Its very easy to buy a local simm card. If you fly into HCMC, Hanoi, or Danang you can buy one right in the airport after you exit customs. If not, they are very widely available in shops as you walk down the street. I prefer Viettel. As soon as you buy it and put it into your phone, you can use it.
#2 Tecalli has been a member since 1/2/2012. Posts: 5
As long as your phone can take other SIM cards (ie like a Jailbroken iPhone), then you can whack a Vietnam SIM in. I use VinaPhone. Seems that sending text messages is ultracheap, and making actual calls chews through your credit way faster.
I've also experienced some blackspots with Vinaphone lately, but it could be my phone playing up.
Great info, thanks. I will be needing my SIM card primarily for data, not phone calls. Does anyone have experience with either Vinaphone or Viettel (the two mentioned in this thread), or any other carriers for mobile data?
Any idea of the costs? Thanks!
#6 lkview has been a member since 17/2/2012. Posts: 4
I wonder what kind of mobile date that you mentioned. Are they contact numbers and messages? As I know, a popular sim (provided by Viettel, Mobiphone, Vinaphone) can containt about 500-1000 contact. You can ask the seller for clearer info. A sim card in Vietnam just cost from 1$ and you can easily buy anywhere.
you can also store you data on the database of the mobile provider. Maybe it cost 20cent per month.
#7 stevepk has been a member since 24/2/2012. Posts: 6
I am referring to the ability to get email, go to web sites, and download files. I will be doing this a lot. I need to know which SIM card will have the widest coverage and be best suited for this purpose. I am not concerned with making phone calls. Thanks.
#8 lkview has been a member since 17/2/2012. Posts: 4
I think they are all about the same if you are going to be in the main tourist areas. I'm with Mobifone but only because that's the only one I've ever tried. I use email and internet all day on my phone, about 80% of the time I'm in range of free wifi, and even with lots of txts & calls I only spend around $10 a mth max.
you can easily do everything on internet with 3G network in Vietnam. It's quite fast. As I know, there 3 3D network-major providers in Vietnam are Viettel, Mobiphone and Vinaphone. After buying a sim card, just by sending a sms mes to enable 3G network. The activating Sms forms are different, it's up to each provider.
#10 stevepk has been a member since 24/2/2012. Posts: 6
Thanks for the great info about 3G networks and SIM cards. Now for a related question. I have heard that many US sites are blocked by the Vietnamese authorities. I only need to get to business sites. Am I likely to run into any problems?
#11 lkview has been a member since 17/2/2012. Posts: 4
I bought my iPhone with me and and got a sim card for the Viettel network. (If you have an iPhone 4 you will need a sim card cutter to make a micro-sim!).
The chick spoke NO english whatsoever but luckily we found these awesome instructions online just before we arrive (http://www.idownloadblog.com/2010/04/14/iphone-vietnam/). Essentially if you want 3G to work you have to send a text message saying "3G on" to the number 161, then turn your phone on and off again and it worked perfectly for us.
If you want to access sites that are blocked, I downloaded an app from the App Store called Hotspot Shield. The first week is free then you pay $0.99 every month after (i think). Totally worth it, even if you're just updating your facebook status (as facebook is one of those blocked sites now!).
Hope that helps :-)
#13 Nickandkirk has been a member since 2/1/2012. Posts: 1
The pre-number as folow, sort by best coverage in the North VN:
097, 098, 0168, 0164, 0165, 0166, 0167, 0169
091, 094, 0123, 0125, 0127, 0129
090, 093, 0121, 0122, 0124 (not clear Vina or Mobi), 0126, 0128
- Beeline: 0199 & 099
- EVN Telecom (096), S-Fone (095)
I am being 090xxx.
I was in North Vietnam for about 10 days last month. Mostly I was in Hanoi, the Sapa region on a cycling trip, and in Halong Bay. I used Vinaphone, mainly for 3G. I had my phone set up as a mobile hot spot for my computer. It worked very well except for the remote places in Halong Bay.
I don't know if other carriers had better coverage or not. However, it was easy to buy the Vinaphone 3G refills in even the most remote towns.
#17 lkview has been a member since 17/2/2012. Posts: 4
Thanks SheaBirds! That is an amazing list! I'm going to get Viettel, apart from the coverage, seems like the number are easier to remember haha!
#18 navilink has been a member since 14/3/2012. Posts: 11
If you have not already taken your trip, or for others planning a trip to Vietnam, you can sign up for incredibly cheap 1 day (us $0.60), 7 day (US $3.80) and 30 day (us/au $9.50) data plans with Vinaphone.
The process to sign yourself up for these data plans is only in Vietnamese on Vinaphone's website however I written a guide to step people through the process, which can be found here, note the guide is written for the iPad/iPhone however the same procedure can be adapted to other smartphones (android/windows phone, etc)
Guide iPhone & iPad 3G Data Access in Vietnam
Also when you arrive in Vietnam you will be surprised the number of free open hotspots that are available provided by cafes, restaurants, hotels and other businesses. You can literally spend a day in District 1 without the need to use 3G data.