There are 4 major GSM network operators in Vietnam:
Two other providers not on the list are Gmobile (formerly Beeline), operating only on 2G so far (they received a 4G/LTE license in 2016, but haven't started yet). Former CDMA-operator S-Fone has gone bankrupt and its license was revoked.
Coverage and speeds are quite good for SE Asian standards: 2G/GSM is on 900 and 1800 MHz, 3G on 2100 MHz. Viettel and Vinaphone introduced DC-HSPA in 2014, 4G/LTE is just being launched on 1800 and 2600 MHz (bands 3 and 7) after Viettel, Vinaphone, Mobifone and Gmobile received licenses in 2016, Vietnamobile in 2017. The three state-owned operators aim to increase 4G/LTE coverage to 95% each in 2019.
According to OpenSignal report in March 2019 4G/LTE availability is between 65% of Vietnamobile and 86% of Viettel which also tops the speed list at 17 Mbit/s download and 6 Mbit/s on average.
In March 2015, a new numbering plan was introduced and all 11-digit mobile numbers will be shortened to 10 digits. As prices are more or less ruled by the state, there is in fact not much competition going on between the operators and rates are pretty much the same amongst them.
Vietnam is planning to close all its 2G networks in the country by 2022.
To buy a prepaid SIM card, you have to officially show your ID or passport and need to be registered first, before the SIM card can be activated. But in practice, this was not really much enforced before November 2016. Then the government shut down 12 million falsely registered SIM cards. The rules are now more strictly enforced, that you bring your passport and register to activate your SIM card in an operator's store. Small independent corner shops can't activate them for you and they still sell a SIM on somebody else's identity to you.
With these vendors make sure that they activate it for you or show where and how to do it. Official registration can done in the major stores of the operators or the seller will direct you to a registration point, where you'll need to show your passport. Don't leave the store without instructions, how to activate or with a SIM which is already activated. You can check whether your SIM has been registered by texting 'TTTB' to 1414 on all major operators. If registered, the response will include the name, birthdate, and ID number (Vietnam ID or foreign passport) of the registered individual.
So what is a visitor to do in 2018/9? Edit
You can still buy a SIM card at a corner store or at the airport. But have in mind that they are not properly registered. Even at airport booths, they still sell them without the legal registration. When you ask for it, they will smile or find an excuse or simply lie to you.
A traveller visiting the country for only a few days may do fine without registration. You only risk that your SIM will be shut off anytime without prior warning. This has been reported after 4 days already. To avoid losing your credit and allowances in this case, you'll need to go to a registration point in an official store and re-register your SIM on your name by showing your passport as required by law.
If you continously need mobile data, travel through the countryside where there are no registration points and/or stay for longer, it's now very much recommended to go the legal way by buying and registering your SIM card in a major store of an operator.
Where to buy a SIM card at Ho Chi Minh City’s international airport Edit
- Tan Son Nhat airport is the main international airport in HCMC
- Getting a SIM card there is very convenient. You can get it either before you go through passport control or after. You should getting it AFTER you’ve got your bags and left the customs area, because the desks before passport control are not official sellers and many people report the SIM card stopped working after 12 hours
- Also, only the international terminal has SIM cards. If you arrive in the domestic terminal (which is in a separate building), you won’t be able to buy a card there
- Where to find the SIM card vendors at the international terminal:
- Pick up your bags and exit the customs
- Turn left and walk towards the end of the building
- After walking just 80 meters or so at the very end of the terminal building, you will see on your right hand side you see a [SASCO Travel] SIM cards couter. SASCO Travel sells all type of sim including 3 largest telecom companies in Vietnam: Viettel, Mobifone, and VinaPhone
- Opening hours of these offices: 7am to 2:30am daily. You can also purchase the SIM online through website and pick up at the counter to save time.
