Data Roaming in Mongolia & Alternatives to Get Internet: Which Option to Choose?

Using mobile data roaming for Internet access when traveling abroad may result in very high bills after your trip. Tourists planning a trip to Mongolia should not ignore this blog, as it will explore data roaming in Mongolia and compare the costs and features of roaming versus the best alternatives to get Internet for tourists. By learning about available alternatives and how to enable or disable roaming, travelers can choose the most cost-effective solution to stay connected while exploring Mongolia.

Data roaming in Mongolia

I. Phone Roaming in Mongolia – Quick Facts for Tourists

Phone roaming in Mongolia
Phone roaming in Mongolia

Here is some useful information about phone roaming in Mongolia:

  • Roaming rates are quite high, depending on your home country and mobile operator.
  • Mongolia’s three main carriers are MobiCom, Unitel, and Skytel. Your carrier must have roaming agreements to connect to these networks.
  • Roaming can be activated by contacting your home provider before travel. They will enable it with prepaid credit or add it to your existing mobile plan.
  • Make sure to understand your provider’s international roaming policies such as daily data limits or throttling speeds after a certain amount of usage. 
  • Streaming videos, uploading photos, or using high-bandwidth apps will rapidly consume your data allowance due to their large file sizes.
  • There is no permanent roaming ban in Mongolia but providers may temporarily suspend roaming during major events for network management.

II. Understand Roaming in Mongolia – How it Works

Roaming in Mongolia simply means that you can use your phone outside of your country. You can make phone calls, send texts, and use data while traveling. Your home network operator makes agreements with Mongolian providers to give you temporary data while traveling there.

Using mobile services while roaming internationally on your regular plan can lead to shockingly high bills if you are not careful. 

How roaming in Mongolia works:

Three main carriers in Mongolia offer roaming services: Mobicom, Unitel, and Skytel. Tourists have two options for roaming:

  • International roaming: significantly higher than domestic roaming. You use your primary SIM card to roam on local cellular networks. Your home provider will charge you for using Mongolian networks. 
  • Roam on your home mobile network.

III. Is the Roaming Rate in Mongolia Expensive?

Generally, yes. The roaming fees imposed by your home carrier for using Mongolian networks are often more costly than local rates.

Network operatorCalls (per minute)Texts (per message)Data (per MB)
Mobicom$0.50$0.10$0.20
Unitel$0.55$0.12$0.18
Skytel$0.48$0.11$0.22

Notes:

  • The information above is for indicative purposes and may differ depending on the exact roaming agreements and plans given by each network carrier.
  • Always stay informed via official channels or by contacting the operator for the latest details

➤ Our recommendation:

The rates for data roaming in Mongolia are generally high. As a tourist to Mongolia, you can consider other connectivity options like prepaid SIM cards, prepaid eSIMs, portable WiFi as alternatives to roaming. Pocket WiFi for Mongolia travel is useful if you want to share Internet for multple devices, but it is quite pricey and requires effort to bring along. On the other hand, prepaid SIM cards / eSIMs are more affordable and flexible. Therefore, if your phone is carrier-unlocked and compatible, consider using these options as alternatives to roaming.

IV. How to Activate Roaming Service for Mongolia in Your Cell Phone?

Activate roaming services in your mobile phone for travel in Mongolia
Activate roaming services in your mobile phone for travel in Mongolia

To activate roaming services in your mobile phone for Mongolia, just take these four steps:

Step 1 – Pick your preferred service provider

You may choose your existing home carrier if they have roaming agreements in Mongolia, such as AT&T, Verizon, etc. You can also get a Mongolian SIM card from Mongolia operators like Mobicom, Skytel, or Unitel.

Step 2 – Switch on the roaming function

Contact your carrier and request to enable international roaming on your account before travel. There may be a small fee.

Step 3 – Purchase a mobile plan with roaming

Get a suitable roaming package or add roaming to your existing mobile plan. Plans often include data, call minutes, and texts for use abroad.

