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Ultimate guide: How to buy a SIM card in Vietnam? 2024

How to buy a SIM card in Vietnam is a question many travelers ask when they first arrive in this vibrant country. This guide is designed to provide you with all the essential information needed to get a SIM card in Vietnam.

Do I need to buy a SIM card in Vietnam?

Although you can use public Wi-Fi in urban hotspots may suffice, a SIM card offers undeniable convenience for real-time navigation, accessing ride-sharing services, and maintaining connectivity on the go. For longer stays, a SIM card is almost essential, facilitating seamless access to local calls, data, and digital services at cost-effective rates.

Travelers can purchase data-only or voice & data SIMs in Vietnam
Travelers can purchase data-only or voice & data SIMs in Vietnam

What is the best SIM card in Vietnam?

Vietnam offers some reputable SIM card providers, including Viettel, Vinaphone, Mobifone, and Vietnamobille. Scroll down to know more about these SIM card providers!

3G/4G network coverage map
3G/4G network coverage map

Viettel

Coverage and reliability: Viettel is the largest operator in Vietnam, known for its extensive network coverage that reaches even remote areas. It’s particularly recommended for travelers who plan to explore outside major cities. Options and pricing: Offers a variety of plans, including tourist packages with substantial data allowances. Prices are competitive, providing good value for both short and long-term users.

Vinaphone

Network quality: Known for high-speed internet services, Vinaphone is a great choice for those needing reliable and fast connectivity, especially in urban areas. Flexible plans: Provides several package options catering to different user needs, from heavy data packages to balanced bundles of calls and data.

Mobifone

Good urban coverage: While it has slightly less extensive rural coverage compared to Viettel, Mobifone offers strong service in major cities and tourist destinations. Cost-effective plans: Typically offers some of the most economical plans, suitable for tourists who are primarily staying in urban areas.

Vietnamobile

Budget-friendly: Often considered the most budget-friendly option, Vietnamobile offers great deals on data and is popular among young travelers and those looking to stay connected without a high cost. Promotional offers: Frequent promotions provide additional value, but coverage can be less reliable outside major metropolitan areas.

How to buy a SIM card in Vietnam?

You can buy a SIM card immediately upon arrival at the airport, find a local store once you’re settled, or even arrange everything online ahead of your trip. Here’s a detailed look at each method, starting with the most immediate option available right at the airport.

In Vietnam airports

When you arrive at any of Vietnam’s international airports, such as Tan Son Nhat (Ho Chi Minh City), Noi Bai (Hanoi), or Da Nang Airport, you’ll find several kiosks selling SIM cards directly in the arrivals area.

One of the kiosks selling SIM cards in Tan Son Nhat Airport
One of the kiosks selling SIM cards in Tan Son Nhat Airport

After clearing customs and collecting your baggage, look for telecom kiosks or shops prominently displayed in the arrivals hall. These kiosks are usually easy to spot and staffed by English-speaking personnel, which helps in easing the purchase process. Payment can usually be made in either Vietnamese dong or US dollars. Prices are generally fair, though slightly higher than what you might find outside the airport.

In telecom stores and electronics shops

Purchasing a SIM card from a store in Vietnam is another practical option, especially if you are looking for more competitive rates. You can buy SIM cards at numerous locations throughout cities and towns, including dedicated telecom stores and electronics shops. Look for stores branded with Viettel, Vinaphone, or Mobifone logos. These are Vietnam’s leading telecom providers.

Viettel stores are easily spotted in Vietnam
Viettel stores are easily spotted in Vietnam

Find the nearest Viettel store in Ho Chi Minh City

Find the nearest Mobifone store in Ho Chi Minh City

Besides, you can buy SIM cards at local stores. These stores often provide a wide range of SIM card options with competitive prices and exclusive deals. However, it’s important to ensure that you’re purchasing a legitimate SIM card at a fair price, as you may be more vulnerable to scams or being overcharged.

Buy a Vietnam SIM card online

For those who prefer to sort everything out before arrival or from the comfort of their current location, buying a SIM card online is an excellent option. To buy a Vietnam SIM card online, you can:

– Visit major Vietnamese telecom providers like Viettel (https://tourist.viettel.vn/)

– Choose a plan that suits your length of stay and usage needs

– Pay online

– Follow the instructions provided with your SIM card to activate it

Tips when buying SIM cards in Vietnam

Here are some useful tips when buy SIM cards in Vietnam:

Prices

The cost of SIM cards can vary significantly depending on the provider and the type of plan you choose. Data-only SIMs are typically cheaper and focus solely on internet services, which is ideal for those who rely heavily on apps and online maps. Voice and data SIMs are slightly more expensive but offer the versatility of calling and texting in addition to internet access. Tip: It’s advisable to compare prices at various stores to find the best deal.

Buying a legitimate SIM

To ensure you’re buying a legitimate SIM card, make sure to purchase from reputable providers like Viettel, Vinaphone, or Mobifone, either at their official stores or authorized retailers. Remember to purchase a valid passport to buy a legitimate SIM.

Unlocking your phone

Before purchasing a SIM card in Vietnam, make sure your phone is unlocked, meaning it can operate on networks other than your home carrier’s. If your phone is not unlocked, you may need to arrange this with your provider to unlock your phone during the time you are visiting Vietnam.

If you have an iPhone, you can determine if it is locked or unlocked by going to:

Settings > General > About > Carrier Lock

If your phone is locked, it will show:

SIM locked. If your phone is unlocked, it will show: No SIM restrictions.

Check whether your iPhone is SIM locked
Check whether your iPhone is SIM locked

For Android phones, you can follow the instructions below:

The bottom line

In conclusion, understanding how to buy a SIM card in Vietnam is crucial for anyone looking to stay connected during their visit. If you found this post helpful, don’t forget to share it to help more travelers who are planning to visit Vietnam learn about the various SIM card options available.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What would happen if I bought and used illegal SIM cards in Vietnam?

Some dealers may offer pre-registered SIM cards (SIMs already registered with subscriber information). However, using these SIMs can lead to the service provider cutting off service without prior notice. It is best to buy and use SIM cards registered in your own name.

2. Can I buy a Vietnamese SIM card in the US?

You can purchase a Vietnam tourist SIM before visiting Vietnam through reputable SIM providers or Amazon. However, buying a SIM in Vietnam is also a better choice since there are more options and exclusive deals available.

3. Should I buy a Vietnam tourist SIM or use international roaming services?

It depends on your needs. If you want to use the same phone number in the US and in Vietnam, you can subscribe to international roaming services before arriving in Vietnam.

However, most tourists often choose to buy a Vietnam tourist SIM for its convenience, stable connection, and affordable price.

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