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Doing research on local SIM cards before traveling to another country is a must-do because it would make your trip more convenient with easy access to local networks, to make a quick phone call or sent messages in urgent situations. Local SIM cards can be used on most unlocked phones from Europe, Asia and Australia and some unlocked phones from North America.
The SIM card itself costs 50,000 VND ($2.20), without credit.There are many types of local SIM card brands with different uses in Vietnam. In this blog, we only share the 3 main mobile internet providers in Vietnam:
Viettel is owned by the Ministry of Defence and thus the Vietnamese army. It’s the market leader in Vietnam with about 40% of all customers on its network (most of them is living in the countryside or rural area). To check your balance, call: *101# for main account and *102# for bonus account. To top-up by voucher, type: *100*<voucher PIN>#. The vouchers are sold all around town, you just need to take look for the Viettel’s logo in the corner of the voucher. Be aware that Viettel sends a lot of advertising SMSs (spam).
Send: VTVANG to 109 before you leave the country. This will cost you 50.000 VND, but it keeps your card safe for 365 days without any worries.
Viettel’s 4G Data package:
|Package Name||Data / Month||Price VND||Price $|
To book a data package with Viettel simply send: <Packagename> via SMS to 9123
To cancel send an SMS with: HUY <Package name> to 191
|100,000 VND||1 GB||20 mins||10 mins||5 days|
|200,000 VND||2 GB||40 mins||20 mins||10 days|
|300,000 VND||3 GB||60 mins||30 mins||15 days|
|500,000 VND||5 GB||100 mins||50 mins||25 day|
Vinaphone has two types of packages same as mentioned above and in addition another type called “BIG DATA” packages, these will give you more 3G data than the throttled packages BUT does not offer free throttled data after you hit the limit.
To sign up to these plans by yourself, you send a text of the plan name (e.g. “MAX”) to the number “6088”. 6088 is Vinaphone’s number which automates the transaction.
|Package Name||Data / Month||Price VND||Price $|
|DK1 BIG70||4.8 GB||70,000||3.02|
|DK1 BIG90||7.0 GB||90,000||3.88|
|DK1 BIG120||12.0 GB||120,000||5.17|
|DK1 BIG200||22.0 GB||200,000||8.62|
|DK1 BIG300||36.0 GB||300,000||12.93|
To book a data package with Viettel simply send: DK <Packagename> via SMS to 888. To cancel, send an SMS with: HUY <Packagename> to 888
For the soft-capped MAX packages, you can add the following data to avoid the throttle:
- 350 MB: 19,000 VND – activation: X19
- 550 MB: 29,000 VND – activation: X29
- 850 MB: 39,000 VND – activation: X39
- 2 GB: 49,000 VND – activation: X49
For all activations, text: ‘DK<blank><activation code>’ to 888.
For longer periods, Vinatel sells their big packages for 6 or 12 months with a discount.For shorter periods Vinatel has released these packages valid for 3G and 4G/LTE:
|2 GB||2 hours||5,000 VND||DK H5|
|5 GB||10,000 VND||DK H10|
|1 GB||24 hours||5,000 VND||DK D5|
|1.2 GB||7,000 VND||DK D7|
|2 GB||10,000 VND||DK D2|
|5 GB||15,000 VND||DK D15|
|1 GB||7 days||20,000 VND||DK DT20|
Call: *101#. “TKC” is the official balance and the others are the promotional balances.
To top-up by voucher, type: *100*<voucher PIN>#.
Mobifone is the 3rd provider in the country with 18% market share. It’s in the process of privatisation. Speed and coverage are good in the centers and around the coast, but can be weak in the mountains.
The speed of the 3G network has a max. of 7.2 Mbps. The default data rate outside of packages is: 75 VND per 50 KB. This can be set by texting ‘M0’ to 999. The 3G packages can’t be used on 4G.
They have one daily package: 1.5 GB for 24 hours that costs 10,000 VND. For activation, text: ‘D10’ to 999
This package auto-renews. To stop text: ‘HUY QT’ to 999. Furthermore, you can book these monthly 3G packages:
|Monthly 3G packages:|
|50 MB||10,000 VND||M10|| 25 VND
per 50 KB
|150 MB||25,000 VND||M25|
|450 MB||50,000 VND||M50|
For activation text: <code> to 9084.
These packages can be upsized with the following data:
- 500 MB: 15,000 VND, activation: MAX15
- 1 GB: 25,000 VND, activation: MAX25
- 2 GB: 35,000 VND, activation: MAX35
To subscribe text: “DK”<blank><activation code> to 999. All packages auto-renew. To stop text: “HUY”<blank><activation code> to 999. To check data balance, text “KT DATA” to 999. All texts to 999 cost 200 VND per SMS.
4G/LTE data packages
For 4G/LTE be sure to have a new 4G-enabled SIM card. In July 2018 Mobifone has released these monthly plans for their new 4G in up to 150 Mbit/s and 3G Mobifone:
|Monthly 4G basic data packages|
|3.8 GB||70,000 VND||HD70||throttled|
|5.5 GB||90,000 VND||HD90|
|8.8 GB||120,000 VND||HD120|
|16.5 GB||200,000 VND||HD200|
|33 GB||300,000 VND||HD300|
|44 GB||400,000 VND||HD400|
|55 GB||500,000 VND||HD500|
|Monthly 4G Data Plus packages +||Call minutes|
|1.5 GB||70,000 VND||DP70||cut-off||70 mins|
|2 GB||100,000 VND||DP100||100 mins|
|3 GB||120,000 VND||DP120||120 mins|
|4 GB||200,000 VND||DP200||200 mins|
|6 GB||300,000 VND||DP300||300 mins|
|9 GB||600,000 VND||DP600||600 mins|
|15 GB||1,500,000 VND||DP1500||unlimited|
Activate by texting: ‘DK <code>’ to 999. To check data balance text: ‘KT DATA’ to 999. All packages auto-renew. To stop text: “HUY”<blank><activation code> to 999. Voice included in the Plus packages is domestic only for all lines.
To see your balance, call: “*101#”. “TKC” is the official balance and the others are the promotional balances. To top-up by voucher, type: *100*<voucher PIN>#.
Where can you buy SIM cards in Vietnam?
- At the Airport: After stepping off the plane, passing through the checkpoints, and picking up your baggage, you will see many booths or kiosks at the airport that are selling “the best sim card”. If you’ll buy a SIM card from a legit place in Vietnam, you will need to present your passport.
- Sim cards are also sold in grocery stores, supermarkets, at small shops on the streets, phone shops, credit kiosks etc.