Pakistan_FI

A visitor’s guide to finding the best prepaid SIM cards in Pakistan

Biometric scan required to purchase SIMs in Pakistan.

Pakistan is the 5th most populated country in the world with 207.7 million inhabitants. More than 360,000 Pakistani-Americans call the US home, making Pakistan a popular tourist destination for nationals going home to visit family and friends. If you are traveling to Pakistan, consider investing in a local prepaid SIM card to reduce the costs of your trip. A domestic SIM card can cut down on your roaming charges and data expenses. You can purchase a SIM card with 700MB of data for seven days for PKR75(US$0.71).

Details Features
Flexiroam X International SIM Card
Flexiroam X International SIM Card
Save time and effort by attaching the Flexiroam X ultra-thin microchip to your SIM and enjoy data roaming in over 100 countries.
  • 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
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Prices last updated 10/05/2017
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SIM card regulations in Pakistan

Following the Peshawar School shooting in late 2014, the Pakistani government upgraded security on prepaid SIM cards. In order to purchase them, foreign nationals must give a copy of their passport to store operators, have their picture taken and allow their fingerprints to be scanned. The biometrics (finger and thumb prints) have to be confirmed by the National Database and Registration Authority before a store can sell you a SIM card.

Pakistani network coverage and speed

The last few years have seen an upheaval in Pakistani mobile coverage. Until 2014, only 2G networks existed in the country. There have been upgrades since then, with Mobilink and Telenor covering cities across the country with 3G. Zong and Jazz offer 4G/LTE in the biggest cities. Coverage is still catching up in the large rural areas of Pakistan, as well as the mountains in the north of the country. If you are traveling within Pakistan or will be staying in different regions for a period of time, you might consider following the example of the locals and purchasing more than one brand of SIM card, to see which one works better in which region.

Pakistani network providers

There are four major mobile operators in Pakistan:

  • Zong
  • Jazz
  • Telenor
  • Ufone

We’ve provided some details of all four providers below, in order to help you compare them.

Zong

Zong is owned by China’s Mobile Pakistan and has about one-fifth of the market share. Its 3G coverage is limited, but it started a 4G network in 2014 in seven major cities. As of 2017 it had accrued 2.3 million 4G subscribers, the most of any company in the country.

A Zong SIM can be purchased at any Zong customer service center. The initial cost is PKR500 which includes a call credit of PKR300.

The standard rate for data is PKR1 per MB. The following data packages are available at the prices listed below, regardless of whether the service is 2G, 3G or 4G.

PackagePriceDataValidity
Daily Mini 20MBPKR520MB1 day
Daily Basic 100MBPKR15100MB1 day
Daily Premium 200MBPKR25200MB1 day
Daytime OfferPKR121GB1 day
(4am-4pm)
Good Night OfferPKR61GB1 night
(1am-9am)
Weekly PremiumPKR70700MB7 days
Super Weekly OfferPKR1002GB7 days
Monthly Mini 150MBPKR50150MB30 days
Monthly Basic 500MBPKR150500MB30 days
Monthly PremiumPKR3002GB30 days
Monthly Premium 6GBPKR6006GB30 days
Monthly Premium Plus 10GBPKR1,80010GB30 days
Monthly Premium Plus 20GBPKR3,50020GB30 days
Social Pack DailyPKR10100MB1 day

Activation can occur one of two ways: By dialing *6464# for the menu or by visiting the company website.

APN: zonginternet

Website: http://www.zong.com.pk

Jazz

Jazz, formerly Mobilink, is run by Russia’s Vimpelcom. It appears to have fallen behind Telenor in 3G, but in the past two years has become a solid 4G choice after taking over Warid’s network. It has a convenient shop locator on its website to point you to places where you can buy your SIM card and get verification through the biometric system.

Once you have your card, you can activate it by dialing *443*3# or texting the word SUB to 7003. The following data packages are available for 2G and 3G. Without a package, the standard rate for data is PKR2.39 per MB. In the following table, FB denotes Facebook and WA denotes WhatsApp.

BundlePriceDataValidityActivation Code
Daily SocialPKR530MB for FB, WA24 hours*114*5#
Daily LitePKR1250MB24 hours*117*11#
3 Day LitePKR20100MB3 days*117*1#
Weekly LitePKR50300MB7 days*117*3#
Weekly SmartPKR75500MB + 200MB
for FB, WA
7 days*117*7#
WeeklyPKR1101GB7 days*117*47#
Weekly ExtremePKR701.5GB7 days
(2am-2pm)
*117#14#
Monthly BrowserPKR1601.5GB30 days*117*77#
Monthly LightPKR2503GB30 days*1117**30#
Monthly SmartPKR5006GB30 days*117*30#
Monthly HeavyPKR8008B30 days*117*32#
Late NightPKR15500MB3 nights
(2am-8am)
*114*14#

Bundles do not auto-renew.

