SIM Cards in Georgia: How to Buy + Best Deals

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Traveling to the country of Georgia? Wondering where and how to buy a local sim card for your trip to Georgia? We’ve done all the research so you don’t have to!

We spent three months in Georgia in 2022 and tried the three big mobile providers for a month each, plus we tried a couple of eSIM cards in Georgia too.

In this guide to Georgian SIM cards, we’ll answer all your frequently asked questions, including how to save money when buying your SIM card, how to get the best signal and speed, how to get the best 4g, and how to keep your phone topped up for the whole of your stay.

SIM cards in Georgia

Do You Need a Sim Card in Georgia?

Most Georgian hotels, guesthouses, cafés and restaurants have pretty good wifi services and there is a free public network called Tbilisi Loves You in the capital’s city center. You may be wondering why you even need a mobile SIM card when you’re traveling in Georgia.

If you’re always on the go, using public transport or driving, and hopping between cities and attractions, then a local SIM card is invaluable. The convenience of being able to check your bank balance, translate, order a Bolt ride, book a hotel, use a navigation app like Maps.me, or even call for roadside assistance just makes life on the road a little bit easier.

Also, public networks in hotels, shopping malls and eateries are not secure. If you need to manage personal banking, send emails or do anything other than browsing and streaming, you’ll be vulnerable using public wifi.

Good to Know: All Georgia SIM card prices and exchange rates are accurate at the time of going to press in mid-October 2022.

Is this your first time visiting Georgia? Get all the information you need in our Georgia Travel Guide, including what to pack, the best time of year to go, getting there and practical tips to help you have the best trip!

What About Your Existing Provider?

You will not be able to use your data, make calls or send texts with your domestic contract, unless you’re willing to spend a lot of money. Our UK-based mobile phone provider charges us £3.33/US$3.73 per 1GB, or £6/US$6.73 a day for an international roaming package, and some American friends we met in Mestia were looking at even higher costs to use their cell phones overseas.

The best option is to buy a local SIM card. You’ll need to make sure your phone is unlocked, and it’s best to do this before you arrive in Georgia, as it can take a few days.

But what if you don’t want to swap SIMs and lose your number? You could get a portable wifi device, use an eSIM or use an app for calling – but we’ll come onto that later.

Good to know: If you’re planning a Caucasus-wide trip, there are no SIM cards which cover the whole region, unless you pay extra for expensive data roaming. The best option is to buy a SIM card in all three countries – Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Planning a road trip to Georgia? Get all our tips and tricks about driving in Georgia so you can stay safe on the road and have an amazing trip!

Best SIM Card Georgia: Our Recommendation

If you’re in a hurry and just want to know which is the best SIM in Georgia, then go with Magticom. You can get a Magti 5GB data-only SIM for 12GEL, which is £3.90/US$4.35.

We recommend Magti because it has by far the best network coverage, an intuitive and easy-to-use app for topping up data, and wide coverage of stores across the country.

They are not quite the cheapest of the Georgian mobile operators, but at £1.30/UD$1.45 per 1GB, or their fantastic unlimited data for only 32GEL (£10.40/US$11.60) for a month, Magti is the best option whether you’re a traveler on holiday or a digital nomad exploring the Caucasus.

Good to know: EU and US privacy laws do not extend to Georgia and Magti will pass on your information far and wide! Expect texts trying to sell services as soon as you pop in your new SIM card. To disable SMS spam dial *182# (Magti) and *297# (Beeline). Dial *297# to turn off ads from a specific (and very annoying) company called MS Group. Silknet requires you to block SMS sender numbers manually on your phone.

Buying SIM Cards in Georgia

Georgia is one of the easiest places we’ve ever visited in which to purchase a local prepaid SIM. After the 30-plus minutes it takes to buy a SIM card in Turkey, it’s a pleasure to be able to be in and out of the store in less than fifteen minutes.

Tourist SIM packages are available at land border crossings and Kutaisi and Tbilisi airports, but it’s a much better option to buy a regular SIM data package at a local store. You’ll find more options, longer SIM validity and better SIM card deals, especially if you only need data and will use apps like Whatsapp or Messenger for calls and messaging.

You must take your passport with you when you buy your SIM, which will be registered against your ID. It is possible to buy multiple cards – at one point we had three Magti SIMs on the go!

You’ll be asked to sign a simple contract at the end of the transaction and you can use cash or a card to pay for your SIM and data pack.

Pop the SIM into your phone and check it’s working. Remember to keep the contract and SIM envelope as it will have your new Georgian phone number written on it, and you’ll need this to register for, and use, the app.

In every Magti store we visited, even in out-of-the-way places, someone always spoke English.

