Kcell is one of the leading mobile network operators in Kazakhstan. With extensive coverage and fast speeds, Kcell is an excellent choice for tourists visiting Kazakhstan. This guide will provide everything you need to know about using Kcell SIM cards and eSIM when traveling in Kazakhstan.
Table of Contents
I. Quick Facts about Kcell
- Founded in 1996
- Full name: Kcell Communications S.A. de C.V.
- Provides mobile voice, text, and data services
- Over 70 million subscribers
- Covers over 95% of Kazakhstan’s population
- Operates over 8,000 retail stores and kiosks nationwide
II. Why Kcell When You’re Exploring Kazakhstan – Coverage and Speed
1. Kcell Network Coverage in Kazakhstan
With over 228,000 kilometers of fiber optic cable and over 19,000 4G LTE sites, Kcell offers extensive coverage across Kazakhstan. Their network reaches over 2,400 cities and towns, covering 95% of the population.
Kcell’s coverage includes major tourist destinations like Kazakhstan City, Cancun, Cabo, Puerto Vallarta, Guadalajara, Oaxaca, and more. Their network extends along the coasts and throughout the interior. This makes Kcell a great choice for staying connected during your travels.
2. Kcell Speed
In addition to coverage, Kcell also offers fast 4G LTE speeds. Their average download speed is around 20 Mbps, going up to 90 Mbps in some areas. This is generally fast enough for web browsing, streaming, and mobile apps.
Kcell has also begun rolling out 5G service in select cities like Monterrey and Guadalajara. 5G brings even faster speeds, lower latency, and the ability to support more devices simultaneously. As Kcell expands 5G over the coming years, users will benefit from blisteringly fast connectivity.
III. Kcell Connectivity Options for Travelers to Kazakhstan
|Easy to obtain; no device limits
|Must buy before arrival; extra cost if lost
|Can purchase online; no SIM hunting
|Requires compatible device; slightly complex activation
|No commitment; prepaid data
|Must buy before arrival; limited data amounts
|Flexible data plans; buy online
|Data-only; requires compatible device
|Calls/texts included; any device
|Higher upfront cost; must buy before travel
|Shares internet across devices
|Higher daily/weekly cost; relies on mobile data speeds
According to the table, Physical Kcell Sim cards are easiest to obtain but require advance purchase. eSIMs allow online activation to avoid SIM hunting but require compatible devices. Travel SIMs are prepaid but have limited data. Data eSIMs offer flexible data plans online. Local number plans are convenient for calls/texts but cost more. Renting a WiFi router shares the internet across devices but has higher fees. The best option depends on a traveler's specific needs around device compatibility, data amounts, and call/text requirements and whether purchased before or after arrival.
IV. Best Kcell SIM Cards for Tourists & Cost
The table compares 7 prepaid plans from Kcell sim cards in Kazakhstan. Prices range from $0.71 to $19.05. All plans are valid for 30 days except the lowest plan at 7 days.
Data allowance spans from 50 MB on the lowest plan to 20 GB on the highest. Voice minutes range from 30 to 720. SMS limits are between 30 and 1000.
More expensive plans provide more data, minutes and messages. Customers can choose a plan based on expected usage and budget - lower cost plans offer basic connectivity while higher plans deliver more data and call time.
V. Does Kcell Support eSIM in Kazakhstan?
Yes, Kcell launched eSIM support in early 2022. eSIM allows you to digitally download a Kcell plan to your phone instead of using a physical SIM card.
To use Kcell eSIM in Kazakhstan, you’ll need:
- A smartphone that supports eSIM such as newer iPhones, Google Pixel, or Samsung Galaxy models. Make sure eSIM is enabled.
- The Kcell smartphone app installed on your phone.
- An active Kcell account - you can sign up within the app.
If you’re looking for an alternative to using the Kcell network, esimkazakhstan.com by GIGAGO also offers some very convenient eSIM options to consider. esimkazakhstan.com has a variety of affordable eSIM plans for Kazakhstan. Plans include 3, 5, 7, 10 and 15 day options with daily data allowances ranging from 1-3GB.
VI. Where can You Buy an Kcell SIM card and eSIM?
1. Where to Buy Kcell SIM cards in Kazakhstan?
As Kazakhstan’s largest network, it’s easy to find Kcell stores and retailers to purchase Kcell SIM cards. Locations include:
- Kcell stores & kiosks – Found in most cities, at airports, bus stations.
- OXXO & 7-Eleven – Major convenience store chains that sell Kcell SIMs.
- Liverpool department stores
- Phone shops – Ask smaller independent phone retailers if they offer Kcell SIMs.
- Online – Kcell SIM card can be ordered online and shipped to your hotel.
When purchasing, you’ll need to provide your passport to register the Kcell SIM cards. Make sure your phone is unlocked for use on Kcell’s network.
2. Where to Buy Kcell eSIM in Kazakhstan?
Kcell eSIM can be purchased directly from the Kcell smartphone app which is available for iOS and Android devices.
To get started:
- Install the Kcell app on your phone
- Create a Kcell account
- Choose an eSIM plan and enter payment details
- Activate your Kcell eSIM - it will download directly to your phone
Purchasing through the app allows you to get Kcell eSIM before you even arrive in Kazakhstan for maximum convenience.
