Traveling around the Caucasus, one thing that can be annoying is having to get a new sim card in each country. Azeri sim cards don’t work in Georgia, Georgia sim cards don’t work in Azerbaijan, etc. Traveling among Armenia, Georgian, and Azerbaijan, you will need three separate sim cards, since cards only work in their respective country (even when purchased from the same company). Here’s everything you need to know to get an Armenian sim card with a prepaid data plan so you can stay connected on your trip.
Armenian Sim Card Companies
There are three cell phone companies in Armenia offering prepaid data plans for visitors and tourists.
We purchased our sim cards at Beeline because it was conveniently located near the start of the Yerevan Free Walking tour, and we found ourselves with time to kill before the tour started. We each got 4GB prepaid sim cards for 3500 drams (about $8). There were multiple other options available, which you can see on the Beeline website.
VivaCell – MTS
VivaCell is the largest provider in Armenia. I find their website to be really confusing for determining the cost of their prepaid data plans. If you’re looking to get a data plan after arriving at the Yerevan airport, VivaCell has a kiosk by baggage claim. According to one TripAdvisor user, Vivacell is offering a plan at the airport for “12 USD you will get 2 GB data and some amount of calls/sms.” This is much more expensive per gig than we paid at the Beeline store in Yerevan.
UCOM – Orange
Orange’s Armenia network was purchased by UCOM, but it is still branded under Orange. The website is under Ucom, which I find to be confusing. The prepaid data packages listed on the website look like the could be the cheapest of the three companies, but I didn’t interact with them personally. If you end up getting a UCOM-Orange sim, I’d love if you’d come back and comment to let us know whether these cheap prices listed on the website are the actual in-store prices.
How to Buy and Activate a Sim Card in Armenia
The process for buying a sim card in Armenia was more simple than in Azerbaijan, but it still took a little while. Here are the steps we went through:
- Taking a number and waiting for it to be called: this took about fifteen minutes even though the store wasn’t that crowded. The store had wifi available so we were able to stay entertained on our cell phones while we waited. (15 min)
- Going over packages with the sales associates: because they had multiple prepaid options, we discussed this for a few minutes. (5 min)
- Paperwork and checking passports: we needed to show our passports and sign the sales slip. (5 min)
- Installing and activating the sim card: this part took a little bit of extra time because we were getting two cell phones set up. (10 min).
Total Time: 35 min
Pro Tip: Double check that your phone is activated. One of our phones didn’t work when we left the store, and my friend had to go back and get hers activated the next day.
Getting a Sim Card in Yerevan
There are over a dozen Beeline storefronts in Yerevan. We went to the Beeline Amiryan near Republic Square. The store hours are 10 am until midnight every day of the week.
Beeline Amiryan Store Address: 3 Amiryan St, Yerevan 0010, Armenia
There are also almost 10 MTS locations and nearly two dozen UCOM locations. If you’re in Yerevan and need a sim card, there should be a cell phone provider within just a few blocks. In addition, coverage in the city is great for all the providers (except if the government starts messing with the internet, but this will affect all three providers equally).
FAQ about Buying a Sim Card in Armenia
Here are the most common questions about getting sim cards in Armenia.
Do I need a passport to buy a sim card in Armenia?
Yes, you’ll need to show your passport to be allowed to buy a sim card in Armenia. This is true for Georgia and Azerbaijan as well.
What else do I need to bring with me?
You’ll need a form of payment and your cell phone. I paid with credit card, but they also took cash. Bring your phone with you and have them activate the phone before you leave. Make sure it’s working. My friend’s phone wasn’t working when we left the store and she had to go back the next day.
Can I buy a sim card at the Yerevan airport?
Yes, there is a Vivacell in the airport in Yerevan, but the prices are much higher than in the stores in the city. Unless you absolutely need data as soon as you leave the airport, I would wait and get a card in the city. If you get a price quote from the airport, I’d love if you can report back so we can get an updated quote.
Which cell phone companies have the best coverage?
In Yerevan, all three companies have similar coverage. I found that Beeline’s coverage was great wherever I went, even near the Georgian border. The coverage gets worse out in the villages, however, so you can check the websites for each company to see the coverage maps if you plan to spend a significant amount of time in the country.
Does Armenia follow the EU’s International Roaming Rate Caps?
No, Armenia is not part of the EU. If you use your EU phone plan on roaming in Armenia, you can get hit with extremely high data rates and come home to a shockingly high cell phone bill.
Can I use my international roaming from the US and Canada?
Yes, if you have international roaming turned on and your American or Canadian plan includes Armenia, then your cell phone should work. Note that data is pretty inexpensive in Armenia, so if your American or Canadian roaming plan is more than ten dollars, you might want to get a data plan in Armenia. Note that your cell phone must be unlocked ahead of time. Your cell phone company will unlock your phone for you if you contact them in advance of your trip.
Will my Georgian Sim Card work in Armenia?
No, Georgian sim cards will not work in Armenia.
Will my Azerbaijan Sim Card work in Armenia?
No, you will need separate sim cards for Armenia and Azerbaijan. While the process in Armenia was straightforward, getting a sim in Azerbaijan was a nightmare.
5 Things to Pack for a Trip to Armenia
- The Lonely Planet Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan which is available as a paper copy or in a Kindle edition. (While you all know I’m a Rick Steves stan, he doesn’t have a guide to the Caucasus).
- An Unlocked Cell Phone so that you can use an Armenian sim card.
- A scarf and slip-on shoes for visiting the Blue Mosque in Yerevan.
- Trekking Poles for anyone planning to do the hikes while in Armenia, especially if you have knee issues.
- Travel Insurance Policy information, because things happen on the road. I pay for World Nomads, and I happily recommend them. It’s especially important to get travel insurance if you’re going to be doing any hiking or trekking while in Armenia.
I have been a paying customer of World Nomads for travel insurance for two years, and I happily recommend them. It’s especially important to get travel insurance if you’re going to be doing any adventure sports like horseback trekking, hiking, or traveling off-road. Even in Yerevan, you’ll be happy when you’re able to replace your stuff if it’s lost or stolen.
More about Traveling Armenia
- What to Pack for Armenia for Women and Men
- Geghard Monastery: A Day Trip that turned into a Spiritual Odyssey
- 33 of the Most Beautiful Mosques in the World and the Pictures to Prove It
More about Traveling the Caucasus
Many people who travel Armenia combine it with a trip to Azerbaijan and Georgia:
Azerbaijan Travel Resources
- How to Get an Azerbaijan Sim Card
- 75 Epic Reasons You Need to Travel Azerbaijan
- Azerbaijan Packing List
- 21 Things to Know Before You Rent a Car in Baku, Azerbaijan
- How to Get from Ganja to Sheki and Vice Versa
- How to Get from Sheki to Tbilisi and Vice Versa
- 21 Things to Do in Ganja, Azerbaijan
Georgia Travel Resources
- How to Get from Sheki to Tbilisi and Vice Versa
- The Dry Bridge Market: The Funky Tbilisi Flea Market with History on Display
Have you bought an Armenian sim card? Are you researching prepaid data plans an upcoming trip to Armenia? Leave your best Armenia data tips and any questions about data connectivity in Aremania below!