Are you traveling to Uzbekistan and wondering what is the best way to stay connected? Let this guide help you to pick the best sim card for your trip to Uzbekistan. Find below a comparison of the Uzbekistan prepaid sim cards, the best e-sim cards for Uzbekistan, up to date prices as per August 2023, the best 4G/5G network, my recommendation, where to buy a sim card for Uzbekistan, info about international sim cards and everything else you need to know.
Getting connected is the first thing I do when traveling to a new country. In the past I always used to buy a local prepaid sim card on arrival, but more and more I use e-sim cards to stay connected. Since Traveltomtom is already a full time nomad and travel blogger since 2012, buying sim cards and e-sim cards became part of my life, especially since Traveltomtom is also aiming to travel to every country in the world.
That is why you can find already more than 200 sim card guides on Traveltomtom from all over the world: Tajikistan, Pakistan, Dubai, Istanbul, Turkey, Europe, Greece, Spain, London, Paris, Asia, Thailand, Bangkok, Malaysia, USA, Canada and many more.
If you are flying to Tashkent Airport and you would like to buy a sim card for traveling in Uzbekistan straight on arrival then check out my detailed article with everything you need to know for buying a sim card at Tashkent Airport.
Why buying a sim card for Uzbekistan
No one wants to get stuck with slow overseas data roaming plans. These data plans from your mobile internet provider in your home country reduce the data speed and are much more expensive than e-sim cards or local prepaid sim cards.
The last thing we want is to get stuck with high data roaming charges, which in 2023 are still ridiculous and providers often charge up to $3 USD per MB, which means opening the Instagram app can easily cost you $100 USD. Not kidding! Always make sure you switch off data roaming when traveling internationally.
Very important when traveling to Uzbekistan is to stay connected. Why? What about ordering a taxi through an app (Yandex) or getting directions from Google Maps. Ever thought about what to do in emergencies and not being able to use data on your phone? Or killing time on long train or car rides, accessing your banking apps, etc.
Don’t rely on WiFi, there is no guarantee your hotel has good and fast WiFi and another reminder that being connected to the internet through public WiFi is on an UNSECURED network. The use of a VPN is recommended to protect your data.
Traveltomtom recommends an UZ Mobile / UZTELECOM sim card for traveling in Uzbekistan. UZ Mobile has the best 4G/5G mobile network in Uzbekistan and a prepaid sim card with data is cheaper than e-sim cards.
Traveltomtom does also recommend e-sim cards because of its convenience. They are actually cheap as they start from just $4.5 USD. However, if you want a lot of data they become more expensive. Check below for more info
When traveling abroad and visiting more countries on your trip then also check out my list of the best International prepaid and e-sim cards for traveling in 2023. These international travel sim cards are valid in multiple countries.
Be aware that foreign sim cards only work in unlocked phones. If your phone is locked then you can’t use an e-sim card, an international prepaid sim card or a local prepaid sim card before unlocking your phone. If you are not sure about this then contact your mobile internet provider in your home country before traveling to Uzbekistan.
The best e-sim cards for Uzbekistan
Of course are e-sim cards the easiest way to stay connected when traveling to Uzbekistan in 2023. But keep in mind they only work in e-sim compatible phones. If your phone is e-sim compatible then you simply order an e-sim card for Uzbekistan on the internet, process the payment, receive a QR code, scan it, follow the simple steps and you are connected in just a couple clicks.
Airalo is a trusted e-sim card provider and they have the following Uzbekistan e-sim card plans:
- 1 GB data for 7 days = $4.5 USD
- 2 GB data for 15 days = $7.5 USD
- 3 GB data for 30 days = $9.5 USD
- 5 GB data for 30 days = $13.5 USD
- 10 GB data for 30 days = $22 USD
- 20 GB data for 30 days = $34 USD
Click here to order an Uzbekistan e-sim card via Airalo.
The Uzbeknet e-sim cards are data-only and incoming and outgoing calls are not supported. Uzbeknet operates on the Beeline 4G/LTE network in Uzbekistan. For more info check the link.
SimOptions is another trusted e-sim card provider. They sell international e-sim cards that are valid in up to 130 countries around the world.
- 6 GB (only in Uzbekistan) for 10 days = $17.90 USD
- 6 GB for 8 days = $19.90 USD
- 3 GB for 30 days = $24.90 USD
- 5 GB for 30 days = $34.90 USD
- 6 GB for 15 days = $39.90 USD
Click here to order an international e-sim card for Uzbekistan.
These international e-sim cards are much more expensive but valid in multiple countries. The SimOptions e-sim cards come with a phone number, outgoing calls/sms are NOT supported, but incoming calls/sms are supported. For more info click on the link.
A third trusted e-sim card provider is Nomad and they offer also e-sim card plans for Uzbekistan.
- 1 GB data for 7 days = $8 USD
- 3 GB data for 30 days = $11 USD
- 5 GB data for 30 days = $15 USD
- 10 GB data for 30 days = $22 USD
Click here to order an e-sim card for Uzbekistan through Nomad.
