Whether you’re a local or a foreign tourist, it pays to stay connected whenever traveling in the Philippines. Make sure to bring a cell phone with a reliable SIM, but if you’re a lost as to which is the best SIM in the Philippines for travelers – then we’ll break it down for you.
A SIM card has multiple uses, making it so beneficial for a traveler. For one, it can be used whenever you’re lost and you need GPS. You can easily go on a trip, open your device, and track your location on the map.
Foreigners can easily contact their family and friends overseas, should there be an emergency. Having a SIM card also allows you to transfer funds via online banking.
Good Wi-Fi may be hard to come by in the Philippines. This is why having a SIM card with sufficient balance is definitely a priority among backpackers.
Additionally, when you book a tour, the agency usually asks for your mobile number so they can easily relay details about the trip. By having a SIM card, you can also book a hotel or make an inquiry without any hassle.
It’s not difficult to find a SIM card seller in the Philippines. The locals love phones and texting – you can even ask them where the nearest store is.
Here are some of the places where you can get a local sim:
You can find counters at the local airport selling SIM cards. Note that SIM cards are a little more pricey here.
As mentioned earlier, SIM cards are easy to find in the Philippines. You can buy one at mini stores, grocery shops, and supermarkets. Roadside stores often have a display of local SIM banners – it’s quite impossible to miss them.
There are various phone shops inside the malls in the Philippines. These shops also offer mobile gadget repair services and sell old cell phones of various models.
SIM cards are cheap in the Philippines. You can usually buy one for only P20 to P40. There are currently three primary carriers to choose from – Globe, Smart, and Sun.
Check out how they compare based on their data offers, among others.
Prepaid customers will be charged a browsing rate of P5 per 15 minutes for time-based browsing or P2 per megabyte for volume-based browsing.
Postpaid customers, on the other hand, are charged P2 per megabyte. You may apply for a postpaid plan through Globe’s online store or through any of their branches.
Editorial credit: walterericsy / Shutterstock.com
Currently, Globe offers data packages called GoSURF and SuperSURF. It’s highly recommended that you to choose the latter if you’re heavy on data. The former data package best fits tourists who use their cell phones for calling and casual internet browsing.
Refer to the tables below to see the data caps of these packages:
|P15||40MB||2 Days||PHP50||800MB/Day||1 Day|
|P50||1GB||3 Days||PHP120||3 Days|
|P299||1.5GB||30 Days||PHP200||5 Days|
|P599||4GB||30 Days||PHP999||30 Days|
Travelers may also avail Globe TravelSurf, a local service that offers free prepaid SIM packs tailored for tourists.
It is available in NAIA Terminals 1, 3, and 4, and domestic airports such as Cebu, Davao, Clark, and Caticlan. The offers include:
Just text the code (those in italics) to 8888 and wait for the activation message.
The standard mobile Internet rate for Smart is P5 per 15 minutes, regardless if the user has a prepaid or a postpaid account. You can make the most out of your money by subscribing to Smart’s data promos.
Visit Smart’s online store or any physical branch to apply for a postpaid plan.
Photo courtesy of Wiki Commons
Smart Communications currently offers four data packages–Surf Max, Big Bytes, All Out Surf, and Giga Surf–all of which use 2G, 3G and 4G or LTE where available.
The following tables list the varying data caps for these packages:
|P50||800MB/Day||1 Day||P5||15MB||1 Day|
|P299||7 Day||P10||40MB||2 Days|
|P999||30 Days||P15||40MB||2 Days|
|All Out Surf||Giga Surf|
|P20||150MB||1 Day||P50||1GB||3 Days|
|P30||300MB||2 Days||P99||1.5GB||7 Days|
|P50||500MB||3 Days||P299||2GB||30 Days|
|P99||1GB||7 Days||P499||3.5GB||30 Days|
Show your passport to claim your free Smart LTE Tourist SIM upon arrival at any international airport in the Philippines.
Upon activation of this SIM card, you will receive 300MB of data valid for three days. You will also be given an additional 700MB if you refill your balance with at least P30 within three days of activation.
Sun Cellular is known for its generosity when it comes to data promos. It lets its users choose from regular to unlimited surfing as well as data combos.
SunCellular prepaid subscribers will be charged P5 per 15 minutes or P15 for an hour of data usage. To get the most out of their money, prepaid users are advised to take advantage of Non-Stop Surf Plans. They only need to text the code to 247:
If you’re a local and have a postpaid plan with SunCellular, note that though they don’t offer as many options as their competitors. Their postpaid plans with data usage include:
|Sun Bigtime Plan 399||1GB|
|Sun Bigtime Plan 599||2GB|
Aside from the SIM’s data offerings, you have other factors to consider when choosing the best SIM to use. Every SIM performs differently depending on your location and the weather, to name a few factors.
It’s also advisable to use the same SIM most of your friends use, so you can save on the SIM’s balance whenever you send regular texts or make calls.
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