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A guide to finding the best prepaid SIM card when traveling to Belarus

Buy a local SIM card to save money.

Updated

Fact checked

Belarus is one of Eastern Europe’s cheapest countries, and has some amazing local SIM card deals that can reduce your bills. You can buy 1GB of data from their leading telco provider for as little as BYR5 (US$1). So, whether you’re planning a week-long holiday or a long-term trip, check out the best SIM card options available on finder.com.

Travel Sim Card

Travel Sim Card from SimCorner

SimCorner's prepaid SIM cards let you enjoy local call, text and data rates in dozens of countries around the world.

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Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Number of countries Data range Shipment time
SimCorner
80+
1GB-Unlimited
1-12 business days
SimCorner's prepaid SIM cards offer local call, text and data rates in dozens of countries around the world. Choose from a range of data packages, including unlimited data in the USA.
Flexiroam X
150+
1GB-7GB
3-7 business days
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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Prices last updated 28 Apr 2017

Belarus cell phone operators

There are four main cell phone operators in Belarus: MTS/MTC, Velcom, life and beCloud (a state-owned company offering the only 4G/LTE services in Belarus, available to use on the other three networks). All operators go through a strict approval process before being allowed to operate in the country, and each one competes with the others to offer the best deals. They have all been tried, tested and trusted by locals and international travelers, and their deals are among the best in world.

According to OpenSignal’s country report, Belarus was voted 55th in the world for overall speed. Belarus ranked 70th in 3G/4G availability, and a 3G or faster signal is available in over 74.53% of the country’s territory. Below, we have broken down each telco provider to highlight exactly what they can offer you during your visit to Belarus.

Belarus SIM cards

Belarus operators offer great coverage for a country that has a difficult terrain, providing good 2G, 3G and 4G services. All four operators sell prepaid credit, which allow users to take advantage of cheap offers and deals. The locals call their SIM Cards ‘kartes’ or ‘SIMs’, and they can only be purchased from official stores and approved resellers by using your passport, and after having your visa stamp checked. Credit can be purchased from official stores, supermarkets and Minsk National Airport. Top-ups can be purchased online by using your credit card.

About MTS/MTC

MTS, or known locally as MTC, is the leading provider in Belarus. Owned by Beltelecom and Russian MTS, the network has good 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE coverage. Customers use their 4G/LTE service through beCloud. MTS has a visitor prepaid package called CMAPT Гостевой (Smart Guest). Tourists can purchase this SIM card by using their passport, as opposed to the government registration process needed for long-term stays.

The visitor SIM card is sold in official stores called Центр МТС (MTS centres) and the same amount of credit will be uploaded. If you don’t use your SIM card in any 180-day period it will cancel automatically. Credit vouchers can be purchased in stores or top-ups can be bought online by using your credit card.

The Smart Guest SIM can be purchased for BYR12, which includes 3GB data over two months (2GB during the first month, and 1GB during the second), 1,000 operator minutes and reduced international call rates. The plan can be continued for BYR12 a month, and if you go over your data allowance, the standard default rate is BYR0.04 per MB for overuse.

These ‘Гостевой Инет’ data packs can also be added:

2GB BYR8.77 – valid for 15 days Dial *994#
2GB BYR11.04 – valid for 30 days Dial *991#
4GB BYR11.78 – valid for 15 days Dial *995#
4GB BYR14.79 – valid for 30 days Dial *992#
6GB BYR15.05 – valid for 15 days Dial *996#
6GB BYR18.80 – valid for 30 days Dial *993#
1GB BYR3.32 – valid for 7 days Dial *997#
2GB BYR4.97 – valid for 7 days Dial *998#
5GB BYR7.74 – valid for 7 days Dial *999#

Dial *558# to add a plan, and to check your balance dial *100#. Overuse is charged at BYR3.75 per 100 MB.

The above-mentioned options do not require you to have a registered SIM. To purchase other plans and tariffs, it would be wise to register your SIM card with the authorities, you can do this by showing your passport and stamped visa card upon purchase.

MTC’s internet (Интернет) packages are geared toward modems and tablets, but also allow voice and SMS. Dial *111*13# to switch over to one of these packages:

  • Valid for 30 days (overuse rate is BYR0.02 per MB):
    • Internet Mini: 10GB – BYR8.71, Dial *534# to activate, *534*0# to deactivate
    • Online Midi: 20GB – BYR11.35, Dial *535# to activate, *535*0# to deactivate
    • Internet maxi: 30GB – BYR15.55, Dial *536# to activate, *536*0# to deactivate
  • Unlimited data, valid for 30 days:
    • MiniBit: 100 MB per day – BYR0.25 per day – Dial *740# to activate, *740*0# to deactivate
    • BIT: 250 MB per day – BYR9.30 per month – Dial *741# to activate, *741*0# to deactivate
    • Super BIT: 500 MB per day – BYR14.45 per month – Dial *742# to activate, *742*0# to deactivate
    • Unlimited VIP: 1GB per day – BYR31.10 per month – Dial *743# to activate, *743*0# to deactivate

All plans will automatically renew, so if you don’t want to continue remember to deactivate. Dial *558# to check your data usage. Dial *100# to check credit.

About Velcom

Velcom is the second largest provider in Belarus and the main competitor to MTS. It has good 3G and what they call 3G+ services, but have still not launched a 4G/LTE service. However, beCloud’s 4G/LTE service can be used through their network. Velcom offers tourists and short-term visitors a Privet (Привет) prepaid SIM card. This tourist plan doesn’t require visitors to be registered with the authorities. You can purchase the Privet plan for BYR5 from their service centres (Фирменные центры).

