Mobile services in Bulgaria
Mobile networks in Bulgaria are developed sufficiently well. There are three large operators: VivacomBG, M-tel and Telenor (which was earlier called GlobulBG). M-tel is the oldest operator. Its services are considered the most expensive ones.
Coverage is the same with all the three operators. Bulgaria is not a large country, and communication networks are good quality and stable everywhere. The larger majority of plans comprise mobile Internet service.
Mobile operators in Bulgaria
All the companies offer prepaid services and contract services. The latter are available only for those who are residents of Bulgaria. Tourists have to do with prepaid services, which are on average less cheap.
The cost of a minute of calling is sufficiently high, but in all cases it is better to use a Bulgarian SIM card to call people in Bulgaria than to pay for roaming services.
The cost of services for mobile data in Bulgaria
It would not be appropriate to call Bulgarian mobile services inexpensive. The contracts signed for shorter or longer terms are usually advantageous, especially for those who do a lot of calling, as they comprise a large amount of free minutes (for calls inside the country or with other countries), for fixed rates. As for prepaid services, they are not very economical. However, tourists have no choice.
The M-tel operator
M-tel offers prepaid services called “Prima” for those who cannot sign a contract. The amount in the account is kept within 90 days, if you have used the card to make at least one call. The SIM card itself is valid for 396 days after the last use, i.e. if you wish, you can use it during your next trip to Bulgaria. There are three “Prima” tariffs:
- “Universal Prima”. The starting package costs 6 BGN. A minute of call to destinations in Bulgaria costs 0.39 BGN, and a minute to specific numbers costs 0.25 BGN. The sending of a message costs 0.25 BGN. One MB of mobile Internet costs 1.54 BGN. The charging is by the minute.
- “Prima for Kids”. It is specially designed for kids, and there are a number of limitations. The cost of the starting package is 7.98 BGN. A minute of a call to Bulgarian destinations costs 0.39 BGN. An SMS costs O.14 BGN. One MB costs 2.56 BGN. Calls to specific numbers are free or with large discounts.
- “Nova Prima Svyat”. The starting package cost is 6 BGN. In the course of a month following the activation of the SIM card you can avail yourself of bonus minutes and MB of mobile Internet. Calls to Bulgarian mobile numbers and to numbers in 32 other countries cost 0.38 BGN/minute. The cost of an SMS, of a call to a landline phone, and of 1 MB of Internet is 0.18 BGN. Following a month after the activation of the package or the topping up of the account, calls to other countries are charged by the standard rates. Charging rates are by the minute.
You can find out further details and rates on the official site of M-tel.
The Vivacom operator
VivacomBG also offers prepaid services:
- “[email protected]“. The package costs 6 BGN, out of which 3 BGN go into your account. The cost of a minute of calling is 0.34 BGN. An SMS sent to Bulgarian destinations is 0.14 BGN, sending a message to another country is charged 0.30 BGN. GPRS/EDGE/UMTS/HSDPA is 1.8 BGN/MB. The cost of calls to other countries are charged from 0.72 to 1.92 BGN.minute.
- “GetFive“. The package also costs 6 BGN, and again 3 BGN go into your account. Calls to five selected numbers in the network will cost 0.20 BGN per minute. Calls to other Bulgarian numbers are charged 0.39 BGN per minute. Sending an SMS to Bulgaria is worth 0.21 BGN, sending a message abroad is worth 0.30 BGN. GPRS/EDGE/UMTS/HSDPA is 1.8 BGN/MB. The cost of calls to other countries is worth from 0.72 to 1.92 BGN/minute.
- “Opa!”. This is a starting package costing 8 BGN. Calls to all landline and mobile phone numbers in the country are worth 0.34 BGN/minute. The cost of an SMS sent to Bulgaria is 0.12 BGN, messages sent abroad are worth 0.30 BGN each. GPRS/EDGE/UMTS/HSDPA is 1.8 BGN/MB. The cost of calls to other countries is worth from 0.72 to 1.92 BGN/minute.
- “Viva Standard Package”. The package is worth 13 BGN, out of which 10 BGN goes into your account for calls and mobile Internet. The cost of calls to Bulgaria is 0.44 BGN per minute. An SMS to Bulgaria is worth 0.19 BGN, and messages sent abroad are worth 0.30 BGN. GPRS/EDGE/UMTS/HSDPA is 1.8 BGN/MB. Calls abroad are worth from 0.72 to 1.92 BGN/minute.
- “+GetData“. That is a package which is additional to a prepaid SIM card and provides you with mobile Internet. The package is worth from 0.99 BGN to 6 BGN, and its validity term is from 1 to 20 days, with 50 to 400 MB included; after you have used them up, the cost of 1 MB is 0.30 BGN.
You can find further information about the services and rates of the operator on the Vivacom site.
The Telenor operator
Here are Telenor’s offers:
- “Telenor”. That is a package costing 6 BGN, of these, 3 BGN come into your account. A minute of calling is worth 0.39 BGN; when you call 5 selected numbers, the cost is 0.25 BGN. Sending a message is worth 0.25 BGN, and you will pay 2.4 BGN for 1 MB of Internet.
- “Telenor Tourist”. It costs 6 BGN as a starting package. Calls within Bulgaria are worth 0.39 BGN/minute. Mobile Internet is worth 0.19 BGN/minute. For sending a message you are charged 0.29 BGN. You can also get additional packages. Within a week following the purchasing of the card, there will be 30 minutes for calls within Bulgaria and to specific countries, as well as 1 GB of mobile Internet.
- For Telenor customers, Telenor offers several more prepaid plans, including plans bundled with buying a mobile phone.
Find out additional information regarding services and rates on the Telenor site.
Where to buy a SIM card and how to top up your account?
easy to get a SIM card in Bulgaria, the main thing is not to forget your passport, as the passport data of foreigners are mandatorily entered into the data base at the time of purchasing. You can get SIM cards in all operator offices. You can see their addresses on the respective operator’s site. Vivacom offices are in orange and silver, Telenor offices have blue signs, and M-tel offices are characteristically marked by red logos.
You can top up your account in the operator’s office. Just say your phone number and specify that it is a prepaid one. You can also top up using terminals.
One more method of topping up is by special coupons. These are sold at checkouts of a host of shops in resorts: they are plastic cards with codes. After you erase the layer over the code, you will see it. On the side of the code, on the coupon you will see the instructions on how to enter the code.
Prepaid SIM cards are sold also in some supermarkets. But when you go to top up at the operator’s office, you have to show your passport, so that they can enter your data into the data base.