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The Comprehensive Guide to Ukrainian SIM Cards

I won’t beat around the bush…Ukrainian SIM cards can be a complete pain in the ass. 

BUT, that’s why great sites like Ukraine Living exist.

Let’s start with the good things about the cell phone deal in Ukraine. First off, it’s cheap as hell. Less than $5 a month will get you all of the data, SMS, and calling that you’ll probably ever need. In addition, there’s no contracts, monthly charges, or anything. Just put your money in a machine and you’re good to go.

The bad things is that sometimes you just seem to get randomly switched to a new plan, and end up having to top off. It’s happened to me a couple of times—I was on a monthly plan, where I topped off and got my 2GB on the first of every month. Then, I’d randomly start running out of data ten days into the month, though I hadn’t used even close to that. I finally went into the store and they sorted it out, but it’s good to be aware of this scenario. Sometimes things just…get changed. I don’t have a solid explanation for this.

In any case, let’s break down the different carriers.

Guide to Ukrainian SIM Cards

Generally speaking, there are three companies that you can buy Ukrainian SIM cards from:

  • lifecell—alternative name: life 🙂
  • Vodafone—alternative name: MTC
  • Kyivstar—alternative name: Київстар

IMPORTANT: It’s essential that you simply sign up at a store and make it clear you do not want a monthly contract. Look and ask for “PREPAID”. For this reason, the prices may vary a little bit from what you’ll pay for a month to month kind of contract.

On a final note, I definitely think paying cash is the way to go when it comes to Ukrainian SIM cards. The last thing you want is your credit card getting charged monthly and no one able to help you about it. Just pay cash and keep it simple.


Update, October 2019

Phone service in Ukraine keeps getting better and better, and also more expensive. There are a lot of plan options. On this article, since most of the readers of this site are foreigners, we have kept it simple with discussing the different data plans. At most, foreigners will need a couple minutes a month to call/make reservations/etc.

Click her profile below to meet her... 

For the most part, expats and foreigners stick to WhatsApp/Viber/Telegram for most needs, so data is the most important.


lifecell

Last Updated October 2019

This seems to be the most popular among expats, or at least it was in 2016. It’s owned by Turkcell, a Turkish cell phone company. You can expect everything to be readily available in English. Their plans are very reasonable, albeit confusing.

While in 2016, we recommended lifecell, they’d probably be our last recommendation these days. It’s so muddled and confusing to pick a plan, we won’t even bother listing details here. Just click below and figure it out…good luck.

For all plans and info for lifecell, click here.


Vodafone

Last Updated October 2019

Vodafone seems to be the most popular among the locals, though it varies from city to city. Here’s a breakdown of their prepaid tariffs. As always, make sure you check this in-store.

  • Start
    • 90 UAH for 4+2 GB
  • Pro
    • 125 UAH for 10 GB
  • Unlimited
    • 185 UAH for “unlimited” data

For all plans and info for Vodafone, click here.


Kyivstar

Last Updated October 2019

Kyivstar seems to be increasing in popularity and is an excellent choice for phone service in Ukraine.

It is now likely the most popular plan for expats with their Maximum Unlimited Plan – 225 UAH per month for unlimited data and calls to other Kyivstar providers.

Expats, of course, will rarely, if ever, use those minutes, but the unlimited data (their LTE in Kiev is excellent) for 225 UAH is a great deal.

  • Unlimited Social
    • 125 UAH – 3 GB data
  • Unlimited Messengers
    • 175 UAH – 6 GB data,
  • Unlimited Video
    • 225 UAH – 9 GB data
  • Maximum Unlimited
    • 300 UAH – unlimited data and on-network calls, 300 mins to other networks, 300 SMS

For all plans and info for Kyivstar, click here.


Conclusion

If you’ve got questions about any of this, just drop a comment below. It’s also not a terrible idea to get a local Ukrainian girl to help you out with this if it comes to it. Sometimes it can get to just be a hassle. Having a local speaker will usually clear everything up quite quickly.

Good luck!

-UL

  • Updated October 8, 2019
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Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 4 comments
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WBobby Ce

Hi, excited to be coming to Ukraine. Can you find me a cute Ukrainian girl to help with the SIM card ? ?

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Andrew McCalla

I am traveling to the Ukraine for one week how much data approximately do you think I would need I know that would depend on my usage but just a rough guide.
Staring my travel in Kiev then Odessa and Lviv really appreciate your help?

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Avatar
Steven Phillip

Relatively simple process , I arrived at Lviv airport , asked at information desk was directed to the small coffee bar , where I asked for a sim card (Lifecell) 200 UAH
Replaced my sim card with the lifecell one ( input PIN when requested that is under the scratch off panel on rear of sim card holder along with a PUK code .
Paid 200 UAH & that gives you 20GB & unlimited social networking for 4 weeks from start of activation .
regards Steven

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    Ukraine Living

    Excellent, thanks for chiming in!

    Reply

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