Velcom’s voice and data SIMs can be purchased for BYR3.45, which includes 1GB of data to be used within one month. The SIM will automatically cancel if not used within 12 months. Dial *120# to check balance.

Velcom also offers data plans. The standard default internet rate is BYR0.03 per 50 KB once you have exceeded the plan limit. The following data packages can be added:

50 MB BYR1.50 for 10 days BYR1.90 for 30 days
250 MB BYR2.50 for 10 days BYR2.90 for 30 days
450 MB BYR2.90 for 10 days BYR3.50 for 30 days
900 MB BYR3.90 for 10 days BYR4.90 for 30 days
1.8GB BYR6.90 for 10 days BYR8.70 for 30 days
3.6GB N/A BYR16.70 for 30 days

Dial *121*1*6# to activate. Dial *120*3# to check balance. Overuse is BYR0.03 per MB.

About life :)

life:) (yes, it has the smiley face as part of its logo) is the smallest operator in Belarus. Their 3G service is still quite limited. 4G/LTE services can be used on the beCloud by life platform, but only in Minsk at present. They will provide you with an LTE SIM card if the one you have is not enabled.

life:) offer two tourist prepaid SIM plans, but unlike the other two providers you need to be registered with the local authorities to use these plans, so take your passport – making sure it has the visa stamp inside – when purchasing the SIM card.

The two tourist plans are as follows:

  • Start yo life:) basic SIM pack – BYR1.50 includes BYR0.60 credit
  • World in your hand SIM pack – discounted international calls – BYR4.50 includes BYR2.70 credit

Both above-mentioned plans allow the following data packs:

  • 250 MB for 24 hours – BYR1.08 – Dial *8121# to activate
  • 1.5GB for 24 hours – BYR2.19 – Dial *8122# to activate
  • 3GB for 24 hours – BYR2.99 – Dial *8123# to activate

All data packs will auto-renew. Dial *110# to deactivate, select ‘Интернет на сутки’ (daily internet).

The following monthly plans can also be added:

50 MB for 30 days BYR1.00 *8050#
100 MB for 30 days BYR1.30 *8100#
250 MB for 30 days BYR2.30 *8250#
500 MB plus for 30 days1GB (1am-8am) BYR2.90 *8500#
1GB for 30 days BYR4.50 *8036#
2GB for 30 days BYR6.90 *8102#
3GB for 30 days BYR5.90 *8117#
4GB for 30 days BYR7.90 *8104#
8GB for 30 days BYR9.90 *8108#
12GB for 30 days BYR13.90 *8112#
16GB for 30 days BYR14.90 *8116#
45GB for 30 days BYR31.90 *8111#

Dial *110*5*1# to activate using the above *81 code. Dial *100# to check the balance. Overuse rate is BYR0.04 per MB. All plans will auto-renew unless you dial *110# to deactivate.

The following data-only options can also be purchased as add-ons:

  • 250 MB for 30 days – BYR1.08
  • 1.5GB for 30 days – BYR2.19
  • 3GB for 30 days – BYR2.99

Dial *110# to choose package and activate.

To use the 4G/LTE network provided by beCloud they offer special packages to life:) customers:

  • 2GB (6GB 1st month only) – BYR6.90 – dial *8141# to activate
  • 4GB (12GB 1st month only) – BYR7.90 – dial *8142# to activate
  • 8GB (24GB 1st month only) – BYR9.90 – dial *8143# to activate
  • 20GB – BYR22.90
  • 50GB – BYR36.90

About beCloud

beCloud is a state-owned (and the only) provider of 4G/LTE services in Belarus. All 4G services listed by the above-mentioned providers are taken from beCloud. They have a monopoly license for 15 years and run their 4G/LTE network on 1800 and 2600 MHz. beCloud’s 4G/LTE service are available in most towns and cities in Belarus, the last count was in over 30 locations.

Some top tips from finder.com staff:

  • Russian is spoken in Belarus, so if you don’t know any then download Google Translate onto your phone before you travel. However, Belarus is very cosmopolitan and English is taught in all schools.
  • Locals call a SIM card a karte or SIM.
  • Ask the seller to set up the SIM for you, they will know how to do it. If not, follow the instructions we have highlighted above or go to the official operator website to seek advice.
  • Remember, it’s always better to get things done early, before the shops get too busy, that way you are more likely to receive better assistance and avoid the crowds!

TripAdvisor tips for Belarus SIM cards

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

Here are some top tips from TripAdvisor users:

  • I use MTS in Belarus. Unlike Velcom, MTS are happy to supply micro-SIMs and nano-SIMs to prepaid customers and MTS prepaid accounts don’t need periodic top-ups to keep them active”
  • MTS has a Гостевой (guest) tariff for which you don’t need registration.”
  • A SIM card will have as many minutes as the plan you have chosen, passport will be required. From two dollars and more depending on the Internet traffic and other features
  • I bought a Belarus SIM card last year in Grodno at the Velcom shop. I found Velcom to be very good, data speeds in the cities were really quick and I got a signal pretty much everywhere

Pros and cons of Belarus telco providers

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

Pros:

  • Good value for money
  • Belarus has good 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 packages
  • Can only be used on SIM-unlocked GSM phones
  • Strict rules and regulations could hamper purchases

Have more questions about finding the best SIM card?

Does beCloud charge more if you use their 4G services on another network?

beCloud has created bespoke 4G options for each provider to match their own plans. They don’t charge the customer an extra fee for this service. Our advice is to shop around the top three providers until you find the best 4G deal on offer.

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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