Buying a SIM Card at Ulan Bator Airport (Chinggis Khaan – ULN) 2024: Travelers Guide

If you are planning to spend some time exploring Mongolia, having a Mongolian SIM card is not a bad idea. You will need it to have a reliable Internet connection during your Mongolia trip.

Guide to buy sim card at Ulan Bator airport
Guide to buy sim card at Ulan Bator airport

In this guide, we will discuss buying a SIM card at Ulan Bator Airport (ULN), including places to buy, the best packages and prices, and the best alternative for a smooth trip.

I. Can I Buy a SIM card at Ulan Bator Airport (ULN)?

Yes. You can buy a SIM card at Ulan Bator airport for immediate Internet access upon arrival.

Buy a SIM card at Ulan Bator Airport (ULN)
Buy a SIM card at Ulan Bator Airport (ULN)

Buying a Mongolia SIM card at Ulan Bator Airport is not only convenient, but also instant Internet connection when you reach the airport.

However, purchasing a SIM card at the airport often comes with limited plan options and fewer providers, which may not meet your needs. Additionally, the prices are generally higher, making it a more expensive choice compared to buying from local stores.

► Our recommendations:

  • If you prioritize an instant Internet connection, buying a SIM card at Ulan Bator Airport is a suitable option.
  • If you want a wide selection of plans at reasonable rates, consider purchasing a Mongolian SIM card in Ulan Bator city center or online several days before your trip.

II. Where to Buy a SIM Card at Ulan Bator Airport?

Ulan Bator Chinggis Khaan Airport (ULN) map
Ulan Bator Chinggis Khaan Airport (ULN) map

At Ulan Bator Chinggis Khaan Airport (ULN), you can buy Mongolian SIM cards at stores and kiosks.

Buying a SIM card at Ulan Bator airport upon arrival is also a popular choice among tourists to Mongolia. This airport has a single terminal so it is easy to find stores and kiosks that sell Mongolian SIM cards. 

What to prepare: Your passport for ID prood, cash/ credit card, unlocked smartphone

Cost: A bit more pricey than ordering online or buying in Ulan Bator center

Pros: No need to order ahead of your flight, quick Internet access after landing, support from staff

Cons: Shops are not always open late. 

After going through immigration and collecting your luggage, you may look for the following stores:

2.1. SIM card counter

Location: In the arrivals hall, near the exits after baggage claim

Opening hours: Daily from 6am to 10pm

Plans: From Mobicom, Unitel, Skytel – the major carriers. Prices range from $5-15 for SIM and prepaid credit. Can use phone right away.

2.2. Mobicom store

Mobicom map store at Ulaabaatar Airport
Mobicom map store at Ulaabaatar Airport

Location: F1, Public Area

Opening hours: Monday-Friday 07:30-19:30, Saturday-Sunday 07:30-19:30

Plans: Mobicom plans at $5-20 depending on data and validity.

2.3. Unitel booth

Unitel map stores at Ulaanbaatar airport
Unitel map stores at Ulaanbaatar airport

Location: F1, Public area

Opening hours: Daily from 7am to 8pm

Plans: Unitel SIM cards and find travel packages. Assistance in English is available.

Pro Tips:

  • Check with the mobile carriers for their exact location and opening hours at Ulan Bator airport.
  • It is always a good idea to double-check if you have a late or early flight.

III. Do SIM Card Shops At Ulan Bator Airport Open After Midnight? 

No, SIM card shops at Ulan Bator Airport generally do not stay open after midnight. While airport hours vary, most shops and services inside the airport close around 8 PM to midnight, including SIM card kiosks.

This means if you arrive late at night, you might not be able to buy a SIM card from those stores.

IV. Ulan Bator Airport SIM Card Price

Good to know: ₮1000 MNT = $0.289 USD and $1 USD = ₮ 3.450 MNT (January, 2024)

You can buy a SIM card at Ulan Bator Airport for just ₮ 1500, which includes 1 GB of data per day foreach day. Below is a popular data plan from Indosat that you might consider:

Unitel daily plan data
Unitel daily plan data

Mobicom and Unitel are the largest network carriers in Mongolia. Here are some of the SIM card plans offered at Ulan Bator Airport:

OperatorData/ CreditValidityPrice
Mobicom500GB of data (15 days), 5000 units of credit90 days20,000 MNT
Mobicom1.1GB of data (30 days), 10000 units of credit90 days35,000 MNT
Unitel3GB of data, 5000 units of credit5 days15,000 MNT
Unitel5GB of data, 10,000 units of credit10 days25,000 MNT

Important Notes:

  • The details of the plans above are subject to change over time.
  • Compare prices from various vendors before buying.
  • Mobicom’s SIM cards offer data and call credits, regular SIM cards start from 5,000 MNT with the basic connection.
  • Along with data, Unitel plans also offer nationwide calls within the Unitel network.

