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Compare prepaid SIM cards for Albania

A guide to buying a local SIM card in Albania.

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Editor's choice: SimCorner

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Albania has some of the best SIM card deals on the market, which could help you to significantly reduce your phone bills. You can buy 1GB of data from Albania’s leading telco providers for as little as ALL300 (about US$2.40). So, whether you plan to stay for just a few days or a few weeks, you can save plenty by comparing SIM card options on finder.com.

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SimCorner
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1-12 business days
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Flexiroam X
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Attach the Flexiroam X ultra-thin microchip sticker to your current SIM card to access data roaming in over 140 countries.
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Cell phone carriers in Albania

There are four main cell phone operators in Albania: Vodafone, Eagle Mobile, Telekom (T Mobile) and Plus. Locals and international visitors have tried, tested and trusted all four operators, so there’s no chance of getting ripped off.

According to OpenSignal’s 2016 country report, Albania was voted a mid-range cell phone provider that has a 61.43% 4G availability, beating the likes of Germany, Israel and France.

We will breakdown each telco provider to highlight exactly what they can offer you during your stay in Albania.

About Albania’s cell phone operators

Albania’s market leader is Vodafone, followed closely by Eagle Mobile and Telekom. Plus is the smallest network in the country but still offers some great SIM card deals.

2G, 3G and 4G plans are available for unblocked GSM phones. All networks launched 4G/LTE in 2015, but surprisingly the smallest carrier, Plus, was deemed the best carrier of that option. All providers allow 900, 1800, 2100 and 2600MHz on their networks.

There are very few rules and regulations for buying SIM cards in Albania. The only thing you will need is a smile and a valid photo ID for proof of purchase. Your ID will preferably be your passport but that’s not a must.

All four networks sell prepaid credit, which allow users to take advantage of local offers and deals without having to go on contracts or long-term plans.

You can purchase credit anytime and anywhere across Albania, from official stores, supermarkets, pharmacies, petrol stations, tobacconists and at Tirana International Airport.

About Vodafone Albania

Vodafone holds nearly a 50% share of the market in Albania, making it the leading network provider. The network has the best 2G and 3G availability and their 4G/LTE service is available in most major towns and cities.

Due to its market dominance and network capabilities, Vodafone offers customers the most expensive plans. For prepaid credit customers who are looking for short-term travel plans to reduce roaming rates, Vodafone offers its Club monthly package with data add-ons. Their One plan offers a loyalty scheme and savings for higher usage.

SIM cards are sold in Vodafone stores, kiosks, supermarkets or at the airport, and they sell both the mini and micro SIMs.

You can get a credit top-up by purchasing scratch cards and texting the 12-digit number to 141, or by calling it through to 142. You can also check your balance by texting the word “balance” to 141.

Option 1: The Vodafone Club SIM

You can purchase this for ALL500 and includes an ALL400 credit. There is also a selection of deals that include the following data:

  • Club Xtreme. This plan offers 200 minutes and 3GB of data for the price of ALL800.
  • Club Superior. This plan offers 2000 minutes as well as 20 international minutes and 2GB of data for ALL1200.
  • Club Extra. This plan offers 2500 minutes as well as 60 international minutes and 3GB of data for ALL1600.

You can also add 2GB or 4GB of data for ALL300 or ALL500 respectively. You can activate each option calling #123#.

Option 2: Vodafone One

Vodafone One packages offer customers a loyalty scheme with a bonus point system. It’s a little bit more complicated than the first option, but it can prove more beneficial depending on how you use your phone.

Vodafone offers the following data packages with this plan:

Duration Data Rate
24 hours 100 MB ALL60
7 days 1GB ALL300
30 days 1GB ALL550
30 days 2GB ALL750

To activate your plan, call 131. To check your remaining data allowance, you can send any SMS to 131 to receive how much data is remaining.

About Telekom Albania (T Mobile)

Telekom (T Mobile) is Vodafone’s biggest competitor in Albania. Telekom’s 3G network has proved a big success story, reaching nearly 91% of the country. Its 4G/LTE service is extremely popular right across the nation.

You can purchase SIM cards at Telekom Stores. They only distribute mini-SIMs so any other size must be cut in-store. You can buy credit at all Telekom Shops by using a recharge card, by online payment or through another mobile number calling +355681000141 to add credit to your new number.

Telekom offers a popular prepaid plan with data add-ons called JUMP. The following plans are on offer now:

Duration Data Rate Activation
24 hours 100MB ALL60 To activate, text “ID” to 142
7 days 500MB ALL300 To activate, text “IJ” to 142
30 days 1GB ALL500 To activate, text “M” to 142
30 days 3GB ALL990 To activate, text “Jdata” to 142

You can also add additional data:

You can add 2GB for ALL300. To activate your data, text “MINT” to 142.

You can add 4GB for ALL500. To activate your data, text “MINT2” to 142.

You can purchase all these plans through #100#.

Telekom also offers data-only plans for tablets and modems called Telekom Mobile Broadband. The starter pack includes 3GB of data valid for 30 days.

