Buying a SIM card at Ben Gurion Airport (TLV) is a convenient way for travelers to get connected with mobile data as soon as they arrive in Israel. With several providers offering SIM cards right at the airport, getting set up with a local Israeli phone number and data plan is quick and easy. Here’s what you need to know about buying a SIM card at Bel Gurion Airport.

SIM Card at Ben Gurion Airport

1. Where to Buy a SIM Card at Ben Gurion Airport

There are a few options for purchasing SIM cards at Ben Gurion Airport:

  • Cellular Provider Shops: The major Israeli cellular carriers like Cellcom, Partner, and Pelephone have shops located right in the arrivals area at TLV.
  • Airport Kiosks: There are also small kiosks and stands located in the arrivals halls and atrium that sell SIM cards from various providers.
  • Vending Machines: Some providers like IsraelSIM have vending machines at TLV where you can quickly purchase a SIM card using a credit card or cash. 

No matter which option you choose, purchasing a SIM card at the airport is almost always more expensive than buying a SIM card elsewhere in the city. However, the convenience factor is hard to beat. Keep in mind that you may need to provide your passport as ID to get a SIM card as a foreign tourist.

easy to buy sim card at TLV airport

Easy to buy SIM Card at TLV Airport

2. SIM Card at Ben Gurion Airport Options and Costs

There are three major mobile networks in Israel – Cellcom, Partner, and Pelephone. Each offers prepaid SIM card plans at kiosks and shops in the airport.

Here are some typical costs for SIM card at Ben Gurion Airport:

Israel Prepaid SIM Data Validity Price (USD)
Cellcom 3GB - 500GB 7 - 30 days ~$25 - $49
HOT Mobile 20GB - 50GB 10 - 30 Days ~$14 - $33
Partner 10GB - 200GB 7 - 30 Days ~$13 - $44
Pelephone 125GB - 500GB 30 Days ~$16 - $27

The basic SIM card might be sufficient if you already have an international data plan through your home provider. But the packages with 10-15GB of data are recommended for most travelers who want to use maps, apps, social media, etc while in Israel.

3. What You Need to Prepare for Getting a SIM Card at Ben Gurion Airport

To purchase and activate a SIM card at TLV airport, you’ll need:

  • Passport – You’ll need to show your passport to purchase a SIM card and activate the service. They will need to verify your identity.
  • Money – Most SIM cards can be purchased with cash or credit card. Make sure to have shekels (Israeli currency) or a card that can be used locally. SIM cards typically cost 50-200 shekels depending on the provider and data/calling plan.
  • Unlocked phone – Make sure your phone is unlocked and not carrier-locked to only work on one network back home. Israel uses GSM cellular technology so most phones will work.
  • Charger – Have your phone charger with you in case you need to charge your phone when activating the SIM card at TLV Airport. Wifi may not be readily available.
  • Identify a carrier – Decide in advance which carrier you want to buy from like Pelephone, Cellcom, or Golan Telecom. Do some research on coverage, prices, and data/call plans.
  • Time – Allow 30-60 minutes to purchase, activate, and set up the SIM after you arrive. Booths and lines can get busy.
  • Documents – Some carriers also require you to show proof of address like a hotel confirmation while others don’t. Better to be prepared.

Have the key items above ready and you should be able to smoothly set up a local SIM card at Ben Gurion Airport for internet and calling in Israel.

4. eSIM as an Alternative to SIM Card at TLV airport

An eSIM is a great alternative to a traditional SIM card when you’re flying into (TLV) airport. Here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons:

Advantages of eSIM:

  • Convenience: Order your eSIM online before your trip and activate it upon arrival, saving you time at the airport. No need to find a store or wait in line.
  • Speed: Some eSIMs can connect you to the network as soon as you land, so you’re online right away.
  • Space-saving: No need to carry a physical SIM card, which is especially useful if your phone has limited storage space.

Disadvantages of eSIM:

  • Price: Currently, eSIM deals in Israel tend to be pricier than traditional prepaid SIM cards.
  • Compatibility: Make sure your phone is eSIM compatible before you purchase one. Not all phones support eSIM technology.

If convenience and speed are your priorities, an eSIM is the way to go.

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5. FAQs about Buying a SIM card at Ben Gurion Airport

Can I buy a SIM card with my credit card at TLV?

Yes, most kiosks and shops at TLV airport accept major international credit cards for purchasing SIM cards and data plans.

How much does a SIM card cost at TLV Airport?

A basic SIM card will cost around 50-100 ILS ($15-$30 USD). SIMs with data packages range from 150-300 ILS on average.

Do I need to show my passport to buy a SIM at TLV?

In most cases, yes. As a foreign tourist you’ll need to show your passport as ID to purchase and register a SIM card in Israel.

How long does the SIM card activation process take?

Activation is usually immediate once you purchase the SIM. Just follow the shopkeeper’s instructions to get set up quickly.

Can I use the SIM card in multiple devices?

Typically, the Israeli SIM cards are locked to the first device they are activated on. You’ll need to purchase multiple SIMs if you’ll be using more than one phone or tablet during your trip.

7. Conclusion

Getting a local Israeli SIM card should be at the top of your pre-travel to-do list. Purchasing a SIM card at TLV airport when you land is the most convenient and hassle-free option to get connected right away. With kiosks and stores located right in the terminal, picking up a SIM is quick and easy. Just decide how much data you’ll need, have your passport ready, and your unlocked phone will be all set with mobile internet in Israel from the minute you arrive!