Looking to buy a tourist SIM Card while traveling through Vietnam? We’ve tried out the network providers in Vietnam and came up with 3 candidates you should look at, Viettel, Vinaphone and Mobifone. These came out best during our testing. There are other network providers such as Vietnamobile, S-Fone, Indochina Telecom, Gmobile (Beeline) and EVN Telecom but we focus on the big three.

SIM cards are easy to get and affordable in Vietnam so there is no excuse for not getting one, even if you’re only traveling through for few days. Mobile data (3G/4G) is accessible and reliable within the major cities, but can be hit-and-miss in the rural areas. Roaming can be very expensive in Vietnam so we do recommend getting a local SIM. But keep in mind though that most hotels, restaurants, malls and coffee shops have WIFI so even without a SIM card, you won’t have to worry about getting access to internet.

The biggest mobile networks in Vietnam are Viettel, Vinaphone and Mobifone. Prices will vary between providers and data packs selected, and coverage can vary considerable even though the providers are all government owned.

Notes on buying a Vietnamese SIM card

  • Make sure your phone is unlocked.
  • You will get spammed with text messages. Ignore them, but just make sure to monitor your balance and you won’t worry about the messages. Most of them will be advertisements in Vietnamese anyway.
  • There is no contract require for purchasing a SIM card so be aware if sellers want you to sign anything. You may have to show your passport.
  • Ask the sellers to set the SIM card up for your as it’s the most convenient way. Most often they will accommodate such request but if they refuse, go to the next seller as there are plenty of them.

 

Where to Get a SIM Card?

You can purchase SIM cards almost everywhere, including at the airport, mini marts, street vendors and travel agencies but price and reliability will vary. Your best option for officially registered SIM card are the mobile network stores and large chains such as thegioididong.

Airport – it’s very convenient to get the SIM card at the airport and not having to search for it once you get into the city. All the international airports, including Hanoi, Saigon and Danang, will have several vendors selling SIM card once you enter the baggage claim area. The airport vendors are usually reliable but you will pay a premium price for the SIM. In most cases, they will require you to show the passport to officially register it. Read our post about how to get a SIM card at Hanoi airport.

Official network stores – if you want to be sure to get a proper SIM card, go to the official network stores. They have plenty of them in the major cities. Make sure to bring your passport as they will require the SIM card to be registered to your name.

Street vendors / kiosks – you will see street vendors and small shops all over selling SIM cards. Most of the SIM cards they are selling are either not registered or already registered to someone else.

Travel agencies – most travel agencies will sell SIM cards but usually at a higher price than other sellers.

Topping up the balance is easy – you either go to the mini marts (Circle K, etc…) and tell them how much you want to top up and they provide you with a number that you enter, or you purchase scratch-cards to top up.

 

Viettel

There is a reason we start with Viettel. They are the most reliable network in Vietnam and have the best 3G/4G coverage, specially in rural areas. The government owned Viettel is the largest network in Vietnam by both coverage and users and is usually the preferred provider by tourists and travelers.

Viettel has removed roaming charges in Laos and Cambodia which comes in handy if you’re planning on visiting those countries.

Below is a summary of their prepaid data plans.

PackageRate (VND)Data
Mimax7070,0003 GB
Mimax9090,0005 GB
MimaxSV50,0003 GB
Mimax125125,0008 GB
Mimax200200,00015 GB
Umax300300,00030 GB
TomD1010,000200 MB
TomD3030,0001 GB

How to – Viettel

  • Check balance: dial *101#
  • Check data: dial *102# or text “KTTK” to 191
  • Register data package: text the name of package (e.g. “Mimax90”, “TomD10”) to 191.
  • Cancel data package: text “HUY” to 191 and reply “Y” to confirm cancellation. Note that you will have to chancel existing data pack to select a new one.
  • Top up: dial *100*<voucher number>#.

 

Vinaphone

Vinaphone is the second largest mobile network provider in Vietnam and the first one to offer 3G and 4G service.

PackageRate (VND)Data
M1010,00050 MB
M2525,000150 MB
M5050,000500 MB
M120120,0001.5 GB
MAX70,000600 MB
MAX1100,0001.2 GB
MAX2200,0003 GB
MAX3300,00030 GB

How to – Vinaphone

  • Check balance: dial *101#
  • Check data: dial *101# or text “DATA” to 888.
  • Register data package: text the name of package (e.g. “MAX1”, “M25”) to 6088.
  • Cancel data package: text “HUY” and the name of the data package to 888.
  • Top up: dial *100*<voucher number>#.

 

Mobifone

Mobifone is said to have the least rural coverage of the 3 big Vietnamese mobile network.

Below is a summary of Mobifone’s prepaid data plans.

PackageRate (VND)Data
HD7070,0003,8 GB
HD9090,0005,5 GB
HD120120,0008,8 GB
HD200200,00016,5 GB
HD300300,00033 GB
HD400400,00044 GB
HD500500,00055 GB

How to – Mobifone

  • Check balance: dial *101#
  • Check data: dial *101# or text “KT DATA” to 999.
  • Register data package: text the name of package (e.g. “HD120”, “HD400”) to 9084.
  • Cancel data package: text “HUY” and the name of the data package to 999.
  • Top up: dial *100*<voucher number>#.