- How much does a SIM card cost:
- Please visit here to find out details info: https://sascotravel.com/en/sim-card-list/sim-4g/
- To buy a card you need to have cash Dongs, which you can get in one of the nearby exchange booths. The exchange rate at the airport is basically the same as the city
Viettel is owned by the Ministry of Defence and thus the Vietnamese army. It's the market leader in Vietnam with about 40% of all customers on its network.
It has the best coverage in remote places even on 3G. 4G/LTE was officially launched in April 2017 on 1800 MHz (B3) over 25,000 base stations in almost 95% of the country giving it the best 4G/LTE coverage in the country for now.
As prices don't differ so much between the 3 major operators, Viettel should be your first choice when you are going to rural areas.
SIM cards are available at the airports and lots of shops in town. Recharge cards are widely available in small shops and on the sidewalks. Shop staff is usually happy to try to help when adding credit, even if they don't speak a word of English. Best option is to visit a Viettel store in a bigger city. They speak some English and prepare everything for you, even cutting to nano SIM. SIM cards are around 50,000-60,000 VND depending on number with some credit.
Their prepaid brands are called Tomato and Economy and don't come with data. So you have to book a package. Balance check is *101# for main account and *102# for bonus account. To top-up by voucher, type *100*<voucher PIN>#. The vouchers can be aquired all around town, just look for the Viettel logo. Be aware that Viettel sends a lot of advertising SMS.
Call 191 to get balance or top up through the voice system. You can switch to English by pressing 3 (entering the language menu), second menu press 2 (select English), third menu press 1 to confirm.
To keep Viettel sim card alive is very easy, just do any activity which deducts some amount of your balance every 60 days. Or another choice is sending VTVANG to 109 before you leave the country. This costs you 50.000 VND but it keeps your card safe for 365days with no worries.
3G data feature packages Edit
Data on 3G is up to 21.2/5.76 Mbps. You may need to activate data by texting "3G ON" to 161. Type *101# to check your call balance. Default rate outside of packages is 75 VND per 50 KB by default.
These following monthly packages on 3G can be activated through your device:
|50 MB||10,000 VND||MI10||0.5 VND/KB||30 days|
|200 MB||30,000 VND||MI30||0.5 VND/KB||30 days|
|450 MB||50,000 VND||MI50||0.5 VND/KB||30 days|
|1 GB||30,000 VND||TOMD30||1.5 VND/KB||Unlimited(*)|
|3 GB||50,000 VND||ECOD50||cut off, add-ons||30 days|
|3 GB||70,000 VND||MIMAX70||unlimited @ 128 kbps||30 days|
|5 GB||90,000 VND||MIMAX90||unlimited @ 256 kbps||30 days|
|8 GB||125,000 VND||MIMAX125||unlimited @ 256 kbps||30 days|
|15 GB||200,000 VND||MIMAX200||unlimited @ 256 kbps||30 days|
|30 GB||300,000 VND||UMAX300||unlimited @ 1 Mbps||30 days|
(*) Package expires if no DATA usage for 60 consecutive days.
Text activation to 191 or dial *098#" and follow instructions on screen. Some packs are hard-capped, overuse is charged by 25 VND per 50 KB, others are soft-capped and speed will be throttled when reached quota (128 kbps ~ 1 Mbps download and upload). To subscribe, text activation code to 9123 for free. All packages auto-renew, if there is credit.To stop auto-renewal, text "HUY" to 191 (then "Y" to confirm), but all packages will be cancelled immediately and the rest of your data volume will be lost. If you use up your high-speed data before your 30 days is up and want to re-subscribe to regain full-speed data, you must first cancel your current subscription (sending "HUY" to 191, then "Y" to confirm) before it will let you re-subscribe.
4G/LTE data feature packages Edit
For 4G/LTE, be sure to get one of their new 4G-enabled SIM cards. To install 4G/LTE you may need to text CAUHINH to 107 and they send you the configuration files.