V. Registration Process When Buying a SIM Card at Ulan Bator Airport – Registration Process

To buy a SIM card at Ulan Bator airport smoothly, you need to bring these items with you:

  • Passport: You will need your passport for ID verification. Have it handy when buying a Mongolian SIM card.
  • Cash: Many SIM card kiosks accept local currency (MNT) as well as US dollars. Have around $10-15 in cash ready. Besides, you need to have credit card with you.
  • Mobile device: Make sure your phone is unlocked and uses the same frequencies as Mongolia.
  • Time: About 10-15 minutes after baggage to find the SIM sellers and complete your purchase.

Although getting a local SIM card is an option, the process can be complicated, and many tourists are reluctant to share personal information. A more convenient alternative is to purchase an international SIM card online before your trip or opt for an eSIM, which doesn’t require passport details.

Pro Tip: Don’t worry if you don’t know much - The staff at airport SIM stores will give your friendly support. They will set up and then activate your Mongolian SIM card so you do not need to bring a special SIM removal tool.

VI. Mongolia eSIM for Ulan Bator – An Alternative to Prepaid SIM Card at Ulan Bator Airport

Given the drawbacks of buying a SIM card at Bali Airport, such as limited options and overpriced services, eSIM is currently your best option.

Mongolian eSIM plans offered by Gigago
Mongolian eSIM plans offered by Gigago

In addition to the prepaid physical SIM card, eSIM for Mongolia is also known as the best alternative to stay connected during your trip thanks to its outstanding features:

  • Easy setup and activation: Within several minutes, you can download an eSIM plan for Mongolia and activate it online.
  • Instant Internet access: With an eSIM activated, you can access the Internet right away. There is no need to find a physical SIM store.
  • Wide coverage: Mongolia eSIM uses the network of major carriers like Unitel.

If you are looking for a trusted provider to purchase an eSIM for Mongolia, then Gigago will be a perfect option. Gigago offers various Mongolian eSIM data plan options, starting from the 7-day plan with 1GB of data for only $9.9, much cheaper than the SIM cards for Mongolia offered at Ulan Bator Airport.

VII. Can I Buy a SIM Card Outside Ulan Bator Airport?

Yes. You can buy SIM card outside Ulan Bator Airport at some stores, such as: Mobicom stores (on Peace Ave in Sukhbaatar district,…), Unitel stores (Chinggis Ave in Sukhbaatar, Baga Toiruu,…); mobile store outlets (Golomt, My Net, etc); gas stations (Petrovis, Altan Ude, etc.); shopping mall counters (Centerra Mall, State Department stores), etc.

What to prepare: unlocked phone, cash in MNT/ USD, credit card, passport

Cost: often 10-15% cheaper than airports but need to move to the city center, around $5-15 depending on the data package.

► Our recommendations:

  • If you want Mongolian SIM cards with diverse plan options at the cheapest price, you should consider commuting to the Ulan Bator center.
  • If your phone supports eSIM technology, it is advisable to choose a Mongolia eSIM plan for flexibility and reliable mobile data.

VIII. FAQs about Buying SIM Card at Ulan Bator Airport

Where can I get a SIM card at Ulan Bator Airport (Chinggis Khaan)?

You may look for SIM card kiosks located in the arrivals hall near the exits after baggage claim.

What documents do I need to buy a SIM card at Chinggis Khaan Airport?

You need to show your passport for ID proof. Remember to prepare cash in MNT/ USD, and an unlocked phone.

How long does activation/ setup take?

The activation process is really quick, usually around 5-10 minutes to set up account and credit.

IX. Conclusion

To sum up, tourists to Mongolia can easily get a SIM card at Ulan Bator airport, in the city center, or preorder online before their flight. An eSIM for Mongolia is also a wise choice thanks to its great value and budget-friendly rate. Remember to choose the plan that best fits your needs and preferences.