If you’re planning a trip to Pakistan, a reliable sim card is essential for staying connected and navigating the country. Whether you need to find the best restaurants, get directions to your accommodation, book a taxi, or share photos with your loved ones, having internet access on the go is invaluable.
While roaming is an option, the fees can quickly add up when travelling internationally. Therefore, we highly recommend either an eSIM or a local sim card to take advantage of local phone rates. Thankfully, obtaining either option in Pakistan is incredibly easy; however, it’s useful to know which one suits your needs best.
In this comprehensive guide, we will provide you with all the information you need to know about purchasing a sim card in Pakistan, including up-to-date pricing and the top recommendations for the best sim card for your specific requirements.
The best sim card in Pakistan is the Jazz prepaid sim card. Jazz offers a wide range of plans, however, I recommend the 868 PKR plan which comes with 12GB data valid for 1 month. You will also need to pay 300 PKR for the sim card bringing the total price to 1,168 PKR, or about $4 USD.
Jazz is the largest mobile operator in Pakistan and was formerly known as Mobilink. Their network is the most reliable and offers the best coverage, however, Telenor and Zong also have very extensive networks across Pakistan.
Compared to local sim cards, eSims are relatively expensive and I can’t recommend them to budget-conscious travellers. However, they are unquestionably more convenient as you do not need to find a store, communicate with staff or install a physical sim card. If you want the easiest option in Pakistan then make sure to check out the Airalo Pakistan eSim here.
A Tourist Sim Card in Pakistan costs 1168 PKR in February 2024, however, the exact price will often depend on the store you visit and the plan you choose.
Alternatively, an eSim in Pakistan will cost between $5 USD and $30 USD. This, again, depends on how much data you require and which eSim provider you choose.
I generally recommend this Airalo plan for most tourists visiting Pakistan which includes 5GB of data which is valid for 30 days and costs $17.50 USD.
In Pakistan, the telecommunication industry is dominated by three main SIM card providers: Jazz, Telenor, and Zong.
Jazz, the largest mobile network operator, offers a wide range of services including voice calls, messaging, and data packages. With its extensive coverage and reliable network, Jazz has secured a large customer base across the country.
Telenor, another prominent player, provides various prepaid and postpaid plans with attractive offers and affordable rates. The company focuses on offering innovative services such as high-speed internet and digital solutions to cater to the evolving needs of its customers.
Zong, a subsidiary of China Mobile, has gained popularity due to its exceptional 4G coverage and fast internet speeds. Its diverse range of packages caters to the budget and demands of different customer segments.
Overall, Jazz, Telenor, and Zong are the leading SIM card providers in Pakistan, each offering competitive services to meet the growing needs of the consumers.
Jazz is a renowned mobile network operator in Pakistan, offering tourist sim cards that greatly facilitate travelers’ communication needs. With extensive coverage across the country, Jazz ensures seamless connectivity for tourists throughout their journey. These sim cards provide competitive data packages, unlimited local calls, and international calling options. Additionally, Jazz’s reliable network and user-friendly services make them a preferred choice for tourists visiting Pakistan. Stay connected effortlessly with Jazz’s tourist sim cards and explore this beautiful country with ease.
The price of a Jazz tourist sim card in Pakistan is 1168 PKR (300 PKR for sim card + 868 PKR for the plan).
The plan offered by Jazz stores includes 12GB data + 300 minutes + 3000 SMS valid for 1 month.
Telenor, one of the largest telecom providers in Pakistan, offers reliable and convenient tourist SIM cards for international travelers. With extensive coverage across the country, tourists can enjoy seamless connectivity during their stay. Telenor’s tourist SIM cards provide affordable data plans, allowing tourists to browse the internet, make calls, and utilize social media platforms. It’s an ideal option for staying connected while exploring the beauty of Pakistan.
The price of a Telenor tourist sim card in Pakistan is 920 PKR.
The plan offered by Telenor stores offers 12GB data + 12GB data 1am – 9am valid for 1 month.
Zong, a leading telecom company in Pakistan, offers excellent tourist SIM cards for travelers visiting the country. Their tourist packages provide affordable data, voice, and SMS services. With widespread coverage, tourists can stay connected even in remote areas. Zong’s reliable network ensures seamless communication throughout Pakistan. Whether exploring historical landmarks or trekking in the mountains, Zong’s tourist SIM cards are a must-have for travelers, offering convenience and a hassle-free experience.
The price of a Zong tourist sim card in Pakistan is 1,400 PKR.
