Will it or won't it work in Bulgaria? Which is the best option?

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Postby satellitemark » Sat May 06, 2006 3:25 pm


This sticky is to help you be able to use your uk mobile in bulgaria with a bulgarian sim card.

Roaming from a uk network while in bg is very expensive & you end up paying for incoming calls !

First you have to make sure that your uk mobile is unlocked, to test this borrow a sim card that is not the same brand as your own. (i.e. if your network is orange then borrow one from any other uk network eg t-mobile/o2/vodaphone/tesco ) put the borrowed sim into your phone .
if the phone comes up on the new network then it is unlocked. if your phone is unlocked ,you are half way there !
if you get an error message then your phone is locked.

if your phone is locked you will need to get this sorted , a visit to your local
mobile phone shop should get this done for around £10.

if you have a recent nokia , i may be able to get you a unlock code to do this for free ! , you will need to pm me your IMEI no(large no under the battery !) & the network that the phone was on when bought,along with a landline phone number.
I have done this with no problems for other members , but this is at your own risk (as it would be at your local mobile shop !)

Ok now your phone is unlocked !

(dont forget once your phone is unlocked you can use it with virtualy any sim any where in the world for cheaper calls ! )

There are three networks in bg GLOBUL / MTEL / VIVATEL As i know globul the best i will deal with them but im told mtel are also good , vivatel is of course new, so network is not as comprehensive as globul or mtel.

Here are links to english home pages of the networks

Now your phone is unlocked , now you need to buy a sim pack in bulgaria.

My advice is go to one of the networks retail shops if you can ,they are in most large towns & citys, there are also nationwide chains eg,

most will have staff that speak english !

a globul sim pack will cost about 20 lev (about £7) & will contain at least 15 lev credit & often a free gift (so far i've had a pair of poloroid sunglases , a waterproof beach pouch for the phone , a star wars model & a beach ball ! )

ask the shop staff to insert the sim for you if you dont know how to do it ! & to set your phone settings to get you english menu's for top up !


Your phone will need give out your number or the bulgarian networks will not "talk" to the phone. This is easy to do in the phone menu's but how to do it varies from phone to phone !

If you want to keep the bg sim active & reuse next visit ,you need to top it up as late in your visit as you can. The pay as you go vouchers & sims expire if they are not topped up ! ( i usually use up all my bulgarian change & buy a 15 lev(£5) voucher at or on the way to the airport on the journey home ) On the globul network a 5lev top up wont extend the life of the sim.(this also means that the moment you enter bulgaria on your next trip you have a bg phone working with credit on it )

If you use the same phone in bg & the uk it can be usefull to enter all your phone book numbers in the phone memory & to use the international dialling code when storing them , for example

A uk number 01874123456 would become 00441874123456
the international code for the uk is 0044 & you disgard the first 0 from the uk number

A bg number 056845060 would become 0035956845060
the international code for bg is 00359 & you discard the first 0 from the bg number.

what this means is that you can put into you phone a sim from any network while abroad & not have to find the number (for eg your mum !) write it down alter it & dial it back into your phone !, you can simply find mum in your phone book & press send !

I hope this helps , if you have any questions you can pm me or start another thread.
I am locking this topic to keep it fresh & to the point , if anything relevent comes up i will ammend this sticky.

regards to all


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