Buying a SIM Card in Ulaanbaatar for Travelers 2024: Guide from Locals

Heading to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia soon? Getting a SIM card is a great way to stay connected with your family and friends back home and use navigation, transport, delivery, and social media apps for a wonderful trip in this city. In this blog post, we will go over how to buy SIM card in Ulaanbaatar, the best plans, and useful tips shared by locals.

I. Why Buy SIM Card in Ulaanbaatar?

Purchasing a SIM card for Ulaanbaatar ensures a secure and cost-effective trip in this city. Here is why:

  • Get online on the go: A Ulaanbaatar SIM card with data makes it easy for you to find tourist attractions, order a cab, and share the best moments on your social media.
  • Access reliable Internet connection: Public free WiFi networks are only available in certain hotspots like cafes and hotels and you cannot always hunt for them. Besides, it may also be unreliable. With a SIM card for Ulaanbaatar, you will be always able to access secure Internet.
  • Avoid pricey roaming charges: Roaming fees may add up so quickly so you would be shocked after your trip. Getting a local SIM is much more reasonable than roaming rates.

Important Note: Only unlocked phones can accept networks of other mobile providers in Ulaanbaatar. It is advised to check with your carrier if your phone is unlocked.

II. Which Mobile Internet Carrier is the Best in Ulaanbaatar?

There are three (03) main mobile network operators in Ulaanbaatar: Unitel, Mobicom, and Skytel. For tourists looking to get a SIM card, all three providers offer prepaid options that allow you to buy data bundles to use while traveling.

Three major carriers in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia: Unitel, Mobicom, Skytel
Three major carriers in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia: Unitel, Mobicom, Skytel

Unitel (#1):

  • The widest coverage in Ulaanbaatar and between cities
  • 4G/LTE networks in the city, 5G is available in Ulaanbaatar
  • Stable connections within covered areas, a small edge with a broader network reach
  • Unitel SIM cards are great for tourists. Prepaid SIM with 1-3GB, $5-15, for 30 days

Mobicom (#2)

  • Great coverage across the cities but slightly more limited than Unitel in remote areas
  • 4G/LTE networks in Ulaanbaatar
  • Affordable plans like 1GB for $5 for 30 days

Skytel (#3)

  • The most limited coverage focused in the city center
  • Speeds are lower compared to those of Unitel and Mobicom
  • Not many packages are suitable for international visitors. It is best to avoid the Skytel network for travel.

► Recommendation

Unitel is recommended for travelers visiting Ulaanbaatar thanks to its widest network footprint, reliably great speeds, and very affordable tourist SIM card plans. Mobicom is also a good option.

III. Best Ulaanbaatar SIM Card Plans and Price

Here are some of the best Ulaanbaatar SIM card options and costs accordingly. The table below includes 03 main network carriers operating in Ulaanbaatar: Unitel, Mobicom, and Skytel.

Good to know: MNT 1,000 = USD 0.289; USD 1 = MNT 3.450 (as of February 2024)

OperatorPlanDataCostValidity
UnitelTour SIM 55,000 units of credit & 3GB data & local calls within Unitel networkMNT 15,0005 days
UnitelTour SIM 1010000 units of credit & 5GB data & local calls within Unitel networkMNT 25,00010 days
UnitelTour SIM 3020,000 units of credit & 20GB data & local calls within Unitel networkMNT 40,00030 days
Mobicom20,000 MNT plan5,000 units of credit & 600MB data for 15 daysMNT 20,00090 days
Mobicom35,000 MNT plan10,000 units of credit & 1.1GB data for 30 daysMNT 35,00090 days
Mobicom60,000 MNT plan15,000 units of credit & 5GB data for 30 daysMNT 60,00090 days
SkytelBasic Plan10,000 units of calls & 5GB data & unlimited calls in Skytel networkMNT 30,00010 days
SkytelPremium Plan30,000 units of calls & 20GB data & unlimited calls in Skytel networkMNT 75,00030 days

Note: The information about Ulaanbaatar SIM card plans and prices above is for reference only and may vary over time. It is best to contact the carrier for the latest details and rates

IV. Where to Buy SIM Card in Ulaanbaatar

There are two ways to buy SIM card in Ulaanbaatar: at Ulaanbaatar airport and in Ulaanbaatar center.

1. Buy a SIM card at Ulaanbaatar airport

Ulaanbaatar Chinggis Khaan International Airport (ULN) is the best place to purchase SIM cards for Mongolia. Getting a SIM at Ulaanbaatar Airport upon arrival helps you connect to the Internet securely.

