In Bishkek, SIM cards are sold at newsstand kiosks and other places including hotels. The basic SIM card costs around 50 som and then a balance credit must be added to it from one of the many green mobile recharge machines.
The touchscreen mobile recharge machines do not have an English option but are fairly easy to use. Here are the steps to recharging:
1. Select the mobile service of the SIM card. The common ones are O!, Beeline (with the bumblebee), and MegaCom.
2. Enter the telephone number using only the last 9 digits.
3. There will be a message about a 5 SOM charge for the machine. At this screen insert the money into the machine. Put in the desired amount and then press the continue button which is obvious even in another language.
4. The machine will print out a receipt and an SMS message will be sent to the telephone with information about the recharge amount.
For the O! SIM cards, *177*3# can be sent via the telephone keypad to set the service on the phone to English.