Buying a sim card in Israel

Sim cards on a table

Every experienced traveler knows that each country is a completely different story when it comes to using cellular data. However, the general rule of thumb is that using a local sim card is almost always the most affordable and practical way to use data while traveling. Israel is no different in this regard, with a series of relatively affordable sim card options. However, buying a sim card in Israel is not always as easy as in other countries, as it’s important to navigate the many tourist traps on the way to the best solution for you. Here is everything you should know in order to get the best and most compatible sim card deal for your trip.

Do you have to buy a sim card in Israel?

While it is of course not mandatory to buy a sim card in Israel, we would certainly highly recommend doing so. Using a sim card during your trip will make it much easier to navigate, book accommodation, and find information about Israel during your trip, and will generally make it much easier to manage while traveling here.

Wifi availability and speed

Generally, the wifi in Israel is highly available and at a relatively high speed. You can find wifi in almost any cafe and restaurant in the country, as well as in most trains and inter-city buses. In some places, you can even find wifi on the streets, especially in central locations in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

However, in more remote locations, like the Galilee, the Golan Heights, or the Negev, wifi is harder to find, and will usually be slower than in Central Israel. While the wifi availability in the country certainly makes it easier to manage without a sim card, it’s important to note that it will certainly not provide you with sufficient internet in most locations in the country.

Where can you buy a sim card in Israel?

Dizengoff Center

As Tel Aviv is very likely to be your first destination in Israel, probably the best and most convenient place to buy a sim card in Israel is in Dizengoff Center, one of the biggest and most popular malls in Israel, located right on Dizengoff Street. Here, you will find plenty of different sim card providers, so you will be able to check all of the relevant options and easily find the best one for your trip.

TLV Airport

Of course, buying a sim card at the airport is one of the most convenient options, as it will enable you to connect and use data right when you start your trip. However, just like in most countries in the world, buying a sim card at Ben Gurion Airport is usually more expensive compared to anywhere else in the country.

Other locations

Of course, you will be able to buy a sim card in countless other locations in Israel, like in any mobile operator retail store (like Partner, Pelephone, and more), and some convenience stores throughout the country. However, those might be a bit harder to find right at the beginning of your trip.

Best sim card options in Israel

eSIMs

As electronic sim cards have become more and more popular in recent years, they are certainly one of the most convenient and affordable options when it comes to buying a sim card in Israel. Using an eSIM in Israel will enable you to get data as soon as you land here, top up your package by yourself, and get the best data coverage in the country.

However, the only two real negatives of an eSIM are that not all phones can support an eSIM and that they won’t enable you to make phone calls during your trip. There are several eSIM providers you can choose, with some of the best ones being Holafly and Airalo, which offers packages for as little as 5.5$ for a week, or 11$ for a month.

Prepaid sims

Another very convenient option for a sim card in Israel is using a prepaid sim, which will be shipped to you before your Israel trip, and activated right when you land here. While this option is not the most affordable one, it is a very convenient solution for travelers who cannot use an eSIM, or for those who want to be able to make calls, and prefer to save time and arrive here with a sim card in hand. One of the most popular prepaid sims provider is Sim to Israel, which offers relatively attractive deals.

Physical sim cards

If you want to find an affordable solution for a sim card in Israel, but you cannot use an eSIM, then buying a physical sim card after you land here is probably the best option for you. Data in Israel is relatively cheap, and almost any data provider can offer some attractive travel packages.

Some of the biggest mobile operators in Israel include Partner, Hot Mobile, and Pelephone, with each offering decent network coverage in most areas of the country.

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