How To Use Cell Phone In Hungary 2024: Traveler’s Guide To Stay Connected

Planning a trip to Hungary? Wondering if you can use your cell phone there? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with a detailed guide to use cell phone in Hungary for tourists. Find all the information you need to stay connected during your travels right here!

Use cell phone in Hungary

I. Highlights of Phone Compatibility, Frequencies and Networks in Hungary

Here are some highlights related to phone compatibility, frequencies, major mobile networks, and network coverage in Hungary:

Phone Compatibility and Frequencies:

  • Hungary operates on the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) network, making it compatible with most phones designed for international use.
  • The primary frequency bands used in Hungary for GSM networks are 900 MHz and 1800 MHz (GSM 900 and GSM 1800), which are widely supported by phones in European markets.
  • Most modern smartphones, including popular brands like Apple, Samsung, and Huawei, are compatible with Hungarian networks and frequencies.

Major Mobile Networks:

  • Top three major mobile network operators in Hungary include: Magyar Telekom, Vodafone, and Yettel Hungary.
  • Magyar Telekom: Largest provider with a wide range of plans.
  • Vodafone: Comprehensive services including international roaming.
  • Yettel Hungary: Cellular voice and data, prepaid and postpaid options.

Network Coverage:

  • Hungary has excellent network coverage in urban areas, towns, and major highways. However, in rural and remote regions, coverage may be limited or weaker.
  • Budapest, the capital city, and other major cities like Debrecen and Szeged have extensive network coverage, offering reliable connectivity for voice calls, messaging, and data usage.

II. Will My Cell Phone Work In Hungary?

Yes, you can use cell phone in Hungary if your phone is unlocked and supports frequency bands used in Hungary.

There are several factors influencing whether or not your phone can work in Hungary. Here are some things to consider:

1. GSM Compatibility: If your phone supports GSM technology, which is the case for the majority of modern smartphones, it should work in Hungary.

2. Frequency Bands: Hungary primarily uses the 900 MHz and 1800 MHz frequency bands (GSM 900 and GSM 1800). Most phones designed for European markets support these frequency bands, ensuring compatibility with Hungarian networks.

3. International Roaming: If you plan to use your phone while visiting Hungary from another country, you should check with your mobile carrier regarding international roaming. Many carriers have agreements with Hungarian operators, allowing you to use your phone seamlessly while abroad. However, keep in mind that roaming charges may apply, so it’s important to inquire about any associated fees or roaming plans.

4. Unlocked Phone: To use a local Hungarian SIM card, ensure that your phone is unlocked and not tied to a specific carrier. An unlocked phone will allow you to insert a Hungarian SIM card and use the local network services.

The table below displays the primary frequency ranges utilized by Hungarian network operators:

Service provider3G Bands4G Bands5G Bands
Magyar TelekomB1 (2100)B3 (1800), B7 (2600), B20 (800), B28b (700)n1 (2100), n28a (700), n28b (700), n78 (3500)
Yettel Hungary (formerly Telenor Hungary/Magyarország)B1 (2100), B8 (900)B3 (1800), B7 (2600), B20 (800), B28b (700)n1 (2100), n28a (700), n28b (700), n78 (3500)
Vodafone Hungary (Vodafone Magyarország)B1 (2100), B8 (900)B3 (1800), B7 (2600), B20 (800), B28b (700)n1 (2100), n28a (700), n28b (700), n78 (3500)

Overall, the chances of your cell phone working in Hungary are high, especially if it is a GSM-compatible device and supports the required frequency bands. However, it’s always a good idea to check with your phone manufacturer or mobile carrier to confirm compatibility and network support specific to your device. You can also learn how to check if your cell phone works abroad when traveling to prepare yours best for international travel.

III. Do I Need An International Plan In Hungary?

Yes, it is recommended to have an international plan when traveling to Hungary. While free Wi-Fi is available, it has drawbacks such as registration forms, limited access, security risks, and slow speeds due to congestion.

