Stay connected

When I went to Lebanon I decided to get a local SIM card for my mobile phone. And that was a very easy decision as my provider Deutsche Telekom places Lebanon into its horrible Ländergruppe 3 (the group of countries with the highest roaming costs) and doesn’t even offer data packages to book. Paying horrible 0.49 Euros every 50 KB (observe the unit, per 50 kilobyte!), making phone calls for 2.99 Euros every minute (or receiving them for 1.79 Euros per minute) and paying 0.49 Euros for every SMS message wasn’t an option. Using just the WiFi in your hotel, in coffee bars and restaurants might be okay. But especially if you want to use Uber to get around or if you travel to rural areas it feels better to have a constant connection.

Getting a local prepaid card is very easy and you just need to do two things: take your passport with you and locate a shop of one of the two local providers (alfa and touch). At بيروت you can find them for example around the Beirut Souks. The prices of the two providers are nearly the same: they charge you 3.33 US-Dollars for the SIM card and then you need to load money on the card to buy a data package. I could buy 1.5 GB for 7 USD – Deutsche Telekom would have charged me more than 15,000 Euros for that! Just to illustrate the absurdity of the pricing model. The employees at the shop helped me with registering the card, putting the card into the phone, buying a data package – it was very easy. Even the SMS messages from the provider were in English. Don’t be irritated when they ask you for the names of your mother and your father; that is normal in Lebanon and these names are also printed on official documents.

ت / Beirut

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