Buy a local SIM card and reduce your roaming bills.
The Czech Republic is nestled between Germany and Poland and is one of eastern Europe’s most interesting countries. The country has some reasonably priced local SIM card deals that can help you reduce your phone bill while traveling. You can buy 1.5GB of data from the Czech Republic’s leading telco provider for CZK349 (AUD$18.50). So, whether you’re planning a week-long holiday or month-long tour of eastern Europe, check out the best SIM card options available at finder.com.au.
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There are three main operators in the Czech Republic: T-Mobile, O2 and Vodafone. All operators go through a strict approval process before being allowed to operate in the country and each one competes with the others to offer the best deals. They have all been tried, tested and trusted by locals and international travelers alike and their deals are competitively priced. The Czech Republic has some of the best network coverage in eastern Europe and speeds are good.
Czech Republic operators offer great technology, providing good 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE wireless services. All three operators sell prepaid credit, which allows users to take advantage of cheap offers and deals. The locals call their SIM cards “kartes” or “SIMs” and they can only be purchased from official stores and approved resellers by using your passport. Credit can be purchased from official stores, supermarkets and at the airport. Top-ups can be purchased online by using your credit card. Below, we have broken down each telco provider to highlight exactly what they can offer you during your visit to the Czech Republic.
T-Mobile is the largest operator in the Czech Republic and has good 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE services. Its prepaid SIM card is called Twist and it can be purchased from official stores, approved resellers and online by using your credit card. SIM cards cost CZK200, which includes the same amount of credit plus 100MB data and is valid for 30 days. T-Mobile also offers free SIM cards, which come with CZK10 worth of credit. If you top up with at least CZK300, both SIM cards will give you unlimited T-Mobile calls and 100MB of bonus data, valid for 30 days. Text “NASIM VSITI” to 4603 to activate.
Credit can be purchased from official T-Mobile stores and most retailers, as well as online and at the airport. Top ups are valid for 12 months. Dial *101# to check your credit. The standard default data rate is CZK0.40 per MB. The following packs can also be purchased:
- 25MB valid for one day: CZK24. To activate text “IDEN_A” to 4603.
- 60MB valid for one week: CZK49. To activate text “ITYDEN_A” to 4603.
- 60MB valid for one week, plus unlimited social networking: CZK99. To activate text “ITYDEN_A” to 4603.
- 500MB valid for one month: CZK299. To activate text “IMESIC_A” to 4603.
- 1.5GB valid for one month: CZK349. To activate text “IGIGAPUL_A” to 4603.
T-Mobile also has the lowest EU roaming rates. The following roaming packages are currently available:
- 40MB valid for 24 hours: CZK49. Activate online.
- 200MB valid for 30 days: CZK199. Activate online.
- 500MB valid for 30 days: CZK399. Activate online.
It also sells a data-only SIM card called Twist Online for modems and tablets. The following SIM card options are available:
- SIM-only: CZK200. Comes with the same amount of credit.
- Alcatel Onetouch 4G PLUS and SIM card: CZK1,449. Comes with CZK200 worth of credit.
Both SIMs use data at a rate of CZK0.40 per MB.
O2 is the second largest provider and offers great 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE services. O2 starter packs can be purchased from official stores, approved resellers or online. Nano, standard, mini and micro SIM cards are available.
The following SIM card deals are offered:
- PředplaDENka: CZK199. Comes with CZK200 worth of credit.
- NA!DLOUHO: CZK199. Comes with CZK200 worth of credit.
- NA!VÝBĚR: CZK199. Comes with a 500MB data package valid for 30 days with auto-renew and CSK50 worth of credit.
Text the relevant plan name to 999111 to activate. Credit can also be purchased from official stores, kiosks, petrol stations and supermarkets for CZK200, CZK300 or CZK500 to add to any plan. Dial *124*# to check your balance.
On the PředplaDENkaplan you can add the DEN VOLÁNÍ option, which allows calls to all Czech networks and basic Internet for CZK20 per day (CZK25 with SMS). The following data allowance is valid for this plan:
- 500MB valid for 30 days: CZK150. To activate text “INTERNET” to 999111 (multiple uploads are allowed).