Default data is 60 VND per MB. These packages are given out for their new 4G/LTE per month:
|3 GB||70,000 VND||MIMAX70||unlimited @ 128 kbps|
|5 GB||90,000 VND||MIMAX90||unlimited @ 256 kbps|
|8 GB||125,000 VND||MIMAX125||unlimited @ 256 kbps|
|15 GB||200,000 VND||MIMAX200||unlimited @ 256 kbps|
|30 GB||300,000 VND||UMAX300||unlimited @ 1 Mbps|
For activation text code to 191. Data will cut off when depleted. All bundles are active for 30 days and will auto-renew. To stop auto-renewal text 'HUY' to 191 and confirm with 'Y', please note that this will terminate your current package. To check data balance text 'KTTK' to 191, to change to default rate type '4G0' to 9123. For more data you can add 1 GB sold at different rates associated with the plan you are on by texting the code to 191.
Tourist SIM Edit
Viettel introduced a tourist SIM for visitors sold mostly at the airports and their big stores. It's sold for US$ 5 or 10 and needs to be added with one of these plans:
|100,000 VND||1 GB||20 mins||10 mins||5 days|
|200,000 VND||2 GB||40 mins||20 mins||10 days|
|300,000 VND||3 GB||60 mins||30 mins||15 days|
|500,000 VND||5 GB||100 mins||50 mins||25 days|
International calls are to 25 countries only. Data overage charge is 9.76 VND per 50 KB.
One thing to note is that the Tourist SIM does not include SMS texting. To add texting, you need to add a scratch off card to the account to pay for SMS messages.
To check main account balance type *101#, to check remaining data type *102#.
Data-only SIM: Dcom Edit
In 2018 finally their data-only SIM card aimed at tablets and routers was opened to 4G/LTE. SIM cards can be switched from/to Tomato. They sell these 4G data bundles for Dcom only:
|1 GB||1 day||5,000 VND||DC5|
|3 GB||1 day||10,000 VND||D10|
|5 GB||1 day||15,000 VND||D15|
|2.5 GB||30 days||30,000 VND||D30|
|3.5 GB||30 days||50,000 VND||D50|
|5 GB||30 days||70,000 VND||D70|
|3 GB||30 days||90,000 VND||D90|
|10 GB||30 days||120,000 VND||D120|
|20 GB||30 days||200,000 VND||D200|
|4 GB/month||12 months||500,000 VND||D500|
|7 GB/month||12 months||900,000 VND||D900|
Packages will renew every period until out of credit. Packages are hard-capped with 9.76 VND per 50 KB overuse fee. To activate, text the name of the bundle to 191. All bundles auto-renew. To stop text "HUY" to 191, to check balance text "HTTK" to 191. The same daily add-ons as mentioned above can be added.
- APN for 3G: v-internet /or/ e-connect (for Dcom)
- Personal Hotspot (for iPhone tethering) APN for 3G: v-internetts
- APN for 4G/LTE: e-connect /or/ v-connect
- when starting up, the default PIN code will be 1111.
- Website in Vietnamese: http://4gviettel.vn
Vinaphone is the second operator in Vietnam. It's owned by the government through the Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group. It has a market share of 30% and is the local partner of Vodafone. It gives a good coverage and speed throughout the country. 4G/LTE has been started on Phu Quoc island in 2016 and is now rolled out nationwide.
SIM cards are widely available in shops and street kiosks where you see their logo for around 50,000 VND. Top-ups from VND 5,000 to 500,000 extend SIM life 1 to 215 days available at the same stores. To top-up, type *100*<PIN code>#. Check balance by *101# and validity by *102#.
There are different stater packs called VinaCard or similar. It doesn't make a difference which you choose for data as all have the same data packs.
3G data feature packages Edit
You may need to activate data first by texting "GPRS ON" to 888. Speed on 3G is a max. of 14.4 Mbps. Default data rate outside of packages is 1.5 VND per KB.
