Getting a SIM card in Israel?! Is it difficult? Actually, yeah, kind of. I didn’t think it would be…

Eight aimless hours of traversing Tel Aviv later, having dealt with a small platoon of customer service workers, I was hooked up with a brand-spanking-new Israeli SIM card. With a pretty sweet amount of data too!

As fun as that adventure was, I imagine you may want to skip it if possible. THEREFORE, I’ve written this guide to phones, SIMs, and phone plans in Israel.  All of the muss with none of the fuss!

What is your best choice for a local SIM? Who is the best operator? What regional-exclusive Pokemon are obtained in Pokemon Go in the great state of Zion (slash Palestine)?

It’s all in here. Today, we’re unpacking everything you need to know about buying an Israel SIM card, be it for a short shindig or a longer stint of living.

Gotta catch ‘em all.

Tourist in Jerusalem talks on the phone in Israel
Yes, Mum, I remembered the hummus.
Photo: @themanwiththetinyguitar

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Quick Jump – The Best Israel SIM Cards

Shalom Ladies & Gentlesteins! Most of the Sims featured here are GREAT for visiting Israel but won’t work once you leave the tiny, little country. If you’re going to be crossing into Jordan or Egypt after your trip, then maybe you should get an International Sim that will work all over the world instead?

You can either read our Best International Sim round up, or you can simply click the button below to buy one now.

Bag Your Sim

Let’s Break Down This Whole SIM Card in Israel Bizz

If you are backpacking around Israel, then a local SIM card will come in bloody useful. But like I said, buying a sim in Israel wasn’t as straightforward as buying a sim in Italy. There are so many choices and stats flying at your face and sometimes all you’ll be told is “We don’t do tourist SIMs” which is very clearly not true. Take my goddamn money!

A collection of Israel SIM cards for travellers
So much data!

You can buy an Israel SIM card at Ben Gurion airport when you land, but don’t. They’re seriously overpriced and pretty damned dumb. All the information I gathered for this post came from either online or in-person (complete with death stares) at Dizengoff Center in Tel Aviv… so you don’t have to lose all sense time and matter in that void.

Just head there when you get to town. Most providers have a kiosk or shop there, and you’ll be able to get hooked up with a phone and simcard easily.

The Future of the SIM Card is HERE!
mockup of a person holding a smartphone in white background with Holafly logo

A new country, a new contract, a new piece of plastic – booooring. Instead, buy an eSIM!

An eSIM works just like an app: you buy it, you download it, and BOOM! You’re connected the minute you land. It’s that easy.

Is your phone eSIM ready? Read about how e-Sims work or click below to see one of the top eSIM providers on the market and ditch the plastic.

Grab an eSIM!

GigSky – eSim Package For Israel

You might be thinking what the heck is an eSim? Well, my friend, an eSim is a virtual SIM card that you download onto your phone like any other app. That means no more fiddly bits and pieces of plastic and no more messing around visiting the phone shops of the world, hooray.

Sounds great like? Well the downsides are that not all phones are eSim ready, many of them don’t offer local phone numbers and they can be more expensive than local sims. However, a BIG advantage is that you can download them before you leave home and activate it as soon as you land.

Gigsky simcard

I have tried several eSim providers for Israel and GigSky are out top pick on account of their excellent customer service, extensive network coverage and reasonable data package prices.

GigSky Israel Prepaid SIM Card Prices

GigSky’s packages are simple. They offer unlimited data for the duration of the package’s lifespan and the duration depends on how much you want to pay.

7 Day Package – $4.99

15 Day Package – $13.99

Jetpac

Jetpac eSim
Jetpac eSim

As our world gets smaller, staying connected while travelling becomes not just a luxury but an absolute necessity. Enter Jetpac, a cutting-edge travel eSIM provider promising seamless connectivity at low costs, across the globe.

Based out of Singapore Jetpac offers packages, designed primarily for travellers and Digital Nomads. They offer various data plans that can be used across many countries, and the service includes features like free airport lounge access if your flight is delayed.

Good news, Jetpac eSIMs are compatible with a range of devices, including many models from Apple, Samsung, and Google. It’s simple and straightforward to activate a Jetpac eSIM. Users need to sign up on the Jetpac website or app, choose a plan that fits their travel needs, and then scan a QR code to install the eSIM on their device.