The plan offered by Zong stores includes 60GB data + 600 minutes valid for 1 month.
Identify mobile providers: Jazz, Telenor and Zong are your best options in Pakistan.
Find your nearest store: Locate a store or retailer by searching on Google Maps for your nearest store or asking at your hotel reception. I’ve never had issues finding a store as they can usually be found in major cities, shopping centers, or tourist areas. If possible, I always recommend to to avoid airports and head in to an official store in the city.
Bring the necessary documents: It is always a good idea to carry your passport or identification documents for sim card registration purposes. We’ve found most providers will need to confirm your identity to provide a sim card and it can be a major hassle to head to a store only to have to come back again later with your passport.
Choose your plan: Either request the plan you are after or consult with the staff in the store to select the right plan for you. My recommendations at the beginning of this guide are a good starting point, but the staff will usually be able to suggest the best option.
Pay and activate your card: Pay for the SIM card and plan, and the staff will activate it for you.
Test: It’s always a good idea to check that you can access the internet before you leave the store. I always search for something on Google then refresh my Instagram feed to check it’s working fine.
Buying a prepaid sim card for Pakistan at the airport is usually considered the most convenient option for travellers arriving by plane.
However, airport stores selling sim cards are almost guaranteed to charge inflated prices, so if you are a cost-conscious traveller then you should definitely buy your sim card from a store in the city center.
In addition to this, we would argue that buying physical sim cards at all aren’t particularly convenient now that most people use esim compatible phones. If you are looking for the most convenient option, then buying an esim before you arrive or with the airport wifi is much easier and will save you having to queue up or communicate with staff.
If you must purchase a sim card at the airport in Pakistan then you will be in luck. All major international airports in Pakistan have stores selling sim cards. Despite the prices being higher than normal, the staff are knowledgable and will be able to get you set up with the correct sim card relatively quickly.
If you want to avoid the inflated sim card prices you’ll find at the airport and your phone isn’t esim compatible, then you’re going to need to head in to a store to buy your sim card.
I recommend visiting one of the official retail stores of the mobile internet operators such as Jazz, Telenor and Zong. Your best option is to enter their names into Google Maps and find the branch closest to your hotel or accommodation. Typically the staff in the official stores in Pakistan are knowledgable and helpful which means you can ensure you’ll walk away with a functioning sim card.
Despite this, it’s always a good idea to check your internet is working before you leave the store by loading a Google search results page and your preferred social media app. You should also ensure you always bring your passport with you when purchasing a sim card in case they need to register it.
If you like to be prepared and would prefer to arrive in Pakistan with your sim card all sorted and your phone ready to connect to the internet immediately then you should look into purchasing a sim card online.
The first option is to buy your sim card in advance via SimOptions, which is a company that will prepare and ship a sim card directly to your door. It’s a reliable and effective service, but with the invention of eSims it’s becoming obsolete.
The better option is to purchase an eSim online. We’ve written more on that below!
An eSim is a digital version of a traditional sim card and is most likely the future of connectivity for mobile devices. The convenience of no longer visiting a store, handing over your passport and purchasing a physical sim card is quickly making physical sim cards obsolete in favour of eSims.
We recommend Airalo’s eSim when travelling to Pakistan. The Airalo Pakistan eSim offers fast internet speeds, wide coverage and extremely competitive prices making it a far more compelling option than purchasing a physical sim card from any of the local sim card providers.
In order to get set up with an Airalo eSim, all you need to do is visit Airalo here and purchase the eSim online (the $17.50 USD plan is suitable for most travellers). Once you’ve purchased the sim card Airalo will email you instructions and a QR code. Following these instructions should take just a couple of minutes, then you’ll have a sim card in Pakistan without having to venture outside.
Our preferred eSim provider in Pakistan is Airalo. We used them, alongside a local sim card on another device, for our most recent trip to Pakistan and found the service to be equal to the local sim card but without the hassle of acquiring a sim card in a store.
Airalo’s Pakistan eSim uses the Jazz network to provide data and connect users to the internet. You can expect very good coverage and reliability with the Jazz networknetwork as they are amongst the best mobile internet operators in Pakistan.
Here are the plans and prices for Airalo’s Pakistan eSim:
1GB data valid for 7 days – Price: $5 USD
3GB data valid for 30 days – Price: $12 USD
5GB data valid for 30 days – Price: $17.50 USD
10GB data valid for 30 days – Price: $30 USD
For most travellers we recommend the 5GB data plan for $17.50 USD which is valid for 30 days. Some travellers may prefer a larger plan, whilst travellers visiting for just a couple of days may be fine with a smaller plan.
