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Compare prepaid SIM cards for Iran

Reduce your rates by using a local SIM.

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Iran is one of the wealthier countries in the Middle East, close to Kuwait and Qatar. Using your home phone network there can be expensive, so consider switching over to a local SIM card to take advantage of better deals and plans. Iran has some of the best prepaid SIM cards available, with deals that can reduce your bills. You can buy 1GB of data from Iran’s leading telco provider for as little as IRR6,000 (less than US$0.20). So, whether you’re planning a short trip, longer stay or tour of the Middle East, check out the best SIM card options available on finder.com.

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Name Product Number of countries Data range Shipment time
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.
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.
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Telco providers in Iran

There are three main operators in Iran: Hamrah-e-Aval, Irancell and RighTel. All three providers go through a strict approval process before being allowed to operate, and each one competes with the others to offer the best deals. Their services have all been tried and tested by both locals and travelers, and each one can be trusted. According to OpenSignal’s network coverage map, Iran has a good or above-average signal along the shoreline, main cities and highways. Phone signals can become weak in some of the desert regions, but that will happen on any phone you use there.

About Iran’s operators

Iran’s operators offer good roaming rates and sell prepaid credit, which allows users to take advantage of cheap local offers and deals. All three providers offer customers 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE services. Locals call their SIM cards “SIMs” or “chips”, and there are rules and regulations when purchasing them. Passports and visa stamps must be shown before the SIM cards can be registered for use. Please note that as in most Middle Eastern countries, there is a great deal of censorship that goes on. Many sites are not accessible, and there are also restrictions on some VoIP calls and messaging. Make sure you watch what you write on Facebook and Twitter while you are there, because it’s closely monitored by the government and you might be arrested and deported if you publish any inappropriate social media posts while you’re there. We advise you to download a VPN onto your phone before you travel so that you can have your usual online access while in Iran.

Below, we have broken down each telco provider to highlight exactly what’s available during your visit to Iran.

Hamrah-e-Aval

Hamrah-e-Aval (همراه اول‎ in Farsi and “the first operator” in English) is the largest operator in Iran with highly competitive rates and a solid network coverage. It offers good 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE services on the GSM platform. Prepaid SIM cards can be purchased from official stores and approved resellers. Credit can also be purchased from official outlets, approved resellers, corner stores, service stations and supermarkets.

Your passport and visa stamp will have to be shown before you can purchase the SIM card. SIM registration is a legal requirement in Iran, so make sure you follow the proper steps; otherwise you could land yourself in trouble. You must also fill out a lengthy registration form, and they may even request a fingerprint copy. However, you might need to explain to the retailers that your country doesn’t require you to hold fingerprint copies. Even so, they could insist on taking your fingerprints. Your prepaid SIM card will be active as soon as the registration process has been completed. Dial *141*1# as soon as you activate the SIM and follow the options to finish the registration process.

Hamrah-e-Aval’s Neutrino 3G/4G data service can be activated by sending an SMS to 8088 or by dialing *111*231# from your phone.

There are two data packages available, called “Alpha” and “Alpha+”. The following options are available:

Alpha

DataTimePriceActivation code
150MB1 dayIRR1,000*100*11#
800MB7 daysIRR5,000*100*12#
2.5GB30 daysIRR10,000*100*13#
800MB
(11pm-8am)
7 nightsIRR1,000#14*100*

Alpha+ (max. 8Mbps)

DataTimePriceActivation code
100MB + 100MB at night1 dayIRR1,500*100*21*1#
100MB + 100MB at night7 daysIRR2,500*100*22*1#
100MB + 100MB at night30 daysIRR4,000*100*23*1#
300MB + 300MB at night1 dayIRR3,500*100*21*2#
300MB + 300MB at night7 daysIRR5,000*100*22*2#
300MB + 300MB at night30 daysIRR7,000*100*23*2#
1GB + 1GB at night1 dayIRR9,000*100*21*3#
1GB + 1GB at night7 daysIRR10,000*100*22*3#
1GB + 1GB at night30 daysIRR13,000*100*23*3#
3GB + 3GB at night1 dayIRR10,000*100*21*4#
3GB + 3GB at night7 daysIRR13,500*100″22*4#
3GB + 3GB at night30 daysIRR17,000*100*23*4#

All of the above-mentioned packages auto-renew. To cancel, dial *100*#8.