We love Jetpac for its ease of setup and reliable connectivity. JetPac makes it a handy tool for international travel, ensuring continuous access to mobile data across multiple destinations. While they don’t offer local numbers, we love that most of their packs last for 30 days by default so you can just concentrate on how much data you need.

Sim Options

Homepage of SimOptions website
SimOptions

SimOptions is a reputable global marketplace that specialises in offering high-quality prepaid eSIMs for travellers in over 200 destinations worldwide. The platform has been dedicated to providing the best possible eSIM and international sim options at the most competitive rates for travellers since 2018. They rigorously test and select eSIMs to ensure that you receive the best connectivity and service wherever you travel.

As well as effectively acting as a broker from a number of the best eSIM providers, SimOptions also offer their own eSIM products too.

Basically, SimOptions is kind of like a market comparison website for helping you find the best sim for your travels. You simply type in your destination and they bring up the different eSIM options from a wide number of prospective providers and suppliers

Sim Local

sim local homepage
Sim Local

Irish based Sim Local specialise in providing eSIM services, primarily targeted at global travellers to help them stay connected without incurring expensive roaming charges. Based in Dublin and London, Sim Local sells local SIM cards and eSIM profiles through their retail outlets, vending machines, and online platforms.

Sim Local offers a variety of eSIM plans that can be activated instantly and are designed to provide a convenient and secure way to stay connected in numerous countries. Their services are beneficial for those who travel frequently, as they provide the option to switch between multiple eSIM profiles on a single device, depending on the user’s location and needs.

They also offer pretty comprehensive customer support and a range of payment options, including Visa, Mastercard, Apple Pay, and Google Pay, all processed securely via Stripe.

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    SIM To Israel – The Simplest Prepaid SIM Card in Israel

    Is it the cheapest and best SIM card for Israel? No… but it does save you a lot of leg work!

    The deal here is that you order the SIM card, and it’ll be shipped to you BEFORE you travel to Israel. Once you land, on the date of arrival, it’ll be activated and, as they always say, badda-bing-badda-boom – yalla!

    SIM To Israel - the simplest SIM card for Israel travel
    So easy you don’t even have to try!

    The benefits are kind of obvious. This isn’t the best value SIM card for Israel for long-term backpackers on a budget, but for anybody on a short trip to Israel, it’s perfect to get hooked up with a phone number and data. No thinking is required.

    SIM To Israel Prepaid SIM Card Prices

    There’s an Israel data SIM card and then there’s the full plan. The full plan comes with unlimited local calls and SMS PLUS unlimited calls to the States and Canada for residents from there.

    Now you have zero excuses not to ring your mum!

    Data OnlyPriceFull PlanPrice
    100 GB / 10 days$30100 GB / 5 days$22
    100 GB / 14 days$35100 GB / 7 days$25
    100 GB / 30 days$55100 GB / 10 days$29
    100 GB per month / 60 days$89100 GB / 14 days$35
    100 GB per month / 90 days$120100 GB / 21 days$39
    100 GB / 30 days$45
    100 GB / 45 days$79
    100 GB per month / 60 days$89
    100 GB per month / 90 days$120

    Israel SIM Card Providers

    Before we get to the hummus, we gotta chew through the pita. There’s a whole host of carriers for SIM cards in Israel and they’re all pretty competitive. There are, however, the three largest providers with the biggest coverage of any cellular network across Israel. They are:

    • Pelephone
    • Partner (previously known as Orange)
    • Cellcom

    The remaining guys are still on-point with their data packages for Israel SIM cards, but you may not be streaming Netflix out in the Negev Desert.

    Ok, good? Let’s dissect this then.

    Pelephone Tourist SIM Card – The Best SIM Card for Israel Travel

    Pelephone logo
    Look for the giant ‘P’.

    Moving right along from the sexy tables full of numbers, next I’m giving you what I reckon is the best option I found for getting hooked up with 4G in Israel. (Remember, you’re skipping buying an Israel SIM Card at the airport).

    Instead, after figuring out where to stay in Tel Aviv, head to Dizengoff Center (or anywhere else) and find the Pelephone shop. Pelephone is one of the three biggest providers for Israel’s cellular networks (meaning the largest area of coverage) and their tourist SIM card is a pretty sweet deal.

