Iphone Tourism Explodes: Mobile Phone Tours Are Organized Abroad

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The price gap between many products in Turkey and abroad increased the supply in different ways. At the beginning of these products came the new iPhone models that Apple introduced in September. While the tax rate and the installment limit led to a record in the number of phones brought with passengers, iPhone tourism occurred in countries such as Northern Cyprus and Georgia for passport registration.

According to the news of Yener Karadeniz from Dünya newspaper, the number of cloned (IMEI numbers changed or copied) phones has also peaked. According to the information received from industry representatives, despite the official sales of nearly 10 million, the number of cloned phones is expected to exceed 3.9 million and the number of passengers to exceed 500 thousand this year. It is feared that the passport registration fee, which is expected to increase in the new year, will increase this figure even more.


The 128 GB iPhone 14 Pro Max was offered for sale in Turkey with a price of 43 thousand 999 TL. According to our calculations, when the same device is bought from the USA, it is equivalent to a thousand 99 dollars (20 thousand 426 TL). When the user registers the device brought from abroad in his own passport, 2 thousand 732 TL fee and 117 TL Special Communication Tax are added to this price, and the price rises to 23 thousand 275 TL. In other words, the consumer can earn more than 20 thousand TL by purchasing the same phone from abroad.

However, the IMEI registration regulation introduced in 2019 draws attention. With the said regulation, the period of registering a phone in someone else’s passport ended. However, users started to overcome this regulation with daily trips to the Greek Islands, where the simplified visa procedure is applied, and to countries such as Georgia and Northern Cyprus, which can be entered with an identity card. In this way, only the travel fee was added to the price.

Another way is cloning. It is now possible to come across foreign phones without passport registration, even in street stores as well as online sales sites. Again, devices sold well below the price of Turkey can be used every 6 months for a fee of around 300 TL.


Mustafa Kemal Turnacı, President of the Mobile Communication Tools and Information Technologies Businessmen’s Association (MOBISAD), drew attention to the fact that perceptions outweigh the facts in the sector, and pointed out that the perception that the import of mobile phones increases the current account deficit also prevents the contribution of the sector to the country in this sense. Turnacı said, “Mobile phones are imported in most countries, but they are also strategically important for the future. Those who use it effectively will have a say in the technology of tomorrow. As a matter of fact, this strategic product should be evaluated in terms of its added value rather than the perception that it increases the current account deficit. In addition, the share of the mentioned product in total imports is below 1 percent.

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