Good to know: Georgian SIM card providers express GB data as thousands of MB. So 10GB is shown as 10,000MB. It took us a wee while to get our heads around this, but you do get used to it!

Georgia Telecoms Operators

Georgia has three big GSM operators – Magticom (Magti), Beeline and Silknet (formerly Geocell). You’ll find their stores in all of Georgia’s cities and most major towns. Magti also has hubs set up in community centres around the country – we were able to buy a SIM card in the community center of the tiny village of Poka after crossing the Georgian-Armenian border.

All three Georgian telecom providers also have an app which is not geo-locked, where you can check usage and add data. We found the app user experience extremely varied.

All three operators allow tethering and hot spotting from their SIM cards, making them ideal for use in a MiFi device as well as your phone.

Good to Know: All the Georgian operators use LTE, which stands for ‘long-term evolution’. Similar to 4g and often referred to as 4.5g, LTE data is transferred faster and with lower latency, making it a better option than regular 4g. Turkey is expected to see 5g become available in mid-2023.

Magticom

https://www.magticom.ge/en/mobile/

Price: The price of the Magti SIM card is 10GEL (£3.25/US$3.65).

eSIM Price: A Magti eSIM costs the same as a regular SIM and you still have to go to the store to have it registered and set up. You can top-up online using the same packs as a regular SIM.

Tourist SIM Price: For 30GEL (£9.80/US$10.95) you get a free SIM card + 3GB + 30 minutes of international calls + unlimited calls and SMS in Georgia, valid for 15 days. There is no option to top-up.

Top-up: Pre-paid data packages range from 5GEL (£1.65/US$1.85) for 1GB (valid for 30 days) to unlimited data for a month at 32GEL (£10.40/US$11.60). Top-up again in store, on the app or website before the end of the validity period, and your new data package will be added to what was remaining of your old data, and the validity period extended. You can also purchase Cocktail packs, which offer a mix of data, minutes and SMS.

App: The MyMagti app is available in English for both IoS and Android operating systems. The app is user-friendly, and it’s easy to see your data, minutes and SMS usage. We were able to top up successfully 95% of the time, with the very occasional glitch at the point of payment. Using a different card always seemed to resolve this issue.

Coverage: Magti is widely considered to have the best mobile network coverage in the country, which is backed up by their network coverage map. We were able to get a signal everywhere we visited, even in remote Tusheti, Mestia and at Davit Gareja on the Azerbaijan border.

Speed: We were able to upload large video files to YouTube quickly, download high-resolution images easily and stream Netflix.

Good to Know: Every Sunday Magti offers discounts to their customers via text message. You may be offered deals like 10GB for 8GEL, or 3GB for 4GEL, which is much cheaper than their regular prices.

Beeline Georgia

https://beeline.ge/

SIM Price: The best-value SIM card is the Blue Max, which costs 10GEL (£3.25/US$3.65) and comes pre-loaded with 1.5GB of data, unlimited calls within the Beeline network + 300 minutes and unlimited SMS in Georgia. This SIM is valid for 30 days unless you top-up prior to the time limit.

eSIM Price: Buy an eSIM online for 5GEL (£1.65/US$1.85), download using a QR code and then top-up with data using the packs available on the app.

Top-up: Pre-paid data-only packs range from 4GEL (£1.30/US$1.45) for 10GB (valid for 7 days) to 30GEL (£9.80/US$10.95) for 30GB (valid for 30 days). Top-up again in store, on the app or website before the end of the validity period, and your new data package will be added to what was remaining of your old data, and the validity period extended.

App: The MyBeeline app is available in English for both IoS and Android operating systems. The app is user-friendly and we were able to top up with a credit card without any issues.

Coverage: Beeline coverage was not as wide as Magti – at several points, I had full LTE coverage, and Phil was stuck with the dreaded E!

Speed: We were able to upload large video files to YouTube, download high-resolution images and stream Netflix, but it took an hour to upload one YT video, and streaming tv involved a bit of buffering, dependent on location.

Good to Know: Beeline offers unlimited internet for 5GEL (£1.65/US$1.85). In order to take advantage of this ridiculously cheap unlimited data package, you need to activate it through the Beeline app and give your credit card information during the purchase.

Silknet (formerly Geocell)

https://silknet.com/en/personal/geocell/

Price: The price of the Silknet SIM card is 10GEL (£3.25/US$3.65).

eSIM Price: A Silknet eSIM costs the same as a regular SIM. You can buy and top-up online using the same packs as a regular SIM.

Top-up: Pre-paid data-only packs range from 8GEL (£2.60/US$2.90) for 10GB (valid for 30 days) to unlimited data for a month at 32GEL (£10.40/US$11.60). Top-up again in store, on the app or website before the end of the validity period, and your new data package will be added to what was remaining of your old data, and the validity period extended.

