Mobile Internet in Mongolia for Travelers: 5 Ways to Get Data & Cost

Traveling to Mongolia? Wondering if you can get mobile internet in Mongolia? Yes, of course. There is a wide range of options to stay connected and you may choose the most suitable one for a smooth and intriguing trip in Mongolia. Now let us check out the best ways to get online while exploring this country.

I. Mobile Internet in Mongolia – Coverage and Speed

There are three major mobile network carriers in Mongolia, which are Mobicom, Skytel, and Unitel.

1. Mongolia Mobile Internet Coverage

Unitel's coverage map in Mongolia - mobile internet in Mongolia
Coverage map of Unitel in Mongolia. Source: nperf
Mobicom's coverage map in Mongolia - mobile internet in Mongolia
Coverage map of Mobicom in Mongolia. Source: nperf

From the above coverage maps of major carriers in Mongolia, we can see that:

  • Unitel has the broadest coverage in Mongolia which extends to most tourist destinations. It offers 4G/LTE speeds across main cities. 5G service is available in Ulan Bator.
  • Mobicom is the second-largest network operator in Mongolia. It covers the capital city of Ulan Bator and many other main cities and provinces.
  • Skytel, the third-largest network provider, only operates in several provinces. The Skytel’s 5G network is not accessible.

▶ Our recommendation: 

Unitel offers the most reliable coverage throughout Mongolia. Thanks to its robust coverage across most towns and cities and various prepaid SIM card plans, Unitel will be a wise choice for tourists traveling in Mongolia.

2. Mongolia Mobile Internet Speed

Mobile Internet Speed in Mongolia January 2024
Mobile Internet Speed in Mongolia

Overall, Mongolia currently ranks 128th in the world for mobile internet speeds, according to the Speedtest Global Index in January 2024. 

  • The median download speed is 14.54Mbps and upload speed is 7.10Mbps.
  • Latency was higher for mobile at 23ms versus 4ms for fixed lines. This implies mobile networks may experience more congestion or coverage issues than fixed infrastructure in the country.
  • Mobicom consistently provides the fastest internet speeds among mobile operators in Mongolia. It has average download speeds of 25-30 Mbps, compared to 20-25 Mbps for Unitel and 15-20 Mbps for Skytel. 

Our recommendation: 

For the fastest speeds and most consistent performance of mobile networks in Mongolia, you may choose Mobicom. Unitel is also a great option thanks to its broad coverage across the country.

II. What are the Connectivity Options for Tourists to Mongolia?

This table summarizes the five options to help travelers access the Internet while exploring Mongolia.

OptionHow it worksPriceWhere to buyProsCons
SIM cardPut a Mongolian SIM card into your phoneVaries, depending on the operator, data plan, and trip durationMajor operator stores, airports, convenience storesEasy to use, affordable, diverse data plansUnlocked phone required
Mongolia eSIMDownload and activate your eSIM profile onlineSlightly cheaper than physical SIM cardsOnline from trusted eSIM providersConvenient, affordableeSIM-compatible phones required
Roaming with home providerUse existing SIM with data roaming plansExpensive, depending on your home carrier and packageVia home providerNo need to get a local SIMExtreme costly for substantial usage
Pocket WifiRent portable Wifi deviceQuite expensiveRental shopsRent a portable Wifi deviceDaily rental cost, extra things to carry
Public WifiFree Wifi at places (cafes, malls,…)FreeAvailable at certain spotsConvenient for quick accessUnreliable, security concerns

Our recommendation: 

  • For budget-friendly rates and flexibility, choose physical SIM cards or eSIM for Mongolia.
  • Mongolian eSIM might be the best option for those with eSIM-supported smartphones.

Pro Tip:
Before getting a Mongolia SIM card, check if your smartphone is unlocked.
If you decide to use an eSIM for Mongolia, check out this detailed list of eSIM-compatible devices.

III. Internet Rates in Mongolia

Good to know: USD 1 = MNT 3.450 (as of February 18, 2024)

Mobile data plans are widely available as prepaid options from the three main carriers – Mobicom, Unitel, and Skytel. Standard 1GB data bundles start from around 1500-2000 MNT ($0.50-0.70) for 1-day validity.

OptionRate (USD)
SIM card Mongolia– 1GB/day prepaid SIM: 1500 MNT ($0.50 USD)- 5GB/week SIM: 7000 MNT ($2.30 USD)
eSIM Mongolia– 1GB/day prepaid SIM: 1500 MNT (USD 0.50)- 5GB/week SIM: 7000 MNT (USD 2.30)
Roaming with major operators in MongoliaDepends on your home provider and your home country
Public WifiFree
Pocket Wifi3-5GB/day: 8000-12000 MNT ($2.70-4 USD); Valid for 7-10 days

Note: The above information is for reference only. Contact your provider for the most up-to-date details.

