Local SIM: Hungary Edition

since i’m a big proponent of getting a local SIM rather than relying on expensive roaming from home, i thought i’d start a series (way too many countries too late) on my local SIM experiences. first up, since i’m here, Hungary.

who: Telenor

where: WestEnd City Center, direct access off Metro line 3 at the Nyugati pályaudvar stop. you’ll see a small Telenor store at the Metro station’s mall entrance, but they were unable to give me a micro SIM for my iphone 4S and directed me to the Telenor store upstairs on the ground floor (where they also spoke MUCH better English). there is also a T-Mobile store there, perhaps other providers as well.

sidebar i arrived on a Sunday so my options were limited due to store closures. my airbnb host (btw, love this place) suggested i go to a mall, which worked out well. just watch out for closing times: it’s normally 6 PM on Sundays for most of these stores but i managed to squeeze in a little after. as an aside, the tourist information desk at the airport seemed to hint that you could get one at the post office there (but closed on Sundays) and suggested i take a bus one stop from the airport to a mall, but i decided to press my luck in town instead.

what you need: passport, mother’s name (apparently not just maiden name, full name), address of where you’re staying in Budapest

price: i told her i wanted 1 GB of data, which as i recall was around 2500 or 2600 HUF, so i got a 3000 HUF credit (the sales rep did everything — i didn’t choose anything except how much data i wanted).

(line items translated [thanks google translate] directly from the invoice):

  • Telenor practicality basic package: 1590 HUF
  • Telenor SIM card: 0 HUF
  • Telenor prepaid / new gen base package: 0 HUF
  • Telenor 3000 electronic top-up cards: 3000 HUF
  • Total: 4590 HUF, or $20.64

activation: immediate card activation. the sales rep must have set up my data package while setting up my account because i didn’t do anything and almost immediately got a message confirming (i think?) it was added.

photo (1)

watch out: i got a set of text messages (among many) saying something about an APN (a setting for data access):


if you follow the link to the tongue-twisting Készülékbeállítások, or Device Settings page, it’ll give you instructions on setting up your phone. i used 3G for a little bit before switching the APN over to “online” as described on that site and it seemed to work fine, but i changed it just in case. there are also instructions on how to set up MMS and tethering, but i have no need for either of those so skipped it.

i’m about 12 hours in and so far so good! 3G performance in Budapest’s city center has been great. i’ll keep this post updated if i discover anything new.

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