APN: mcinet, and website: http://www.mci.ir

Irancell

Irancell is the second-largest operator in the country and is partly state-owned. It offers good 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE services on the GSM platform. Please note that there are two different types of SIM card – one for 2G and 3G, and the other for 4G services. Prepaid SIM cards can be purchased from official stores and approved resellers. Credit can also be purchased from official stores and approved resellers, as well as supermarkets, service stations and corner stores.

Irancell’s “Pay As You Go” prepaid SIM card starter pack contains a SIM card, registration form and user guide. The following packages are available:

  • IRR40,000 – SMS and data SIM card on 2G and 3G, comes with IRR10,000 credit
  • IRR50,000 – voice, SMS and data SIM card on 2G and 3G, comes with IRR20,000 credit
  • IRR100,00 – voice, SMS and data SIM card on 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE, comes with IRR20,000 credit

Your passport and visa stamp will have to be shown to the cashiers so they can register the SIM card for you. As explained above, SIM registration is a legal requirement in Iran, so make sure you follow the steps. You must fill out a lengthy registration form, and they may even request a fingerprint copy. It’s highly unlikely that you will possess one of these because not many countries around the globe make their citizens carry fingerprint copies. If you have any issues with the fingerprint, the only way to avoid this is to just speak with the manager and explain that your country doesn’t require you to have fingerprints taken. They might do it for you if it’s a must. Your prepaid SIM card will be active as soon as the registration process has been completed. Dial *141*1# as soon as you activate the SIM and follow the options to finalize the registration process.

Recharge top-up cards can be purchased in most stores across Iran. To add credit, dial *144*<voucher PIN>#, and on your first upload, you should receive a 10% credit bonus.

Prepaid SIM cards have no expiration date, so they will be active the entire time you use them. Dial *141*1# to check your balance.

The following data packs can also be added:

ValidityTraffic limitPrice (Toman)Activation code
HourlyUnlimitedIRR900*555*5*6*1#
HourlyUnlimitedIRR1,500*555*5*6*2#
HourlyUnlimitedIRR2,000*555*5*6*3#
Hourly1 GB (1 hour – 2am and 8am
(on the proceeding day))
IRR2,000*555*5*6*4#
Hourly2 GB (2 hours – 2am and 8am
(on the proceeding day))
IRR3,000*555*5*6*5#
Hourly3 GB (3 hours – 2am and 8am
(on the proceeding day))
IRR4,000*555*5*6*6#
1 day60 MBIRR1,600*555*5*1#
1 day100 MBIRR2,200*555*5*1#
1 day200 MBIRR3,200*555*5*1#
1 day300 MBIRR3,900*555*5*1#
1 day400 MBIRR4,500*555*5*1#
1 day750 MBIRR5,700*555*5*1#
1 day1.5 GBIRR7,400*555*5*1#
1 day2.5 MBIRR9,400*555*5*1#
7 days200 MBIRR4,400*555*5*2#
7 days300 MBIRR5,500*555*5*2#
7 days500 MBIRR7,00*555*5*2#
7 days750 MBIRR8,300*555*5*2#
7 days1.5 GBIRR10,900*555*5*2#
7 days2.5 GBIRR13,000*555*5*2*4#
7 days5 GB
(6am to 12AM)
IRR18,000*555*5*2*5#
30 days1 GB (+ 100 MB, 6am to 12am)IRR10,500*555*5*3#
30 days2 GB
(+ 200 MB, 6am to 12am)
IRR14,000*555*5*3#
30 days3 GB
(+ 300 MB, 6am to 12am)
IRR16,500*555*5*3*2#
30 days4 GB (+ 400 MB, 6am to 12am)IRR18,500*555*5*3#
30 days5 GB
(+ 500 MB, 6am to 12am)
IRR20,500*555*5*3*9#
30 days5 GBIRR4,500*555*5*3#
30 days7 GB
(+ 7 GB, 6am to 12am)
IRR24,500*555*5*3*13#
30 days10 GB (+ 1 GB, 6am to 12am)IRR29,500*555*5*3#
3 months9 GBIRR33,000*555*5*4*1*1#
3 months12 GBIRR37,500*555*5*4*1*2#
3 months18 GBIRR47,000*555*5*4*1*3#
3 months24 GBIRR58,000*555*5*4*1*4#
6 months18 GBIRR55,000*555*5*4*2*1#
6 months36 GBIRR95,000*555*5*4*2*2#
6 months48 GBIRR115,000*555*5*4*2*3#
12 months30 GBIRR90,000*555*5*4*3*1#
12 months48 GBIRR120,000*555*5*4*3*2#
12 months72 GBIRR155,000*555*5*4*3*3#

Dial *555*5*9# to check all prepaid SIM card data options, and select the relevant pack from the list to purchase. To cancel the pack (it will auto-renew), dial the same number and cancel the package already selected.

