Best prepaid international SIM card for Moldova | finder.com
Moldova_FI_250x250

A guide to finding the best prepaid SIM cards in Moldova

Three network operators offer coverage and data bundles in Moldova.

Independent since 1991, Moldova is among Europe’s poorest and least-visited countries. If your travels take you to Moldova, you can lower the costs of your trip by investing in a prepaid local SIM card. This can cut costs on voice, SMS and data usage.

In order to help you make the best selection for your prepaid SIM card needs in Moldova, finder.com offers the following guide to the nation’s telco operators.

Details Features
Flexiroam X International SIM Card
Flexiroam X International SIM Card
If you're planning a trip that includes multiple countries, attaching flexiroam X can be much cheaper than roaming with your existing mobile number or buying a new SIM in each location.
  • Over 100 countries
  • Three different starter pack options
  • Data options from 1 to 5 GB
  • Shipment takes 3 to 5 days
  • Pay as you go plans
Go to site

Prices last updated October 2017

Rules and regulations for Moldova mobile networks

Moldova is one of the few countries in Europe that does not require any form of identification document to purchase a prepaid SIM card. Because Moldova is not a party of the European Union (EU) or the European Economic Area (EEA), it’s not part of the “Roam-Like-at-Home” protocol that began in the summer of 2017. Therefore, using your own country’s network in Moldova could lead to high roaming charges.

Mobile network operators in Moldova

There are three mobile network operators in Moldova:

  • Moldcell
  • Unité
  • Orange

You can get a prepaid SIM card with MDL30 credit and 1GB of data for 7 days for MDL55 (US$3.19).

Moldcell

Moldcell is second in market share in Moldova to Orange, but Orange does not allow prepaid customers to use its 4G/LTE network. So Moldcell becomes the top choice for visitors to the country.

Its prepaid SIM card offering is called “Cartelã Moldcell” and costs MDL30 with MDL30 credit. It’s available at Moldcell stores and retail outlets. In addition, you get 300MB of data up to 4G/LTE, 30 domestic minutes and 300 domestic texts. It renews every month with the same allowances and can be activated by dialing *222*0#.

If you opt not to use a data plan, you must pay a default rate that decreases as you use more data. The default rates are:

  • MDL3.50 per MB up to 10MB
  • MDL3 per MB from 11MB to 70MB
  • MDL2.50 per MB from 71MB to 100MB
  • MDL0.50 per MB for greater than 100MB per day

Moldcell data bundles

The following data bundles are available on 3G and 4G. They are also known as “Pachete Internet”.

PriceData volumeValidityActivation code
MDL10500MB24 hours*202*0#
MDL251GB7 days*202*1#
MDL1050 MB7 days*202*2#
MDL20150MB7 days*202*3#
MDL40500MB7 days*202*4#
MDL601GB30 days*202*5#
MDL802GB30 days*202*6#
MDL1005GB30 days*202*7#
MDL14010GB30 days*202*8#

All packages auto-renew. To cancel a service, text 1 to 5678. To check your remaining balance, dial *444# and select Option 1. The overuse fee is MDL0.50 per MB. If you want to add a social media package, dial *222*1*2# and you’ll receive unlimited access to Facebook, Twitter and two popular local social networking sites, Odnoklassniki and VKontakte, all for MDL15 per month.

APN: internet

Website (in Romanian and Russian): http://www.moldcell.md

Unité

Unité has about 10% of the Moldovan market share. It has a 3G network on 900 and 2100MHz that is compatible with GSM. In 2015, it opened a 4G/LTE network that operates in the capital city of Chișinău on 1800MHz that is available to prepaid users.

Stay away from Unité’s “Connect” cards, as they only work on the CDMA standard. The one that will work for you is the “Cartela Prepay Unité” for either 3G or 4G. For MDL29, you get 200 domestic minutes, 200MB and MDL5 credit for MDL29. Everything is valid for three months.

Unité data bundles

The standard data rate for Unité in Moldova is MDL2.50 per MB. The following data purchases are a better value:

PriceData volumeValidity
MDL15Unlimited24 hours
MDL20500MB30 days
MDL351GB30 days
MDL753GB30 days
MDL1256GB30 days

To activate, dial *200# and choose your package.

APN: internet3g.unite.md or internet.unite.md

Website (in Russian and Romanian): http://www.unite.md/

Orange

Orange has been in business the longest in Moldova and is the market leader with a 61% share. It covers 99% of the country’s population on 2G and 89% of the population on 3G. It started its 4G/LTE network in 2012, but it is no longer offering that service to prepaid customers.

In Moldova, its prepaid card is called Orange Prepay and is sold at Orange stores for MDL30 with MDL30 of credit preloaded. Recharge cards are sold in denominations of MDL30 to MDL200. You can also recharge your card by dialing *144*<PIN code>#. Using the recharge cards gives you free extra data every time you top up. The list of bonus data is as follows:

RechargeMDL30MDL50MDL60MDL100MDL200
Data30MB50MB100MB200MB500MB

Orange data bundles

The following data packages are available at 3G. Outside these packages, Orange’s default data rate is MDL3 per MB.

PriceDataValidity
MDL10250MB1 day
MDL20500MB1 day
MDL501GB30 days
MDL1003GB30 days
MDL1505GB30 days

To activate a daily plan, dial *100*323#. For a monthly plan, dial *100*32#.

APN: wap.orange.md

Website (in Russian and Romanian): http://www.orange.md

Prepaid SIM cards in Transnistria

Transnistria is a self-proclaimed state but considered a part of Moldova by the United Nations. Moldova recognizes it as an autonomous territorial unit. Transnistria has its own operator: Interdnestrcom (IDC). It uses CDMA in 2G and EVDO for 3G. It has started an LTE network in major areas but hasn’t released it for prepaid SIM cards as of yet. Because of its small geographic size, which is about 1,600 square miles and very narrow in width, many users suggest you will still probably be able to use your Moldova-bought SIM card in Transnistria without losing much of the signal. Users from Ukraine, Transnistria’s neighbor to the north, report likewise. If you have to stay in Transnistria for an extended period of time, buying a CDMA-compatible device is your best bet. This is the only region in Europe without its own GSM or UMTS coverage.

Website (in English): http://www.idknet.com/en/

Advice from TripAdvisor about SIM cards in Moldova

In addition to being an online review platform for hotels and attractions, TripAdvisor has an impressive online community of members. Here’s some advice from recent visitors to Moldova:

You can easily buy a SIM card (no ID required as a rule) in Chisinau or other big cities. There are several providers in Moldova, but the prices are almost the same. You may not want to call to other countries using the Moldovan SIM card, though, as it is quite expensive.”

Pros and cons of Moldova’s top SIM card operators

Moldova has three major SIM card providers. Here are some of the positives and negatives about these companies.

Pros

  • Orange recharge cards offer data bonuses.
  • Modcell has a 7-day bundle that contains a full 1GB of data.

Cons

  • Orange does not extend its 4G/LTE network to prepaid customers.
  • Unité does not have a fallback 2G network.
Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.
Go to site