Buying Skytel SIM Cards and eSIM for Tourists 2024: Guide to Get and Activate

Tourists visiting Mongolia will want to stay in touch while exploring the beautiful tourist sites. There are several cellular internet providers and Skytel is one of the major ones. Tourists may buy affordable Skytel SIM cards and eSIMs for easy Internet access during their trips to Mongolia. This guide will uncover the best SIM options from Skytel, where and how to buy, and the best alternatives.

Skytel Mongolia sim card

I. Overview about Skytel – What You Need to Know

Skytel is one of the leading cellular data operators in Mongolia. Here are some key facts you need to know about Skytel Mongolia:

  • Founded: in July 1999 in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
  • Full company name: SKYtel Group
  • Types of services: telecommunication, wireless communication services like calling and mobile Internet, IT solution
  • Coverage: Skytel’s network covers Ulaanbaatar (HSPA+ technology) and other areas (CSMA2000 and EVDO technologies); 43 offices in the capital and other provinces
  • Number of users: 500,000
  • Partners: over 4,000 retail shops and cell phone sellers nationwide
  • Customer support: 24/7 cell center
  • Language: Mongolian, English
Skytel is founded in Ulanbaatar, Mongolia in 1999
Skytel is founded in Ulanbaatar, Mongolia in 1999

II. Skytel Coverage in Mongolia

Skytel coverage map in Mongolia
Skytel coverage map in Mongolia. Source GSMA

Skytel is a small mobile network operating only in several provinces in Mongolia, but it is considerd as a traditional sim card in Mongolia. 

  • Skytel’s network covers provincial capitals and districts along main transportation routes
  • In Ulaanbaatar, Skytel provides 4G service using HSPA+ technology for high-speed internet access on smartphones
  • In more remote district centers, coverage may be limited to 2G connectivity for basic calling and texting

III. Skytel Speed in Mongolia

Skytel speed map in Mongolia
Skytel speed map in Mongolia
  • Performance averages around 5-10 Mbps download speeds; 2-5Mbps upload speed in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar
  • Suitable for social media, videos, and navigation apps. 

In summary, Skytel offers Internet access across Mongolia with improving speeds focused on major centers for now. Rural connectivity remains narrow for basic use.

IV. Does Skytel Have eSIM in Mongolia?

Yes. Skytel offers eSIM (embedded SIM/virtual SIM) for tourists to Mongolia to access the Skytel network on mobile devices without a physical SIM.

Here are some advantages of using eSIM for Mongolia:

  • No store visit, no physical SIM needed;
  • Buy eSIM online anytime using your phone;
  • Dual SIM: Both physical SIM and eSIM can be used on the same device; etc.

V. Top Skytel SIM Cards for Tourists

Here are the four different tourist plans from Skytel:

BasicMNT 30,000 – USD 8.9Unlimited calls (Skytel network); 5GB data10 days
StandardMNT 50,000 – USD 14.5Unlimited calls (Skytel network); 10GB data15 days
PremiumMNT 75,000 – USD 21.7Unlimited calls (Skytel network); 20GB data30 days

Pro Tips:

  • Select the Skytel SIM plan that suits your trip length and usage.
  • Bring your passport and MNT cash/ credit card for SIM purchase.
  • Regularly visit Skytel’s website for the latest SIM plans.

VI. Where to Buy a Skytel SIM card and eSIM?

It is time to explore where to purchase Skytel SIM cards and eSIM.

1. Where to Buy Skytel SIM Cards for Mongolia?

Visitors may buy Skytel SIM cards at:

  • Skytel stores: Skytel SIM cards are available at more than 4,000 retail shops and cell phone sellers nationwide.
  • Major airport: You can get Skytel SIM cards at Ulaanbaatar Chinggis Khaan International Airport – The SIM card counter (located in the arrivals hall, after baggage claim).
  • Online: Visit the Skytel website to order Skytel SIM cards online and then your SIM will be delivered to your address.
Buy Skytel SIM cards at Ulaanbaatar Chinggis Khaan Airport
Buy Skytel SIM cards at Ulaanbaatar Chinggis Khaan Airport

Important Notes:

  • Prepare your passport for ID proof and MNT cash/ debit/ credit cards for payment.
  • SIM card rates at airports are more pricey than at retail stores or online.

2. Where to Buy Skytel eSIM for Mongolia?

Here are the ways to sign up for Skytel eSIM in Mongolia:

  • Online via Skytel website: Sign up for Skytel eSIM packages directly on the Skytel website. Everything (sign-up, activation, payment, etc.) will be conducted online. ID verification is required and payment is by credit card.
  • Skytel store: Skytel has 43 branches and over 4,000 retail shops in major cities like Ulaanbaatar, Erdenet, etc. Friendly staff will help you select the best eSIM plan.

Pro Tips:

  • Before signing up for eSIM, check if your cell phone is compatible with eSIM.
  • Consider buying data-only eSIM plans to save money if you use communication apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger for calling and texting.

VII. Alternatives to Mongolia Skytel SIM cards

Travelers visiting Mongolia may choose to use SIM cards or eSIM from other reputable carriers instead of Skytel SIM cards:

  • Unitel has the broadest coverage throughout Mongolia, including major cities, towns, and remote areas. Their prepaid plans begin at $5 for 3GB of data, valid for 5 days. Unitel speeds are consistent. Tourists may buy Unitel eSIM plans from third-party providers like Gigago, even at cheaper rates.
  • MobiCom has extensive 4G coverage across the main cities. Their SIM options are also very competitive.

To buy a Mongolia eSIM, there are 02 ways:

Directly from the Skytel website: You can download Skytel eSIM plans from their website. ID verification is required.

Trusted third-party eSIM providers: eSIM resellers allow tourists to buy Mongolia eSIM plans instantly online without any requirements of ID proof or registration.

Suggestion: It is obvious that buying an eSIM for Mongolia travel from a trusted the 3rd eSIM provider is much more convenient for tourists. However, choosing which provider to go for is confusing. You need to choose the one with plans that suit your need. You can consider to buy eSIM from reputable resellers like Gigago but their eSIM plans are from Unitel – one of the biggest network carriers with the most widespread coverage throughout Mongolia.

Gigago eSIM plans for Mongolia
Gigago eSIM plans for Mongolia

Gigago’s eSIM plans for Mongolia start at 1GB for 7 days with only $9.90 and vary between $9.90$47.50 . With an eSIM from Gigago, tourists will have reliable and smooth Internet access at a budget-friendly rate during their Mongolia trip.

VIII. FAQs about Skytel SIM cards and eSIM

Can I purchase a Skytel SIM cards upon arrival at the airport in Ulaanbaatar?

Yes, Skytel SIM cards are available for purchase at the airport kiosks (SIM card counter) and might be slightly more expensive than in city stores.

Can tourists keep my Skytel SIM cards after they leave Mongolia?

No, Skytel SIM cards are intended for use in Mongolia only during your trip. Once you leave, the SIM will not work roaming internationally.

How much data do I need on my Skytel SIM card for a 2-week trip to Mongolia?

Around 2-6GB should provide comfortable coverage for basic activities like navigation, photos, and messaging.

IX. Conclusion

To wrap up, purchasing a Skytel SIM card or eSIM is highly recommended for travelers to Mongolia in 2024. Skytel SIM cards provide widespread 4G coverage across the country and affordable data packages suitable for navigation, photos, and social media. Getting a prepaid eSIM from Gigago is also a convenient and budget-friendly option to stay connected while exploring the scenic landscapes of Mongolia.