How to get a SIM card and use internet in Vietnam

Cell phone are an essential part of travel nowadays. Whether it be for calling home, calling hotels, planning logistics, map surfing, navigating or Facebook-ing. Your cell phone is the one-stop resource for it all. Of course, every country has its own system. So for your stay in Vietnam, we give you some tips you might want to know about SIM card in Vietnam, the best provider, how to use internet and top up money to your cell phone.


Phone in the dark

I suggest you bringing your unlocked phone with you to Vietnam instead of a locked ones. Because it is necessary for you to unlock your locked phone whenever you use it. Or else you can own yourself a relatively cheap phone here in Vietnam. With an unlocked phone or a phone that you buy here, you can simply purchase a SIM card and have a local number. It’s very easy for you to get a SIM card at either telecommunications store, stalls, stores, booths, carts or anywhere else. Once you get the SIM card that you want, ask the associates cut the card according to your phone and install it for you. Instantly, you can now use your phone as usual.

In Vietnam, there are many telecommunications service provider (TSV). But for the best coverage, ensure that the SIM card you get is either on the Viettel, Vinafone or Mobifone networks. These three companies control 90% of the mobile market in Vietnam and offer great coverage throughout the country. Viettel, which is operated by the Ministry of Defence, is currently the biggest. It has very good coverage in rural areas. However, Vinafone and Mobifone allow voice roaming to each other when the main one has no signal, so the coverage is also good. Each provider has their own packages so when you already chose the provider you want, next step you have to choose your package. My advice is to take the pre-paid package. In order to meet different need of customers, TSVs provide flexible and convenient pre-paid packages for different choices of customers. Outstanding features of prepaid packages are that customers do not need to sign contract on monthly subscription, no registration fee and monthly subscription fee but pay in advance for each call and message in order to control their usage fee. The difference of the usage fee from these package provided by the TSV is not a big problem. It’s quite a little difference about 200-800 VND/min and 50VND/text depend on the providers and the pre-paid package.


Staying connected is simple and inexpensive. However, there is only 3G in Vietnam. 4G will not be officially available in Vietnam until 2017.

If you plan to travel into the rural parts of Vietnam, Viettel is actually a better choice. Otherwise, the two better-known carriers in cities are Mobifone and Vinaphone. Because too many people recommend Mobifone so it has gotten quite congested and slow, I suggest you Vinafone and you will pretty satisfied with your data speeds ever since.  Prices for a data-only Vinaphone SIM at Saigon airport were very reasonable — the SIM card and a 5GB/30 day package cost 100,000 VND (around $5 USD).

If you think you’ll burn through even more data than that, 9GB was available for an extra 10,000 VND ($0.50), and so-called ‘unlimited’ packages (which are throttled to 2G speeds after using a certain amount of data) were also available for a little more. Sadly, 4G will not be officially available in Vietnam until 2017.

It’s even easier to top upthe_cao your credit than it is to buy the SIM in the first place. You can buy credit pretty
much anywhere you’re ever likely to go as a tourist, and the vendor is highly likely to sort the process out for you even if they speak very little English. If not, you just type *100*<code on the top-up card># to add the credit, then send an SMS to 888 to activate the call/data package you want to use. As an example, DK MAX100 would get you 1.2GB of data for 30 days, for 100,000 VND.  Then you can check the amount of money you have by going to your phone’s dialer and making a “call” to *101# – this triggers a “check balance” action

Well then, enjoy your trip. We are pleased to serve you.

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