You can activate these monthly 3G (without 4G/LTE access) packages for 30 days:
|Hard-capped packages (3G):|
|50 MB||10,000 VND||DK1 M10||0.5 VND/KB|
|150 MB||25,000 VND||DK1 M25|
|500 MB||50,000 VND||DK1 M50|
|1.5 GB||120,000 VND||DK1 M120|
|Soft-capped packages (3G):|
|600 MB||70,000 VND||DK1 MAX||throttled|
|1.2 GB||100,000 VND||DK1 MAX1|
|3 GB||200,000 VND||DK1 MAX2|
|30 GB||300,000 VND||DK1 MAX3|
To subscribe text "DK1<blank><activation code> to 888. All packages auto-renew. To stop text "HUY" <blank><activation code> to 888. To check data balance, text "DATA" to 888. All texts to 888 are free.
For the soft-capped MAX packages, you can add these volumes to avoid the throttle:
- 350 MB: 19,000 VND - activation: X19
- 550 MB: 29,000 VND - activation: X29
- 850 MB: 39,000 VND - activation: X39
- 1.2 GB: 49,000 VND - activation: X49
For all activations text 'DK<blank><activation code>' to 888.
4G/LTE packages Edit
If 4G/LTE doesn't work in spite of having coverage, turn it on by texting '4G ON' to 888.
For their new 4G/LTE Vinaphone has released these Big and Speed Packages valid on 3G too:
|Big packages (3G, 4G):|
|4.8 GB||70,000 VND||DK1 BIG70||0.5 VND/KB|
|7 GB||90,000 VND||DK1 BIG90|
|12 GB||120,000 VND||DK1 BIG120|
|22 GB||200,000 VND||DK1 BIG200|
|36 GB||300,000 VND||DK1 BIG300|
|Speed packages (3G, 4G): + 30 mins + 30 SMS|
|2 GB||79,000 VND||DK1 S79||0.5 VND/KB|
|6 GB||199,000 VND||DK1 S199|
|10 GB||299,000 VND||DK1 S299|
The Big and Speed Packages will be cut-off after having reached the quota. For more data, they offer these add-ons for the rest of the running time:
- 350 MB: 15,000 VND - activation: X15
- 600 MB: 25,000 VND - activation: X25
- 1 GB: 35,000 VND - activation: X35
For all activations text 'DK<blank><activation code>' to 888.
For longer periods Vinatel sells their big packages for 6 or 12 months with a discount. For shorter periods Vinatel has released these packages valid for 3G and 4G/LTE:
|2 GB||2 hours||5,000 VND||DK H5|
|5 GB||10,000 VND||DK H10|
|1 GB||24 hours||5,000 VND||DK D5|
|1.2 GB||7,000 VND||DK D7|
|2 GB||10,000 VND||DK D2|
|5 GB||15,000 VND||DK D15|
|1 GB||7 days||20,000 VND||DK DT20|
For all activations text 'DK<blank><activation code>' to 888. All packages will be charged 75 VND per 50 KB for overuse. Packages will auto-renew. To stop text 'HUY <activation code>' to 888.
Data-only SIM Edit
Their data-only SIM is called Ezcom and intended for tablets and routers. It's now on 4G/LTE too. To convert a regular prepiad SIM to Ezcom text 'DK EZ' to 888. Default rate is 200 VND per MB. These 3G/4G packages are offered for Ezcom valid for 30 days:
|3 GB||30 days||50,000 VND||DK1 D50||200VND/MB|
|5 GB||70,000 VND||DK1 EZMAX||throttled|
|6 GB||70,000 VND||DK1 D70||200VND/MB|
|9 GB||100,000 VND||DK1 EZM100||throttled|
|12 GB||120,000 VND||DK1 D120||200VND/MB|
|20 GB||200,000 VND||DK1 EZM200||throttled|
|30 GB||300,000 VND||DK1 EZM300||throttled|
|3GB/month||180 days||250,000 VND||DK1 D250||throttled|
|4GB/month||360 days||500,000 VND||DK1 D500||throttled|
To activate text code to 888. All packages auto-renew. To stop text HUY <package> to 888.
