Your Cell Phone Options when Travelling to Israel

by Technology 23 August 2019

travelling to Israel

When you travel to Israel, you need to be able to communicate. Chances are you are going to bring your cell phone, and that means you will need calling, texting, and mobile data on it. Unless you are willing to chance it, hopping from one open wifi network to the next, you will need some way to connect with the local networks and communicate on one of Israel’s different carriers. You don’t want to be left without the ability to communicate!

You have three main options for communication abroad.

The option most people opt for is to get an Israeli SIM card that can connect to the local networks. Some people that are traveling for extended periods of time decide to go ahead and purchase a SIM card, while most people who are taking shorter trips decide simply to rent one and then return it when their trip has concluded.

How can you decide whether to rent or buy a SIM card? Below, we include a few pieces of advice from those that have researched it and traveled internationally to Israel before in order to help you with making your decision.

Your Cell Phone Options when Travelling to Israel:

1. Waiting until you get there

SIM cards

SIM cards are not that expensive. In fact, you can buy one for as little as $20 or less. Some companies will even have them ready for you to pick up at the airport as you arrive. Others will ship them to your house before you depart on your trip. Whatever method of getting your hands on the card you opt for, you will have to plug it into your phone. If your phone has not been unlocked this can pose its own issues. Unlocking means that your phone is able to be used on other networks. You can do this if you have paid your phone off in full or if you purchased it directly from the manufacturer. Some phones come unlocked, such as those from Verizon as well.

You can rent a SIM card once you arrive at the airport in Tel Aviv. There will be numerous places in Ben Gurion airport and beyond selling SIM cards to travelers. This is usually the cheapest option, as one of these can be had for as little $17 a month, going up to around $40 a month depending on the data package you get. While this is the cheapest option, please note you will receive no technical or sales support, so if you have issues with it you are all on your own. These will connect you to the local networks, so you need to make sure that you are getting a SIM card for one of the better networks with better coverage.


Cheapest Option


No support

Going in without communication solution

Must research to get the best network

Will not have a US number

2. Roaming


When you go to Israel, of course, there is also the option to just use your phone’s international roaming plan. Some carriers like Verizon and ATT offer a daily plan for $10 a day plus ~20% in taxes and surcharges for unlimited minutes and 500MB a day. If you go with an option like Travelpass just be sure you do your research, as a number of complaints have been made about it connecting to other networks and charging much more than initially thought.

Roaming will also often occur on tier three networks, meaning you will have slower service and will not have the call quality you are used to. Oftentimes, those on roaming will not be prioritized when the network is very busy. Roaming charges can quickly add up for anyone, but it is even worse when you drop signal. Imagine being out in the Negev Desert trying to find your way back to your hotel room when you lose your signal due to the tier three network. If this happens to you, you will probably wish you would have gone for a local Israeli SIM card.


Most convenient option



Limited to 500 MB a day

Network quality is often not the best

3. Going with a US company

For some people, there is a tremendous appeal in having their communications problems solved before they get to the country. That way, their vacation or trip is no more stressful than it needs to be and they can focus on why they are there.

There are a number of different US-based companies that offer Israeli SIM cards and other communication solutions. This allows you to get your phone number ahead of time so you can give it to friends and family, making sure they are able to talk to you. It also gives you an option for a US number and an Israeli number that will allow you to access all services and apps in the country. For instance, the parking app in Israel requires a domestic number.

These providers often offer unlimited talking and texting and use the largest networks in Israel like Cellcom, Telecon, and Orange, so you will usually get a better experience than if you went with a third-tier provider. There are certain providers that are known for exceptional service as well. Unlimited Israel is one we have found that has a five-star rating on Google with over 100 reviews and has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. This company is known for its exceptional support, fun packaging and offering their customers a little gift in the box before their trip. When going with a US-based company you will be guaranteed English speaking customer support for any issue you might have and can work out any issues with the company after your trip.


High-quality service in Israel

Strong English speaking customer support

You can have an Israeli number


This is not the cheapest option

Anytime you are planning an international trip, there are a whole lot of considerations that have to go into it. Technology is great while it works, but it always requires quite a bit of research and upkeep to make sure that it will work for you when you travel. Your options for cell phone service run the gambit, from cheap and Whatever solution you ultimately decide to pursue – renting or buying a SIM card, just make sure that it will keep you in contact at an affordable price.

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Mashum Mollah is a digital marketing analyst, SEO consultant and enthusiastic internet marketing blogger. He is very much passionate about social media and he is the founder Social Media Magazine.

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