top-ups and activate SIM cards on the spot and help you set them up as activation can require calling a Russian speaking phone number or following the instructions on Russian language text messages. As long as they are wearing their uniforms they are legitimate and will help you.

Note, that you can book Vodafone plans on MTS SIM cards, but no MTS plans on Vodafone branded SIMs.

Vodafone (most parts of the country) Edit

Vodafone Data Rates Edit

For their Vodafone branding, they sell new starter packs (which will probably be not available in the Eastern Regions). MTS prepaid SIM cards can be changed to Vodafone plans, but not the other way round. All MTS promotions will loose validity after this change. The only prepaid tariff is their monthly Red plan:

  • Light+: 20 UAH - 100 MB 3G, then unlimited 2G internet, unlimited calls to MTS/Vodafone, 30 mins calls, usual excess rates apply, change to this plan: *250*20#
  • XS: 35 UAH (from March 2017 40 UAH) with 1 GB, unlimited calls to MTS/Vodafone, 30 mins calls, change to this plan: *250*350#
  • S: 50 UAH (from March 2017 60 UAH) with 4 GB, unlimited calls to MTS/Vodafone, 75 mins calls, 50 SMS, change to this plan: *250*50#
  • M: 70 UAH (from March 2017 80 UAH) with 8 GB, unlimited apps, 105 mins call, 70 SMS, change to this plan: *250*70#
  • L: 150 UAH (from March 2017 180 UAH) with 12 GB, unlimited apps, 300 mins calls, 150 SMS, change to this plan: *250*150#

All plans are for 30 days. Unlimited apps include WhatsApp (only txt msg), Viber (only txt msg !!!), Facebook, Instagram, VKontakte and Twitter. There are no ways to upsize, but excess fees at UAH 10 (from March 2017 UAH 15) for 500 MB remain low.

Starter packs are on the XS, S or Lite+ plan, but can be changed to other plans for the price difference. If you don't have enough credit on your account for the monthly pack, a daily rate is charged: on XS plan 3 UAH per day for 100 MB, on S plan 5 UAH per day for 200 MB, on M plan 9 UAH per day for 500 MB and on L plan 15 UAH for 600 MB. The same overuse fee of 10 UAH for 500 MB is charged. To check consumption in your plan, type *101*4#.

European roaming rates Edit

Vodafone in Ukraine gives out reduced roaming rates in so-called "Vodafone countries": Poland, Italy, Germany, Czech Rep., France, Spain, Portugal, Hungary, UK, Greece, Netherlands, Malta, Ireland, Albania, Romania, Turkey. Be sure to stick to Vodafone networks in these countries only and Free mobile in France (except in Poland).

By typing *600# you can activate these roaming packages valid for 7 days in the countries mentioned above. For roaming these monthly rates come on top of the domestic base rates mentioned above:

  • Light+ and XS: 35 UAH per 100 MB
  • S: 100 UAH - 100 MB data, 100 roaming SMS
  • M: 140 UAH - 140 MB data, 140 roaming SMS
  • L: 300 UAH - 300 MB data, 300 roaming SMS

Unlimited incoming calls are included, outgoing roaming calls are charged at 10 UAH per min. Overuse data fees are at 35 UAH per 100 MB.

A new very rigid FUP is enforced (see here). You need to stay on their home network from time to time to use roaming and top-ups can be only done by vouchers sold in Ukraine or through a few top-up agencies from abroad. A Vodafone SIM card needs to be topped up at least every 12 months to avoid suspension.

MTS Ukraine (only in the Eastern provinces) Edit

MTS has these different prepaid starter packs on offer only sold in the Eastern Regions:

  • for Smartphones: First 3G Smartphone (Смартфон 3G Первый): for 30 UAH you get 500 MB, data: see promotion below, to change to this plan: *365#. Additional data 15 UAH for 500 MB by *101*501#
  • for Tablets: Tablet 3G (Планшет 3G): for tablets, but has voice and text too, no base rate, data: 1 GB per day at 5 UAH, only charged in days of use

If you want to roam on the more extensive 3Mob network for data too, roaming data needs to enabled by typing *888#. To opt out dial *888*0#. They charge for 2.5 GB roaming on 3G 3Mob 50 UAH per month.

Data speeds on MTS' own 3G network are up to 42 Mbps, on 3Mob roaming up to 7.2 Mbps.

More informationEdit

  • for the 3G network of 3Mob, you need to switch manually to 3Mob/Ukrtelecom
  • APN: internet (or on roaming: 3Mob's APN)

lifecell (formerly called life:)) Edit

Lifecell

Turkish-owned lifecell by Astelit Inc. is the 3rd provider in the country. In 2015 it was fully acquired by Turkcell and was rebranded from life:) in 2016. It has a lower 2G coverage compared to the two big ones, but at the lowest rates. Its 3G has started in 2015 and covers 617 cities, towns and centers in 2016 so far (for 3G coverage map: scroll down).