APN: jazzconnect.mobilinkworld.com

Website: http://www.jazz.com/pk/

Telenor

This Norwegian product has a faster 3G network and the most 3G customers, although it’s limited to just the cities. Telenor began a 4G/LTE network in August of 2016 that includes Karachi, Lahore, Multan, Peshawar, Swat and Islamabad.

Telenor data bundles

Without bundles, data is charged at PKR15 per 10KB. This makes buying a data bundle essential to save money when you’re traveling in Pakistan. The following packages are all available on 3G.

PriceDataValidityActivation
PKR6500MB1 hour*345*981#
PKR1250MB1 day*345*141#
PKR1575MB1 day*345*131#
PKR35200MB3 days*345*133#
PKR75750MB7 days*345*134#
PKR1001.2GB7 days*345*164#
PKR703GB7 days
(5am-5pm)
*345*144#
PKR1501GB30 days*345*835#
PKR3002.25GB30 days*345*935#
PKR4784GB30 days*345*135#
PKR1,19510.5GB30 days*345*136#

There is also a data-only SIM known as Telenor 3G Connect that includes 2 months of Internet at 20GB per month for PKR2,200. To activate this plan, dial *345*4005#. This also comes with a 3G dongle.

You can migrate your existing Telenor prepaid SIM to the Connect by dialing *345*4006#. This will block voice calls and allow you to pick one of the following data plans:

PriceDataValidityActivation
PKR752GB1 day*345*4000#
PKR3003GB30 days*345*4001#
PKR75010GB30 days*345*4002#
PKR1,10020GB30 days*345*4003#
PKR1,50030GB30 days*345*4004#

APN: internet

Website: http://www.telenor.com/pk

Ufone

Ufone is the smallest of the big four operators in Pakistan. It doesn’t have 4G/LTE as of October 2017. Its prepaid packages go under the name “Talkshawk” and are available at its own retail outlets.

To activate the 3G service, dial *7701#.

Ufone data bundles

Ufone has data packages ranging from an 8-hour night window to a full month. To activate one of the following packages, dial *3# followed by the activation code. In all of the following packages, bandwidth used on Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and Line is free of charge.

PriceDataValidityActivation Code
PKR1040MB1 day*804#
PKR1575MB1 day*8042#
PKR550MB1 day
(1am-9pm)
*810#
PKR105.12GB½ day
(12am-12pm)
*550#
PKR25100MB3 days*3350#
PKR50250MB7 days*7811#
PKR125500MB7 days*7815#
PKR2501.024GB30 days*7807#
PKR5003.096GB30 days*803#
PKR1,00010.24GB30 days*5100#

APN: ufone.ptinternet

Website: http://www.ufone.com

Advice from TripAdvisor about SIM cards in Pakistan

TripAdvisor is well known for its hotel and attraction reviews, but it has forums dedicated just to SIM cards and telco networks as well. Here’s some advice from recent visitors to Pakistan.

“It’s very much possible to buy Pakistani Sim (just need photocopy of your passport). The best and cheapest for international calls is Telenor. Besides that, Jazz, Ufone and Zong have networks all around Pakistan.”

“I’d suggest making sure you get your phone ‘unlocked’ before you arrive if it is currently locked to a provider in your country. Getting foreign phones unlocked in Pakistan isn’t as easy – or quick – as it is in Europe for example.”

“Zong gives brilliant Internet packages. They have also introduced 4G. You can buy the SIM card from the Zong office or from a nearby franchise. I think you can’t buy it in the airport these days. You have to give your CNIC/ passport copy and go through the biometric system It is easy when you buy the SIM card and then cut it into smaller IPhone size and use it.”

Pros and cons of Pakistan’s top SIM card operators

Pakistan has several SIM card operators to choose from when visiting. Most of them are fairly new and have their own strengths and weaknesses. Here are some of the positives and negatives about these companies.

Pros

  • Zong is focusing solely on the 4G market and offering customers a stronger product.
  • Jazz, the merger of Mobilink and Warid, honors top-up cards from all three companies.

Cons

  • Coverage outside of the major cities is spotty and may leave you without any signal at all.
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