    To get you going, it’ll run you 79 shekels ($23) and that includes the SIM purchasing fee. You get 39 GB a month with unlimited local calls and SMS and I was told this could be topped up monthly too for 20 shekels ($6). I’d say that’s a pretty damn excellent deal!

    …If it’s true. Considering most prepaid tourist SIM cards in Israel only last a month I would double-check this if you’re planning on staying longer in the country.

    In Summary

    Pelephone Tourist SIM Card – $23 / 1 month / 39 GB + calls and SMS

    Partner (Orange) SIM Card – Plan B when Buying an Israel SIM Card

    Partner logo
    The artist formerly known as Orange.

    Next up of the big three is Partner (previously known as Orange) and their deal for a prepaid Israel SIM card is decidedly a bit more ehh. It’s not as good a deal as the Pelephone SIM card and there was no mention of the card working past the first month either.

    • 1 week / 10 GB / 80 shekels ($23)
    • 1 month / 35 GB / 100 shekels ($29)

    However, being one of the three biggest carriers means they still have excellent cell phone coverage around Israel. The 1 week SIM is pretty crap and you’d be better off purchasing the SIM To Israel card at that point, but the 1 month card is a nice Plan B to Pelephone.

    In case the Pelephone kiosk is closed. Or the clerk is mean to you. Or if you just think Pelephone is a dumb name and sounds like a phone operator run by pelicans.

    In Summary

    Partner (Orange) Tourist SIM Card – $28 / 1 month / 100 GB + calls and SMS (and other goodies)

    Hot Mobile SIM Card – The Cheapest SIM Card in Israel

    Hot Mobile logo
    I wanted to put a picture of a cell phone on fire but this seemed more useful.

    We’ll get to the last of the big three providers in a second, but first, let’s talk about the little guys. The smaller providers of Israel SIM cards (in no particular order) include:

    • Golan Telecom
    • 019
    • 012
    • Hot Mobile

    Of these, the only real standout is the Hot Mobile Israel SIM card: the others provide pretty comparable or meh deals in relation to Pelephone and Partner without nearly as good a coverage outside of Israel’s urban centre. So, Hot Mobile it is!

    You get 20 GB of data and unlimited calls and SMS for 1 month for the low, low price of 50 shekels ($15)! Essentially, less data and less coverage at a cheaper price.

    This is almost-definitely the SIM card I would have purchased while travelling Israel IF it wasn’t for that whole ‘working traveller’ thing.

    In Summary

    Hot Mobile Tourist SIM Card – $15 / 1 month / 20 GB + calls and SMS

    Is This the Best Backpack EVER???
    audy on top of a mountain in japan with the osprey aether

    We’ve tested countless backpacks over the years, but there’s one that has always been the best and remains the best buy for adventurers: the broke backpacker-approved Osprey Aether and Ariel series.

    Want more deetz on why these packs are so damn perfect? Then read our comprehensive review for the inside scoop!

    View on Osprey View on REI

    Cellcom Basic Phone Plan – A Phone Plan for Longterm Travel in Israel

    Cellcom logo
    I remember this one by thinking someone wrote “Dipho” stylistically.

    Cellcom is the last of the big three and their tourist SIM card boggles my mind to no end. The internet tells me one thing, the store clerks tell me another, and either way, the deal still isn’t as good as Pelephone so forget ‘em!

    So, why am I talking about them? Because they’re the only mobile provider I found that would sell me a local phone plan for Israel – i.e. not a prepaid Israel SIM card for tourists. Incidentally, it’s what I got thinking I’d stay the full 3 months in Israel.

    It’s still bloody confusing though.

    Here’s the deal: I paid roughly 360 shekels ($105). Now, before you puke at the price, understand that in reality, I paid 60 shekels ($17.50): 20 for the Israeli SIM card and 40 for the phone plan (ok, 39.90, but we’re rounding figures here). The rest is a deposit I get back when I cancel after a minimum of 45 days on the plan.

    On Cellcom’s phone plan I get 30 GB a month, unlimited local communications, 500 minutes and 2500 SMS “internationally” (the United States, Canada, plus some of Europe… so, not Australia – sorry, Mum). I also probably get some other bonuses too that I don’t care about.