AvailabilityEdit

Their SIM card is available at airports and lots of shops and their service centers (locator in Ukrainian only) for 15 UAH. For activation call 111 for free. Refills are available in many more places.

They offer these starter packs, all sold for 20 UAH or 15 UAH if you change to/from another plan:

  • Tariff 'Calls Abroad' (Дзвінки за кордон) with discounted foreign calls
  • 3G+ Smartphone (3G+ Смартфон) with combo plans
  • Optimal Smartphone (Оптимальний Смартфон) with new combo plans
  • 3G+ Gadget (3G+ Ґаджет) with data-only plans
  • 'Premium' with business plans

Calls Abroad (Дзвінки за кордон) Edit

This is their default tariff line without any allowances. Pay-as-you-go-data is at 5 UAH for 50 MB per day. Up to 10 packages per day can be bought, until speed drops to 120 kbps.

You can add one of their internet packages instead:

  • 500 MB for 30 days: 25 UAH - activation: *305#
  • 1 GB for 30 days: 29 UAH - activation: *311#
  • 2 GB for 30 days: 49 UAH - activation: *312#
  • 4 GB for 30 days: 79 UAH - activation: *314#
  • 8 GB for 30 days: 129 UAH - activation: *318#
  • unlimited 2G speeds (@128 kbps) for 30 days: 20 UAH - activation: *211#
  • 15 GB for 30 nights (midnight-8am only): 30 UAH - activation: *123*1#
  • 500 MB for 7 days: 15 UAH - activation: *123*7#

To check balance, type *111# or *121#.

3G+ Smartphone "3G+ Смартфон" Edit

Aimed at smartphones, they have these combined packages called 3G+ Smartphone "3G+ Смартфон":

  • S: 60 UAH - 2 GB data, 100 domestic mins, 100 domestic SMS - activation: *404#
  • M: 100 UAH - 5 GB data, 200 domestic mins, 200 dom. SMS - activation: *405#
  • L: 150 UAH - 8 GB data, 350 dom. mins, 3500 dom. SMS - activation: *406#

From the start, the S package is enabled. Change to other packs by USSD code. All packages include unlimited calls to life:). Overuse data is at 5 UAH per 50 MB. Some social media like Vkontakte, Facebook and Odnoklassniki are free of charge. Better buy add-ons (see below). As a promotion the S pack is given out for free for the first month.

Optimal Smartphone (Оптимальний Смартфон) Edit

In May 2017 this new combo tariff line was introduced in two versions with these monthly packs:

  • S: 3 GB, unlimited on-net calls, 80 min domestic calls, 80 domestic SMS: 50 UAH, activation: *141*725#
  • M: 7 GB, unlimited on-net calles, 120 min domestic calls, 120 dom. SMS: 80 UAH, activation: *141*726#

3G+ Gadget (3G+ Ґаджет) Edit

Aimed at tablets and modems, these monthly data-only packages called 3G+ Gadget (3G+ Ґаджет) are offered:

  • 2 GB: 49 UAH, activation: *141*402#
  • 6 GB: 89 UAH, activation: *141*406#
  • 14 GB: 149 UAH, activation: *141*414#

Overuse is 5 UAH per 50 MB.

Premium Edit

Unlike in other countries, their Premium tarif is prepaid too, valid for 30 days:

  • Premium: 400 UAH, 15 GB, unlimited lifecell calls, 1500 mins to other providers, 1500 SMS
  • Premium Exclusive: 800 UAH, 40 GB, unlimited lifecell calls, 3000 other mins, 3000 SMS

Roaming packages Edit

In February 2017 Lifecell in Ukraine released a roaming offer even beating Kyivstar's low rates in many countries. They sell 100 MB for the rest of the day at UAH 30 or 55 for roaming in most EU countries and beyond.

  • in Turkey: UAH 15 for 50 MB
  • in all EU countries except Belgium, Luxembourg and Italy plus Armenia, Belarus, Canada, Georgia, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan, Montenegro, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan: UAH 30 for 100 MB
  • in Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Macedonia, Malaysia, Moldova, Pakistan, Serbia, Switzerland, Thailand and the remaining EU countries: UAH 55 for 100 MB

Packages are in 50 or 100 MB increments and vaild for the rest of the day in Ukrainian time. You don't need to activate them as it seems. Check remaining data in your package by *108#. More information is given here

More infomationEdit

  • in English from any landline: 0800 205 433
  • in English from life:): 5422
  • Website https://www.lifecell.ua/en/ (English, Ukranian and Russian)
  • APN: internet

3Mob (aka U'tel, Ukrtelecom)Edit

3mob logo
3Mob (spelled as "TriMob") used to be the only provider of 3G/UMTS internet in a limited area of the country. Make a network scan. In 2015 3Mob and MTS signed a national roaming agreement giving 3Mob users free access to MTS 2G network effective Feb. 2015.

