Smart Phones in Turkey



With Smart Phones a big part of our lives these days, one of the most common questions asked when moving to Turkey is, “Will I be able to use my Smart Phone?” The answer is yes! I never registered my iPhone here so to get the facts straight I asked someone who has. Tomie registered his iPhone once arriving here at Incirlik and answered your most pressing questions about the process.

Cell Phones IIIQ: Is it just iPhones, or can you register any Smart Phone?

A: Any phone that can accept a SIM card can be registered.  Keep in mind that the first generation iPhone 4 in the USA does not have a SIM card slot; the SIM cards are in the phone and cannot be replaced.  You must be able to replace your SIM card in order to register and use your phone in Turkey.

Q: What is the timeline for registering your phone when you arrive in Turkey?

A: You have 30 days to register your phone in Turkey once you arrive.

Q: Where do you go to register your phone and add minutes? How do you do this?

A: To register your phone, you will have to go to the BaseFix kiosk in the BX.  They will help you with all of your cell phone customer service needs.

Q: What do you need to register your phone?

A: In order to register your phone, you will need to provide copies of your NATO orders, entry stamp/VISA on the orders, passport, entry stamp/VISA on the passport (for dependents), and a letter from the housing office with your address on it.  I used my pre-inspection sheet given to me when I moved in.


Cell Phones II

Q: How much does it cost initially? Monthly? Per Phone? Roll-over minutes?

A: The registration charge will be $150 dollars per phone. They don’t offer “monthly plans” like we are accustomed to in the States.  It is a pre-paid service.  They have pre-paid minute packages ranging from $12.99 to $89.99.  These minutes will be useable for 90 days at which time you will need to add minutes.




Q: What services do you get when you register it? Data? Cell coverage? Texting? 

A: Once the registrationCell Phones is complete and you have activated your new SIM card, you will need to purchase minutes and data plans. The coverage is excellent and the provider is Turkcell, which is the largest provider in Turkey.  In addition to purchasing the minutes, if you want to use data/internet with your phone, you will need to purchase a data package.  The packages are 4GB for $19.00 and 10GB for $37.50.  The data packages are useable for 30 days at which point, you will need to purchase a new data package; the data does not rollover.  There is an unlimited text messaging package as well for 11TL (about $5).  You will need to mention this to the BaseFix reps at the BX if you want it.  The text package is valid for 90 days along with the minutes.



Q: How reliable is the cell service? Data service? Texting?

A: The service is reliable as this is the largest cell phone company in Turkey and the 2nd largest in Europe.

Q: Can you call/text locally? Internationally?

A: You can call/text any number in Turkey with no extra charges.  There will be international “long distance” fees for calling or texting anyone outside of Turkey.

Q: Personally, how often do you use the services? On-base? Off-base?

A: I use the service on a daily basis; just as I would anywhere else.

Q: Would you recommend it?

A: Yes. If you have a smart phone, not just an iPhone, I would recommend bringing it with you to register and use. The cell phones here must be purchased outright so you can’t include the phone in a monthly plan and get it cheaper like it the States. Just to give you an idea of the prices, they are currently asking $800 for the iPhone 5c.

EDITOR’S NOTE: As of February 2016, this post has been re-published on our Overseas Yes network site, Germany Ja. We are in the process of transferring all the content of this site over there, and will be shutting Turkey Tamam down once that process is complete. Comments have been closed on this post here, but if you’ve got something to add we’d love to continue the conversation. Please visit this post in its new home on Germany Ja and leave your comment there.

8 thoughts on “Smart Phones in Turkey

  1. Beth says:

    Excellent information! This is easily the best info I’ve seen on smart phones in Turkey. Will definitely be able to decide what to do about phones based on this. Thanks!


  2. Mary says:

    Hi Everyone! I have a question about cell phones. We are arriving in 5 weeks and am wondering if folks use IPhones or any other kinds of Smart Phones. Should I bring my IPhone, are services available for cell service?


  3. Teresa says:

    I brought my iPhone. I use it for wifi purposes only. I bought a Turkish cell phone to use for phone calls within the area. I use the free magic jack app and wifi on my iPhone to call my family in the states. It wasn’t worth it to me, to go through the trouble of getting my iPhone to work.


  4. Crystal says:

    I have my iPhone, upon arrival you have 30 days to register your phone. You pay the tax, and obtain a piece of paper stating that you are living at a Turkish address. After that you take them both to the company of your choice, I use Turkcell. Because we are not nationals you are only able to get month to month and not an actual contract, but for 65tl a month I get 500 minutes and 4 GB of Internet. It has been awesome because I use my cell as a GPS, and do not have to carry an additional cell.


  5. Crystal says:

    I know the article suggests going to the BX, I don’t recommend this because the prices are much higher then going to the actual store. I did the very thing downtown and paid much less, about half of what the BX kiosk quoted me.


  6. Yu says:

    I as well do not recommend going to the BX kiosk to register your phone, their prices are double than off base( same happens when recharging it), and they tend to give people the wrong information, of course to their advantage.
    The time frame to register the phone has changed recently to up to 60 days after entering the country.
    And I am not a 100% sure but I believe that for diplomatic, military, etc they waive the fees. Recently the BX kiosk started to asked for NATO Orders and letter from housing, which since a bit strange since they don’t ask for these documents off base. Also I have read that is one phone per year, but again things here change so quickly that is hard to find the right information.
    So please try to inform yourself before attempting to register a phone.


  7. Chris says:

    I’m glad to hear you say this. I too have found the BX charges double, but so does every shop on base compared to the alley. Just walk off base, speak kindly to the people in the shop and get your phone. You’ll need your passport for setting up a line then you’re gtg. I’m on day 45 of not paying the tax, and the phone works fine.


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