Nowadays, mobile phones have become crucial in everyone daily’s life. Try to imagine the scenery without your phone for a day, how is it going to be?
Especially when you are an expat and come to another countries, without your phone, it will be a disastrous since you are unable to do anything from inform your family about your arrival to checking your hotel, etc.
I know what it is like when coming to a strange country so here is my guide about cell phones for expats coming to Vietnam.
1. Check your phone
First of all, you have to make sure what type your phone is. Is it a global or unlocked phone? Or worse, is it a locked phone?
If your phone is a global or an unlocked, you just need to replace your SIM card with a Vietnam SIM card, which you can find everywhere on the street.
Insert a Vietnam SIM card and you can connect to all the services it provides such as calling and surfing the Internet.
Don’t worry about the size of the SIM card, the store where you buy the SIM can help you adjust the size and replace it for free.
But if you use the locked phone, it is much more difficult and complicated for you to get access to the everything, and you even have to understand the international roaming, which is uneconomical.
The simplest solution is to buy a new phone if you intend to settle down in Vietnam for a long time. But if you are a tourist, buying a new phone isn’t a small problem. So, make sure that you have at least one global or unlocked phone by your side when coming to Vietnam.
If you want to buy a new phone, there are some brand I would suggest, they are famous brand in Vietnam and most Vietnamese use them because of their quality.
Samsung: the leader in Vietnam phone’s market with a variety of types for you to choose. In my opinion, the best Samsung’s phone is the Samsung Note 9 and Samsung S10, but they are very expensive too.
Oppo: represented by a famous Vietnamese idol called Son Tung M-TP. They have very good camera for selfie and should be recommended.
iPhone: I think I don’t have to introduce about this brand simply because it is so popular worldwide.
2. Get a SIM card
After having a well-prepared phone with you, the next thing to do is buying a Vietnam SIM card. Like I said before, you can get a SIM card everywhere on the street.
However, I recommended you should go to the official stores to purchase because Vietnam governments are cracking down on unregistered SIMs. For safety reason, go to an official store, select you SIM card and register yourself, I will give the link below, remember to bring your passport and visa with you to register.
In Vietnam, there are 3 famous wireless carriers that cover 90% of the domestic telecommunication market: Viettel, Vinaphone, Mobifone. But as my advice as well as other expats experiences, you should choose Viettel as it is reputable for superior service.
A SIM card price is fluctuated depends on your need. It usually costs about $3 – $5 for 1 SIM card. After buying one, ask the store to help you replace the new SIM card and here you go, you are ready for everything.
You can check for your balance by call “*101#”. The screen will show you some numbers, the first line always is your official balance, usually shortcut with TKC and include an out-of-date date. The lines below are the promotion balance which you can get after buying a new SIM card or when adding money on promotion days. They usually shortcut with KM, one is for calling and texting with other phones in the same carrier, the other is for different carrier.
Staying at the official stores, you can ask the staff to change the language of your SIM card to English in order to be more convenient.
If you want to add more money to your phone, buy a credit for that carrier everywhere on the street, erase the gray paper and call “*100*<code on the credit>#”.
3. Set up 3G/ 4G
There are 3 types of data packages:
– Limited package: you will be charge for every MB used after using all the data (and it is very expensive for those MB consumed so make sure set up another package before out of data, this package cheapest cost is $1).
– Unlimited package: you won’t be charge anything more after using all the data (but the speed will decrease a lot when you are out of data, this package cheapest cost is $3).
– Big data package: you receive the biggest data of all and your package will be cut down automatically when you are out of data (this package cheapest cost is $3).
4G is faster than 3G but it consumes more data. If you want to register a 4G, go to the official stores and ask for the service. They are encouraging their customers to use 4G, so they give more data to 4G packages with the same price with 3G so take your chances.
Contact to the staff at the official stores to get the package that fit for your usage. Remember the syntax to register for yourself next time.
4. Other tips
You won’t be charged for incoming calls in all Vietnam carrier. For the outgoing calls, you will be charged per minute depends on each provider. It is cheaper to call people in the same network so if your friends and families are already here, use the same carrier with them.
In Vietnam, most of the offices, restaurants, convenient store, etc have free wifi so you may not use that much data as you think so try for a cheap package first, if it doesn’t enough, register for a higher one.
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- Masteri Thao Dien for rent.
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