Phone and Internet Access & Useful Mobile Apps

Let's take a look at the most popular and effective options for mobile and internet communication in Ukraine.

SIM card for mobile Internet in Ukraine

One of the most common ways to make phone calls and access the Internet in Ukraine is via SIM cards for data transmission. 

SIM cards of Ukrainian operators are quite cheap (from 50 to 300 UAH / 1 to 8 USD) and easy to activate. SIM cards in Ukraine are sold freely without documents.

It is simple to start using a SIM card: you just need to insert it into your smartphone and enjoy the connection. 4G coverage is available in most Ukrainian cities, but it can disappear in rural areas or small towns. There are also areas (not only near the frontline) where there is no mobile Internet at all. 

Please note that Ukrainian mobile operators offer many plans for different communication options. You can read all the terms and conditions on the operators' websites or in their stores. It's a good idea to ask fixers or other colleagues in Ukraine to help you choose a SIM card.

During the war, national roaming works in Ukraine. You can connect to another operator's network if your operator's services are unavailable.

eSIM for mobile and internet connection in Ukraine

If your device supports eSim technology, you can purchase a digital SIM card from a Ukrainian mobile operator instead of a physical one. eSim has the same functions as a plastic card, but you don't need to insert it into your smartphone. You just need to scan the QR code provided by the operator when you purchase the card. 

The advantage of eSim is that one such card contains up to five numbers of any operator. One of the five numbers is active. It can be easily changed in the phone's settings. You can use both an eSIM and a standard SIM card simultaneously, and both numbers will be active. Besides, eSIM cannot be lost, allowing you to protect your personal data better.

How to get the Internet in Ukraine with your non-Ukrainian operator?

If you want to connect to a roaming service in Ukraine, you need to find out the conditions of your mobile operator in advance. The services of your local operator in Ukraine can be expensive.

Portable Wi-Fi option

Portable or pocket Wi-Fi is a useful device that allows data to be transferred to several devices at once without losing the quality of cellular Internet. This option is quite convenient if you use the Internet not alone but with a group of colleagues or friends. If this is not the case, then it is not worth spending money renting or buying such a small router. Such modems are sold in electronics and cell phone shops.

Public Wi-Fi in Ukraine

One of the cheapest, often free, ways to access the Internet while traveling in Ukraine is to connect to the public Wi-Fi networks you can find in hotels, restaurants, coworking spaces, and other places. 

However, public Wi-Fi has its drawbacks, especially for reporters. Since such networks are open to everyone, it is quite dangerous to connect to them, as your personal information can be stolen. But if you have no other options for communication at the moment and need to inform someone of your location or arrange a meeting urgently, you can use public Wi-Fi. The main thing is not to share important confidential information, such as your bank account data, over this service.

Landline calls

The popularity of landline telephones has steadily declined in recent years, but this option is still available in Ukraine as an alternative way to communicate.

What to do during connection interruptions?

If you plan to travel to different regions of Ukraine, including the frontline, you should prepare for possible connection problems. Here are some tips to help you.

  • Limit your mobile data usage during an outage;
  • Do not watch long videos on the Internet or reduce their resolution to a minimum;
  • Turn off automatic file downloads from messengers;
  • When your mobile network goes down, use national roaming. To do this, turn off the automatic network selection function on your smartphone and select the operator manually;
  • Connect your laptop to your smartphone's Wi-Fi and use the mobile Internet. Of course, this will only be possible if the mobile Internet itself is available;
  • Enable offline mode for Google Docs and email in advance. To do this, turn on “Offline access” in the settings;
  • Plan for a complete internet outage with your friends and colleagues in advance. Create a plan that details where and when you will meet in person and how you will document and pass information to editors without the use of the Internet;
  • Consider exchanging landline contact information;
  • Print out all documents or content from online sites that you may need in advance;
  • Take care of USB drives or CDs for data storage during an Internet outage.

Tips for working during blackouts

  • Have flashlights, USB-powered lamps, or candles for comfortable work in the dark;
  • Save energy on your laptop. Lower the screen brightness and set the most energy-efficient power consumption;
  • Don't forget to charge your laptop and other devices you need to work on time. Buy a power bank or portable power station;
  • If you come to Ukraine for a long time, find an internet provider that offers internet access in the case of a power outage.

Useful mobile apps in Ukraine

Air Alert
It allows you to instantly receive alarm notifications in a selected city or region of Ukraine from the civil defense system. With the correct settings, the app will loudly notify you of an air alert even when your smartphone is in silent mode. In addition, the app offers a map of air raid alerts, which may be useful when traveling.
Kyiv Digital
It sends notifications about air raid alerts in the capital and shows a map of shelters, shops, pharmacies, gas stations, and medical facilities that are open.
This app allows anyone to learn how to provide first aid to people injured in war. The application contains a complete guide with an adapted version of the TCCC-AMS protocol for the military and the STOP THE BLEED protocol for civilians.
First Aid IFRC
It is based on the first aid program developed by the British Red Cross. It contains scientific videos and animations, emergency phone numbers, and step-by-step instructions for first aid. The app works without internet access.
This is an energy-saving GPS tracker that notifies you of the exact location of friends or colleagues. The app has a private chat to share images and videos and notifies you if the battery on your friend's device is running low.
Easy Way
Allows you to track the real-time public transportation schedule: buses, trolleybuses, trams, marshrootkas, trains, etc. Contains information about the cost of travel and the periodicity of movement.
The app allows you to avoid mines and warns you about approaching mined areas and dangerous zones.
An application for sharing information about the presence of enemy Russian equipment, soldiers, and dangerous objects on the territory of Ukraine.

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