Use Cell Phone in Mongolia for Travelers: How to Do It?

Are you heading to Mongolia and wondering if you can use cell phone in Mongolia? The short answer is yes and you will be able to use cellular services to navigate maps, order a cab, and connect to your family and friends. Read on this guide to explore how to use your phone in Mongolia and the best options that keep you online during your stay.

How to use cell phone in Mongolia

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

Here is a summary of phone compatibility, networks, and frequencies in Mongolia:

Phone compatibility: Most modern smartphones work in Mongolia, however, it is essential to check if your cell phone is unlocked. Unlocked phones allow you to use Mongolian SIM cards.

Frequencies:

  • Mongolia primarily uses GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) technology.
  • The common frequency bands are 900 MHz and 1800 MHz for 2G, and 2100 MHz for 3G. For 4G/LTE, the frequencies can vary, so it is crucial to check your phone’s specifications.

Networks:

  • The main mobile operators in Mongolia are Mobicom, Unitel, and Skytel.
  • Mobicom and Unitel offer good coverage in urban areas and major tourist destinations.
  • You should check the coverage maps of these operators to ensure connectivity in specific areas you plan to visit.
  • 3G and 4G/LTE networks provide decent internet speeds in major cities and tourist spots.

SIM cards:

  • You can easily get local SIM cards from the operator’s stores, kiosks, or even at the airport.
  • You need to bring your passport for SIM card registration

Pro Tips:

  • Make sure your phone works on the major GSM and 3G frequencies and is unlocked.
    If you want constant Internet access, consider buying a data plan with your Mongolia SIM card.
  • The emergency number for police is 102 and for medical assistance is 103.

II. Use Cell Phone in Mongolia – Will My Phone Work?

Yes. Definitely! You will be able to use cell phone in Mongolia and access the Internet while visiting stunning destinations in this country.

Your cell phone will work in Mongolia
Your cell phone will work in Mongolia

However, before your trip, you need to confirm several things as below:

  • Verify whether your device has open bands. Your cell phone can only connect to other networks with open bands. Otherwise, you would have to pay for pricey international roaming services from your home provider.
  • Compare your cellular network’s frequencies to those used in Mongolia. This way, you will know exactly what speed your Internet will be in Mongolia.

The table below shows the core frequency ranges used by Mongolian network operators:

Carrier2G Bands3G Bands4G/LTE Bands
MobicomB3 (1800MHz), B8 (900MHz)B1 (2100MHz)B3 (1800MHz), B28 (700MHz), B40 (TDD 2300)
UnitelB3 (1800MHz), B8 (900MHz)B1 (2100MHz)B3 (1800MHz), B28 (700MHz), B40 (2300MHz)
SkytelB3 (1800MHz), B8 (900MHz)B1 (2100MHz)B3 (1800MHz)
G-MobileB3 (1800MHz), B8 (900MHz)B1 (2100MHz)B3 (1800MHz)

Note: The information above is subject to change, so confirm with your chosen provider about their current operational status.

III. Do I Need an International Plan in Mongolia?

Certainly! Having an international plan in Mongolia is a convenient way to get online while traveling in this country. However, this is considered an expensive alternative. If you utilize abroad roaming services from your home operator, you will have to incur high prices.

An international plan for your Mongolia visit
An international plan for your Mongolia visit

Don’t worry! There are still multiple options to stay connected at affordable rates, including prepaid eSIM, prepaid physical SIM card, pocket Wifi, and so on. Besides, tourists to Mongolia can also access the Internet with free Wifi. This sounds convenient, nevertheless, it is pretty insecure and you can not always hunt for hotspots like public spaces, hotels, restaurants, or cafe shops to connect to free Wifi.

IV. What are International Plan Options to Use Cell Phone in Mongolia for Tourists?

Many mobile internet services for Mongolia offer plans to utilize mobile data, make calls, or send SMS while traveling in Mongolia such as prepaid physical SIM card, prepaid eSIM, and pocket Wifi. It’s time to explore the features, where to buy, and the pros and cons of each alternative.

1. eSIM plan for Mongolia

Mongolia eSIM plans for tourists
Mongolia eSIM plans for tourists

eSIM is an electronic SIM that can be downloaded before your trip. The only requirement to use eSIM is to possess an eSIM-supported phone. With an eSIM for Mongolia, you will have unlimited cellular data with customizable periods to visit Mongolia.

