Traveling to Armenia – Phones That Work in Armenia
While in the US In case you are wondering Armenia has a pretty good mobile network. Once in Armenia you will be in touch with all your friends and business associates as you do here in the USA. You will most likely have reception atop of a mountain in the middle of nowhere and in any city or village you are in. If I almost never had reception problems while on my nature photography trips, it is most likely that you won’t either.
Phones in Armenia are expensive, 30-40% more expensive than they are here and only GPRS phones are compatible with the mobile networks in Armenia (which is also true for most of Europe). If you are going from the US, phones compatible with T-mobile and ATT will work in Armenia. Phones from Verizon and Sprint network are not compatible with the networks in Armenia.
If you are with T-mobile you are in luck. Just call them and ask them to send you instruction on how to unlock your phone. Each phone comes with a unique unlock code that has to be requested for the company. You will receive the unlock code within 24 of your request. Just follow the instructions in the email and you are ready to go.
If you are with a carrier like ATT, it’s a little tougher. I do not think ATT unlocks phone that easily. They want you to use roaming and pay $3-7 per minute. You can try unlocking your phone by yourself or take it to a phone repair shop, they might be able to help.
The third option is to purchase an unlocked phone that it not tied to a contract with a carrier. Check with your carrier for details on their unlocked phones. Apple stores usually carry unlocked phones but don’t plan on getting one last minute, during heavy travel seasons they sell out fast. In addition, you can try eBay or Amazon.
When in Armenia Once you arrive at the airport, look for the VivaCell, Orange or BeeLine booths. You can get a free calling card/micro chip to be able to connect to a mobile network in Armenia. Make sure to buy more minutes as the chips come with about 10 minutes of talk time. (BTW, calling from Yerevan to the US costs from $0.08 to $0.10 per minute.) I usually try to stay from recommending one company over another, but VicaCell will give you the best coverage in Armenia, followed by Orange and then BeeLine. You can recharge your phone from most company stores around the city or most newspaper kiosks.
You can also safely purchase mobile phones from authorized re-sellers. Samsung and Apple have stores in Yerevan. The mobile carriers have a great phone to offer as well. You get purchase something from $50 to $900. Products taken from the US to Armenia do not have warranty coverage. Phones purchased from authorized stores come various warranty options.
Mobile internet If you are going to be in Armenia for a short period of time, 1 to 2 months, I would recommend getting a wireless USB powered internet drive. The cost is about $100 with a contract that can be cancelled at any time. I have used Orange but VivaCell is another reliable mobile internet provider.
Feel free to email me if you have further questions about any topic!
Enjoy your trip!