Ulaanbaatar Chinggis Khaan International Airport (ULN) map
Ulaanbaatar Chinggis Khaan International Airport (ULN) map

After traveling through immigration and getting your luggage, look for one of the following stores to buy SIM card in Ulaanbaatar:

  • SIM card counter (6am-10pm): in the arrival area, near the exits after baggage claim. Plans from Mobicom, Unitel, and Skytel at $5-15.
  • Mobicom store (6am-8pm): in the arrival hall of the terminal. Mobicom packages at $5-20.
  • Unitel booth (6am-10om): in the arrival hall. Unitel SIM cards and travel plans are available.

Pro Tip: Check with your chosen carrier for their exact opening hours and location at Ulaanbaatar airport.

2. Buy SIM Card in Ulaanbaatar center

It is a great idea to go around Ulaanbaatar city to get the best SIM card plans. This way, you may compare the various packages and then select the best one that suits your priorities and budget but you need to travel a little more. So where to buy?

  • Mobicom stores: Peace Ave in Sukhbaatar,…
  • Unitel stores in Baga Toiruu, on Chinggis Ave in Sukhbaatar,…
  • Mobile store outlets: My Net, Golomt,…
  • Gas stations: Altan Ude, Petrovis,…
  • Shopping malls: State Department stores, Centerra Mall,..

► Our Recommendation:

  • Purchase a SIM card at Ulaanbaatar Airport if you appreciate convenience and instant Internet access upon arrival.
  • Buy SIM card in Ulaanbaatar city center if you want diverse plan options and affordable rates.

V. Mongolia eSIM Card for Ulaanbaatar – Alternative to SIM Card for Travelers

Mongolia eSIM is the best option for tourists with an eSIM-supported mobile device. eSIM for Ulaanbaatar delivers many outstanding perks such as no physical store visit, easy online purchase, reliable and budget-friendly Internet access, a simple activation process, and easy switch between data plans and operators without SIM swaps, etc.

You may choose to get an eSIM for Ulaanbaatar on major carrier websites like Unitel. However, you will need to show your passport for ID proof.

Gigago offers affordable eSIM plans for Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Gigago eSIM plans for Ulaanbaatar Mongolia

Besides, you can buy a Mongolian eSIM from reliable eSIM providers. If you are seeking a prestigious Mongolia eSIM provider, GIGAGO would be a top choice.

  • No identity check
  • Online eSIM purchase and setup
  • Once purchased, eSIM will be ready to use within just several minutes
  • A wide selection of eSIM plans for Mongolia, starting from 1GB for 7 days at only $9.90 and ranging between $9.90$38.50 . Just choose the plan that best suits your trip duration and budget.
  • 24/7 multilingual client service

VI. What to Prepare to Buy SIM Card in Ulaanbaatar?

Before purchasing a SIM card in Ulaanbaatar, you need to prepare the following things:

  • Passport: You will need to show your passport when buying and registering a SIM card in Mongolia. Have your passport ready for verification.
  • Cash in local currency: SIM cards can be paid for in the local Mongolian currency Tugrik. You also need credit cards for payment.
  • Unlocked phone: If you choose to buy SIM card in Ulaanbaatar, your phone must be unlocked for international use. 
  • Know your plan needs: Decide if you need a SIM for data-only or voice & text & data. Estimate your data consumption based on yoru trip duration.

VII. Buy SIM Card in Ulaanbaatar – Extra Tips

Here are some extra tips shared by locals that may help you get the most suitable SIM card in Ulaanbaatar:

  • Take the seller’s phone number in case you need help with the SIM after activation.
  • Bring a local friend if you need help translating packages, rates, or the registration process.
  • Test the SIM proper functioning like data before leaving the store to avoid hassles later.
  • Consider an eSIM if your phone supports it as it is more convenient than physical SIM activation.

VIII. FAQs


Do I need to register my SIM card when buying it in Ulaanbaatar?

Yes, you will need to show your passport and provide some personal details to buy SIM card in Ulaanbaatar and register it. This is required by telecom regulations.

Can I pay for the SIM card and plans using foreign currency in Ulaanbaatar?

No, most stores will only accept the local Mongolian Tugrik as payment for SIM cards and adding credit. Do exchange your currency first before buying a SIM.

Which mobile carrier has the best coverage within Ulaanbaatar city?

Typically, Unitel and Mobicom are recommended as they have reliable 4G coverage across most parts of the capital. Unitel may have a slight edge in coverage footprint. You may buy SIM card in Ulaanbaatar from these carriers.

IX. Conclusion

To sum up, it is easy to buy SIM card in Ulaanabaatar while traveling there. Tourists may buy SIMs at Chinggis Khaan Airport or from reliable stores across the city. The major carriers like Unitel and Mobicom offer extensive coverage within Ulaanbaatar and budget-friendly tourist plans. Choosing an eSIM for Mongolia is the most convenient and affordable way to get a secure Internet connection while traveling in Ulaanbaatar.