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Since Turkey's mobile phone legislation is a pain in the ass, I'm considering renting a 3G hotspot on the two stopovers I will have there in February.

Is there a company which could rent me one at Istanbul airport? If not, maybe I can find such a service in the center of the city?

Technically I could just buy a sim-card and discard it later, but my 24-hour stopovers are over 3 weeks apart so it would be impossible for me to get Internet on the way back, since my IMEI would have been blocked by then.

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Why not just use WiFi instead? – Karlson Jan 27 '14 at 18:08
@Karlson Open WiFi is pretty rare in the city. On the other hand it is pretty common for businesses to offer it to customers, one would not have a problem getting on a couple times during the day. – Caleb Jan 31 '14 at 18:52
@Caleb If the layover is only 24 hours most internet access would probably be necessary only in the airport which has WiFi. My opinion anyway... – Karlson Jan 31 '14 at 18:54
@Karlson Your opinion shouldn't dictate other people's travel habits. Just because you feel something isn't necessary doesn't mean others wouldn't prefer them. I noted the availability issue so they can make their own decision. – Caleb Jan 31 '14 at 18:57
@Karlson Also, the WiFi at the Istanbul airport is paid not free, so if they were going to pay anyway why not be mobile if it was an option. – Caleb Jan 31 '14 at 18:59
up vote 9 down vote accepted

There is a booth at the arrival terminal of Istanbul Atatürk Airport. The company is called IUGO. They are renting WiFi modems, smartphones, tablets and GPS navigators. The service became available in June 2014.

WiFi modems and smartphones cost 6EUR/day to rent. Here's a photo of the location (sourced from IUGO's official Twitter page):

IUGO Istanbul Ataturk

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Thank you! That's exactly what I was looking for back then :) – JonathanReez Apr 13 '15 at 18:59

Even though I still believe that using WiFi at the airport might be a better solution for your data needs you can a MiFi device from places like: Global WiFi Rental, which is available for pick up and return at the airport. And similar discussion on TripAdvisor.

There is also Cell Hire in UK that also offers the MiFi Rental service.

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I wasn't able to locate free WiFi anywhere in the terminal, unfortunately. I will have a look at the rental place next time that I'm there. – JonathanReez Feb 2 '14 at 9:58
the free wi-fi required you to receive an SMS code first, which failed to work with my foreign SIM card. – JonathanReez Oct 18 '14 at 21:25

You can check all mobile wifi rental companies by yourself and see the list of companies offering the rental service in Turkey.

As your travel plan suggests, buying a SIM card is not the best option to solve the connection problem. According to the new law of duties, cell phones from outside Turkey will be blocked between 7-10 days if they are not registered with a fee of 115 Turkish Liras (approx. 40 Euros).

I think it is not the most efficient way to pay such a tax to the government for just one time use. Also, you will have to sign some papers, change your SIM card, keep it safe etc. And you will not be able to share your connection with your other devices unless your mobile phone can be used as a hotspot.

Basically, there are some companies to rent a pocket wifi in Turkey. However, I think that the local companies offer more fair prices, and a qualified service than the international companies do.

I hope you enjoy your holiday in Turkey.

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The place called IUGO and it was at the Ataturk Airport, Arrival Terminal. We rented a wifi modem and paid tptal of 29 Euro per 5 days.

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My wife and I were in Istanbul last January. At the Istanbul Ataturk Airport there were 3 stores who sells simcard. The prices are almost same 80 Turkish Lira for just simcard. But they are overcrowded. We finally rent a mobile hotspot from "iugo gadgets for rent" at the arrival terminal. We paid total of 40 Euros for 7 days. The mobile hotspot had unlimited data. It was cheap comparing to other simcards.. We dropped the device back to the store before our flight

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There is a local company called Rent 'n Connect but as far i know they have no booth at Ataturk Airport however they provide delivering to your hotel and pick up from there. And also they are working with Sabiha Gokcen Airport (booth).

Hope it helps you and other travellers.

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Depending on the number of days you will want to be connected to the internet and on the data you will need, you have 3 options:

  • buy a sim card from Turkcell, Vodafone, Turk Telekom (find more here). The advantage is that you can find them all around the city and you pay one time, no additional or hidden fees. The not so good part is that they are not as cheep as you would expect (for the data they include) and you can't use them if your phone is blocked by your telecommunication company.

  • rent a portable wifi. If you want to compare offers and prices in Turkey, try a directory with pocket wifi offers. You can compare there prices, minimum of days you will need to rent the device, deposit costs, the daily available data (not all of them have unlimited data), number of devices you can connect to, pick-up and return policy, reviews from clients, technology (3g/ 4g) and more.

  • hunt free wifi hotspots. It's a little problematic because it's not safe, it's slow and sometimes it can disconnect when you need it the most. But it's FREE so... :)

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We have rented a Wifi modem from a company called Iugo at Istanbul airport. During our visit in Istanbul, we connect our 3 phones to that device and use internet. It was fast and had unlimited internet.

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Can you give details of price and duration? This to improve the answer, of course. – JoErNanO Mar 20 '15 at 18:13
Which airport was this? Ataturk or Sabikha? – JonathanReez Mar 23 '15 at 8:01

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