The Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, commonly known as East Timor occupies the eastern half of Timor island located in the Indonesian archipelago. It became independent in 1999 and recognized as a sovereign state in 2002.
There are three mobile network operators in the country:
- Telemor (Viettel Timor-Leste)
- Timor Telecom (TT)
- Telcomcel (Telin Timor-Leste)
In 2015 the country had 1.25 million mobile customers, including 145,000 3G network users. Timor Telecom (TT), which held a monopoly on the provision of wireless services from its launch in 2003 until the licensing of two new players in 2012, remained the market leader followed by Vietnamese-owned cellco Viettel Timor-Leste (operating as Telemor) and Indonesian-owned Telin Timor-Leste (Telkomcel).
2G and 3G is on all three operators in the country, 4G/LTE started in 2017 on all three operators too.
Mobile phone coverage is fairly good in most of the country (some rugged rural areas can be hard to get a signal). 3G has decent coverage in the major towns (again, the best provider can vary by location), but it's hard to get coverage in smaller towns.
It's recommended that you buy a local prepaid SIM card at $1 on arrival from a network branded store (like in Timor Plaza mall on the way into town from the airport). As a foreigner you'll have to show a passport and a copy of the face page is made for registration.
Local prepaid SIM cards can also be purchased from street peddlers, but at a higher price. Some charge up to $10 for a SIM, but no registration needed.
Once the SIM card is activated, you can top-up credit by purchasing so-called Pulsa top-up cards from street peddlers everywhere. Pulsa cards have an expiry date printed on them, however this date seems to have no practical meaning and these "expired" cards will work just fine. Remember to switch your mobile data off, when topping up, otherwise your balance can quickly be consumed by your phone checking random stuff in the background - the default data rates are 10x more than those offered through specific data plans.
Note, that in 2012 the National Numbering Plan (NNP) was changed and all mobile phone numbers now require an additional '7' be added to the front of the number making a total of eight digits.
Telemor is operated by Vietnamese army backed Viettel and has beaten TT and became the most popular provider with 47% in 2017. It started as late as 2013 and has built up a good coverage ever since. 2G and 3G is on 900 and 1800 MHz covering more than 95%.
In 2017 they have started 4G/LTE on 1800 MHz. The new high speed service is available in all 13 of Timor-Leste’s districts, providing territorial coverage of 70%. More info on their 4G page.
Top-up vouchers are available for $1, 2, 5, 10 and 20 giving 10-120 days of validity. To add a voucher type *120*<voucher code>#. To check balance type *122#.
Data feature pacls
Default rate is $0.04 per MB. One of these data packs can be added for both 3G and 4G/LTE:
|50 MB||1 day 1am-5pm||$ 0.15||DM|
|100 MB||24 hours||$ 0.25||DF|
|2ß0 MB||24 hours||$ 0.50||D1|
|300 MB||7 days||$ 1||D2|
|500 MB||7 days||$ 1||4G1|
|800 MB||7 days||$ 2||D3|
|1.3 GB||7 days||$ 3||4G3|
|2.2 GB||15 days||$ 5||DT|
|4.8 GB||15 days||$ 10||DP|
|3 GB||30 days||$ 5||D5|
|5 GB||30 days||$ 10||D6|
|8 GB||30 days||$ 20||4G20|
|10 GB||30 days||$ 25||D7|
|25 GB||30 days||$ 50||4G50|
For activation, text code to 127. Check data balance by *122#. Packages auto-renew, to stop dial 188.
- APN: T-Internet
- Website partly in English: http://telemor.tl
Timor Telecom (TT)
Timor Telecom was the market leader for a long time, but lost to Telemor recently. It used to be the only player from 2003, until in 2012 two new competitors have been licensed. It is co-owned by the E.Timor state and Brazilian Oi. It still has a good coverage, but the highest rates. About 94% of the population is covered at 188 2G and 122 3G sites.
