Traveling to a foreign country can be daunting, especially when it comes to staying connected. Having access to mobile data and making local calls is invaluable for using maps, translation apps, ride-shares and keeping in touch back home.
For many travelers to Kazakhstan, buying a local SIM card is the most convenient and cost-effective option. This guide will provide you with everything you need to know about getting connected with Kazakhstan SIM cards
Table of Contents
I. Should I Buy a New SIM Card for My Kazakhstan Trip?
1. Yes, You Should Buy Local Kazakhstan SIM Cards
For short-term visitors to Kazakhstan, purchasing a local prepaid SIM card is highly recommended over roaming with your home SIM. Here are some of the key benefits of getting a new Kazakhstan SIM card for your trip:
- Avoid expensive roaming charges – Roaming fees from your home provider can be very costly. Local SIMs provide cheap local call rates and mobile data.
- Gain access to fast mobile data – SIM cards give you access to the fast 4G networks in Kazakhstan for internet connectivity. This is useful for maps, translation, social media, calling apps etc.
- Make cheap local and international calls – Local SIMs allow you to make inexpensive calls within Kazakhstan. Some providers also offer cheap calls to other countries.
- Access to local phone numbers – Having a local number can be useful for reserving restaurants, coordinating meetups and signing up for local services and apps.
- Flexibility – You can choose how much data, minutes and SMS you need beforehand with prepaid SIM plans. Top up or switch plans anytime.
Unless you will primarily be in very rural areas, getting Kazakhstan SIM cards is recommended over relying on public WiFi or roaming from your home carrier. The convenience of always being connected outweighs the small upfront cost.
2. What Kind of Phone Do I Need for a Kazakhstan SIM Card?
To use Kazakhstan Sim cards, your phone needs to be unlocked from any specific carrier and compatible with GSM networks. GSM is the widely used cellular technology in Kazakhstan by major providers such as Beeline, Kcell and Tele2.
If you are unsure whether your device supports GSM networks or is unlocked, you can contact the phone’s manufacturer. You can also check with the location where you intend to purchase your Kazakhstan SIM card, and they can let you know if your phone is suitable. Speaking to them will help advise you on what type of phone can use a SIM on the local networks before making your purchase.
Tips: Make sure your phone is unlocked before departing for your trip, as there might be charges connected to unlocking it from your current carrier.
II. Kazakhstan SIM Card Types – Which One is the Best for Tourists?
|Type of SIM Card
|Voice & Data
|Must insert into device SIM slot. Requires finding and purchasing local SIM.
|Voice & Data
|Remotely installed on supported devices. Convenient without physical SIM.
|Cheaper option for those who only need internet access.
|Voice & Data
|Specifically designed data packages for travelers with short validity (1-30 days) and good value bundled data.
- Finding a local SIM physical SIM card requires and electronic SIM (eSIM) can be remotely installed.
- There are two types of SIMs, namely data-only SIM and voice & data SIM which offer complete calling & SMS service.
- The tourist SIM provides travelers with competitive short term data rate in-locality.
Briefly, eSIM package is the most appropriate one among a range of others for their journey to Kazakhstan. eSIMs are the most convenient, because these are easily connected by skipping buying of additional physical SIM cards. Providers such as GIGAGO provide guaranteed coverage on top networks in Kazakhstan.
III. How Much Data is Enough for a Prepaid Tourist SIM Card for Kazakhstan?
Here are some guidelines for picking the right data allowance in Kazakhstan:
1. Light Usage:
Stays up to 1 week
Usage includes basic mapping, messaging, light browsing
Recommended data: 1-3GB
2. Moderate Usage:
Stays 1-2 weeks
Usage includes social media, photos, video calls, some streaming
Recommended data: 5-8GB
3. Heavy Usage:
Stays 2+ weeks exploring fully
Frequent photos/videos, navigation, online purchases
Usage includes streaming media, online gaming, remote work
Recommended data: 10-15GB
Planning within these estimated ranges ensures different digital needs are sufficiently met without overpaying for unused data if usage patterns change from original plans. Tourists can select a suitable package depending on anticipated usage intensity during their trip to Kazakhstan.
Tips: Consider how you normally use your phone while traveling to estimate. Add a buffer for unexpected map usage when lost. It’s easier to top up more data later than run out mid-trip.
IV. How Much Does a Kazakhstan SIM Card Cost?
The cost of a prepaid SIM card in Kazakhstan depends on a few factors:
|25 GB, 30 days
|35 GB, 30 days
|Unlimited data, 30 days
|2 GB, 30 days
|4 GB, 30 days
|8 GB, 30 days
|7 GB, 30 days
|13 GB, 30 days
|18 GB, 30 days
|33 GB, 30 days
|44 GB, 30 days
As a baseline, most tourists can expect to pay around 2000-8000 KZT ($5-$18 USD) for a prepaid SIM in Kazakhstan with a moderate amount of data, minutes and texts valid for 2-4 weeks.