Having an international plan brings several advantages:

  • Call and text internationally at better rates.
  • Use mobile data abroad at lower prices than regular roaming charges.
  • Keep your phone number and call home while abroad.
  • Choose different plan options based on your needs and travel duration.

In summary, opting for an international plan is the most effective approach to save 85% or more on international roaming charges when you travel outside of your home country. Stay connected to friends, family without worrying about returning home to a huge phone bill. 

IV. What Are Options To Use Cellphones In Hungary For Tourists?

There are still good options for travelers to Hungary who wish to use their own Cell Phones for internet connectivity, such as eSIM (compatible phone required), purchasing a local SIM card, or renting a pocket Wi-Fi device. Let’s dig into the features, purchasing options, and the advantages and disadvantages of each alternative.

1. eSIM Plan for Hungary

eSim provide convenience and flexible for travelers to stay connect.
eSim provide convenience and flexible for travelers to stay connect.

A form of SIM card embedded directly into a mobile device supports eSIM technology that allows you to activate a cellular plan from any carrier without the need for a physical card.

Suitable for: people with eSIM-compatible smartphones

Where to buy eSIM for Hungary: You have the option to purchase eSIMs for Hungary either from local mobile operators or online providers that offer coverage in Hungary. For example, gigago.com offers a wide range of affordable plans specifically designed for tourists.

Pros:

  • Buy online, you can purchase a SIM anywhere, anytime. 
  • Just scan the QR code to get the SIM, no need to remove or insert. 
  • Use two SIMs simultaneously (or 1 physical + 1 eSIM or 2 eSIMs). 
  • Can install multiple packages on the same phone. eSIM is embedded in the device, so there is no risk of losing it. 
  • You can still keep your primary SIM in the phone and use WhatsApp/Zalo/Facebook even if the primary SIM is turned off.

Cons:

  • Device compatibility is selective, requiring newer generation devices.
  • Only unlocked phones can be used (network unlocked) to be compatible.

2. International SIM card for Hungary

An international SIM card – One of the options to avoid incurring high roaming.

An international SIM card or travel SIM card enables you to seamlessly switch between local and foreign numbers, helping you and your contacts steer clear of exorbitant roaming charges. 

Suitable for: average travelers with unlocked phones.

Where to buy SIM card for Hungary: You can buy an international SIM card for Hungary from online retailers, electronics stores, or at major airports. Additionally, you can purchase a SIM card specifically for Hungary from local mobile network providers, electronics stores, convenience stores, or at airport kiosks in tourist areas.

Pros:

  • Cost savings: International SIM cards often offer competitive rates for calls, texts, and data usage compared to roaming charges from your home network.
  • Convenience: You can easily switch between different countries and use the same SIM card without needing to buy a new one each time you travel.
  • Flexibility: International SIM cards typically offer prepaid options, allowing you to control your spending and avoid unexpected charges.
  • Local phone number: You can receive a local phone number for the country you’re visiting, making it easier for locals to contact you.

Cons:

  • Your phone must be unlocked to use an international SIM card, which may require contacting your current mobile provider or paying an unlocking fee.
  • While having a local number can be beneficial, it may also be inconvenient to switch numbers frequently if you travel to multiple countries.
  • Some international SIM card providers may have limited customer service options, especially if you encounter issues while traveling abroad.

3. Pocket WiFi

Pocket Wi-Fi - Good options for a group of friends, a business team on a trip
Pocket Wi-Fi – Good options for a group of friends, a business team on a trip

Another option is to rent a pocket Wi-Fi device, also known as a mobile hotspot. These portable devices allow you to connect your phone and other devices to the internet using a local data connection. 

Suitable for: a group of friends, a business team on a trip, or a family vacation, enabling seamless internet access sharing while traveling.