App: Called MySilknet, the app is available in English for both IoS and Android operating systems. We found the app really buggy, and quite often we were unable to top-up due to the dreaded spinning wheel just ….spinning.

Coverage: Silknet’s coverage is pretty weak in comparison to their competitors, and very patchy anywhere outside of major towns and cities. We were unable to get a signal at all in Upper Svaneti and Vardzia. This provider is really only an option if you’re intending only to visit Tbilisi, Kutaisi and Batumi.

Speed: We were able to upload large video files to YouTube but it was a very slow process. Successful downloading of high-resolution images and streaming Netflix was very location dependent.

Good to Know: According to speedtest.net Georgia ranks 68th in the world for internet speed, with a median download speed of 28.59mbps and a median upload speed of 9.86mbps.

Using an eSIM in Georgia

An eSIM is a virtual SIM, which usually provides data only. The benefits of eSIMs are multiple;

  1. An eSIM works in your phone in conjunction with your normal SIM – you can move between using one or the other, meaning you can keep your usual number.
  2. You buy your eSIM online, making them extremely convenient.
  3. eSIM providers work with lots of networks, meaning you’ll connect to the best one wherever you are.
  4. An eSIM can cover multiple locations and not tie you to one country. Think the whole of Europe, Asia or North America – how simple would that be?
  5. No data roaming fees – you know the costs upfront.
  6. You can organise your eSIM at home and activate it on arrival.
  7. These data-only SIM cards mean you’re not paying for minutes and texts you don’t need and won’t use.

There are a number of internet companies like Holofly and Airalo that provide eSIMs which you can buy online and download instantly. These do have a place, but their prices are very high in comparison. For example, a one month a Holofly unlimited data eSIM costs in excess of 120% of the cost of a Georgian unlimited data eSIM.

Good to Know: Your device needs to be unlocked. e-SIMs don’t work with all mobile devices – you can check whether your phone is compatible here.

Order a Georgian SIM Card Online

If you like to be organised and want to slip that SIM into place as soon as you arrive, then ordering a Georgia SIM online for delivery to your home or workplace is a great option. Remember that your phone must be unlocked to use a replacement SIM like this.

SIMOptions

SIM2Fly

https://www.simoptions.com/prepaid-sim-card-georgia/

Price: £17.80 / US$19.90

Included: 6GB of data, no calls or SMS. Valid for 10 days. Tethering and hotpot enabled. It is not possible to top up this SIM card.

How: Buy your personal SIM card for Georgia and get it delivered to 120+ countries. Prepare your device and check your settings. Arrive at your destination, insert your SIM card and start browsing.

Orange Holiday World

https://www.simoptions.com/prepaid-sim-card-georgia/

Price: £44.50 / US$49.90

Included: 50MB of data, no calls or SMS. Valid for 14 days. Tethering and hotpot enabled. Various top-up options are available.

How: Buy your personal SIM card for Georgia and get it delivered to 120+ countries. Prepare your device and check your settings. Arrive at your destination, insert your SIM card and start browsing.

Portable WiFi Device for Georgia

A portable wifi device or portable hotspot means you can keep your number, and tether or hotspot to the device, wherever you are. A pocket wifi device like this operates like a router at home, meaning more than one device can be connected simultaneously.

Instead of connecting to your internet service provider, the wifi device uses cloud SIM technology, meaning you don’t need to buy a SIM card because it’s already included.

GlocalMe Duoturbo Mobile Wi-Fi Hotspot

GlocalMe G4 Pro 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot Router

GlocalMe UPP 4G Mobile WiFi Router

GlocalMe devices usually come pre-loaded with a few GB of data, and then you can buy more via their app or online. GlocalMe offers a variety of packs from one-day passes for £3.60/US$4, to an 8GB 30-day pack for £40/US$45.

Just register your device online or in the app and purchase data packs for immediate mobile internet connectivity.

Frequently Asked Questions About Georgian SIM Cards

How long will my SIM card last? If you’re popping in and out of the country to explore the Caucasus you can keep your Georgian number active with a nil balance for up to 180 days. There’s also an option to pay 1GEL to keep your number for longer – pop into a store and ask the staff.

Why has my balance gone down? All Georgian mobile users are required to pay 0.5GEL per month to subsidise the country’s 112 emergency hotline. We’ve only ever bought data-only SIMs and have always shown a negative balance.

Will my sim card work in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkey? If you activate data roaming before leaving Georgia, your SIM will work in these countries. It’s easiest to go into a store to set this up before leaving Georgia.

Will my sim card work in South Ossetia (Tskhinvali) and Abkhazia? No, these breakaway regions use Russian mobile networks and your SIM will not work there.

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Georgia SIM card guide
SIM Card Georgia Guide