Review: How Airalo Merhaba eSIM works in Turkey

In this article, I will explain how Airalo Merhaba eSIM works in Turkey. Turkey is not only a popular destination for tourists, but also many people seeking various medical procedures, including plastic surgeries, dental procedures, and other surgeries.

Disclaimer: Some links in this article contain affiliate links. If you click on the link and purchase any service, I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

I had the pleasure of spending several days in Istanbul, where I mostly got around on foot and walked for thousands of steps. During my visit, I spent one day exploring the Asian part of the city, two days discovering the ancient Sultanahmet, and one day wandering around Karaköy and Galata. If you’re planning a trip to Istanbul and looking for some accommodation suggestions, in this article are some ideas that might be helpful.

If you want to compare Airalo Merhaba eSIM with other eSIM for Turkey, check the other articles:

Reviews: eSIM for Turkey

More about eSIM technology and other companies is in this article. In this blogpost, you will find advice on choosing a suitable product for a trip abroad. All eSIM reviews are available here.

Airalo Discount Code

Use this link to access the Airalo webpage. You can get $3 off on your first eSIM if you use my Airalo code SANDRA4293.

If you already have an existing account, see this article for the discount code.

Airalo Applications

Airalo has apps where you can buy new plans or track the usage of your existing plans. Below are the links where you can download them:

For Google Play click here.

For Apple Store click here.

Airalo offering for Turkey

Airalo offers three types of eSIM products for Turkey. The first product is the Airalo Merhabe eSIM, a data package specifically for Turkey.

The second type of product is Airalo Eurolink, which can be used in 39 countries in Europe. These include  Albania, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and United Kingdom.

Airalo offers two variants of “Global eSIMs”. The first one is Airalo Discover eSIM, which offers data only. It varies from 1 to 20 GB. These data eSIMs can be used in 124 countries.

The second variant is Airalo Discover eSIM, which contains data, voice calls, and SMS. The plans include voice calls (from 10 minutes up to 200 minutes), SMS (from 10 SMS up to 200 SMS), and mobile data (from 1 GB to 20 GB). These eSIM cards come with the Austrian phone number +43. These data eSIMs could be used in 125 countries.

Detailed instructions on creating an account and buying a data package can be found in this article.

Airalo Merhaba eSIM Price 

At the time of my trip, Airalo offered six Merhaba eSIM products. Each product offered a different amount of mobile data, from 1GB (for $4.50) to 20 GB (for $26). The validity of the packages was from 7 to 30 days.

What phones support eSIM?

With this technology’s growing popularity, more and more phones and tablets are on the market that support it. When buying a phone, you should ask the seller if the phone supports eSIM. Airalo regularly updates the list of supported devices, so it is better to check their official support page.


Mobile operators in Turkey and connection type

Turkey has three mobile operators – Turk Telekom, Turkcell and Vodafone. Airalo Merhaba eSIM can be used in the network can only be used in the Turk Telekom network. Before buying, check whether your destination is covered by this mobile operator’s signal. I recommend checking out nperf.com.

Connection type

Airalo lists 5G for Turk Telekom on its website. However, the signal’s coverage depends on the location (see the maps in the pictures above). Many areas are not covered by the signal at all.

Additional Information

You can find this text in the Additional Information for Airalo Merhaba:

This eSIM does not cover Northern Cyprus. If you plan to use your eSIM data for 91 days (accumulated) or more in a 120-day period, you must register your device’s IMEI number on Turkey’s Central Equipment Identification Register (CEIR) and pay a one-time tax.

A new law regarding the registration of mobile devices in the Turkish central database CEIR was implemented on January 1, 2023. This law applies to all visitors to Turkey who plan to stay in the country for more than 91 days. If your stay is less than 3 months, you need not worry about it.

eSIM Activation

The data package’s activation and validity period start as soon as the eSIM is connected to one of the supported networks.

My Airalo Discover eSIM experience

My data plan

I purchased a data package which includes 1GB of data and is valid for 7 days. The package was originally priced at $4.50, but after applying a discount code, you can purchase it for $1.50.

Network registration

I enabled Airalo Merhaba eSIM in my phone settings. Within seconds, it connected to the Turkish Telekom network. After enabling mobile data, the 4G icon appeared.

Functionality

I had a great experience during my stay in Istanbul and encountered no issues. My phone only showed 4G or 4+G, as I did not register for 5G. Applications such as Google Maps and Uber worked flawlessly, as did various social networks. Websites loaded quickly, which was impressive.  

According to Airalo’s website, they support tethering or personal hotspots. Since I usually carry my Nintendo Switch when I travel, I connected it to my phone and tested the games to see if they could connect to the internet. To my delight, everything worked smoothly.

Speed

After having a good experience loading internet pages, I decided to test the transfer speeds. I was expecting higher numbers, around 50-60 Mbps, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was 125 Mbps. However, it’s important to be cautious with these speeds as mobile data can be used up very quickly.

Top-ups

Buying additional data was easy. After clicking “My eSIM” and “TOP UP”, I saw these six plans.

Conclusion

The Airalo Merhaba eSIM worked exceptionally well. It is exactly how I envisioned every travel eSIM should work. The apps functioned seamlessly as I needed them to, and the websites loaded promptly within a few seconds, allowing me to access the information I needed without delay.

AdvantagesDisadvantages
Three options – local Merhaba, regional Eurolink and global Discover eSIMNo Unlimited Data bundle
Different sizes of data offered – from 1GB to 20GB
Different validity periods of data plans – from 7 to 30 days
Simple process for top-up

What is your experience with eSIM in Turkey? Do you have a favourite one?


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