Reduce your Serbian roaming charges with a local SIM card.
After the political and military battles that dominated the landscape during the 1990s and early 2000s, Serbia has found peace and is a country on the rise, currently in negotiations to join the EU. If you are travelling to Serbia, you can cut down on your travel expenses by investing in a local prepaid SIM card. This can reduce the costs of data, SMS messages and phone calls outside of your home network.
In order to help you make the best selection for your prepaid SIM card needs in Serbia, finder.com.au offers the following guide to the nation’s telco operators.
There are three mobile network operators:
- mts (Telekom Srbija)
- vip (Telekom Austria)
All three networks have 4G/LTE. Telenor released data in 2007 showing it had 90% of the population and 60% of the territory covered by its 4G network.
Overall, vip claims 66% coverage of the population, followed by mts at 52%. You can purchase a prepaid SIM card for RSD500 (AUD$6.38) that includes RSD25 of credit with 1GB of data for 7 days.
Buying a card online is only possible if you have a Serbian ID. Otherwise, there are Telenor stores throughout Serbia where you can purchase one by showing your passport. Kiosks are supposed to make you show your ID as well, but they don’t always do that and you can use cash to buy one. The initial card costs RSD300 and gets you seven days of unlimited voice minutes within the Telenor network, as well as 1GB of data. When you top up the first time, you’ll get a bonus of 100 domestic minutes for any network.
Recharge vouchers range between RSD200 and RSD1,000. They are good for 30 days plus a 90-day charging period. Recharging online is limited to a few credit cards, mostly Serbian in origin. However, you can top up on the third-party website Ding with any form of international payment, although extra fees may apply. If you fail to top up after 90 days, any credit left on your card will be deleted. If you don’t top up in the 90 days after that, your phone number will be disconnected from your account.
You cannot access the Internet without a data package when using Telenor. All new prepaid packages come with unlimited access to Facebook that is good for six months without draining your available data.
Telenor data packages
The following packages include unlimited voice minutes on the network, plus data:
|“Dan Interneta”- Internet Day||RSD30||50MB||30 days|
|Klik S||RSD195||200MB||30 days|
|Klik M||RSD295||500MB||30 days|
|Klik L||RSD395||1GB||30 days|
|Klik XL||RSD595||3GB||30 days|
|KLIK XL||RSD995||10GB||30 days|
To activate the Day Internet package, text “Da” (Yes) to 3282.
To activate the rest, text the name to 9000 or *111#. All packages are set to auto-renew.
Telenor also offers six data-only SIMs that can be activated by texting the code to 9000.
|RSD5,000||4GB + a 3G|
mobile hot spot
|RSD395||1GB||30 days||Internet 1|
|RSD595||3GB||30 days||Internet 3|
|RSD995||10GB||30 days||Internet 10|
APN: internet, and website: http://www.telenor.rs/en/consumer/
mts is the wireless component of Telekom Srbija. Not only does it cover Serbia but parts of Kosovo as well. You can use mts in Kosovo without roaming charges. The mts prepaid card is called “moj pripejd” and can be bought at mts stores along with chain newsstands including Moj Kiosk and Corner Shop. The initial purchase is RSD300 for a voice and data SIM card that comes with a preloaded RSD25 credit. Buying the card awards you three bonuses if you activate the welcome bonus by dialling *100#:
- 1GB of domestic Internet traffic
- 10,000 in-network voice minutes
- 10,000 domestic SMS
You will also receive another 1GB of data, good for 7 days, every time you top up.
Speaking of top-ups, you can’t do it unless you are physically in Serbia or happen to have a Serbian credit card in your wallet. You have to go to a vendor and tell them your phone number. They will recharge your account electronically. Your credit is valid for 90 days after your last top-up while the SIM card itself is valid for 12 months after its activation date or the last time you topped it up. The minimum top-up amount is RSD200.
mts data packages
The default rate for data on mts is RSD6/100KB. On the plans below, text the activation code to 687 to purchase.
There are also social media packages available that can be activated by dialling *100#. Once you activate them, their volume will not count against your data allowance. Prices are as follows:
|Triple Pack of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter||RSD299|
There are also data-only SIMs called “Pripejd Mobilni Net”. You can use SMS on these cards but not voice. They are sold for RSD300 with an initial credit of 500MB for 30 days.
Every time you top up for at least RSD300, you get a 100% bonus on data. If you top up for less than RSD300, the bonus is 50% for 30 days. You must top up at least RSD900 every 90 days to keep the SIM active.
A pair of Tourist SIMs aimed at foreign visitors have also come online and are sold in mts stores: Tabac Press and Maxim. Both cards are 4G/LTE capable. Their details are:
- Tourist SIM: For a cost of RSD600, you get unlimited 4G/LTE access for three 24-hour Internet sessions. Each session begins when you first go online and lasts for 24 hours whether you are active or not. Dial *300# to add another 24 hours for RSD250.
- Super Tourist SIM: For a cost of RSD1,800, you get 10GB of data up to 4G/LTE along with 30 international voice minutes and 120 intra-network minutes valid for 30 days. If you dial *300#, you can add 3GB for RSD600 or 5G for RSD900, both for 7 days.
APN: mtsinternet or 3gnet, and website (in Serbian): http://www.mts.rs
vip, a product of Telekom Austria, has good coverage despite being third in market share in Serbia. Its 4G/LTE market opened in 2016 for prepaid users.
You can buy vip’s prepaid SIM cards at its outlets and name-brand stores for RSD350. The cards include 1,000 vip minutes and SMS for 7 days along with 20 international SMS. The card is also good for 4GB of data. You can activate the card by dialling *123#. If you want 4G coverage, make sure you ask for a 4G-enabled SIM card. The card is valid for 13 months. Each time you top up, you get it extended another 13 months.
vip data bundles
For regular voice and data SIM cards, the following data plans are available.
|Price||Data volume||Validity||Activation code|
|RSD39||100MB||1 day||3 to 123524|
|RSD50||50MB||7 days||1 to 123554|
|RSD140||150MB||7 days||2 to 123554|
|RSD200||1GB||7 days||4 to 123554|
|RSD300||4GB||7 days||“Da” to 123605|
These packages do not auto-renew.
vip also offers two data-only SIMs, three additional top-ups for those SIMs and a recently added Tourist SIM:
- RSD300 for 500MB for 30 days
- RSD2,590 for 5GB for 30 days
- RSD500 for 1GB
- RSD1,000 for 2GB
- RSD1,500 for 3GB
APN: vipmobile, and website: http://www.vipmobile.rs/
Advice from TripAdvisor about SIM cards in Serbia
In addition to being an online review platform for hotels and attractions, TripAdvisor has an impressive online community of members. Here’s some advice from recent visitors to Serbia:
“Pay attention to the size of the card. If they do not have a micro-SIM card, you can go to any mobile phone service, which Belgrade has in every place, and ask them to cut your SIM card, It'll cost you EUR1-EUR2.”
Pros and cons of Serbia’s top SIM card operators
Serbia has three major SIM card providers. Here are some of the positives and negatives about these companies.
- Telenor’s 4G network covers 90% of the population.
- You can use mts in parts of Kosovo without incurring roaming charges.
- Telenor cards can only be bought online if you have a Serbian ID.
- The Tourist SIMS provided by vip and mts are not the best deals provided by either company and appear designed to get tourists to buy sub-optimal packages.