Even if you’re just backpacking in Vietnam, it’s going to be a lot easier and more convenient if you have access to the internet and have a way to contact your accommodation, tour guide, and even a Grab driver. Luckily, Vietnam has an advanced internet speed for Southeast Asia while offering this service very affordable.
In this post, we will show you how you can get a Vietnam SIM card, what are the requirements, how to choose which network, the costs, where to get it, and things to remember before you purchase one.
REMEMBER: All prices are in US Dollars ($)
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT VIETNAM SIM CARD
Getting a sim card is very easy, although there are things you need to remember to make sure you’re not overpaying or wasting a time going to a store and not getting what you need during your trip or your process of moving to Vietnam.
What Are The Requirements
There aren’t any fancy requirements in getting a Vietnam sim card, you simply need to bring the following:
- Your passport – for foreigners, a valid ID for the locals
- Your mobile phone – make sure it’s not locked to your network back home, meaning you can place any SIM card network apart from your provider from your home country
- Vietnamese Cash – international airport also accepts major currencies, most shops don’t accept bank cards
What Are The Costs
One of the cheapest mobile data services in Southeast Asia is in Vietnam. For only $5, you can enjoy 2GB of mobile data valid for 30 days with a speed of up to 30Mbps. The cost of a Vietnam sim card (mobile data) is between$5 to $14, equivalent to 2GB – 20GB.
You can top up your mobile data and credits to any phone shops that bear your network’s logo in any part of the country
Where To Get Vietnam SIM Card
Here are the places where you can get your Vietnamese SIM card:
- Airport – often a lot pricier than other shops in the cities or towns, I also had an experience where the number they gave me cannot be called. It can send SMS and receive SMS but it cannot receive a call, also it’s been registered on someone else’s name even I provided my passport
- Phone shops – thegioididong, FPT shop, Hnam (Hnammobile), Cellphone S
- Mobile network stores/shops/office
Tourist SIM Cards
To be clear, tourist SIM cards is not actually a thing (we only decided to call them this to make the explanation easier).
Basically, since Vietnam receives millions of tourists every year, a big number of these tourists are acquiring a local SIM card, resulting in local numbers being abandoned and left unused after just a few weeks of use.
Mobile network companies found a way to recycle these numbers. Most of the companies are issuing these numbers as long as it hasn’t been active for a year or more. However, mobile apps like Grab, WhatsApp, and GoViet have their own database and doesn’t allow double registration of the same number.
Hence, when you visit shops to get a SIM card, some of them have reminders saying “Can’t be used for WhatsApp, Grab, GoViet”.
Now, if you are a tourist planning to stay just for a week, it’s best to install these apps before you arrive in Vietnam and use your current mobile number to register. Without a registered phone number, you probably won’t be able to use these apps.
While if you are planning to live here for a long period of time, it’s best for you to do the following things:
- Ask the shop if they can issue a local number, explain that you are an expat
- Go to the network’s official shop/office to get your a phone number that you can use for these apps
How To Top Up
Each network has a code you can type on your phone to top up credits on your phone. Although, we recommend you simply go to the phone shop and get a long-term (30 days, prepaid) mobile data packages.
Read below how you can top up through your phone depending on your network.
VIETNAM MOBILE NETWORK TO CHOOSE FROM
There aren’t a lot of options out there but most of the network companies in Vietnam are offering pretty good packages to choose from. The prices are not very far from each other, the deal-breaker would be the speed they offer.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to find out their speed apart from after you bought the SIM and test the speed. And that’s why we pool this list together. Here is the Vietnam mobile network for you to choose from the best to the average:
They are the biggest network, one of the best Vietnam sim cards you can get is from them, here in Move To Vietnam, we have tested their speed from the north of Vietnam (Sa Pa), central Vietnam, and the south with no to the very little problem but still way better than internet speed in other Southeast Asian countries.
You can dial *101# or *102# to check your credit balance. You can add credit by dialling *100*<voucher PIN>#. To add credit, dial *100*<voucher PIN>#.
You can change to the English menu on the settings of the SIM App which is automatically installed on your phone once you activate the SIM card.
This is the second-largest network company which is also a little cheaper than Viettel. Their internet speed is pretty good as well all over the country.
You can purchase credit costs between VND5,000 and VND500,000. Tap *101*<PIN code># to add more credit, *101# to check your balance and *102# to check your data usage.
This is also a popular brand, they have strong and fast speed in the big cities but their service is not reliable in the remote and rural areas. Their packages prices are not cheaper than Vinaphone.
By dialling *101#, you will be able to check your balance, but by texting “DATA ON” to 999, you can activate the data usage. If you are not registered to a pack or offer, the cost of 50KB is VND75 or VND8,000 for 150MB.
This is the least popular and also the smallest operator network company in Vietnam but they are also the most affordable while their coverage is good in the big cities they may not be reliable in smaller cities and towns.