An alternative eSim provider we can recommend is Holafly.
Holafly’s eSim is a suitable option for travellers who require large amounts of data, such as digital nomads and people who work online while they travel. All of Holafly’s Pakistan eSims offer unlimited data.
Holafly’s Pakistan eSim uses the CMPaknetwork to provide data and connect users to the internet. This network will provide reliable speeds and coverage while in Pakistan
Here are the plans and prices for Holafly’s Pakistan eSim:
6GB data valid for 15 days – Price: $44 USD
An eSIM, also known as an embedded SIM, is a digital SIM card that is built directly into a device like a smartphone, tablet, or smartwatch. Unlike traditional SIM cards, an eSIM doesn’t require a physical card to be inserted or removed.
Instead, the eSIM is already a part of the device’s hardware and can be remotely activated and programmed by a mobile network operator. This enables users to easily switch between different mobile networks or plans without the need to physically swap SIM cards.
The convenience and flexibility provided by eSIM technology are particularly advantageous for frequent travelers or individuals who often switch between mobile networks or travel internationally. It eliminates the hassle of purchasing and inserting physical SIM cards, making the management of multiple mobile connections on a single device much more convenient.
To activate an eSIM, users typically need to either scan a QR code provided by their mobile network operator or enter the activation details manually. Once activated, the device can connect to the selected mobile network and access voice, data, and messaging services, just like with a traditional SIM card.
The benefits of using an eSIM include the convenience of not needing to physically insert or remove a SIM card, the ability to have dual SIM functionality on one device, space-saving by eliminating the need for a physical SIM card slot, remote provisioning for activating and managing mobile plans, and future-proofing by being compatible with new services and offerings. eSIM technology offers flexibility, convenience, and future-proofing for mobile connectivity, making it a compelling choice for many users.
eSIM technology is becoming increasingly popular and is supported by a growing number of smartphones and other devices. Here are some examples of eSIM-compatible phones:
Apple iPhone series (iPhone 11, iPhone 12, iPhone 13, etc.): Apple was one of the early adopters of eSIM technology and offers support for eSIM on various iPhone models.
Google Pixel series (Pixel 3, Pixel 4, Pixel 5, etc.): Google’s Pixel smartphones also support eSIM functionality, allowing users to activate and use eSIMs.
Samsung Galaxy series (Galaxy S22, Galaxy Note 20, etc.): Many of Samsung’s flagship devices now come with eSIM support, enabling users to utilize eSIM technology.
OnePlus devices (OnePlus 7, OnePlus 8, etc.): OnePlus has included eSIM support in some of its smartphone models, offering users the flexibility of using eSIMs.
Motorola Razr (2020): The latest iteration of the iconic Motorola Razr features eSIM compatibility, enabling users to use eSIMs for cellular connectivity.
These are just a few examples, and the list of eSIM-compatible phones continues to expand as more manufacturers embrace this technology. There’s a very strong chance your phone supports eSims so if you’re unsure we recommend looking it up on our list of eSim supported phones.
Using an eSim is new for many travellers, however, the good news is it’s surprisingly easy to get set up – even for the technologically challenged!
Here’s a general guide on how to use an eSIM:
Check eSIM Compatibility: Ensure that your device supports eSIM functionality. Many newer smartphones, smartwatches, tablets, and other devices are eSIM compatible including all iPhones produced since 2018.
Obtain an eSIM: There are multiple ways to acquire an eSIM. You can purchase an eSIM online from a provider like Airalo (which we recommend) or directly from a mobile network operator. Some devices also allow you to scan a QR code provided by your carrier to download the eSIM profile.
Activate the eSIM: Your eSim provider will send you instructions to activate the sim. This will usually involve scanning a QR code, entering an activation code, or downloading the eSIM profile directly onto your device.
Set up the eSIM: Once activated, your device will guide you through the eSIM setup process. This typically involves selecting the eSIM as your preferred mobile plan, configuring settings like data roaming, and entering any necessary authentication details.
Enjoy the Connection: Once the eSIM is set up, you can use it as you would with a physical SIM card. Make calls, send messages, browse the internet, and use data services as needed. You can also switch between eSIM profiles if you have multiple eSIMs installed on your device.
Hi, I’m Mitchell. I’m a full-time traveller, explorer and travel blogger. Travel Sim Expert is a blog dedicated to helping you find the best sim card for you, no matter where you are or what your budget is.