The major operators like Beeline and Kcell run frequent promotions where you can get free activation, bonus data or call minutes. Buying your SIM at the airport when you arrive is usually more expensive than shopping around locally. Doing some research and comparing deals can save you money.
V. Kazakhstan eSIM – Alternative to Physical SIM Cards
In addition to physical SIM cards, some providers in Kazakhstan also offer eSIMs. An eSIM is a digital SIM profile that is stored on your phone’s internal eSIM chip rather than a plastic SIM card. Another way is to stay connected while exploring this beautiful country with an eSIM data plan from esimkazakhstan.com by GIGAGO.
Travelling internationally usually means high roaming fees to use your regular phone plan. But with esimkazakhstan.com’s Kazakhstan eSIM plans, you can avoid roaming charges and access fast 4G/5G data on local cellular networks at affordable rates.
Some key benefits of esimkazakhstan.com’s eSIM plans include:
- Wide range of plan durations from 3 days to 30 days to suit your trip length
- Generous data allowances from 3GB up to 10GB per package
- Instant activation – get your eSIM delivered digitally within minutes of purchase
- Works on all major eSIM compatible smartphones including latest iPhone and Samsung Galaxy models
- Easy self-installation – just scan the QR code and you’re connected
- Reliable coverage across Kazakhstan through partner cellular networks
- 24/7 customer support via phone, email and live chat
Traveling to Kazakhstan and other countries? Check out esimkazakhstan.com’s eSIM plans for Kazakhstan, Russia, Uzbekistan and more. Enjoy up to 90% savings on roaming costs versus your regular carrier.
Start exploring Kazakhstan freely with esimkazakhstan.com! Buy an eSIM plan today and receive it instantly by email for hassle-free setup.
VI. Where to Buy a Kazakhstan SIM Card?
Prepaid SIM cards from major providers like Beeline and Kcell are easy to find in Kazakhstan. Here are some of the best places to purchase your SIM:
- Airports – Almaty and Nursultan airports have SIM card kiosks and shops right in the arrivals area. Prices tend to be inflated so shop around if possible.
- Local SIM shops – Nearly all cities have dedicated SIM card shops usually located near transportation hubs. Helpful sales staff can get you set up.
- Mobile carrier stores – Official Beeline, Kcell etc stores also sell SIMs with reliable service.
- Supermarkets – Some major supermarkets like Magnum carry prepaid SIMs near the checkout area. Limited help available.
- Hotels – Many hotels sell SIM cards or can arrange delivery for you. Prices are sometimes higher.
When purchasing, have your passport ready for identification and know the size of the SIM you need for your phone (standard, micro, nano). Most sellers can set up and activate your SIM right away. Buying directly in Kazakhstan is cheaper than pre-ordering online.
Obviously the best thing you can do to connect online while in Kazakhstan is to purchase a prepaid SIM card locally. It will allow you convenient and constant connectivity throughout your trip. We recommend purchasing your Kazakhstan tourist SIM from an official retail shop rather than airport kiosks, as packages offered at airports tend to be more expensive.
You can explore kiosks or phone shops in city centers if you prioritize affordable pricing and don’t mind the potential delays in activation that sometimes occur when initially purchasing SIM cards after arrival in Kazakhstan. Official retail stores provide SIMs that are readily activated.
VII. How to Use Kazakhstan SIM
1. How to activate and use your new Kazakhstan SIM cards
Activating and using your new Kazakhstan SIM cards is very straightforward:
- Purchase your SIM – Bring passport and cash/card to retailer. Select data + minutes/text allowance. Pay activation fee if applicable.
- Activate your SIM – Staff can assist with setup and activation. Provide passport details. SIM will activate shortly.
- Insert SIM – Switch off phone, insert SIM, switch phone back on. Wait for it to configure.
- Top up – When data runs low, you can top up by purchasing prepaid vouchers (‘etzet’) from shops and kiosks. Enter code into phone.
- Manage account – Dial *105# to check remaining data, minutes & expiry. Or use provider app.
- Optional: Change language to English in phone settings. 4G/LTE works automatically.
That’s all there is to it! Having mobile data, cheap calls and texts in Kazakhstan is as simple as purchasing a prepaid SIM card on arrival. Enjoy being conveniently connected.
2. Some other facts about IMEI registration rule and Dialing rules for calls
IMEI registration rule
- Since 2018, Kazakhstan requires all foreigners using local SIM cards to register their device IMEI numbers with their passport information in a government database.
- From 2019, all devices using Kazakh SIM cards must be registered, with exceptions for roaming/M2M devices. Nationals must link their national ID and foreigners their passport to mobile accounts.
- During initial network connection, the device IMEI and identification are submitted for registration. The device is then locked to that identification and SIM card.