3G/UMTS is up to 7.2 Mbps in their limited coverage area: green: 3mob - 3G, red MTS - 2G

Availability Edit

Some users found problems getting hold of a SIM card, but they have expanded their presence a lot. A starter pack costs 30 UAH, for Green tariff 20 UAH in their stores: Store locator in Ukranian.

You can top-up your SIM card on the main page of their website using a credit card.

Data feature packsEdit

They offer various monthly packages with free roaming on 2G MTS outside its own 3G coverage:

  • S: 53.13 UAH: 100 MB per day up to 3 GB per month, 50 dom. minutes, 50 dom. SMS
  • M: 79.69 UAH, 250 MB per day up to 7.5 GB per month, 100 dom. minutes, 100 dom. SMS
  • L: 159.38 UAH, 500 MB per day up to 15 GB per month, 200 dom. minutes, 200 dom. SMS
  • Standard: 132.82 UAH, 10 GB per month, 150 dom. minutes, 250 dom. SMS
  • Unlimited: 382.50 UAH, unlimited data, 500 dom. minutes, 500 dom. SMS

In 2016 they introduced the Green plan. You need to buy a new starter for UAH 20 with UAH 15 credit. Or you can switch all other plans by sending a SMS to 2209. For the Green plan, the sell data-only packages:

  • 1 GB for 30 days: 20 UAH, activation: A
  • 5 GB for 30 days: 50 UAH, activation: B
  • 10 GB for 180 days: 120 UAH, activation: C

Overuse is charged with 0.20 UAH per MB. For activation text code letter to 2209. Packages can be booked multiple times. Check data balance by *121#.

More informationEdit

Phoenix (in the Donetsk region only)Edit

Phoenix

Phoenix (in Russian: феникс) is a new operator created in 2015 based on confiscated Kyivstar equipment in part of the Donetsk region that is not controlled by the central government. It's in 2G-only on 900 and 1800 MHz. They form a single network with Lugakom, so you can use this SIM in Luhansk as well for the same rates and it will not be considered roaming.

Availability Edit

The SIM card is sold in post offices. Full list of points of sale: list (in Russian-only). You need a passport to purchase a SIM and only 5 SIMs per person are allowed. The price is 120 RUB without any credit.

Refills are available there as well and are also available from supermarkets and other shops (list). Due to the status of the region there is no way to refill using an international credit card. Check balance by *101#.

Two tariffs are available:

  • "People's tariff" ("НАРОДНЫЙ") for 50 RUB per month and includes unlimited in-network calls and 300 in-network SMS, but no data.
  • "People's internet tariff" ("НАРОДНЫЙ ИНТЕРНЕТ") for 95 RUB per month and includes 100 minutes per day in-network calls and 100 in-network SMS, and unlimited data.

There is no way of avoiding to pay this base tariff even if you don't need calls.

To have data you need to get one of following packs:

  • 24 hours unlimited for 3 RUB. To activate dial *109*1#.
  • 30 days unlimited for 50 RUB. To activate dial *109*81#. No auto-renew. You can order a new pack before the expiry of old one in which case new pack will be suspended until expiry of old one.

In either case you get only up to EDGE speed (max. 150kbit/s). No 3G or 4G is available.

More infomation Edit

  • Website: http://phoenix-dnr.ru (in Russian-only)
  • APN: internet, username: phoenix, password: phoenix, auth: PAP
  • Calls to other parts of Ukraine are flaky or don't work at all

Lugacom (in the Luhansk region only)Edit

Lugacom

Lugacom (in Russian: Лугаком) is a new operator started in 2016 using confiscated Kyivstar equipment in part of the Luhansk region that is not controlled by central government. It's in 2G-only on 900 and 1800 MHz. They form a single network with Phoenix, so you can use this SIM in Donetsk as well for the same rates and it will not be considered roaming

Availability Edit

The SIM card is sold in post offices. Full list of points of sale: list (in Russian only). You need a passport to purchase a SIM and only 2 SIMs per person are allowed. The price is 120 RUB without any credit. Refills are available there as well or from independent shops.

They have an online refill option but now it accepts only WebMoney payment system. As this is still in testing and due to the status of the region this refill option is not recommended.

Only one base tariff is available called "People's tariff" ("НАРОДНЫЙ"). It's 50 RUB per month and includes 3000 minutes of in-network calls and 300 in-network SMS, but no data.

Their mobile internet is under construction and in test phase. You may need to call tech support (dial 422) to enable it. But on bright side it's free up to now. You get only to EDGE speed (max. 150kbit/s). No 3G or 4G is available.

More infomationEdit

  • Website: http://lugacom.su (in Russian-only)
  • Calls to other parts of Ukraine are flaky or don't work at all
  • APN: internet

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