The Maldives have 2 network operators:
2G/GSM is on 900 MHz, 3G on 2100 MHz up to (DC-)HSPA+ speed, 4G/LTE has started in 2013 on both providers on 1800 MHz (3) and added by 2100 (1) and 2600 (7) MHz. 5G started on Dhiraagu in Male in 2019 and is available without surcharge.
Dhiraagu has the better coverage, though you have to check first on remote islands. To purchase a SIM card you need to fill out a form and show your passport to the vendor.
To buy a SIM card for a Maldives vacation may be definitely worthwhile doing, as a lot of the resorts charge excessively for internet (for instance Sheraton $20 or Ohluveli $10 per day).
From 2014 to all prices 6% local taxes (called GST) must be added. If sold in a tourist establishment, the prevailing tourist sector GST rate, which is up to 12% will be applied.
Dhiraagu is the leading and the largest provider of telecommunications and digital services in the Maldives. It's mostly owned by the Batelco Group from Bahrain and the Government of the Maldives. They have linked the Maldives from north to south through a 1,253 km long fibre optic submarine cable network which supports the nation's largest 3G and 4G/LTE and fixed broadband networks.
4G/LTE started in Male on 1800 MHz (band 3) frequency band and has been expanded in 2015 to a few more islands and the 2600 MHz (band 7). In 2016 they completed a campaign to provide 3G services to 100% of Maldivians on all inhabited islands, and its focus is now on offering nationwide coverage of its 4G/LTE network, which is currently available to 60% of the population. Dhiraagu is aiming to complete the 4G/LTEexpansion project by the end of 2017: Coverage List.
The prepaid SIM card is for MVR 30 with MVR 20 credit in their stores and partner shops: stores list. There is a shop at the international airport which is closed 1am-7am every night and 11am-2pm for Friday prayer. You need to fill out a form and show your passport for purchase.
Recharging online with international credit cards doesn't work, so better buy vouchers to top-up that may be more expensive in tourist areas because of the added tax. Check balance by *142#.
They have different prepaid plans on offer. By default you are on the standard plan that doesn't include data. You may change to the RED plan by texting "PKG<blank>RED" to 444 for free. This free base plan includes free Twitter and Facebook use. By texting "RED" to 343 you can lower the default data rate to 30 MYR for 24 hours.
Data feature packs Edit
Default data is at an expensive 100 MVR per MB on all plans. So it's much better to add packages. These data packages are on 2G, 3G and 4G, where available:
|1 hour||25 MB||10 MVR||DATA25||90 MVR/MB|
|24 hours||125 MB||25 MVR||DATA125|
|30 days||500 MB||99 MVR||500MB||15 MVR/MB|
|2 GB||199 MVR||2GB|
|3 GB||249 MVR||3GB|
|5 GB||349 MVR||5GB|
|8 GB||549 MVR||8GB|
|15 GB||949 MVR||15GB||10 MVR/MB|
|Power Plus Plans:|
|30 days||3 GB||299 MVR||Plus3|| throttled, add-ons:
3 GB: 169 MVR
code: TBB Plus3
5 GB: 249 MVR
code: TBB Plus5
|5 GB||399 MVR||Plus5|
|25 GB||1299 MVR||Plus25|
|50 GB||1899 MVR||Plus50|
|75 GB||2599 MVR||Plus75|
|100 GB||2999 MVR||Plus100|
For all rates add 6% or more taxes (see Basics). You have to load the credit plus tax on your card first. To activate text ADD <space> <Activation Code> to 343 for MVR 1 or by *123*6*3#. All packages auto-renew. To suspend type REMOVE <space> <Activation Code> to 343.
The Power Plans will not throttle when depleted, but charge an excess fee of 10-15 MVR per MB. The Power Plus Plans instead will throttle speed, but won't charge an excess fee with an option to buy add-ons.
To check data balance dial *123*6*3*1#
WiFi Hotspots Edit
Dhiraagu has installed about 35 WiFi hotspots in Male and more in a dozen other islands (locations). To access a hotspot you need login ID. You can get an account via SMS using a Dhiraagu Mobile by sending an SMS to 414 with a keyword, or a blank SMS to 414 to receive keyword syntax. You will then receive a username and password. The charges will be debited from your mobile account:
- 30 mins within 1 day: 10 MVR
- 2 hours within 5 days: 30 MVR
- 10 hours within 10 days: 140 MVR
- 30 hours within 30 days: 350 MVR
- 60 hours within 60 days: 590 MVR
- unlimited within 1 day: 95 MVR
More information Edit
- APN: internet.dhimobile
- Website in English: http://www.dhiraagu.com.mv/
Ooredoo (formerly Wataniya)Edit
Ooredoo was taken over and rebranded 2012 from Wataniya. It's the second mobile provider in the Maldives. LTE has started 2014 on 2600 MHz (band 7) in Male, now available to prepaid customers to be added by 2100 MHz (band 1).
Their coverage is good but not as good as Dhiraagu's, so make a network check before you buy a SIM card. In 2017 LTE coverage has spread to 40 inhabited and resort islands: coverage map covering 75% of the population.
Prepaid SIM starters called connection kits are available in their stores: Store locator. They are sold for 30 MVR with 20 MVR preloaded credit and an initial validity period of 60 days. There is a store at the international airport.
You can top-up with recharge cards sold all over for more credit and validity. Type *201*<voucher PIN>#. To get your account balance, type *200#.
Data feature packs Edit
Ou of package rates is 1 MVR per KB on default. So add one of these packages:
|60 minutes||30 MB||10 MVR||90 MVR/MB|
|24 hours||1 GB||51 MVR|
|2 days||2.5 GB||101 MVR|
|3 days||160 MB||30 MVR|
|5 days||5 GB||201 MVR|
|7 days||300 MB||50 MVR|
|3 GB||198 MVR|
|10 days||5 GB||298 MVR|
|15 days||10 GB||499 MVR|
|30 days||550 MB||99 MVR||20 MVR/MB|
|1 GB||149 MVR|
|2 GB||199 MVR||15 MVR/MB|
|3 GB||249 MVR|
|4 GB||299 MVR|
|6 GB||399 MVR|
|9 GB||599 MVR|
|14 GB||899 MVR||10 MVR/MB|
|20 GB||999 MVR|
|60 GB||1999 MVR|
|100 GB||2999 MVR|
|200 GB||5699 MVR|
6% or more taxes apply (see Basics). To activate a package type *929# and choose the bundle, to check data credit, text 'BALANCE' to 5555 or type *200#, to deactivate a package, text 'STOP' to 5555.
Note, that they have Viber packages, but it's only for messanging and they exclude voice calls through VoIP which is still the most popular activity on Viber.
Data sharing packs Edit
For prepaid subscribers they offer Data Sharing packs. Their allowances can be shared amongst different users:
- 10 GB: 699 MVR - shared by up to 3 subscribers, valid for 30 days, excess fee: 90 MVR/MB
- 25 GB: 1299 MVR - shared by up to 5 subscribers, valid for 30 days, excess fee: 90 MVR/MB
For purchase dial *929#, select Data Sharing Pack, select Package Subscription and choose either Data Sharing Pack 699 or Data Sharing Pack 1299. To add a member for Data Share, dial *929#, select Data Sharing Pack, select Package Sharing, enter the mobile number with whom you'd like to share Data and enter the data allowance in GB to share with the new member. To deactivate Data Share text 'STOP' to 5566.
- APN: OoredooData
- Website in English: http://www.ooredoo.mv/