The Nomad e-sim cards operate on the Beeline 4G/LTE network, incoming and outgoing calls are not supported.
Before ordering an e-sim card make sure your phone is unlocked and e-sim compatible otherwise an e-sim card won’t work on your phone.
Where to buy a sim card for Uzbekistan
International Airport on arrival
Buying a sim card at Tashkent Airport is very easy and simple. On arrival in the baggage claim hall there are 2 sim card shops which sell prepaid sim cards for tourists. For more details click on the link to read my complete guide for buying a sim card at Tashkent Airport.
At Samarkand Airport there is also a sim card shop. I didn’t land there myself but my friends confirmed that you can buy a sim card for Uzbekistan at Samarkand Airport as well.
Phone store in city center
All around the big cities there are sim card stores from the official mobile internet providers in Uzbekistan. Traveltomtom recommends buying a sim card in an official retail store over a random phone shop. In an official retail store of the mobile internet providers you get the best service and discounted deals and prices and before you walk out of the store, the staff will make sure your data connection is working properly.
Where to find official mobile phone retail stores of the mobile internet operators? Just go to Google Maps and type in the by you preferred sim card provider and located the nearest one to your hotel. Order a Yandex (the Uber of Uzbekistan) and it will probably cost you less than $1 USD to get there.
Traveltomtom does not recommend buying a sim card from any random kiosk. Language barriers are very common in Uzbekistan and when something goes wrong they will send you to an official store.
You can also buy a sim card at the bigger train stations like: Tashkent, Samarkand and Bukhara. Here you will find kiosks of Mobiuz. Be prepared for language barriers as not many people speak English in Uzbekistan.
You can also buy a sim card for traveling in Uzbekistan on the internet. I already showed you all about ordering an e-sim card for Uzbekistan, but you can also buy physical prepaid sim cards for traveling in Uzbekistan. These international sim cards will be delivered to your home address before traveling to Uzbekistan. On arrival it is plug and play! More about it later.
Mobile internet providers in Uzbekistan
There are 4 mobile internet providers in Uzbekistan: Ucell, UZ Mobile / UZTELECOM, Beeline and UMS. All mobile internet providers sell prepaid sim cards for tourists. Prices for prepaid sim cards are more or less the same, the big difference between the mobile internet operators is the mobile data network coverage. More about that later.
When buying a sim card in Uzbekistan in any sim card shop you will need to bring your passport. A copy of your passport will be taken in the phone store and your new Uzbekistan sim card will be registered on your name and your passport number. You will receive a physical sim card that comes with an Uzbekistan phone number that starts with +998.
Prices Uzbekistan prepaid sim cards
All prices and info below are updated in August 2023. Prices are in Uzbekistan Som and $1 USD = 11,550 UZS and 10,000 UZS = $0.87 USD.
The advantage of local prepaid sim cards is that they including (unlimited) calls and sms in Uzbekistan compared to e-sim cards which are all data-only.
- 20 GB data + unlimited socials + unlimited calls + 1,500 sms = 50,000 SOM - $2.2 USD
- 35 GB data + unlimited socials + unlimited calls + 2,000 sms = 70,000 SOM - $6 USD
Ucell does also sell e-sim cards, as well as physical prepaid sim cards for tourists. For more info check the Ucell website. The UCell website is the only website of all the mobile internet operators that has an English version, with the others you will need the Google Translate option.
The Mobiuz prepaid sim card plans are valid for 28 days:
- 7.5 GB data + unlimited calls + 1,000 sms = 25,000 SOM - $2.2 USD
- 15 GB data + free social media + unlimited calls + 2,000 sms = 40,000 SOM - $3.5 USD
- 35 GB data + free social media + unlimited calls + 3,000 sms = 60,000 SOM - $5.2 USD
Mobiuz does not sell e-sim cards, only physical prepaid sim cards for tourists. For more info check the Mobiuz website.
The Beeline prepaid sim card plans are valid for 28 days:
- 5 GB data (day) + 5 GB data (night) + 10 GB socials + 500 sms + unlimited calls = 24,000 SOM - $2.1 USD
- 10 GB data (day) + 10 GB data (night) + 20 GB socials + 1,000 sms + unlimited calls = 39,000 SOM - $3.4 USD
- 20 GB data (day) + 20 GB data (night) + 40 GB socials + 1,000 sms + unlimited calls = 55,000 SOM - $4.8 USD
- 35 GB data (day) + 35 GB data (night) + 70 GB socials + 1,000 sms + unlimited calls = 70,000 SOM - $6 USD
Beeline does not sell e-sim cards, only physical prepaid sim cards for tourists. For more info check the Beeline Uzbekistan website.