Suitable for: eSIM-compatible smartphones

Where to get eSIM for Mongolia: download from trusted providers’ websites before your trip

Pros: no physical SIM required

Cons: Limited provider options

Important Note: An eSIM works if your cell phone supports it. Check out our latest list of eSIM-compatible mobile devices.

2. International SIM card for Mongolia

Mongolia prepaid physical SIM card
Mongolian prepaid physical SIM card

A prepaid physical SIM card offers the most affordable calling and data rates while visiting Mongolia. It is a small chip you insert into your cell phone. It works similarly to the one your use in your country.

Suitable for: any unlocked cell phone

Where to get eSIM for Mongolia: carriers’ stores in the cities, kiosks at airports upon arrival, online from reliable providers before your trip

Pros: cheapest local call and data rates, diverse plans

Cons: SIM card slot needed, risk of loss

3. Pocket Wifi

Pocket wifi in Mongolia
Pocket wifi in Mongolia

Pocket Wifi is a popular option to get Internet while traveling in Mongolia. It is a portable wireless hotspot that transmits Internet signals to various devices. When you use this device, you will have to pay for the package you get, delivery, device rental, and accessories.

Suitable for: tourists who travel in a group

Where to get pocket Wifi for Mongolia: airport shops or online before visiting Mongolia

Pros: whole family can access Internet via Wifi from this device

Cons: high rental costs, need to charge regularly, lots of things to carry

V. Will My Local Network Work in Mongolia?

You need to know if your local network operates in Mongolia
You need to know if your local network operates in Mongolia

Most likely possible.

Chances are good that your network from home will work okay in Mongolia. However, the catch is that roaming fees can add up if you use your provider’s network while traveling abroad. This is the priciest mobile option by far.

Though you can use cell phone in Mongolia, your home provider will charge high rates for roaming. These fees can unexpectedly drive up your bill at the end of your trip if you don’t control your usage closely.

Pro Tips:

  • If you still want to use cell phone in Mongolia with abroad roaming service, ask your provider to find out specifics on roaming policies and pricing.
  • A more budget-friendly option is to buy a Mongolian SIM card or an eSIM before your trip.

VI. Gigago eSIM – An Alternative to Get Internet in Mongolia with your Cell Phone

eSIM plans offered by Gigago
eSIM plans offered by Gigago

We already know that eSIM is a great alternative to get the Internet when visiting Mongolia. It offers diverse data plans at affordable costs. You just need to pay for the data you consume. All you need is a cell phone that supports eSIM technology and then eSIM can be ordered and activated online with the support of the provider.

If you are seeking a reliable eSIM provider for your Mongolia trip, Gigago is a top recommendation. So why should you choose eSIM from Gigago?

  • Gigago offers a diverse range of plans (data + text + voice or data-only), various options and data volume.
  • Gigago supports robust cellular networks across Mongolia
  • Gigago offers 24/7 support via hotline, email in many different languages like English, French, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, etc.

For Mongolia, Gigago offers multiple data plan options, starting from 1GB for 7 days with $9.90 . What is great about Gigago’s Mongolia eSIM is that its plans cost vary between $9.90$38.50 , so it does not matter how Internet users you are and how long your trip is in Mongolia, there is always option for you with Gigago.

See more details about Gigago eSIM plans for Mongolia.

VII. Extra Tips to Use Cell Phone in Mongolia

Grasping the following tips will help you use cell phone in Mongolia securely and reasonably:

  • Download any maps or content you will need offline beforehand so you are not using cellular data roaming
  • Consider getting a Mongolian prepaid SIM card or a prepaid eSIM for better rates
  • Download a VPN app for data protection when using public Wifi networks before your trip 
  • Contact info is handy to have – your provider’s international support number in case of issues

VIII. FAQs

What are the major cell phone networks?

The two major cell phone providers in Mongolia are Mobicom, Unitel. Both offer nationwide 3G and 4G LTE networks.

Is roaming available in Mongolia?

Mongolian networks offer international roaming services but they can be expensive. Check with your home provider for roaming rates in Mongolia. Using a prepaid SIM card is more cost-effective.

Can I use my phone internationally?

Yes, most unlocked smartphones will work on Mongolia’s networks. Check your phone supports the frequencies used (900/1800MHz). US phones may need to be unlocked to use a different SIM.

IX. Conclusion

In conclusion, you will definitely be able to use your phone when traveling in Mongolia. The best way is to get a prepaid SIM card from a reliable provider so you can use cell phone in Mongolia without incurring huge roaming fees on your plan. An eSIM from Gigago is also a smart choice. Be sure to select an alternative that matches how you expect to use your phone.