2G/GSM is on 900 MHz and for 3G TT uses 2100 MHz network frequency in Dili and 850 MHz band elsewhere. 4G/LTE has started in 2017 on 1800 MHz (B3)
The prepaid SIM card is available for $1 in their shops (store locator). It includes 5 minutes for domestic calls and 10 SMS on-net and 1 MB for data for 7 days.
Top-up is by paper or electronic recharges called Pulsa, sold by TT Stores, TT Agents and street peddlers at $1, $2, $3, $5, $7, $10, $15, $25 and $50. Validity is 7-120 days depending on amount. To check balance on one’s mobile screen, type *#102#.
Data feature packages
Default rate is $0.04 per MB on all prepaid plans except Toke Live which is $0.06 per MB. However to get good rates for data, use the so called TT mobile internet data packages. The bonus is actually just a doubling of the data, so TT60 gives you 40 GB. If you have data left at the end of your package period, just apply another TT package to keep the data.
|TT01||$ 0.10||60 MB||12 Hours|
|TT025||$ 0.25||140 MB||1 day|
|TT05||$ 0.50||300 MB||1 day|
|TT1||$ 1||400 MB||7 days|
|TT3||$ 3||1.6 GB||7 days|
|TT5||$ 5||2.2 GB||15days|
|TT15||$ 15||9 GB||30 days|
|TT30||$ 30||19 GB||30 days|
|TT40||$ 40||26 GB||30 days|
|TT60||$ 60||42.5 GB||30 days|
|TT100||$ 100||75 GB||60 days|
Activate by texting name of package to 8302. Packages can be set to automatically renew by adding the letter R at the end, for example TT60R will apply the TT60 package with autorenew. Within the pack, the charging unit is per 1KB. To start using a TT internet package, turn off your data and then on again (only required the first time you get a TT package).
- APN: internet
- Website in English: http://www.timortelecom.tl/index.php?lang=en
Telkomcel owned by Indonesian Telin (Telekomunikasi Indonesia) is the 3rd operator with a low 13% share in 2015. It covers 95% of the population already. 2G and 3G is both on 850 MHz only, which is rare in Asia for 3G. So check before, if your device can handle it.
It was the last operator that started 4G/LTE in 2017 for their 5th anniversary starting from Dili area, and continuing to expand to other districts.
Their prepaid SIM card can be bought at the airport, in their shop at Timor Plaza and other locations (store list). SIMs are given out at $0.50. They contain 250 MB for 7 days and some local mins and SMS.
Top-up vouchers are sold at $1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 25, electronic vouchers up to $1000. To top-up by voucher, enter *122*<voucher code>#, to check credit, enter *122#, to change menu language *555#.
Data feature packages
Default rate is $ 0.045 per MB. These packages called Rapido can be added for 3G and 4G/LTE:
|300 MB||1 day||$ 0.25||ON 40M|
|400 MB||1 day||$ 1||ON 200M|
|300 MB||7 days||$ 1||ON 150M|
|800 MB||7 days||$ 2||ON 400M|
|2.2 GB||15 days||$ 5||ON 1G1|
|4.8 GB||15 days||$ 10||ON 2G4|
|5 GB||30 days||$ 10||ON 2G5|
|10 GB||30 days||$ 25||ON 5G|
|16 GB||30 days||$ 40||ON 8G|
|24 GB||30 days||$ 50||ON 12G|
|36 GB||30 days||$ 75||ON 18G|
|50 GB||30 days||$ 100||ON 25G|
|80 GB||30 days||$ 150||ON 40G|
To activate, enter *123*3# and choose package or text code to 155. Check data balance by *123*3#. All packages will be auto-renewed. To stop auto-renewal, text NO to 155.
Telcomcel has about 20 public WiFi hotspots in Dili (list) called wifi.telcomcel.tl As a Telcomcel customer you can add WiFi vouchers for speeds up to 21 Mbps:
- free for 15 mins
- $ 0.20 for 2 hours
- $ 1 for 24 hours
Purchase is made through your internet browser.
- APN: internet
- Website in English: http://www.telkomcel.tl