Peles Castle

Buying a SIM Card in Romania

By Poi Deeble-Rogers Get Connected3 Comments

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Someone told me recently that in the list of the most read books of all time, Dracula is second only to the Bible.

While it seems that “fact” is completely false (it did come from a Romanian in the tourist industry,) the book certainly hasn’t done any harm for Romania.

Transylvania continues to draw tourists in search of the bloodthirsty vampire. While they arrive for him, they stay because of the impressive mountain scenery and idyllic towns such as Brasov and Sibiu.

However, most visitors still enter through the country’s capital Bucharest — and it’s a very easy place to get connected.

Note: Romania is part of the European Union, which introduced new roaming regulations in June 2017. These “roam like at home” rules effectively ended roaming charges across much of Europe, meaning you’ll usually pay no more for calls, texts, and data in other EU countries than you would in the country of purchase.

There are some exceptions and limits, however. Double-check the details at time of purchase if you’re planning to use your SIM elsewhere in the region.

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  • We recommend Vodafone or Orange for most travelers

There are four cell networks available in Romania, although you’re most likely to only notice the two larger companies, Orange and Vodafone.

These two currently cover 95% of the population, with 3G and 4G/LTE available on pre-paid packages in most major cities and often when travelling between them.

Both Orange and Vodafone offer a number of packages suitable for short-term visors to the country. For less than $10 you’ll have plenty of calls, texts and data that last up to a month.

I purchased a Vodafone SIM when arriving in Bucharest, simply because it was recommended to me by a friend already living in the city.

The majority of people I know here are also using Vodafone, although Orange is actually the market leader according to the latest statistics. Either way, there’s little difference between the services they offer.


Most convenience stores and newsstands sell SIM cards. Due to the number of dedicated phone shops around the major cities, though, there’s little point in using them.

All shopping centers (of which there are many) will have a Vodafone and Orange shop, often two of each. If you’re looking for English-speaking staff, these are usually the most reliable. No ID is required for purchasing a SIM card in Romania.

Simply ask for a new SIM. There will often be a pile of them, ready and waiting for you to choose your preferred number. While activating the SIM is relatively straightforward, the staff at Vodafone have insisted on doing it for me each time.

Make the most of this help to ensure your credit is used to activate the package that suits you best.

Vodafone Bucharest

If flying into Bucharest, the airport does not currently have a Vodafone or Orange shop onsite. SIM cards are available from the convenience stores inside, however.

However, with free Wi-Fi so readily available at the airport, shopping centres, cafes, and even some petrol stations, it might be worth waiting to visit one of the dedicated shops to ensure you receive the best deal.

Again, there are so many in the major cities it’s unlikely you’ll be more than walking distance away once you reach your accommodation.

Prefer to spend your vacation sightseeing instead of buying SIM cards? Grab one in advance to stay connected in Romania and across Europe.

This Orange SIM includes 20GB of data, 1000 international texts, and two hours of international calls. The price includes US delivery, and it's valid for two weeks in 30 European countries. Use the code EUCPO10 at checkout to get 10% off!

Other options are available if you're traveling for longer, need a portable hotspot, or want a different mix of calls, texts, and data. Either way, you'll be connected with a minimum of fuss before you've left the airport.


A standard Vodafone SIM costs €6.20 which includes €5 of credit.

This €5 can be turned into 1GB of data, valid for 30 days. Alternatively, you can increase your data allowance to:

  • 4GB for €9
  • 6GB for €10
  • 11GB for €15

If you’re staying in the country a little longer, there is also the option of 5GB for €12, valid for 60 days.

If you are looking for more than just a data package, I strongly recommend you speak to a member of staff in a Vodafone shop. There are many constantly changing packages available in Romania.

I’ve found a deal for as little as six euros to cover me for 30 days worth of data, calls, SMS, and even a few international calls thanks to these packages.

Staff in the Vodafone shop will be able to help you choose the best package for you and set it up. You’ll then pay the total cost — the price of the SIM, plus the credit required for your chosen package.

Note: Costs are quoted in Euros but require payment in the local currency, lei.

Topping Up

Top-ups can be bought from Vodafone shops or newsstands and convenience stores. Vodafone is the only network in Romania that currently allows online top-up via international credit cards.

Coverage and Data Speeds

Vodafone coverage in Romania has been excellent. 4G/LTE is available and very reliable in Bucharest and other major tourist cities like Brasov.

Even when driving through the mountains it was rare to lose phone signal. I was surprised to see 4G/LTE available at the highest point of our recent journey through the mountains.

Like the Wi-Fi, phone coverage (including 3G and LTE) is very impressive in Romania

Central Bucharest LTE speeds

LTE speeds in central Bucharest. Impressive.

Check out our guides to buying SIM cards in many other countries here.

About the Author

Poi Deeble-Rogers

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Poi has spent the last five years or so sharing everything, and we mean everything, about his life over at No Place To Be. After setting off with a one-way ticket to China in 2010 with his now-wife, Kirsty, a series of unorganised events have somehow led to him living in Romania. For a while, anyway...


  1. Avatar

    Wondering if you have any idea if either Orange or Vodaphone can also be used in other countries in the area under the same SIM card purchased in Romania.


    1. Dave Dean

      I don’t know for sure, but I’d be surprised if they didn’t. Vodafone and Orange operate across several countries in Europe, and roaming within the EU is extremely common, even with prepaid SIMs, so I’d expect it’d be something they’d offer.

    2. Avatar

      They can be used in other areas of Europe. If you buy a prepaid SIM make sure that you tell them that you want to use it in other countries as they will sell you a slightly different plan. We have successfully used our Romania SIM in Greece, Italy, France, Spain, and Cyprus.

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