Albania’s mobile market has changed drastically in the last decade. This article compares the major carriers’ coverage, speeds, pricing, and bonuses to help readers identify the best provider for their needs. Comparing the expanding options carriers offer can be confusing. The comparisons outline each company’s strengths to simplify selecting a network.

Albania Mobile Operator

1. List of Mobile Operators in Albania

There are currently four main mobile network operators in Albania, as well as a handful of smaller mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) that lease network access from larger companies. The principal Albania mobile operators are:

1.1. Main Mobile Operators in Albania

As of October 2023, the two main mobile operators in Albania are ONE and Vodafone. Both operators offer extensive network coverage, reliable services, and competitive rates. Here’s a brief overview of each Albania mobile operator:

  • Vodafone Albania – Vodafone maintains a strong presence as a multinational telecom. It offers mobile voice, data, and messaging for consumers and businesses, with its network reaching 96.8% of the population. Regarded highly for performance and customer satisfaction.
  • ONE – ONE was formed from a merger in 2023 and also delivers voice, data, and messaging plus prepaid/postpaid plans. It narrowly leads in coverage at 96.9% and outpaced competitors in a recent report for speed, experience, and 4G availability – earning several awards.
ONE store in Albania

Both operators provide reliable connectivity across Albania but ONE holds a slight technical edge according to recent industry rankings. Consumers enjoy a choice between the country’s largest cellular providers.

1.2. Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) in Albania

As of October 2023, Albania does not currently have any Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) providing service. MVNOs are wireless communications service providers that do not own the wireless network infrastructure over which they provide telecommunications content and services to end-users.

Instead, MVNOs lease radio frequency spectrum and network infrastructure from traditional mobile network operators (MNOs) to operate their mobile virtual networks.

2. How to Choose the Best Mobile Operator in Albania

Here are the key factors to consider when choosing a mobile operator in Albania:

  • Coverage – Vodafone generally has the widest 4G coverage, followed by Telekom Albania. Check coverage maps to determine which networks service your required locations.
  • Speeds – Average download speeds are 30-40Mbps on 4G across Albania’s major networks. There are minimal differences between operator speeds.
  • Prices – Pricing varies significantly so compare plans carefully. Prepaid options are very affordable. Postpaid plans offer better value for higher data use.
  • Perks – Some operators offer benefits like free music/video streaming, roaming deals, or loyalty programs which may sway your choice.
  • Customer Service – Ask locally about the reputation for customer service and network reliability for each operator.

Choosing an Albanian mobile operator is personal. Weigh these key factors according to your specific needs and budget to find the best fit.

3. Best Mobile Operators in Albania – Detailed Comparison

The two largest mobile network operators in Albania are ONE and Vodafone Albania. Both companies provide widespread 4G network coverage across the country as well as reliable voice and data services. They also offer competitive monthly plans and packages.

While both operators are strong choices, there are a few important factors to consider when deciding between them:

Feature ONE Vodafone
Network coverage 97.6% 97.3%
Data speeds 37.7 Mbps (download), 11.9 Mbps (upload) 37.5 Mbps (download), 10.2 Mbps (upload)
Pricing Competitive Competitive
Customer service Good Good

ONE and Vodafone are both excellent Albania mobile operators. The best operator for you will depend on your individual needs and preferences. If you are looking for the best network coverage, then ONE is a good choice. If you are looking for the fastest data speeds, then Vodafone is a good choice. And if you are looking for the best customer service, then either operator is a good choice.

4. Where to Buy SIM Cards from Albania Mobile Operators?

You can obtain SIM cards from the major providers in Albania through these purchase channels:

  • Official stores – Located in most major towns and cities. Take ID to register SIM purchase.
  • Online shops – Vodafone, ONE allow online SIM card orders via official websites.
  • Other retailers – Many independent phone shops, kiosks, and supermarkets sell SIM cards.
  • Airports – Major airport branches like Tirana allow easy SIM card pickup upon arrival. When purchasing, check SIM card compatibility with your phone. Mini, micro, and nano SIMs at Albania airports are widely available. Top-ups can be purchased from many convenience stores.
Vodafone store at Tirana Airport
Vodafone store at Tirana Airport

5. Do Mobile Operators in Albania Offer eSIM?

The adoption of eSIM technology by Albania mobile operators remains relatively limited so far. Here is the current availability:

  • Vodafone – Launched eSIM support in late 2019. Compatible with iPhone XS/XR models or newer.
  • ONE – Currently no support for eSIM across its network.

So eSIM is only available via Vodafone right now. The technology is still in early stages in Albania. But as more phones add eSIM support, network operators will likely expand their services in future.

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6. FAQs about Albania Mobile Operators

What network has the cheapest data plans in Albania?

Plus offers some of the most affordable prepaid data packs, along with ONE. But they have more limited coverage than the major operators.

Which operator has the fastest data speeds in Albania?

There is little difference in maximum speeds between networks. But ONE achieve slightly faster average speeds than Albania based on user experience testing.

Do the operators offer any roaming deals?

Vodafone provides some inclusive roaming minutes and data in Europe on certain plans. ONE also includes roaming perks on a few plans. But generally roaming add-ons must be purchased.

Is 4G/LTE available in all parts of Albania?

No, 4G coverage remains incomplete in rural areas of Albania. Vodafone has the widest availability, ONE also good. But many remote regions lack 4G access from any operator presently.

7. Conclusion

Albania’s mobile market has expanded rapidly in recent years, bringing extensive 4G LTE coverage and competitive pricing. For most users, Vodafone or ONE represent the best options combining excellent network coverage, good speeds, and a choice of affordable plans. Researching Albania mobile operators’ coverage maps, user reviews and plan features will help identify which provider is right for your specific mobile requirements.