High roaming charges can be reduced by investing in a local network operator.
Montenegro is one of the fastest growing tourist destinations in the world. As such, costs are high for accommodation, dining and other attractions. A great way to save money when visiting Montenegro is to invest in a prepaid local SIM card to reduce your data usage and roaming fees. You can get a starter pack with 1GB of data for EUR9.45 (AUD$14.35).Prices last updated: 27/09/2017
You must complete a registration form and show valid identification to purchase a SIM card. There is also an electronic registry of users that began in May 2017. The providers must register every subscriber to fixed, mobile and Internet services.
- Crnogorski Telekom (T-Mobile)
Telenor has 97% coverage on 3G, but only 24% on 4G. 4G became available on prepaid in 2016. Telenor cards are available at both Tivat and Podgorica Airports and at stores across the country. You can find a store closest to your location on the company’s store locator. Their basic pack comes under the name of “Start” or “Sve u 1”. It’s sold for EUR5 with EUR5 credit. The default data rate is EUR0.509/MB with a maximum speed of 21Mbps. The following data packs can be added by accessing “My Menu” on your phone and going to the menus for “Offers” and “Internet Offers”.
Data-only SIM card
Telenor offers a data-only SIM card for EUR9.95 with 10GB of credit that lasts 15 days. If you hit 10GB before the 15-day period ends, you have two choices: Top-up your account, or browse the Internet at a meager 128 Kbps.
In the summer of 2017, Telenor was one of the growing number of companies across Europe to offer a Tourist package. This included 1GB of data for 3 days and cost EUR5 with EUR1 of credit. The company expects to re-release it in 2018.
Crnogorski Telekom (T-Mobile)
T-Mobile no longer has the most users, but still gets high marks. It introduced 4G to its prepaid SIM cards in 2016 and covers about 70% of its users with 4G/LTE. Its SIM cards are called Telekom Prepaid and cost EUR5 with EUR1 prepaid credit. While there are kiosks dotting the country that sell the SIM cards, you still need to register them at a T-Mobile retailer, so it makes more sense to buy one there. Installing a non-registered SIM card in a phone will render it invalid. Top-up vouchers come in denominations of EUR5, EUR10 and EUR20. To activate them, dial *123*<PIN number on voucher>#, then press OK/YES. The default data rate outside of data bundles is EUR0.05/100 KB. The featured data bundles are:
|EUR0.50||100MB||1 day||MO INT1 to 1477|
|EUR2.90||1.5GB||7 days||SURF to 1467|
|EUR3.90||1.5GB||15 days||INT15 to 1467|
|EUR12||5GB||30 days||INT30 to 1467|
If you run out of data before the time frame has elapsed, you can add two further packages:
|EUR2||500MB||7 days||MO INT7 to 1477|
|EUR3||1GB||15 days||MO INT15 to 1477|
Another option is a data-only SIM card that comes as part of a 3G modem stick. The SIM offers 10GB for 30 days for EUR19. There are no voice or text components to this bundle. There’s also a package offering unlimited Internet for 10 days for EUR9.90.
Additional options for the 3G modem stick include:
- EUR1: 1GB, 1 day
- EUR6: 5GB, 7 days
- EUR12: 5GB, 30 days
- EUR10: “Unlimited data” (200GB), 10 days
Website (only in Montenegrin): http://www.telekom.me/
The smallest network in Montenegro, m:tel has limited 2G and 3G coverage and no 4G/LTE coverage. It should be used only as a last resort.
Two starter SIM cards are available at m:tel:
- Hello ONE: EUR1 with EUR1 credit.
- Hello NET: EUR5 with 4GB valid for 15 days.
There are a number of packages available for data and voice and for strictly data. Most of these start at EUR4 with EUR4 credit included. The most popular bundle is called “Hello” and is sold for EUR5 with 4GB of data. You can add an additional 5GB of data for 15 days for EUR4.90.
Advice from TripAdvisor about SIM cards in Montenegro
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 a recent visitor to Montenegro.
“When you buy Telenor's sim card and dial *123#, there is a menu where you choose which offer that is best for you. In your case that's Internet. I just checked on the website it's 3 euros. Ask salesperson at the shop if you need to fill up some application forms.”
An additional question about SIM cards in Montenegro
Q: Is Montenegro part of the EU’s Roam-Like-At-Home plan?
A: No. Montenegro is neither part of the European Union (EU) or the European Economic Area Agreement (eeaa). This means it is not subject to the laws passed in 2017 concerning roaming rates. Those roaming rates from other countries would be enforced in Montenegro. Montenegro is part of a Balkan roaming zone with Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia and Serbia. In July 2017, these countries enacted registration whereby data roaming is capped at EUR0.20 per MB.
Montenegro has two potent SIM card providers battling for customers, while a third is trying to close the gap. Here are some of the positives and negatives about these companies.
- T-Mobile has a plan that goes as high as 200GB over 10 days.
- Telenor’s 3G network extends to 97% of the population.
- m:tel’s network is very limited even on 2G and 3G levels.