Are you traveling to Tajikistan and wondering what is the best way to stay connected? Let this guide help you to pick the best sim card for your trip to Tajikistan. Find below a comparison of the Tajikistan prepaid sim cards, the best e-sim cards for Tajikistan, up to date prices as per August 2023, the best 4G/5G network, my recommendation, where to buy a sim card for Tajikistan, info about international sim cards and everything else you need to know.
Getting connected is the first thing I do when traveling to a new country. In the past I always used to buy a local prepaid sim card on arrival, but more and more I use e-sim cards to stay connected. Since Traveltomtom is already a full time nomad and travel blogger since 2012, buying sim cards and e-sim cards became part of my life, especially since Traveltomtom is also aiming to travel to every country in the world.
That is why you can find already more than 200 sim card guides on Traveltomtom from all over the world: Uzbekistan, Tashkent, Pakistan, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, Istanbul, Turkey, Europe, Italy, Rome, Germany, Vienna, Asia, Hong Kong, Bali, USA, Mexico and many more.
So next time you are planning your adventure abroad come check out Traveltomtom for the latest e-sim card and prepaid sim card advice for your holiday destination. Bookmark me!
Why buying a sim card for Tajikistan
No one wants to get stuck with slow overseas data roaming plans. These data plans from your mobile internet provider in your home country reduce the data speed and are much more expensive than e-sim cards or local prepaid sim cards.
The last thing we want is to get stuck with high data roaming charges, which in 2023 are still ridiculous and providers often charge up to $3 USD per MB, which means opening the Instagram app can easily cost you $100 USD. Not kidding! Always make sure you switch off data roaming when traveling internationally.
Very important when traveling to Tajikistan is to stay connected. Why? What about ordering a taxi through an app (Yandex) or getting directions from Google Maps. Ever thought about what to do in emergencies and not being able to use data on your phone? Or killing time on long rides across the country, accessing your banking apps, etc.
Don’t rely on WiFi in Tajikistan. Don’t expect all hotels and restaurants to have WiFi. And even if so, there is no guarantee your hotel has good and fast WiFi. Also another reminder that being connected to the internet through public WiFi is on an UNSECURED network. The use of a VPN is recommended to protect your data.
Traveltomtom recommends a MegaFon sim card for traveling in Tajikistan.
Normally for Traveltomtom it is very clear what is the best sim card for traveling to a certain country. But for Tajikistan it is a little more difficult. Even after my research and after traveling in Tajikistan myself for 5 days, I am still not 100% sure.
It is most likely that MegaFon has the best mobile data network coverage in Tajikistan. Prices for prepaid sim cards for tourists in Tajikistan are cheap.
Normally Traveltomtom also recommends e-sim cards, but for Tajikistan there are not that many e-sim cards available that are a good alternative for local prepaid sim cards. See below for more info about the best e-sim cards for Tajikistan.
When traveling abroad and visiting more countries on your trip to Central Asia also check out my list of the best International prepaid and e-sim cards for traveling in 2023. These international travel sim cards are valid in multiple countries.
Be aware that foreign sim cards only work in unlocked phones. If your phone is locked then you can’t use an e-sim card, an international prepaid sim card or a local prepaid sim card before unlocking your phone. If you are not sure about this then contact your mobile internet provider in your home country before traveling to Tajikistan.
The best e-sim cards for Tajikistan
Of course are e-sim cards the easiest way to stay connected when traveling to Tajikistan in 2023. But keep in mind they only work in e-sim compatible phones. If your phone is e-sim compatible then you simply order an e-sim card for Tajikistan on the internet, process the payment, receive a QR code, scan it, follow the simple steps and you are connected in just a couple clicks.
Airalo is a trusted e-sim card provider and they have the following Tajikistan e-sim card plans:
- 1 GB data for 7 days = $4.5 USD
- 3 GB data for 30 days = $9.5 USD
- 5 GB data for 30 days = $13 USD
- 10 GB data for 30 days = $21 USD
Click here to order an e-sim card for Tajikistan through Airalo.
At first you might think these data-only e-sim card plans from Sarez Telecom are not that bad. However, Sarez Telecom operates on the 3G network of ZET Mobile, 4G/LTE is not available. Therefore it is not Traveltomtom’s first recommendation to buy an Airalo e-sim card for Tajikistan. These e-sim cards do not support incoming and outgoing calls/sms and data is only valid in Tajikistan.
SimOptions is another trusted e-sim card provider. They sell international e-sim cards that are valid in up to 130 countries around the world.
- 3 GB data for 30 days = $24.90 USD
- 5 GB data for 30 days = $34.90 USD
- 6 GB data for 15 days = $39.90 USD
Click here to order an international e-sim card for Tajikistan.