▶ Our recommendation:

If you prioritize convenience and budget-friendly rates, you may choose to get a physical SIM card from major carriers in Mongolia or purchase a Unitel eSIM from GIGAGO – a reliable eSIM provider that offers a diverse range of eSIM plans at competitive prices.

IV. Data SIM Card for Mobile Internet in Mongolia

A data SIM card is undoubtedly an amazing option for travelers to stay online in Mongolia. It comes with convenience, flexibility, and great value compared to other options like pocket Wifi or international roaming.

Three major network carriers in Mongolia include Unitel, Mobicom, and Skytel
Unitel, Mobicom, and Skytel are the three main mobile network carriers in Mongolia
NetworkPriceDataValidity
Mobicom20,000 MNT5,000 units of credit, 600MB data for 15 days90 days
Mobicom35,000 MNT10,000 units of credit, 1.1GB data for 30 days90 days
Mobicom60,000 MNT15,000 units of credit, 5GB data for 30 days90 days
Unitel15,000 MNT5,000 units of credit, 3GB data for 5 days5 days
Unitel25,000 MNT10,000 units of credit, 5GB data for 5 days10 days
Unitel40,000 MNT20,000 units of credit, 20GB data for 5 days30 days
Skytel30,000 MNT10,000 units of credit, 5GB data for 10 days10 days
Skytel50,000 MNT20,000 units of credit, 10GB data for 15 days15 days

Note: The above plans are just some of the many SIM card options available for tourists. The plan details are subject to change over time.

V. Data eSIM for Mongolia – Best Option to Get Mobile Internet for Tourists

Pro Tip: Only choose to get an eSIM plan if your smartphone supports eSIM technology.

eSIM has become a popular option to get mobile internet among tourists traveling in Mongolia, especially tech-savvy travelers. It provides tourists with many advantages such as easy purchase and activation, instant setup, multiple profiles, no risk of physical loss, etc. 

If you want to have an eSIM for your Mongolia trip, you can get it from Mongolia operators or via reputable eSIM providers.

1. Buy eSM from Mongolia operators

The major mobile carriers in Mongolia like Unitel provide prepaid eSIM packages that are suitable for tourists visiting the country. 

Document required:

  • Passport for registration
  • eSIM-compatible smartphone

Pros of getting eSIM from mobile carriers in Mongolia:

  • Access to complete plans that combine data and calling minutes, extensive network coverage across the nation
  • The ability to receive direct support from the providers if any issues arise. 

Cons of getting eSIM from main carriers in Mongolia:

  • Need to go through additional identity checks as part of the setup and activation process.
  • The possibility of smaller data allowances compared to purchasing from virtual eSIM providers.
  • Language barriers may also present a problem at physical store locations that do not offer support in English.

2. Buy eSIM from Gigago

Gigago Mongolia eSIM plans - way to get mobile internet in Mongolia
Gigago offers various eSIM plans for Mongolia

Another choice is to buy eSIM from Gigago, a reliable eSIM provider. The benefits of getting an eSIM plan for Mongolia via Gigago include:

  • Complete the entire purchase and activation online via QR code with no need to visit a store or show ID documents. Tourists can thereby have instant internet connectivity upon arrival.
  • Diverse eSIM plans from major network carriers are available at very affordable rates. See more details about eSIM plans for Mongolia from Gigago.
  • Multilingual instant customer support (Spain, English, French, Chinese, etc.)

Advice: It is advisable to select the Mongolian eSIM plan that best suits your data usage, budget, and trip duration.

VI. FAQs

Can I use prepaid SIM cards on arrival in Mongolia?

Yes, prepaid SIM cards are easily available at airports and in cities. Tourists can purchase and use prepaid SIM cards immediately.

Which network has the best coverage nationally in Mongolia? 

Unitel has the most extensive 4G network across Mongolia including remote provinces, offering reliable connectivity throughout the country.

Is using data on my own network cheaper than a local SIM card?

No, using your own network’s roaming costs significantly more than using a local prepaid SIM with affordable data packages available.

Can I visit sites outside Ulaanbaatar with my SIM card?

Yes, most popular tourist destinations in Mongolia have cellular connectivity. Remote areas may have patchy signals.

VII. Conclusion

To sum up, getting mobile internet in Mongolia is straightforward and you can choose from many options like physical SIM cards, eSIMs, pocket Wifi, etc. It is best to purchase a data SIM card or a data eSIM for flexibility, affordability, and great value. Do not forget to estimate your data usage to select the plan that fits your needs.