Mode Net / Data Rate
SIM only 4G/LTE, 4GB of data ALL890
3G USB modem 21Mbps, 3 months with 3GB of data each month ALL2500
4G USB modem 150Mbps, 3 months with 4GB of data each month ALL5500

Telekom Mobile Broadband also offers further data packages as top-ups:

You can add 2GB of data for ALL490. To activate the data, text “MBB2” to 142.

You can add 4GB of data for ALL790. To activate the data, text “MBB4” to 142.

About Eagle Mobile (ALBtelecom Mobile)

Eagle Mobile is the third largest mobile provider in Albania. Its coverage is extremely limited, with 3G only implemented recently and 4G/LTE only available in Tirana. It equals Plus in being the cheapest provider in the country.

Prepaid customers can take advantage of Eagle’s standard plans with data add-ons. The starter pack costs just ALL200, which includes ALL100 of credit. SIM cards are sold in all Eagle Mobile stores and ALBtelecom sellers.

You can purchase the following data packs for your SIM:

Duration Data Rate Activation
24 hours 0.5GB ALL100 To activate, text ID100 to 138
7 days 1GB ALL300 To activate, text IJ300 to 138
30 days 2GB ALL500 To activate, text IM500 to 138
30 days 4GB ALL750 To activate, text IM750 to 138
30 days 6GB ALL1,000 To activate, text IM1000 to 138
30 days 20GB ALL1,500 To activate, text IM1500 to 138
30 days 40GB ALL3,000 To activate, text IM3000 to 138

To check your data balance, text “Balance” to 138.

About Plus

Plus is the smallest network provider in Albania, with a market share of just 7%. It has an extremely limited coverage area. Its 3G is relatively new and there are often complaints about lack of service. However, if you do happen to be in an area with good signal, then Plus offers the best deals and prices.

You can purchase their SIM cards at official stores or in other retail outlets. Their “PLUS Unik” prepaid credit package is very popular with young Albanians thanks to what it can offer. Top-ups of ALL1,000 or more can get you a 100MB bonus valid for 30 days.

Data packs available:

Duration Data Rate Activation
24 hours 150MB ALL60 To activate, text “PI60” to 131
7 days 500MB ALL200 To activate, text “PI200” to 131
30 days 1GB ALL300 To activate, text “PI300” to 131

Some top tips from finder.com staff:

  • If you don’t know any Albanian, download Google Translate onto your phone before you travel. Don’t forget to download Albanian into the app so you can use it offline.
  • Ask retailers to set up the SIM in-store for you. This will save you a lot of time and trouble, especially if you are having trouble with the language.

TripAdvisor tips for the best SIM cards and where to buy them

While it’s well known for reviews, and for booking hotels, flights and holidays, TripAdvisor displays many user comments that can help guide you through what SIM cards have been tried and tested in Albania.

Here are some top tips from TripAdvisor users:

  • “It is pretty easy [in Albania]. You find a shop of any company and buy a prepaid SIM card. You will have to provide an ID or passport and you are done.”
  • “You will easily find T Mobile [Telekom] or Vodafone shops in Tirana. The cost of a SIM is 3 euro and you may also use 4G network.”
  • “I use PLUS and I pay 1000 Lek for a month with local calls and sms in addition to 3000 mb data. If you want to call or text overseas it is 500 lek for 20 minutes call time.”

Pros and cons of Albania’s top telco providers

All four networks require you to have a SIM-unlocked GSM compatible international cell phone. To double-check if you have this option, or if it’s possible for your current provider to unlock the phone, contact your service provider before you leave.

Pros:

  • Good value for money
  • Albania has above average coverage
  • Prepaid credit when required
  • No in-store contract needed
  • Could be compatible with your current cell phone
  • Cheap handsets are sold in-store

Cons:

  • No cell phone devices offered with the SIM card plans
  • Can only be used on SIM-unblocked GSM phones
  • Can only be used in Albania
  • Poor coverage on the Plus network

Have more questions about finding the best SIM?

Switch to a cell phone plan with international calling

Name Product Data Minutes Texts Can I bring my own phone? Cell phone plans starting at:
Sprint
Starting at 2 GB
Unlimited
Unlimited
Yes
$25
Get unlimited data, calls and text or a customized plan on a 5G network. Eligible plans come with Hulu, Amazon Prime or Tidal subscriptions.
SIMPLE Mobile
Starting at 2 GB
Unlimited
Unlimited
Yes
$30
30-day phone plans that allow you to cancel your service at anytime. Choose from five different talk, text and data options with the choice to add international calling for $10/month.
FreedomPop
Starting at 500 MB
Starting at 200 minutes
Starting at 500 texts
Yes
$0
Bring your own phone for a free plan with 500MB of data, 200 minutes and 500 texts per month using Sprint's CDMA Network. Prepaid plans with more data, talk and text start at $9.99/month.
NET10 Wireless
Starting at 1 GB
Unlimited
Unlimited
Yes
$20
30-day plans with unlimited talk and text and the option to choose how much data is right for you. Add-on rollover data is available starting at $5/500MB.
Straight Talk Wireless
Starting at 3 GB
Unlimited
Unlimited
Yes
$35
Choose from several different plan options with no contracts, no fees and coverage on the same networks as AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon.
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