Where to buy Pocket WiFi for Hungary: Pocket Wi-Fi devices are available for rent from various providers, including at airports or through online booking platforms.

Pros: 

  • Connects multiple devices together for internet access anywhere.
  • Avoid expensive roaming fees from your phone provider.
  • Covers wifi all over Norway including remote areas.
  • Rentals are cheaper than roaming daily.

Cons:

  • You have to go there in person to buy/wait for shipping.
  • Extra device to carry and charge.
  • Speed may slow with lots of users or after data limit.
  • Coverage depends on the provider’s network in the area.

V. Will My Local Network Work In Hungary?

Most likely, it is possible to use your domestic network in Hungary. However, be aware that using your local network while roaming can result in significantly high roaming charges. Roaming rates for data, calls, and texts can be considerably more expensive compared to using a local network or alternative options.

To avoid excessive costs, it is crucial to carefully monitor and control your data usage, limit unnecessary calls or texts, and consider alternative options such as purchasing an international SIM card, eSIM or using pocket Wi-Fi for more cost-effective internet access. By managing your usage habits and exploring affordable alternatives, you can prevent the unpleasant surprise of a large bill at the end of your trip.

VI. Gigago eSIM – An Alternative To Get Internet In Hungary With Your Cell Phone

Gigago offers multiple data plan options for Hungary 
Gigago offers multiple data plan options for Hungary 

That’s right, eSIM is the most convenient connectivity option we want to suggest here. It eliminates the limitations of the need for a physical SIM card, waiting for delivery, or high roaming charges, providing diversifying plans to choose and convenience especially for travelers who require frequent SIM changes or have limited access to physical stores.

Which Hungary eSIM plan should you choose for your trip?

Purchasing an eSIM from gigago.com is regarded as the most convenient and straightforward option. This is due to its entirely online process, eliminating the need for passport or ID card verification and avoiding any delays associated with SIM card delivery. Setting up the eSIM is effortless, requiring only a QR code scan, ensuring users can access the internet immediately upon arrival in Hungary.

Gigago offers multiple data plan options for Hungary, with prices ranging from $3.50$125.98 . Their minimum 1GB / 3 days starts at just $3.50 . With this range of affordable plans, Gigago can accommodate any type of user and trip length in Hungary. Whether you only need occasional internet access or plan to stream extensively, Gigago has a Hungary eSIM plan to fit your needs and budget. The flexibility of their pricing makes Gigago a great eSIM solution for travel to Hungary.

VII. Extra Tips To Use Cell Phone in Hungary

By following the following tips, you can have a smooth experience using your cell phone in Hungary.

  • Check network compatibility for better connectivity.
  • Enable international roaming with your home network provider.
  • Consider purchasing an international SIM card or eSim for better rates and data connectivity.
  • Utilize Wi-Fi hotspots to save on data usage.
  • Research and compare data plans offered by local mobile operators.
  • Use communication apps for cost-effective calls and messaging.
  • Ensure you have the right power adapters for charging.

VIII. FAQs about Use Cell Phone in Hungary

Will my phone work in Hungary if it’s from another country?

Yes, if your phone is unlocked and compatible with the GSM standard, it should work with Hungarian SIM cards.

What are the major mobile network providers in Hungary?

The major mobile network providers in Hungary are T-Mobile, Vodafone, and Telekom (formerly known as Telenor).

Can I use my data plan from my home country in Hungary without additional charges?

It depends on your home network provider. Roaming policies vary, so check with your provider before traveling to Hungary.

Are there any specific requirements for using a cell phone in Hungary?

Ensure that your phone is unlocked, supports the GSM standard, and is compatible with the frequencies used by Hungarian carriers (e.g.900 MHz and 1800 MHz).

IX. Conclusion

In conclusion, using your cell phone in Hungary can be made more convenient by considering a few key factors. Checking network compatibility, enabling international roaming, purchasing an international SIM card or are options to ensure connectivity.