If you are looking for the best sim card in Bulgaria with prepaid data then I am sure I can help you. Lately I took a trip to Bulgaria to explore the capital Sofia and since I am a nomadic traveler I don’t have a mobile phone contract. After a smooth and cheap metro ride took me from the airport to the city center I tracked down the mobile operator shops and checked out their prices and packages for a prepaid sim card in Bulgaria.
Mobile internet Bulgaria
Mobile internet is valued in Bulgaria and surprisingly the internet speed in this Eastern European country is pretty high. Sitting around spot number 30 in the world and outranking countries like Spain, France, UK and of course Australia (in my article 11 Things I Don’t Like About Australia, the internet speed is one of them). Bulgaria sits just atop its neighbour Turkey that are on spot 33 in the world. Curious about the best data sim card in Turkey read it here.
The average download speed for mobile in Bulgaria is a little over 31Mbps.
Mobile operators Bulgaria
There are three main mobile operators in Bulgaria: Vivacom, M-Tel and Telenor. All of them are reliable and have shops in the city center of Sofia where they sell sim cards for tourists.
4G coverage data sim card for Bulgaria
Through the website opensignal.com I found out the 4G coverage across Bulgaria for all three the operators and could clearly see that the Telenor has the best 4G coverage in Bulgaria, Vivacom comes second and M-Tel has the weakest 4G network coverage for a Bulgaria data sim card. See the maps below.
4G Coverage Telenor
4G coverage Vivacom
4G coverage M-Tel
For tourists though when buying a sim card in Bulgaria the 4G network is not something in particular to think about. As you can see on the maps above the 4G coverage of all the mobile operators in Bulgaria is pretty decent in all the touristy hotspots like Sofia, Varna, Plovdiv and Burgas. Even if you go skiing in Pamporovo you can enjoy high speed mobile internet in Bulgaria.
Prices prepaid sim card Bulgaria
The people in both Telenor shops were very friendly, helpful and spoke decent English. They took the time to explain me their available packages for a prepaid data sim card in Bulgaria. Available data sim card packages for tourists:
- 3GB data for 10 Lev ($6) – valid for 14 days – no recharge.
- 12GB data for 30 Lev ($18) – valid for 14 days – no recharge.
At Vivacom they were far from helpful and may be it was the lack of their English skills but they were incredible arrogant when I asked for information for a Bulgarian sim card for tourists. Eventually after I took a photo they even summoned me to leave their shop. When I tried to get information in another Vivacom shop the same scenario kind of occurred. Apparently Vivacom does not really want to sell prepaid sim card to tourists.
- 4GB data for 10 Lev ($6) – valid for 20 days including 100 min calling time.
There are recharge packages available for 15 Lev ($9) that gets you 3GB extra data and 300 minutes calling time. Stupid I would say, buying a new sim card will get you more for less money!
Last but not least M-Tel where they were very helpful explaining me the only options available for buying a sim card in Bulgaria:
- 3GB data for 10 Lev ($6) – valid for 14 days – recharge difficult, better to buy a new sim card again.
Best sim card for Bulgaria
In search for the best sim card in Bulgaria for tourists I already quickly came to the conclusion that there are no packages available for 30 days. Most probably tourists don’t travel in Bulgaria for longer than 14 days. While looking for the best Bali sim card or a Thai sim card it was a little puzzle to compare all the available packages. Here in Bulgaria the prepaid data sim card packages are very limited. Also in like the M-Tel shop they would encourage people that travel for longer than 14 days in Bulgaria to buy two sim cards rather than recharging.
Based on price, 4G coverage and restrictions Vivacom is the best prepaid sim card in Bulgaria, although buying one in a shop can be challenging.