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Note: the prepaid SIM market in Slovenia has changed significantly for visitors since this article was first written. The recommended provider (Izimobil) has been sold and rebranded, and now has less-competitive pricing. As mentioned below, most providers now also prevent foreigners from accessing free EU roaming.
We haven’t returned to Slovenia since these changes came into effect, but would now consider buying SIMs from either bob (one of the few which doesn’t yet restrict roaming for foreigners) or HoT Mobil, which offers large domestic data packages at low prices.
Slovenia is one of those countries that many travellers haven’t really heard of, and even fewer consider visiting.
That’s a real shame — the capital of Ljubljana is one of my favourite European cities, with wonderful coloured buildings throughout the old town, a lively bar and restaurant scene along the river and a restored castle towering over it all, visible from almost anywhere.
Elsewhere in this small country lie beautiful lakes, caves and mountains, and even beaches along the Adriatic coast. There’s certainly plenty to see.
Although Wi-fi is reasonably prevalent in bars and cafes in Ljubljana, having a local SIM card will help you stay connected in other parts of Slovenia. Fortunately, pricing is reasonable and coverage is excellent — at least if you pick the right company.
Here’s what you need to know.
There are four cell networks in Slovenia, plus a few resellers. The best coverage is on the Telekom Slovenije network, which covers close to 100% of the country. Si.mobil also has good coverage, but the other two networks have noticeably less.
I opted for Izimobil, which uses the excellent Telekom Slovenije network at a cheaper rate. Note that LTE isn’t available with Izimobil: it’s 2G and 3G only.
How to Buy a Prepaid SIM in Slovenia
The purchase and setup process was extremely simple. I tracked down the bright orange Izimobil sign outside a tiny store near the main town square in Ljubljana, and the woman behind the counter spoke excellent English.
Although various prepaid options were available, I chose the call, text, and data package she suggested. After checking which kind of SIM card I needed (the options were nano, or standard/micro), the staff member swapped it out and ran through the setup process.
After sending a text to activate the SIM and entering the APN details (which are necessary for data services), I was handed back my phone and SIM pack, and was out the door in less than five minutes. There was no need to show any form of identification.
In case you happen to buy your SIM from someone who doesn’t set it up for you, here are the details you need to do it yourself.
To activate the Izimobil SIM, send: Podatki doma to 4008
To activate the data and calls package, send: Izimesec m to 3388.
I paid €8.90 for the SIM card with 600 minutes of national calls, 600 local SMS, and 600MB of data, valid for 28 days. The packaging suggested this was a special for new customers, but the validity period of this ‘special’ was unclear.
If this deal is no longer available, the standard package is a less impressive €6.90 for 150 minutes, calls and MB. You can add extra data for €5 for 500MB, €9 for 1GB and €15 for 2GB, by texting DATA5, DATA9 or DATA15 to 3388.
All pricing information is available in Slovenian — just run it through Google Translate if necessary.
You can buy top-ups anywhere you see the Izimobil sign, and there’s a store locator here. Keep the default Kartice za polnjenje option selected to see everywhere that can sell you credit.
Coverage and Data Speeds
Coverage was rock-solid in and around Ljubljana, and everywhere else I tried it in Slovenia. Given that the network used by Izimobil covers nearly the entire country, you shouldn’t have a problem staying connected almost anywhere.
Note: Slovenia is part of the European Union, so EU roaming regulations apply. These “roam like at home” rules ended roaming charges across much of Europe in 2017, letting you use a SIM card from any EU country across all the others at no extra charge.
Almost all providers in Slovenia require proof of residence and a Slovenian tax ID to enable this, however, making free roaming largely inaccessible for visitors. Double-check the details at time of purchase very carefully if you’re planning to use your Slovenian SIM elsewhere in the EU/EEA.
Check out our guides to buying SIM cards in many other countries here.