The SimOptions international e-sim cards are also data-only sim cards and they do not support outgoing calls/sms. They however, come with a phone number and therefore they are able to receive phone calls and sms. Since they are valid in up to 130 countries they are also more expensive.
Before ordering an e-sim card for Tajikistan make sure your phone is unlocked and e-sim compatible otherwise an e-sim card won’t work on your phone.
Where to buy a sim card for Tajikistan
International Airport on arrival
Despite this huge MegaFon advertisement at at Dushanbe Airport there is no phone or sim card shop at the airport.
If you are flying into Tajikistan you are most probably landing at Dushanbe International Airport. Unfortunately at Dushanbe Airport there is no sim card shop or a phone store. It is not possible to buy a sim card for tourists at Dushanbe Airport. I double checked this when I was at Dushanbe Airport myself.
Phone stores city center
When flying to Dushanbe you can buy a sim card for Tajikistan in the city center at any of the mobile phone stores. All the internet providers have several sim card stores in the city center. Simply use Google Maps to locate the nearest one to your hotel.
In an official retail store of the mobile internet providers you get the best service and discounted deals and prices and before you walk out of the store, the staff will make sure your data connection is working properly.
Land border crossings
At the land border crossings with Uzbekistan at the Oybek border between Khudjand and Tashkent there is a Tcell shop which is open 24 hours. At the Panjakent border crossing between Samarkand and Penjikent there is also a Tcell shop which is open 24 hours. Traveltomtom used both land border crossing himself.
You can also buy a sim card for traveling in Tajikistan on the internet. I already showed you all about ordering an e-sim card for Tajikistan, but you can also buy physical prepaid sim cards for traveling in Tajikistan. These international sim cards will be delivered to your home address before traveling to Tajikistan. On arrival it is plug and play! More about it later.
Mobile internet providers in Tajikistan
There are 4 mobile internet providers in Tajikistan: Babilon Mobile, ZET Mobile, MegaFon and Tcell. All mobile internet providers sell prepaid sim cards for tourists. Prices for prepaid sim cards are more or less the same, the big difference between the mobile internet operators is the mobile data network coverage. More about that later.
Since the mobile data network of Babilon Mobile is so small, Traveltomtom does NOT recommend a Babilon sim card for traveling in Tajikistan. Therefore Babilon Mobile is left out of the comparison of the best sim card for Tajikistan.
When buying a sim card in Tajikistan you will need to bring your passport. A copy of your passport will be taken in the phone store and your new Tajikistan sim card will be registered on your name and your passport number. You will receive a physical sim card that comes with a Tajikistan phone number that starts with +992.
Prices Tajikistan prepaid sim cards
All prices and info below are updated in August 2023. Prices are in Tajikistan Somoni and $1 USD = 10.89 TJS and 10 TJS = $0.92 USD.
The Tcell prepaid sim card plans are called Salom and they have 3 different packages and plans valid for 1 month:
- 15 GB data + 60 minutes + 40 GB data for socials = 120 TJS - $11 USD
- 25 GB data + 100 minutes + 60 GB data for socials = 180 TJS - $16.5 USD
- 50 GB data + 300 minutes + 100 GB data for socials = 300 TJS - $27.5 USD
Tcell does not provide e-sim cards for tourists, only physical prepaid sim cards are available. For more info check the Tcell website.
The ZET Mobile prepaid sim card plans are also valid for 1 month:
- 5 GB data + unlimited calls/sms = 80 TJS - $7.3 USD
- 3 GB data + unlimited calls/sms + unlimited socials = 110 TJS - $10 USD
- 2 GB data + unlimited calls/sms + unlimited socials + YouTube = 160 TJS - $14.6 USD
- 6 GB data + unlimited calls/sms + unlimited socials + YouTube = 200 TJS - $18.2 USD
ZET Mobile does not provide e-sim cards for tourists, only physical prepaid sim cards are available. For more info check the ZET Mobile website.
The MegaFon prepaid sim card plans and packages are also valid for 1 month:
- 25 GB data + 50 minutes = 65 TJS - $6 USD
- 25 GB data + 350 minutes = 100 TJS - $9.1 USD
- 5 GB data + 200 minutes + free social media = 200 TJS - $18.2 USD
The MegaFon prepaid sim card plans are the most simple, but also the best ones for tourists traveling to Tajikistan.
MegaFon does not provide e-sim cards for tourists, only physical prepaid sim cards are available. For more info check the MegaFon website.
Best 4G/5G data network in Tajikistan in 2023
To determine the best prepaid sim card for traveling in Tajikistan let’s compare the mobile data network coverage of all the mobile internet providers.