Irancell’s APN: mtnirancell, website in English: http://irancell.ir/portal/home/?27092/MTN%20%20Irancell

RighTel

RighTel is the smallest operator in Iran with quite high prices and slow Internet speeds. It offers 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE services on the GSM platform. Prepaid SIM cards can be purchased from official outlets and approved resellers. Credit can also be purchased from official outlets, approved resellers, corner stores, service stations and supermarkets.

Your passport and visa stamp will have to be shown before you can purchase the SIM card. SIM registration is a legal requirement in Iran, so make sure you complete the process properly. As mentioned earlier, fingerprints may be requested, so you should explain if you don’t have a copy of your fingerprints, or agree to have your fingerprints taken. Your prepaid SIM card will be active as soon as the registration process has been completed. Dial *141*1# as soon as you activate the SIM and follow the options to finish the registration process.

The best place to purchase and register the RighTel SIM card is at its flagship store near Sahid Navab-e Safavi Metro Station, Line 2. The office is directly next to the exit.

Prepaid SIM cards can be purchased for IRR200,000, which comes with 500MB of data, 10,000 minutes to other RighTel numbers and 10,000 SMS to other RighTel users, valid for 30 days.

Top-up cards can be purchased in voucher form or by using your credit card online. Credit comes in varying amounts between IRR10,000 and IRR1,000,000.

The following data packs can also be added:

Voice and data prepaid SIM card

DataTimeRate
200MB7 daysIRR30,000
1.5GB30 daysIRR125,000
3GB30 daysIRR199,000

RighTel’s APN: RighTel, and website in Farsi: http://www.rightel.ir/

Some top tips from finder.com staff:

  • Persian is spoken in Iran, so if you don’t know the language, download Google Translate onto your phone before you travel. English is also widely spoken.
  • Locals call a SIM card a “SIM” or “SimSim”.
  • Ask the sellers to set up the SIM card for you because they will know how to do it. If not, follow the instructions we have highlighted above or go to the official operator website to get advice.
  • It’s always better to get things done early before the shopping gets too busy, so head to the stores before they get crowded!

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

It’s well known for reviews, booking hotels, flights and vacations, but TripAdvisor also has many user comments that can help guide you through what SIM cards have been tried and tested in Iran.

Here are some top tips from TripAdvisor users:

“There are two kiosks in Imam Khomeini international airport, one kiosk in Imam Hossein metro station, and one kiosk in Imam Khomeini metro station in Tehran that provide foreigners activated SIM cards. You just need to show your passport to the operator.”

Iran has 3 major telecommunication companies. Usually these companies provide Free SIM Cards to those who visit but you will have to add packages to use them.

It’s easy for tourists to buy a local SIM card. It doesn’t cost much for 3GB of data, SMS and local calls. Most people I know use Irancell due to wide coverage, easy to setup and cheap.

Pros and cons of Iran’s top telco providers

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

Pros:

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

Cons:

  • No devices offered with the SIM card packages
  • Can only be used on SIM-unlocked GSM phones
  • Tough rules and regulations make buying a SIM card difficult

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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2 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    BenjaminSeptember 28, 2018

    Hello,
    Can Irancell (or other operator) sim card be used to call outside Iran (Europe…) or is it only good for local calls ?
    Thank you.

    • Default Gravatar
      joelmarceloSeptember 28, 2018

      Hi Benjamin,

      Thanks for leaving a question on finder.

      If you wish to contact anyone abroad, you can easily use your Irancell SIM card. With their international roaming service, you can keep in touch with the people around the globe at a very cost-effective rate. To make an international call, dial 00, 020, 040, 050 or 060 before the country code. All sim cards from Iran can call overseas.

      Please send me a message if you need anything else. :)

      Cheers,
      Joel

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