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BLOG How to Arrange Internet Access in Turkey

11 September 2020 / Lifestyle

Staying connected is easier – and more important – than ever. We’re so used to being in constant contact with friends and family through the internet now, it’s hard to image life without it. Arranging reliable access will therefore be a priority when you come to Turkey.

There are several different ways to do this, depending on your needs. If you’re on holiday, you might prefer a temporary option to a lengthy contract, whereas if you’ve bought property in Antalya and plan to be a permanent resident, you’ll want something longer term.

Internet on the go

If you tend to visit Turkey for holidays, a good option is a mobile wifi dongle. These small devices slip easily into a pocket or bag and have the advantage of being portable. You can be sure of internet access wherever you are, whether relaxing by the pool at your luxury villa in Kalkan, chilling in a harbourside bar, or exploring the local attractions.

These devices use the mobile networks, so it’s a case of choosing one with good coverage in your area. There are businesses which rent them out at a set daily or weekly rate, including a decent amount of data, which might be the most economical option.

Alternatively, you could buy your own from your chosen provider. You’ll need to register the SIM card in your name, so take your passport and/or residence permit with you; it’s a simple process. Be aware, though, that most SIMs become inactive if not topped up after a certain length of time. If you go more than a few months between visits, you’ll need to arrange for top-ups in your absence or get a new SIM next time you visit.

A more permanent connection

The other option is to take out a contract with an internet provider and arrange a fixed-line connection via a router. If you have bought your dream home in Turkey and intend to move long-term, this will suit you better.

There are several internet service providers, but the main infrastructure is usually provided by TTNet, part of Türk Telekom. This may mean two visits to install your service; one by TTNet technicians to take care of external cabling, and one by your chosen provider to run the connection into your home and set up your router.

Arranging a contract is easy, and usually involves simply visiting your chosen provider with your residency. If you’re not a resident, you can still obtain a foreign identification number from your local GÖÇ office and use that.

Speed, reliability and customer service can vary according to location, so ask people in your area or on social media who they recommend. If you plan to travel in and out of the country regularly, it’s worth knowing that some providers offer internet on demand, allowing you to freeze your subscription for the months you’re not in Turkey.

What is the internet speed like in Turkey?

Speeds vary depending on where you are and the kind of connection you have. Fibre optic is much faster than traditional ADSL broadband, for example, but it is not available everywhere. Turkey ranks outside the top 50 countries in the world, with an average internet speed of 7.6Mb/s across the whole country. While that’s sufficient for most domestic needs, including streaming films or television, much faster connections are reported in parts of the Antalya region.

Until fairly recently, providers included ‘fair usage’ quotas in their contracts. This meant that once you hit a specified limit – typically 60GB – your service would automatically slow down until the next month unless you purchased an additional data package. This restriction has, happily, now been removed – ‘unlimited’ now means just that.

You might need some ‘add-ons’

It makes sense that if you’re buying a large, traditional, stone-built house then your internet signal might fade in some rooms or corners of your property, whereas that’s much less likely to happen in a modern city centre apartment in Antalya. Signal boosters are widely available if you need them, ensuring your service remains uninterrupted throughout your home.

Another consideration is Turkey’s fluctuating electricity supply. Power outages and surges do happen sometimes, and your internet line is likely unprotected. Running your router through a UPS (uninterrupted power supply) unit not only regulates the electricity supply and protects against surges, it also offers back-up power in the event of an outage.

It’s worth knowing that access to some websites is restricted in Turkey, and you won’t be able to stream foreign television stations unless you use a VPN, or virtual private network. There are many available, both free-to-use and paid-for. While it may slow your service down a little, it’s a good idea to sign up to one to get unrestricted access.

You might also like to read our blog on how to register a foreign mobile phone for use in Turkey, as this gives you another option for internet while you’re out and about.

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