On the NA!VÝBĚRplan, 500MB is included for CZK150 and each multiple upload is only charged at CZK99. The following data packs can be added:
- S: 75MB valid for 7 days for CZK49. To activate text “PR DATA 2”.
- M: 400MB valid for 7 days for CZK89. To activate text “PR DATA 3”.
- L: 1.5GB valid for 30 days for CZK299. To activate text “PR DATA 4”.
- XL: 5GB valid for 30 days for CZK549. To activate text “PR DATA 5”.
Text the activation code to 999111.
Vodafone is the smallest provider in the Czech Republic but it offers good 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE services. It’s extremely popular with the younger crowd because it offers great deals and promotions aimed at that demographic. Shop around for the latest deals because they are updated on a regular basis.
A prepaid starter SIM card be purchased for CZK200 and comes with the same amount of credit. Nano, standard, mini or micro SIM cards are available for GSM phones. SIMs can be activated by inserting them into your phone and entering the 1234 pin code. SIM cards can be purchased at official stores, approved resellers and most retailers. Credit can only be purchased online by using a Czech Republic credit card. However, credit can be purchased from most retailers with either cash or on any credit card. Vouchers are sold for CZK250, CZK500 and CZK1,200. Dial *22# to check your balance.
The following data packs can also be added:
|150MB||CZK99||Text “DATA 150 FIX” to 7700|
|500MB||CZK199||Text “DATA 500 FIX” to 7700|
|1.5GB||CZK349||Text “DATA GB FIX” to 7700|
Vodafone also offers the following tourist SIM cards:
- Data SIM for visitors: 10GB valid for 30 days for CZK800. Unlimited calls to the Vodafone CZ network are included.
- Hotspot for visitors: Unlimited browsing on a MiFi with up to eight devices with options of 2 weeks for CZK800, 4 for weeks for CZK1,000 and 8 weeks for CZK1,500. You must pay a refundable deposit of CZK1,500 for the device.
Some top tips from the finder.com.au staff
- Czech is the official language of the Czech Republic. If you don’t know any Czech then you may want to download Google Translate onto your phone before traveling. However, the Czech Republic is very cosmopolitan and other languages are spoken too. English is taught in all schools and most people can speak it.
- Locals call a SIM card a “karte” or a “SIM”.
- Ask the retailer to set up your SIM card for you, they should know how to do it. If they can’t, follow the instructions we have highlighted above or go to the official operator website to get advice.
- Remember, it’s always better to get things done early before the store get too busy. That way you are more likely to receive better assistance and avoid the crowds.
While TripAdvisor is best known for its reviews, hotel bookings and flights, it also has many user comments that can help guide you through which SIM cards have been tried and tested in the Czech Republic. Here are some top tips from TripAdvisor users:
- “Vodafone offers very cheap prepaid SIM cards for data and you can get them at the airport very quickly. It only takes about five minutes. Keep in mind that your phone needs to be unlocked for other SIM cards to work.”
- “If you arrive by plane, visit the Vodafone store at the airport or check the website. You can also visit the other providers in town, O2 and T-Mobile, which can be found in centers, for example, Vaclav Square or the Palladium Mall.”
- “You can choose between three providers that operate in Czech Republic: O2, T-Mobile and Vodafone. The best thing to do is to visit the providers’ stores and check what they are currently offering.”
All networks require you to have a SIM-unlocked GSM-compatible international phone. To double check whether you have this, or whether it’s possible to unlock your device, contact your provider before you leave.
- Good value for money
- The Czech Republic has good network coverage
- Prepaid credit is available when required
- No in-store contract needed
- SIM card could be compatible with your current phone
- Cheap handsets are sold in store
- No devices offered with the SIM card packages
- SIMs can only be used with SIM-unlocked GSM phones.
Your phone is your lifeline while traveling abroad so keep it safe. If you do happen to lose your handset or if it’s stolen, report it missing and find a replacement as soon as possible. Make sure you jot down the details of the police report so that you can claim any extra costs on insurance when you get home.