Had no problem getting an MTN Sim card in Turkmenabat. August 2017. Official shop, guy spoke good English and just copied transit visa and passport. SIM is free, 10 manat ($1.5) for 200 MB data. Took maybe 10 minutes.
Had tried at the other operators office before, first had a long line, second said no problem but come back tomorrow, sim card person gone for the day.
Between Farab and Sarakhs I'd say pretty much 100% coverage, you see mobile towers every 10-20km even in the middle of nowhere. No 3G, but EDGE quite usable. Obviously, lots of stuff blocked but simple SSH tunnel did the job;)
All about Turkmenistan
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