UZ Mobile / UZTELECOM
The UZ Telecom prepaid sim card plans are valid for 28 days:
- 12 GB data (day) + 6 GB data (night) + unlimited calls = 22,000 SOM - $2 USD
- 18 GB data (day) + 9 GB data (night) + unlimited calls = 33,000 SOM - $3 USD
- 28 GB data (day) + 14 GB data (night) + unlimited calls = 44,000 SOM - $4 USD
- 44 GB data (day) + 22 GB data (night) + unlimited calls = 55,000 SOM - $5 USD
- 70 GB data (day) + 35 GB data (night) + unlimited calls = 77,000 SOM - $7 USD
- 100 GB data (day) + 60 GB data (night) + unlimited calls = 111,000 SOM - $11 USD
UZ Telecom does not sell e-sim cards, only physical prepaid sim cards for tourists. For more info check the UZ Telecom website.
Best 4G/5G data network in Uzbekistan in 2023
To determine the best prepaid sim card for traveling in Uzbekistan let’s compare the mobile data network coverage of all the mobile internet providers. Uzbekistan is a huge country and especially during long train rides you want to stay connected. A sim card without a data connection is useless.
Is there 5G in Uzbekistan?
No, as of August 2023 there is no 5G in Uzbekistan. Although Beeline and UZ Mobile claim to have 5G in some areas of Tashkent it is not wide spread around the country. When I was traveling in Tashkent I did not get a 5G signal at all with my UZ Mobile sim card.
Mobiuz mobile data 4G/5G coverage map
Ucell mobile data 4G/5G coverage map
Beeline mobile data 4G/5G coverage map
UZ Mobile 4G/5G coverage map
From the above Uzbekistan 4G/5G coverage maps we can clearly see that UZ Mobile has the best mobile data network in Uzbekistan in 2023. There is actually a big difference between the other mobile internet operators and UZ Mobile. Beeline is a second best but is no competition for UZ Mobile when it comes to the best 4G/5G network in Uzbekistan.
Best sim card for Uzbekistan
Prices for Uzbekistan prepaid sim cards are cheap, but so are e-sim cards. If you only travel to Tashkent and around and just need a little bit of data to stay connected then an e-sim card is the best way to stay connected because of its convenience. No need to visit a sim card store in Uzbekistan. You arrange everything online in just 2-3 minutes.
But for traveling around Uzbekistan Traveltomtom recommends buying an UZ Mobile sim card on arrival in Uzbekistan. Unfortunately the e-sim cards sold on the internet all operate on the Beeline network, so you can only buy an UZ Mobile when you arrive in Uzbekistan.
UZ Mobile has by far the best mobile data network compared to the other mobile internet providers and therefore to guarantee the best connection and data speed UZ Mobile is the best sim card for traveling in Uzbekistan.
International prepaid sim cards for Uzbekistan are not directly recommended as they are extremely pricey, see below for more info.
Order a sim card for Uzbekistan online
If your phone is not e-sim compatible then you can still order an international prepaid sim card for traveling in Uzbekistan on the internet. However, there is very limited choice. Check out the following physical prepaid sim card for Uzbekistan:
- 50 MB for 14 days = $49.90 USD
This physical prepaid sim card will be delivered to your home address before your trip to Uzbekistan and is pre-activated. So on arrival in Uzbekistan it is plug and play.
Traveltomtom does NOT recommend the Orange Holiday World sim card for traveling to Uzbekistan. This sim card is valid in every country in the world, but per country the data allowance is different. Unfortunately in Uzbekistan it is just 50 MB, not GB! For more info click on the link.
My experience buying a sim card for Uzbekistan
Before my trip to Uzbekistan I already researched what would be the best sim card for traveling around the country. Me and my friends flew into Tashkent and then traveled by train all around Uzbekistan so I wanted the sim card with the best mobile internet coverage. On arrival at Tashkent Airport I wanted to buy a sim card for Uzbekistan and I had hoped there would be a UZ Mobile sim card shop.
Unfortunately there was none, only Beeline and Ucell. Click on the link to read my complete guide for buying a sim card at Tashkent Airport or watch my vlog below about my arrival at Tashkent Airport and my experiences buying a sim card.
With the free public WiFi at Tashkent Airport, which was actually working good, I ordered an e-sim card for Uzbekistan on Airalo with 1 GB data for just $4.5 USD so at least I was connected. Then the next day I went to an UZ Mobile sim card shop in Tashkent city center and bought a prepaid sim card.
While traveling around Uzbekistan I was pleasantly surprised with the performance, the network coverage and the data speed of my UZ Mobile sim card. On average the data speed in Uzbekistan was around 40 Mbps download and 15 Mbps upload. Surfing the internet, watching TikTok, Instagram and YouTube videos was never really a problem. Sometimes the WiFi of the hotels was faster, so I connected to the WiFi, but most of the times I was not even bothered because I bought a big data plan and my mobile data was fast enough.
Anyway, I am sure some of the above tips for buying a sim card for Uzbekistan were helpful and my information made it easier for you to pick the right sim card for your trip to Uzbekistan.
Let me know if you still have any questions and I am more than happy to help you out. Leave me a comment below or reach out to me on social media.
Curious what it looks like trying to visit every country in the world? Go check out my Instagram account @traveltomtom and follow along. As of August 2023 I have visited more than 155 countries, so still a long way to go.
Enjoy your trip to Uzbekistan!