Local SIM: Lithuania Edition

IMG_7295lately i’ve been using my T-Mobile SIM with free international roaming (and loving it, despite the speed restrictions) but there are two reasons why i sought out a SIM card here in Lithuania:

  • i’ve been using a lot of international data on the T-Mo SIM, and i don’t want them to cut me off
  • i read it’s super cheap (and it is)

who: Pildyk [PDF in English], which runs on the Tele2 network. they say they’re the largest prepaid service in the country.

where: the Narvesen convenience store at Vilnius airport, between Arrivals areas B and C. NOTE that they only sold full-size(!) Pildyk SIM cards — i carry a nano SIM card cutter in my luggage (yes, everywhere, you never know!) so i am able to use it fine in my iPhone 5S. they had micro-SIMs for another carrier, not sure about nano-SIMs. if you need a specific size and want to use Pildyk, you might have luck at a Tele2 store.

what you need: nothing. no forms, no passport, no signatures.

Lithuania is planning to join the eurozone in 2015. the litas is pegged to the euro (€1 = 3.45280Lt) but i would expect prices to jump once the change happens.

IMG_7296price: the SIM card costs 5Lt ($1.98) and comes with 4.90Lt credit (so really, it costs 0.10Lt). i bought a 10Lt top up at the same time, so total 15Lt ($5.95).

some old information from the PAYG SIM with Data Wiki said that you could get 1GB of data (valid for 30 days) for 6Lt, but i didn’t know how old that information was so wanted to make sure i had enough for it.

after activating the card and data plan (see below) and requesting my balance (dial *245#), all of which have a small cost associated (like 0.15Lt SMSes), i have 7.20Lt left from the original 15. i guess you could do a 5Lt top-up instead of the 10Lt that i did and save some money, though you won’t get the 1Lt bonus i got for topping up with 10Lt. a SIM card with 1GB of data for $4! (if my calculations are correct, you’ll end up with over 1Lt if you do an initial top up of 5Lt?)

activation: once you install the card, you need to dial a number — any number — to start the activation process. i called 1520 as suggested on the back of the card the SIM card came in. (their packaging and pamphlets are bilingual Lithuanian/English.)

UPDATE: forgot to add that i turned off data during this activation process so it wouldn’t eat up the money i had loaded on the card.

the card should activate within 15 minutes — i’m not sure exactly how you know, but i did my top-up (*110* blah blah; the Narvesen lady was nice enough to underline it for me on the receipt) after about 5 minutes from the initial 1520 call and it went through (i got a text message saying it was successful and i got a 1Lt bonus, thanks Google Translate).

the pamphlet (which i just opened now, LOL) lists all sorts of add-ons, including data packs, but unfortunately, all the prices are buried in the Lithuanian version of their website:


i went off and did something else for a bit to wait just to make sure the card was activated. when i got back, i sent N30 to 1556 (thanks again PAYG Wiki, since i didn’t know this was in the pamphlet) to activate the 1GB data plan (30-day validity) and got a message saying the NARSYK (“browse” — thanks again Google Translate) 30-day plan was activated.

from what i can tell, the only important messages are the second (your order has been submitted) and third (order successful). the bottom one has to do with some ringtone promotion (which i wasted 0.15Lt on by activating via SMS).


speeds and coverage: results of a speedtest are below. not that great, but could definitely be worse. the upload speeds seem to vary quite a bit, but they are indeed on the slower side (though not as bad as EDGE). some parts of Trakai were EDGE, especially inside the castle walls, but otherwise 3G. there are reports on the PAYG Wiki of there being full HSDPA service but i guess my iPhone 5s doesn’t support that? in any case, excellent coverage so far, just not excellent speeds. but for $6, i can live with that!

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