Navigating a new city can be a challenge and an adventure. With today’s technology, this task is becoming easier and easier. Websites and apps continue to grow in their ability to give you maps and tips on shopping and food, as well as those necessary directions to find your hotel or the next major landmark. However, many of these accessories are only accessible with an internet connection.
While you could plan ahead and try to map out all of your necessary directions before arriving in Bursa (or maybe even at your hotel before leaving for the day), how much simpler would it be to have LTE-speed mobile internet on your smartphone? (Answer: MUCH easier!) Finding the best in Bursa while you’re on the go is a snap with a purchase of a SIM card and inexpensive data plan for your GSM smartphone. Here are a few common questions and answers to get you started.
Do I need to register my phone in Turkey?
If you are carrying a foreign-registered smartphone (that is, not registered in Turkey), you can purchase a prepaid SIM card and use it in your smartphone up to 120 days without local registration. The main mobile phone service providers in Turkey are Turkcell, Avea, and Vodafone. Each option has its own benefits and if you have a good experience with any of them, I’d suggest going with that provider. Personally, I have used Turkcell and have generally been happy with them.
How much will I need to spend to purchase and use this SIM card?
As of this writing (March 2017), a prepaid SIM card will probably cost 40-60tl (Turkish lira). This is a one-time cost for the SIM card. Once you’ve purchased your SIM card, you will also need to purchase a data plan. Fees, plans, and discounts seem to change frequently here in Turkey. However, here’s a good current estimate: You can receive anywhere from 2GB to 4GB of data for less than 40tl. One good plan that I recently saw advertised gives 4GB of data, 1000 SMS, and 500 minutes of talk all for 35tl. For the average traveler, this is probably enough data to navigate the city for a few days.
How do I purchase this prepaid SIM card?
Look for a Turkcell, Avea, or Vodafone store which has an ‘İletişim Merkezi’ sign in the window. In nearly every shopping mall in Bursa and in many shops on the street you can find a such phone service provider.
Can I do this when I arrive at an Istanbul airport?
Yes. If arriving by plane at Ataturk airport, after retrieving your luggage there is a Turkcell kiosk in the arrivals hall. You should be able to purchase a SIM card there which you can simply put into your phone and go! If arriving by plane at Sabiha Gokcen Airport, visit the Turkcell or Vodafone kiosk outside of baggage claim. Either location should be able to provide you with the necessary SIM card.
What if I arrive in Bursa by bus?
If arriving by bus at the Bursa Bus Station (Otogar), there is a shopping mall called Anatolium AVM right next to the bus station where you will find Turkcell, Avea, and Vodafone stores to choose the best option for you.
Is there anything that could prevent me from simply popping a SIM card in my phone and get going?
Yes, unfortunately there may be. If you’re traveling from North America, some North American carriers (like Sprint or Verizon) do not use GSM technology. Those carriers that do use GSM bands (like AT&T and T-Mobile) sometimes lock phones to their systems, preventing the use of a SIM card from any other provider. Before traveling, you need to contact your phone service provider and ask what is necessary to “unlock” your phone for other SIM cards to be used.
When you come to Bursa with your smartphone, be sure to take a look at our self-guided walking tour. With it, you can tour Bursa like a pro!