Use a local SIM card to reduce roaming rates.
Using your mobile phone abroad can be expensive, so consider switching to a local SIM card to take advantage of better deals, plans and tariffs. Bosnia and Herzegovina has some of the cheapest prepaid SIM cards in the world, deals that can dramatically reduce your bills. You can buy 1GB of data for as little as BAM3 (AUD$2). So, whether you’re planning a holiday to the Balkan nation or a tour around Europe, check out the best SIM card options available on finder.com.au.
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There are three main mobile phone operators in Bosnia and Herzegovina: BH Telecom, m:tel and HT Eronet. All operators are trusted providers and go through a strict approval process before being allowed to operate in the country. According to OpenSignal’s connectivity report, Bosnia and Herzegovina offers 3G or better availability in 74.05% of the country, and has a strong mobile phone network around the main cities and towns.
Bosnia and Herzegovina’s operators offer very good roaming rates and sell prepaid credit, which allow users to take advantage of their cheap offers and deals. Bosnia and Herzegovina is not part of the EU or EAA, so although they provide very good rates inside the country once you venture out things can get expensive. EU roaming rates don’t apply. All networks offer customers 2G and 3G services but 4G is yet to be launched. Locals call their SIM cards SIMs and there are no rules and regulations when purchasing them. Tourists can buy SIM cards from authorised dealers, supermarkets, or at Sarajevo International Airport.
BH Telecom is Bosnia and Herzegovina’s leading network provider with more than a 45% market share. 2G is run on 900 and 1800 MHz, and 3G on 2100/900 MHz. 4G/LTE has not yet received a commercial launch.
BH Telecom offers the Ultra prepaid SIM card. It can be purchased for BAM5 from official stores, supermarkets, post offices, kiosks, newsagents. The SIM includes a starter bonus of 300MB mobile Internet traffic and BAM3 credit for seven days. There are several Ultra plans on offer. If you dial 1204 and switch over to Ultra Surfa, the standard default rate is lower. The standard default data rate on Ultra is BAM0.80 per MB, on Ultra Surfa it drops to BAM0.04-0.10 per MB depending on how much data you have.
As mentioned above, all Internet data is billed at a standard default rate of BAM0.80 per MB. The following Buy & Surf high-speed deals (up to 3.6MBit/s) can be added to the Ultra SIM cards:
|50MB||1 day||BAM0.50||Dial *108*1*0# to activate|
|250MB||BAM2||Dial *108*2*0# to activate|
|500MB||10 days||BAM7||Dial *108*3*0# to activate|
|30 days||BAM10||Dial *108*4*0# to activate|
|1GB||1 day||BAM3||Dial *108*7*0 to activate|
|10 days||BAM10||Dial *108*5*0# to activate|
|30 days||BAM13||Dial *108*6*0# to activate|
|3GB||30 days||BAM23||Dial *108*8*0# to activate|
Dial *108*[1-8 activation code]*1# to get balance.
Ultra tourist SIM:
BH Telecom launched the Ultra Tourist SIM to cater especially for people visiting Bosnia and Herzegovina:
- Ultra Tourist 1: BAM20 - 5GB data. BAM5 credit for domestic and international calls. SMS valid for 10 days.
- Ultra Tourist 2: BAM40 - 15GB data. BAM10 credit for domestic and international calls. SMS valid for 30 days.
Data-only SIM card:
The Ultra Internet data-only SIM card can be purchased for BAM5, and only allows data and SMS usage. Upon purchasing, credit of BAM3 for BH Telecom SMS services and 300MB of data valid for seven days is activated. Send an empty SMS to 06111080 to activate. The Ultra Internet Special Edition is also available for BAM10, which includes 2GB of data for 10 days and BAM3 worth of credit, valid for 30 days.
Happy is a well-known MVNO run through the BH Telecom network. Happy’s SIM cards are available for BAM2 and can be purchased at most supermarkets and stores. The standard default rate is BAM0.15 per MB.
Happy offer three data packages:
- 200MB for 24 hours - BAM0.50 – Dial *101*2*0# to activate
- 500MB for 7 days - BAM3 KM – Dial *101*3*0# to activate
- 2GB for 30 days - BAM10 KM – Dial *101*4*0# to activate
Dial *101*[2-4 of activation code]*1# to check balance.
m:tel is the second largest provider with a 41% share, but the most popular with younger users due to its good deals and plans. 2G and 3G networks are available but 4G has not yet been launched.
m:tel’s Frend is their prepaid SIM card option. Basic starter packs cost BAM4, which will come with the same amount of credit. The standard default rate is BAM0.88 per MB, but the following packages can be added to boost data:
- BAM1.20 - 100MB valid for 24 hours
- BAM2.30 - 500MB valid for 24 hours
- BAM3.5 - 1GB valid for 7 days
- BAM11.70 - 1GB valid for 30 days
Dial *100# to activate.
m:tel’s Frend Net SIM is solely meant for Internet usage. It can be purchased for BAM4, which includes BAM4 credit and 200MB data. The standard default rate is BAM0.15 per MB. The following data plans can be added, valid for 30 days:
- 250MB - BAM5.85
- 1GB - BAM11.70
- 2GB - BAM17.55
Dial *100*5# to activate.
m:tel provides special tourist packages specifically designed for visitors to Bosnia and Herzegovina. m:tel’s Tourist Ino Min & Net plan can be purchased for BAM25, which includes 30 bonus minutes for calls to most European countries and Russia (check the countries on offer, they sometimes change), valid for seven days. You also receive BAM1 credit valid for 30 days and 5GB of data. m:tel’s data-only package Tourist Net can also be purchased for BAM10, which comes with BAM1 of credit and is valid for 30 days.