VII. How to Activate Kcell SIM/eSIM in Kazakhstan?
1. How to Use Kcell SIM Card in Kazakhstan?
Activating Kcell SIM cards is straightforward:
- Insert the SIM card into your unlocked phone. For iPhones, you may need the SIM tool to open the tray.
- Power on your device and allow a few minutes for the SIM to register on the network.
- You may need to manually select Kcell as your cellular network. Go to Settings > Network or Cellular > Carrier.
- Check for the Kcell logo in the top corner of your phone to confirm you’re connected.
- Enter the SIM PIN if prompted – usually found on the SIM card packaging.
Once activated, you can recharge credit or data packages by purchasing top-up cards at stores & kiosks or via the Kcell app.
2. How to Activate Kcell eSIM?
Activating a Kcell eSIM follows these steps:
- Ensure eSIM is enabled on your phone. On iPhones, go to Settings > Cellular > Add Cellular Plan.
- Open the Kcell app and log into your account.
- Choose your eSIM plan and enter payment information.
- Tap activate – the eSIM profile will download to your phone.
- Follow the prompts to install Kcell eSIM as a cellular plan. It should activate within a few minutes.
You can manage and recharge your Kcell eSIM directly within their app during your travels.
VIII. Kcell Call & SMS Rates
|Rates (USD, VAT included)
|On-net calls (per minute)
|Calls to other mobile networks within Kazakhstan (per minute)
|$0.00026 (first minute), $0.0000026 (from second minute onwards)
|Calls to landlines within Kazakhstan (per minute)
|$0.00052 (first minute), $0.00026 (from second minute onwards)
|SMS to on-net numbers
|SMS to other mobile networks within Kazakhstan
|Mobile internet (per 1MB)
|Monthly fee (unlimited on-net calls)
- Rates are listed in USD and include VAT
- Billing increment for calls is 1 second
- Monthly fee provides unlimited on-net calls
IX. Useful USSD Codes for Kcell SIM/eSIM
Kcell offers USSD codes to check your account balance and data usage:
- *123# – Check account balance
- *222# – Check data balance
- *333# – Purchase additional data packs
- *444# – Purchase service days
Dial the code directly on your phone keypad and hit call/send. USSD codes provide a quick way to manage your SIM without installing the app.
X. How to Top-up Kcell SIM/eSIM
When your data or service days run low, you can easily recharge Kcell SIM cards or eSIM using:
- Kcell app – Log in to app and purchase data add-ons or service days with credit/debit card
- Top-up cards – Purchase at OXXO, 7-Eleven, Kcell stores. Scratch card to reveal code.
- Online top-up – Some sites allow topping up a Kazakhstan number online.
- USSD top-up – Dial *444# and follow prompts to add service days.
For heavy data usage, buy a data add-on or upgrade to a plan with more gigabytes. Topping up is instant - new data and service days added directly to your account.
XI. Alternatives to Kcell
1. Other Main Local Mobile Operators
While Kcell is recommended for its excellent coverage, other networks like Movistar and AT&T Kazakhstan could also be considered:
- Beeline – State-owned flagship telecom offering basic nationwide connectivity. Best for rural use.
- Tele2 – Second largest operator with broad coverage.
However, Kcell remains the top choice for tourists thanks to their national coverage, data speeds, and competitive rates. Their prepaid SIM and eSIM options make getting connected straightforward.
A more convenient option is to buy an eSIM plan from esimkazakhstan.com, which is Kazakhstan’s leading eSIM provider powered by GIGAGO. They offer affordable data packages on reliable networks without any contracts or deposits. After purchasing a plan, you will receive an activation QR code via email, which you can scan on your device to connect instantly to GIGAGO’s high-speed network. You don’t need to swap physical SIM cards – just download and go.
These providers can serve as alternatives if you need more specific roaming capabilities or have issues getting data service from certain carriers in certain regions of Kazakhstan during your visit.
XII. FAQs about Kcell
Is Kcell coverage good across all of Kazakhstan?
Yes, Kcell provides excellent coverage in all 32 Kazakhstan states. Their network reaches 95% of the population – including major destinations and rural areas.
How long does a Kcell SIM card or eSIM last?
Kcell prepaid SIMs and eSIMs last for the duration of the plan you choose e.g. 7 days or 30 days. You can recharge to extend service when your plan expires.
Does Kcell have 5G in Kazakhstan?
Kcell has begun rolling out 5G in select Kazakhstan cities so far. 5G coverage is still limited but expanding across Kazakhstan over time. A 4G SIM card will get fast speeds nationwide.
Can I use a Kcell SIM in my locked U.S. phone?
Unfortunately no – U.S. carrier-locked phones will only work on the matching network. You’ll need an unlocked phone to use a Kazakhstan SIM card in Kazakhstan.
How can I contact Kcell support while in Kazakhstan?
You can call *500 from your Kcell phone or reach support via chat/email in the Kcell app. Stores can also help troubleshoot issues.
XIII. Final Words
For hassle-free connectivity across Kazakhstan, a Kcell SIM card or eSIM is your best bet. With excellent coverage, speeds and affordable prepaid options, Kcell makes it easy to stay connected on your Kazakhstan travels. Follow this guide to get set up before your trip or on arrival.