    So, this clearly isn’t the best deal for everyone, not to mention that it’s kind of a dickaround, but it’s a good SIM card for travelling in Israel or anyone looking to make Aliyah (settle in Israel).

    In Summary

    Cellcom Basic Phone Plan – $11.50 per month (+ $6 SIM fee + approx. $87.50 deposit) / Until the Messianic Age / 30 GB + calls and SMS (including internationally) + other stuff probs

    International SIM Cards – An Alternative to Buying an Israel SIM Card

    If you are debating buying a local or international sim, there are a few things to note. Buying local SIM cards in your travels ultimately works out cheaper, it also can be a real pain in the ass. Sometimes, it can be a bit sketchy too (depending on where you are).

    If you’re someone who takes a lot more frequent and short trips – as opposed to one giant backpack-slinging slog – then an international SIM card might be the better choice for you. How do they work?

    Well, the good ones work anywhere! (Mostly.) You’ll get data, calls, SMS, Tinder, from the moment you touch the ground in your new playground. They probably even work on the plane too!

    For the world-travellers.

    How do you find the best international SIM card though? Well, unpacking that is a whole new journey. There are heaps of good ones and there are a bunch that you’re better off just using to pick your teeth with.

    Some Final Tips before Buying a SIM card in Israel

    I feel like I’ve broken down the process of getting hooked up with a phone in Israel pretty succinctly, but there are a still couple last points I’d like to touch on:

    • Take your passport when you go to buy a SIM card in Israel. Not all the stores I visited insisted on having it, but you’re better off taking it in case.
    • If you’re looking for an Israel SIM card with unlimited data, you’ll need to get a plan. The tourist SIMs in Israel don’t offer this.
    • If you want to look at a cell phone coverage map of Israel for different carriers, this is an excellent source of information.
    • There were some discrepancies between the information I found online and information I received in-person at the phone shops in Israel (which is generally what I defaulted to in this post). Unless you’re avid in Hebrew, secondary sources is all you’ve got to go on – sorry!
      It’s possible you may find some discrepancies yourself when you go to buy an Israel SIM card – lemme know if you do down below in the comments, please!
    • At one point, the official kiosk for a carrier sent me over to an unmarked kiosk 10 feet away to buy the tourist SIM card. Not sure what this is about, but you’ll find all the official stores/kiosks in Dizengoff (except maybe Hot Mobile). Just look for the company logos.
    • Dizengoff Center is an ungodly monstrosity – it’s a labyrinth and I hate it. The official Cellcom shop is outside on the street and the rest are inside the abyss. If you find one phone shop, the others are close by. They’re all in the same building and close to each other, albeit on different floors.
    • The exclusive Pokemon you can catch in Israel (and around the Levant) is Tropius. Told you I’d cover it. 😉

    FAQs on Buying an Israeli Sim Card

    Here’s what we’re usually asked about buying a sim card in Israel.

    Final Thoughts on Getting an Israeli Sim

    How’d we do? Pretty good I reckon! Somewhere in there, I reckon you’ll find the best SIM card for Israel travel to suit your needs.

    Truth be told, there are so many providers that the Israeli tourist SIM cards are all pretty comparable and competitive. The Pelephone SIM card still edges the others out. For everything else, SIM To Israel is super convenient and skips the hassle.

    Any last notes? Yup! The mobile internet in Israel is pretty dope! It’s well developed, the coverage is great in the rural areas (with Cellcom anyhow), and it’s fast!

    It may get a bit confusing with all the different numbers and fees and deposit hassles, but with this guide, you’ll be hooked up with an Israel SIM card, data package, and number super easy!

    You’ll be Hallo-ing left, right, and centre in no time.

    Want another kind of sim card? Check out the revolutionary new Nomad e-sim, an app-based sim card covering over 100 countries that can be organised before you leave home! Another option is the Spanish based HolaFly which offers similar packages.

    Woman enjoying her mobile internet in Israel in the Dead Sea
    THERE IS A TIME AND A PLACE FOR INSTAGRAM AND NEITHER IS WHILE ENJOYING THE REVERENT MAJESTY OF THE DEAD SEA!