How to register your phone in Turkey
With 80 million potential customers from the Turkish population, it is no surprise that mobile phone operators in Turkey are part of a lucrative industry generating billions in revenue every year. Mobile phones are an integral part of our lives now, and wherever we go, they go.
We use them for communication via phone, email and instant messaging. They have also become a blueprint of our lives as cameras and apps record our most precious moments or help us to do things such as lose weight.
So naturally, anyone choosing to live in Turkey will want to swap to a Turkish network and tap into the excellent value for money offered by the country’s mobile phone operators.
However, before you sign up for a Turkish network service, if your phone is from abroad, you need to register it if you plan to stay in Turkey longer than 120 days or want to use a Turkish sim card.
How to Register a Mobile Phone in Turkey
If you are still on a Turkish tourist visa, pay the tax at the local tax office by showing them the IMEI number of your phone. Once you have done this, buy a pay-as-you-go sim card from any of the three mobile phone operators listed below.
If you have a residence permit for Turkey, you can also use the e-Devlet website. First, get a password from the local post office (PTT) by showing them your passport, residence permit and paying a 2 Lira fee. If you already use Turkish banking online internet services, you can bypass this step and use that function instead.
From there, just, log onto the page for registering your phone and follow directions. (https://www.turkiye.gov.tr/btk-imei-kaydet.)
The website is only in Turkish so use an online translator or have a Turkish friend close by to help you. The tax can be paid on the e-Devlet webpage by using a credit card or Garanti, Deniz and Is bank services.
If the e-Devlet site is too complicated, take your passport, residence permit, proof of tax payment and e-Develt password to any mobile phone shop, and they will do it for you at an extra charge. The current tax to pay for each phone is 170 Turkish lira, and for all methods, you need your IMEI number.
How Do I Find My Phone IMEI Number?
An IMEI number stands for international mobile equipment identity, and the 15 digit number is unique to your phone. No two devices have the same IMEI number. Find it in the settings–about section of your phone or by typing *#06# into the keypad.
Alternatively, some iPhones have it listed on the back of the phone at the bottom, while others with removable batteries have it printed in that compartment.
So, once you have done this, signing up for a network provider is the next step, and the good news is that service providers in Turkey aim to give subscribers the best deal as they all clamour for the number one spot in the market share but who are they?
The Three Mobile Phone Operators in Turkey
Turkcell has historically held the position as the number one network operator in Turkey, having launched the first GSM network in 1994. Leading the market in innovation, they were also the first provider to upgrade to 3G in 2009.
Offering complete coverage across the country except for a few areas of the remote mountainous northeast, it has a market share of 60%. They have a variety of campaigns starting from 20 lira a month that include internet, calls, and SMS text messages. Alternatively, you can also sign up for the prepaid plans excluding internet connection. (website - https://www.turkcell.com.tr)
2: Vodaphone Turkey
Vodaphone Turkey is the second largest provider having bought out the Telsim group in 2005. Operating in all provinces, it is part of the larger global family and responsible for 20 million subscribers.
Offering a variety of pay-as-you-go and contract plans for domestic subscribers, they also uniquely provide the Vodaphone tourist line that is valid for up to 90 days and includes calls and 10GB of internet connections. (Website - http://www.vodafone.com.tr)
3: Avea (Turk Telecom)
Operating since 2004, Avea is the third and last mobile phone operator in Turkey. Although the name Avea is still often used, as of 2016, all subscribers are re-directed to the Turk Telecom website, who have also rebranded their TTNET internet service network.
Offering several excellent value packages like 1000 minutes calls, 1000 SMS text messages and 10GB of internet for just 39 lira a month, many eyes of the industry are on Turk Telecom and whether they can compete to move up from third spot in the mobile phone operator industry of Turkey. (website: https://bireysel.turktelekom.com.tr/mobil/Sayfalar/Ana-Sayfa.aspx)
Further Reading: We are lifestyle and property experts in Turkey, and our article on the Turkish banking system, will be useful to anyone interested in investing in the country. Alternatively, if you plan to buy property here, contact us today to receive a complete list of homes for sale in any area of Turkey, that meet your personal specifications.