Go! free is a new MVNO run through the m:tel platform. The Go! free starter SIM card is sold for BAM4, which includes the same amount of credit, valid for 30 days. Top-ups can be purchased for BAM2, 3, 5, 10 and 20, valid for 10-90 days. Send an SMS or dial *777# to activate the SIM card.
The standard default data rate is BAM0.12 per MB, and the following plans can be added:
|GO! Net 1GB||- 1GB||valid for 24 hours||- BAM1|
|GO! Net 2GB||- 2GB||valid for 7 days||- BAM3|
|GO! Net 3GB||- 3GB||Valid for 30 days||- BAM10|
Dial *777# to activate.
HT Eronet is the smallest provider in Bosnia and Herzegovina with only a 14% market share. Prepaid SIM cards can be purchased in most shops and supermarkets. Data is not automatically activated on the SIM card, so text GPRS to 0633807 to activate.
HT Eronet’s !hej prepaid SIM cards can be purchased for BAM9, which includes BAM5 of credit and another BAM4 after officially registering the card. The standard default rate is BAM0.15 per 100 KB. The following data packs can be added to !hey Zovino, !hey SMSajmo and !hey Ludito SIM cards:
- 200MB for 1 day, until midnight - BAM1 – Dial *103*1# to activate
- 400MB for 7 days - BAM3 – Dial *104*1# to activate
- 1GB for 30 days - BAM10 – Dial *105*1# to activate
There are also two monthly prepaid packs on the !hej Savršena SIM card. The standard default rate on !hej Savršena is BAM0.09 per 100 KB. Dial *102*0# to activate.
1) BAM10 – 200MB, 150 domestic texts and 80 domestic minutes
2) BAM20 – 500MB, 300 domestic texts and 200 domestic minutes
Additional data can be added:
- 500MB, valid for five days - BAM2 – Dial *106*1# to activate
- 1GB, valid for seven days - BAM3 – Dial *107*1# to activate
The "!hey internet 2GO" data-only SIM can be purchased for BAM10. The standard default rate is BAM0.10 per MB. The following data packages can be added:
- Internet D: 1GB, valid for 1 day until midnight - BAM3 – Dial *113*1# to activate
- Internet M: 1GB, valid for 30 days - BAM10 – Dial *115*1# to activate
- Internet L: 4GB, valid for 30 days - BAM20 – Dial *116*1# to activate
Dial *11[number of activation]*2# check balance.
haloo (run through ET Eronet)
haloo is a MVNO run through the HT Eronet platform. Their starter SIMs can be purchased for BAM4. The default standard data rate is BAM0.50 per MB. Text GPRS to 064 450 0001 to activate, and check to make sure the APN is web.haloo.ba.
haloo have three data packs on offer:
- BAM1 - 1GB for 24 hours – Dial *115*1# to activate
- BAM3 - 1GB for 7 days – Dial *116*1# to activate
- BAM8 - 2GB for 30 days – Dial *117*1# to activate
Dial *11[5 to 7 activation code]*2# to check data balance.
- Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian are all spoken in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Download Google Translate onto your phone before you travel for help with these languages. Although the younger people can speak some English, it’s not widely spoken. Make sure you can find someone to communicate with who understands what you want.
- Locals call a SIM card a SIM.
- Ask the seller to set up the SIM for you. If not, follow the instructions we have highlighted above or go to the official operator website to seek advice.
- Get up early to beat the crowds and to receive the best assistance in store!
While it’s well known for hotel, flights and holiday bookings, TripAdvisor has many user comments that can help guide you through SIM cards that have been tried and tested in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Here are some top tips from TripAdvisor users:
- “Most calls will be made to people in and around Banja Luka. Since most people in Banja Luka use m:tel as their mobile operator, m:tel would be your best option”
- “The biggest telecom operator in Bosnia is m:tel. You also have BH Telecom and Eronet. My suggestion is m:tel for a good 3G connection”
- “Be careful of the APN settings on your phone. Perhaps your phone will figure out how to setup the APN automatically. If not, you might want to figure out how to do that yourself ahead of time because it can be a problem”
- “m:tel seems to get great reception all over the country. The SIM I bought cost only about USD$3, very cheap”
All networks require you to have a SIM-unlocked GSM compatible mobile phone. To double check you have this phone or if it can be unlocked, contact your provider before you leave.
- Good value for money
- Bosnia and Herzegovina has good coverage
- Prepaid credit when required
- No in-store contract needed
- Could be compatible with your current mobile phone
- No mobile phone devices offered with the SIM card packages
- Can only be used on SIM-unlocked GSM phones
- Not part of the EU so roaming around Europe could be expensive
Q: What about other providers in Bosnia and Herzegovina?
A: There are three more operators in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Go free!, Haloo and Happy time, that are MVNOs on the other networks we have mentioned. They also offer good plans and deals, so we advise you to really do your homework to work out which SIM card option is the best fit for you. We have included some of their packages above, but check promotions and new deals that can crop up at any time.