Step 4 – Turn on the Roaming Setting

  • On Android phone: Settings > Tap “Data roaming” > Toggle “International Roaming” on
  • On iOS (iPhone): Settings > Cellular > Tap “Data roaming”

Pro Tips:

  • Do not forget to choose the roaming plan that best suits your priorities and budget.
  • Turn the roaming feature off when not in use to avoid shockingly high roaming bills after your trip.

V. How to Avoid Roaming Charges When Traveling to Mongolia

Tips for avoiding expensive roaming charges in Mongolia
Tips for avoiding expensive roaming charges in Mongolia

Here are five useful tips to avoid expensive roaming charges in Mongolia:

  • Purchase a local SIM card: You should look for prepaid options from providers like Mobicom, Unitel, or Skytel which offer affordable call and data plans.
  • Connect to free Wifi whenever possible: Connect to free networks at cafes, hotels, airports, or restaurants to avoid using your roaming data.
  • Get a Mongolia eSIM: This is considered the most convenient and budget-friendly way to connect to the Internet while avoiding high roaming fees.
  • Set data limit alerts: Your carrier can help set daily limits so you are aware before fees rack up.
  • Disable cellular data access: You may keep Wifi on and turn off cellular data to stop background updates using roaming.

Important Notes: 

  • If you choose to use a local SIM card for Mongolia, ensure your phone is unlocked.
  • If you want an eSIM, confirm that your cell phone supports eSIM. Check out the eSIM-supported mobile devices list.

VI. Mongolia eSIM – Alternative to Data Roaming in Mongolia to Get Online

eSIM is the best alternative to data roaming in Mongolia to stay connected while exploring this wonderful country. So why should you choose an eSIM for Mongolia instead of data roaming?

  • eSIM is a digital SIM card that can be downloaded and activated online within several minutes.
  • eSIM plans are much cheaper than data roaming. 
  • Unlimited data plan options and flexible short-term packages are always available
  • No identity check is required and no contracts/ cancellation fees are needed
  • With an eSIM, you can have multiple profiles without SIM swaps.

If you are seeking a trusted eSIM provider, Gigago will be a top choice. Gigago offers a variety of affordable eSIM plans for more than 200 countries and territories in the world.

Gigago eSIM packages for Mongolia
Gigago eSIM packages for Mongolia

Gigago provides tourists to Mongolia with a diverse range of eSIM plans for Mongolia, starting with 1GB for 7 days at just $9.90 and ranging from $9.90$38.50 . Regardless of your data use or the length of your journey, Gigago always offers the best solution for you.

VII. How to Turn Off Data Roaming When Traveling in Mongolia

To switch off data roaming on iPhones and Android devices while exploring Mongolia, just follow these steps:

1. Switch off international roaming on Android

  • Open the Settings menu
  • Select “Connections” or “Network & Internet”
  • Choose “Mobile Network”
  • Toggle the switch to the “off” position next to “Data roaming” to disable it

2. Switch off international roaming on iPhones

  • Open the Settings menu on your iPhone
  • Select either the “Cellular” or “Mobile Data” option depending on your iOS version
  • Tap “Data roaming”
  • Slide the button to the “off” position next to “Data Roaming” to disable international data roaming

By following these simple steps, you can prevent any unexpected roaming charges on your phone bill while still enjoying affordable local internet services in Mongolia.

Pro Tips:

  • Download documents, maps, and playlists before departure
  • Connect to free Wifi when possible
  • You may also use the same steps above to turn roaming back on if necessary while overseas

VIII. FAQs

Can I use my U.S. phone with a Mongolian SIM card?

Yes, as long as your phone is unlocked. Check the 3G/4G band compatibility with Mongolian networks first.

How can I avoid high roaming charges in Mongolia?

Purchase a local SIM with a data package, connect to public WiFi networks, or download maps/content offline before trips.

Is public WiFi readily available in Mongolia?

Yes, most hotels, cafes, and restaurants offer free WiFi. Some cities also have municipal networks in public places.

IX. Conclusion

To wrap up, while data roaming in Mongolia lets tourists stay connected using their regular cellular plan, fees are exceedingly high in Mongolia. A local SIM card is a much more affordable option that you should consider. An eSIM for Mongolia is considered the best solution for Internet access while traveling in this country thanks to its flexibility, affordable rates, and great value.

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