If you are planning to visit Iran, you may have heard that recently purchasing and using Iranian SIM cards have become complicated for foreign tourists.
Arriving at the airport, buying a SIM card used to take only a couple of minutes by showing your passport and activating the SIM would take some hours; then, you could easily use internet packages with reasonable prices. The only issue was choosing the right operator offering the best services, better and wider coverage and cheaper internet packages.
However, the new regulations has made this process more complicated. First of all, foreign travelers are no longer allowed to buy Iranian SIM cards! So, the first step is to ask the travel agency managing your tours to get you a SIM card or if you are traveling independently, ask an Iranian friend to buy a SIM card for you under their own name! It is not the best solution but is the only one!
Mind that if you already plan to stay for more than 30 days in Iran, another problem pops up! You have to register your phone to be able to use it!
Recently Iranian government has made it compulsory to register all imported cell phones to prevent smuggling! Based on this new policy, an activation code is assigned to each imported cell-phone or tablet!
Tourists can use their phones for 30 days with no registration needed. But if they want to stay more than 30 days or come back later, they should register their phones at customs offices at international airports or on Hamta website (only in Persian), an online platform designed for this purpose. Tourists who use their own SIM cards with roaming services would not face this issue.
The registration is not free of charge! You need to pay 18% of your phone’s price to register it and be able to use your SIM card and its services.