Photo: Classic scenery surrounds Vang Vieng.

Laos forum

Mobile Phones

Posted by santsingh on 10/8/2006 at 11:11

Hi, I am carrying my mobile phone with me around the world, buying SIM cards in each country I visit. At the moment I am in Malaysia and have bought a Digi card. I am heading to Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. Are mobiles able to be used in Laos and Cambodia? If so, is there a card that covers all these areas? Is there any other info that I might need to know in regards to this? thanks heaps :)

#1 santsingh has been a member since 18/7/2006. Posts: 9

Posted by pauljaymes on 10/8/2006 at 21:46

Posted from within Vietnam.

Your dual band GSM phone will work in all of SE Asia.

My Singapore SIM (M1) has so far worked in Cambodia, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam as well as Malaysia. Unfortunately it has no credit and I have no way of topping it up as the website only allows top ups from Singapore bank accounts. I imagine (though I don't know for sure) that Malaysian SIMs will work anywhere too as there are quite a few Malaysian tourists int he region.

I bought a SIM in Thailand (DTAC Happy, 200B/$5, Thai landline call 3B unlimited, international text 5B) but they informed me on the helpline that I needed to use it for 30 days before they would enable it for use in other countries.

SIM cards in Laos were also 50000k/$5/200B but I didn't buy one. Coverage wasn't so good on the Singapore-enabled network and Laos GSM seemed to have the best. In Cambodia you have to get a Cambodian citizen with an ID card to buy a SIM card for you and although this isn't too much of a problem, your driver will do it for you, SIM cards seem to start at around $10. I haven't looked into it yet in Vietnam.


#2 pauljaymes has been a member since 10/7/2006. Posts: 75

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Posted by traceej on 1/2/2008 at 09:32

hi there

I will be in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia this coming june, july and august. I am taking my telstra mobile phone on a plan, not pre paid. Do you know if this will have decent coverage throught those countries?


#3 traceej has been a member since 30/1/2008. Posts: 16
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Posted by raypond on 1/2/2008 at 09:57

G'day Traceej,

Just back from Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia and our Telstra GSM phones worked well. Pre-paid won't work apparently. Way out on Halong Bay, in the mountains near Luang Prabang and at Angkor Wat we got very good reception.

Check the Telstra web site and somewhere you'll find a list of providers in each country and their charges - better to choose the provider you want rather than let your phone do it automatically.

The only problem we had was that some friends in Oz were getting our texts but were unable to reply to them. We think it was because they were with Vodaphone or someone else.


#4 raypond has been a member since 30/6/2007. Posts: 4

Posted by traceej on 1/2/2008 at 10:03

G'day Ray :-)

thanks so much for your reply. I'll be travelling alone for 10 weeks and it's nice to know I can text home when I need to.

hope you had a fabulous trip

#5 traceej has been a member since 30/1/2008. Posts: 16
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Posted by ckay on 22/2/2008 at 18:08

Hello Traceej

I am staying in Laos. I just would like to share with you (and others) a 'tip' that, you can buy a new sim from TIGO for just 20,000Kips (about US$2) and entitle for a FREE SMS back to your home country. However, not all countries are free! You may check the web below:

Other network provider will charge 1,000Kip per each Intl. SMS sent.

Calling from Laos to all countries around the world is only 2,000Kips per minutes (US$1 = 9,000Kips)

Example calling to Thailand: 00-66-81-xxxxxxx whereby:

Lao Telecom network: dail: 006681xxxxxxx
TIGO network: dail: 1776681xxxxxxx (DO NOT dail 00)
ETL network: dail: 1886681xxxxxxx (DO NOT dail 00)

Sim card (new number) for Lao Telecom and ETL is 50,000Kips (about US$5.00) and TIGO is 20,000 (about US$2.00)

Enjoy your trip...

~ CK

#6 ckay has been a member since 22/2/2008. Posts: 3

Posted by Rufus on 23/2/2008 at 08:38

Don't buy Tigo as the coverage throughout all of Laos is not great. Thats why it is cheaper. ETL has very good coverage.

#7 Rufus has been a member since 22/4/2007. Location: Laos. Posts: 978
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Posted by traceej on 23/2/2008 at 08:45

Hi CK and Rufus

Thanks for all of the tips, I really appreciate it.


#8 traceej has been a member since 30/1/2008. Posts: 16
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Posted by ckay on 23/2/2008 at 11:23

Hi Rufus

Yeah... u r right. Excuse me for left out this point. Tigo is good if in big or major towns whereby you can use ETL's coverage at most of the part of the country including the northern or southern which is weak or none on other network provider...

Thanks Rufus for this important point.

Regards ~ CK

#9 ckay has been a member since 22/2/2008. Posts: 3

Posted by kam_taxi on 12/3/2008 at 09:32

there's tourist sim card 100,000 kip value, LTC net work!

#10 kam_taxi has been a member since 11/3/2008. Posts: 7

Posted by joelaos on 10/1/2011 at 14:10

I am living in Laos and have a problem with ETL. I can send SMS back to Australia but I do not receive any SMS that are sent to me from Australia. Local SMS works fine. Any thoughts....?

#11 joelaos has been a member since 10/1/2011. Posts: 1

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