Tajikistan is a country with a lot of mountains and a lot of parts of Tajikistan are very remote. Therefore when traveling in Tajikistan be prepared to be offline most of the time. More on my experiences using a sim card in Tajikistan below.
Is there 5G in Tajikistan?
No, as of August 2023 there is definitely no 5G in Tajikistan. If you find 4G you can already be grateful and happy when it is working properly. As soon as you go off the beaten path there is not even a phone signal. I am sure it will take a couple more years for 5G to arrive in Tajikistan.
That said, MegaFon and ZET Mobile say on their websites to be testing 5G in the center of Dushanbe and they claim to be rolling out 5G in Dushanbe at the end of 2023.
As I said before the mobile internet coverage of Babilon Mobile is so small that it is not even taken into consideration, but let’s compare the mobile data coverage maps of Tajikistan of the other mobile internet providers.
ZET Mobile 4G/5G mobile data network coverage map
Tcell 4G/5G data network coverage map
MegaFon 4G/5G mobile data network coverage map
From the above 3G/4G/5G coverage maps of all the mobile internet providers in Tajikistan we can come to the simple conclusion that none os the mobile internet providers has an excellent mobile data network that covers most of the country.
However, from my own experience I can tell you that the network coverage is in reality better than what the data on the pictures above make you believe. For example in Panjakent with my Tcell prepaid sim card I actually enjoyed a pretty good 4G connection, but according to the network coverage map from Tcell there is no 4G in Panjakent. More about my experience staying connected in Tajikistan below.
From the above network coverage maps we can conclude that it is hard to determine the best mobile internet operator in Tajikistan. But when we look closely we can see that MegaFon offers 4.5G in some places and also covers a lot more areas. Therefore Traveltomtom concludes that MegaFon has the best 3G/4G/5G mobile data network in Tajikistan in 2023.
Best sim card for Tajikistan in 2023
Prices for Tajikistan prepaid sim cards with data are pretty cheap. The e-sim cards from Airalo are not recommended because they do not offer 4G, the international e-sim cards from SimOptions are pretty expensive. Therefore Traveltomtom recommends buying a sim card for traveling in Tajikistan on arrival.
None of the mobile internet operators offer e-sim cards, only physical prepaid sim cards.
Since data plans and internet packages are pretty much the same per provider it is the mobile data network that determines the best sim card for Tajikistan. Based on my research and my own experiences Traveltomtom rates MegaFon as the best sim card for Tajikistan in 2023.
International prepaid sim cards for Tajikistan are not directly recommended as they are extremely pricey, see below for more info.
Order a sim card for Tajikistan online
If your phone is not e-sim compatible then you can still order an international prepaid sim card for traveling in Tajikistan on the internet. However, there is very limited choice. Check out the following physical prepaid sim card for Tajikistan:
- 50 MB for 14 days = $49.90 USD
This physical prepaid sim card will be delivered to your home address before your trip to Tajikistan and is pre-activated. So on arrival in Tajikistan it is plug and play.
Traveltomtom does NOT recommend the Orange Holiday World sim card for traveling to Tajikistan. This sim card is valid in every country in the world, but per country the data allowance is different. Unfortunately in Tajikistan it is just 50 MB, not GB! For more info click on the link.
My experience staying connected in Tajikistan
Before my trip to Tajikistan I already researched what would be the best sim card for traveling around the country. Based on the network coverage maps I was planning to buy a MegaFon sim card.
However, both times I crossed the border to Tajikistan, one time in Panjakent and one time in Oybek there was no other option then buying a Tcell sim card for Tajikistan. Tcell is the only shop at these land border crossings.
On my first trip to Tajikistan our guide was also using a Tcell sim card and he said it was good. Our driver was using a MegaFon sim card and so now and then I double checked with him what signal he got and more than often he was enjoying a stronger signal than my Tcell sim card.
The most disappointing about my Tcell sim card was the signal and the data speed in Dushanbe. Although my speed test said there was excellent data speed, the reality was that it was pretty slow and when visiting the Hisor Fortress just 30 minutes outside Dushanbe city center there was no signal on the way to the castle.
All in all Tcell did the job of keeping me connected on my trip to Tajikistan, but next time I would definitely go for a MegaFon sim card when traveling to Tajikistan.
Anyway, I am sure some of the above tips for buying a sim card for Tajikistan were helpful and my information made it easier for you to pick the right sim card for your trip to Tajikistan.
Let me know if you still have any questions and I am more than happy to help you out. Leave me a comment below or reach out to me on social media.
Curious what it looks like trying to visit every country in the world? Go check out my Instagram account @traveltomtom and follow along. As of August 2023 I have visited more than 155 countries, so still a long way to go.
Enjoy your trip to Tajikistan!