- To use the device with another SIM/identification, the original registrant must visit an operator store with ID to unlink it. Device sharing through SIM swapping is now difficult.
Dialing rules for calls
- The international dialing prefix for Kazakhstan is 8-10, followed by country code. Domestic/in-country long distance is prefix 8 only.
- Kazakhstan uses the Russian country code +7 for calls to/from Russia, bypassing other codes.
- Call cards sold locally provide PINs to access lower international calling rates in English.
VIII. Best Mobile Operators for Kazakhstan SIM Cards
There are several mobile network operators in Kazakhstan, but a few major providers dominate the prepaid SIM card market:
|Price Range for SIM Card
|Extensive coverage across major cities and towns. Fair coverage in rural areas.
|$2-4 for starter pack. $0.02-0.40 per month for plans.
|Wide selection of plans. Good 4G speeds.
|Customer service can be unreliable.
|Yes, selected plans supported.
|Strong coverage in large cities and major highways. Patchy coverage in rural areas.
|$1-2 for starter pack. $0.01-0.10 per month for plans.
|Affordable prices. Large data allowances.
|Network speed and reliability varies.
|Yes, limited selection of plans.
|Nationwide coverage along major transport routes. Sparse coverage in remote areas.
|$2-4 for starter pack. $0.03-0.60 per month for plans.
|High-speed 4G. Large international roaming network.
|Can be more expensive than competitors.
|No, eSIM currently not
For most prepaid tourist SIMs, Beeline or Kcell are the best options in terms of network coverage and reliability. But shop around for deals and check coverage maps for your destinations within Kazakhstan before deciding.
IX. Tips for Saving Data for Kazakhstan SIM Card
To get the most out of your prepaid Kazakhstan SIM cards data allowance follow these tips:
- Disable auto-play – Stop videos/music playing automatically on social media and streaming apps. Hugely cuts data.
- Download offline Google Maps – For your destination so you can navigate without using data. Updates periodically via WiFi.
- Connect to WiFi networks – Use WiFi in your hotel, at restaurants and cafes whenever possible.
- Limit streaming – Stream high bandwidth video/music sparingly. Download first if possible.
- Stop background app refresh – Disable auto data-use from apps running in the background.
- Monitor usage – Check your remaining data balance (*105#). Stop heavy usage if running low.
- Limit firmware/app updates – Avoid large updates over mobile data. Only do them when on WiFi.
- Switch to 2G mode – Slow but uses much less data. Good for minimal use like messaging apps.
- Extend validity – Before your SIM expires, top up to add more days of validity.
- Buy adequate data – Plan ahead and purchase ample data for your trip to avoid needing to top up regularly.
Following these tips will help you prudently manage your prepaid SIM data in Kazakhstan. Use WiFi whenever possible and limit streaming to essentialize your usage and avoid costly overages.
Do I need to show my passport to get Kazakhstan SIM cards?
Yes, you need to show your original passport at the point of purchasing your SIM in order to register it.
Can I use 4G/LTE on Kazakhstan SIM cards?
Yes, Kazakhstan prepaid SIMs have access to the 4G/LTE networks of the local carriers. Speeds will depend on coverage in your area.
How long does it take to activate my Kazakhstan SIM cards?
Most providers activate SIMs instantly in-store when you do the initial purchase and registration. The card should be ready to use within a few minutes.
Can I top up my Kazakhstan SIM card online?
Unfortunately most providers don’t offer online top ups for prepaid tourist SIMs in Kazakhstan. You need to top up in-person at local shops/kiosks by purchasing an ‘etzet’ (prepaid voucher).
Are calls/texts included? Or just data?
Kazakhstan SIMs are very flexible. You can choose plans that are data-only or include various amounts of calling minutes and text messages depending on your needs.
Can I use a Kazakhstan SIM in other countries?
Kazakhstan SIMs only provide cheap rates while in the country. Roaming fees outside Kazakhstan are very expensive, so switch SIMs at the border.
How long are Kazakhstan SIM cards valid for?
Validity ranges from 30 days up to 180 days depending on the plan. To extend, simply top up again before the expiry date. Unused balances carry over.
Do I need to register a Kazakhstan SIM with my passport if I’m transiting the airport?
No, you only need to do identification registration if you are passing immigration and entering Kazakhstan officially. Airside transit use does not require registration.
XI. Final Words
I hope this guide has given you all the key information you need to stay connected with a prepaid SIM card on your travels to Kazakhstan. Purchasing a local SIM is inexpensive, convenient and easy to set up. It allows you to use data affordably on-the-go and avoid pricey international roaming fees.
Beeline and Kcell offer the most reliable service and network coverage for tourists. With your new Kazakhstan SIM, you’ll have access to data speeds fast enough for maps, messaging, ride shares and more. Follow the tips above to manage your usage wisely. Enjoy your travels and stay conveniently connected with the help of a Kazakhstan prepaid SIM card!