Tourist SIM Edit
In 2017 they have introduced an own Tourist SIM through their subsidiary GCS Vietnam called 'Global Connection SIM'. It's sold already pre-activated and doesn't seem to require any registration.
The starter pack is sold for 300,000 VND and comes with 8 GB data (in up to 4G/LTE), 80 dom. minutes, 80 SMS and 50 internatl. minutes to these countries: landline and mobile calls to the US, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea, Thailand and Malaysia; landline calls to Japan, Taiwan, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, and Russia.
The validity is strictly for 30 days only and it doesn't seem to be extendable in volume or time. It's available in the Vinaphone booths at Hanoi Internatl. Airport at the arrival levels of both terminals or in Hanoi center. For more info in English call (+84) 91 38 8111 or check their website.
More info Edit
- APN: m3-world
- Website mostly in Vietnamese: https://dichvuvinaphone.com
- Tourist SIM of GCS mostly in English: http://gcsvietnam.com/
Mobifone is the 3rd provider in the country with a 18% market share. It's in the process of privatisation. Speeds and coverage may be good in the centers and around the coast, but can be patchy in the mountains.
From 2016 it has been possible to roam throughout the whole country in the Vinaphone network with a Mobifone prepaid SIM. This seems to have ended in May 2018.
Mobifone's 4G has started in 2016 in Hanoi, Da Nang and HCMC on 1800 and 2600 MHz (B3,7) and is open for prepaid without surcharge. It has been rolled out through the country and reached 95% at the end of 2019.
SIM cards are widely available in shops (store locator) and street kiosks where you see their logo for 50,000 VND. There are different stater packs called MobiCard or similar. It doesn't make a difference which you choose for data as all have the same data packs.
For their new 4G in Hanoi, Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City, you will need a new 4G-enabled SIM that is only available in these stores (locator).
Top-ups from VND 5,000 to 500,000 extend SIM life 1 to 215 days available at the same stores. Check balance by *101#.
You may need to activate data first by texting "DATA ON" to 999.
3G data packages Edit
Speed on 3G is a max. of 7.2 Mbps. Default data rate outside of packages is 75 VND per 50 KB. Mobifon sells still 3G packages, that can't be used on 4G:
Default rate is 75 VND per 50 KB. This can be set by texting 'M0' to 999. They have one daily pack:
- 1.5 GB for 24 hours: 10,000 VND - activation: text 'D10' to 999
This package auto-renews. To stop text 'HUY QT' to 999.. Furthermore, you can book these monthly 3G packages:
|Monthly 3G packages:|
|50 MB||10,000 VND||M10||25 VND
per 50 KB
|150 MB||25,000 VND||M25|
|450 MB||50,000 VND||M50|
For activation text code to 9084.
These packages can be upsized:
- 500 MB: 15,000 VND, activation: MAX15
- 1 GB: 25,000 VND, activation: MAX25
- 2 GB: 35,000 VND, activation: MAX35
To subscribe text "DK"<blank><activation code> to 999. All packages auto-renew. To stop text "HUY"<blank><activation code> to 999. To check data balance, text "KT DATA" to 999. All texts to 999 cost 200 VND per SMS.
4G/LTE data packages Edit
For 4G/LTE be sure to have a new 4G-enabled SIM card. In July 2018 Mobifone has released these monthly plans for their new 4G in up to 150 Mbit/s and 3G Mobifone:
|Monthly 4G basic data packages|
|3.8 GB||70,000 VND||HD70||Cut-off|
|5.5 GB||90,000 VND||HD90|
|8.8 GB||120,000 VND||HD120|
|16.5 GB||200,000 VND||HD200|
|33 GB||300,000 VND||HD300|
|44 GB||400,000 VND||HD400|
|55 GB||500,000 VND||HD500|
|Monthly 4G Data Plus packages +||On-net Voice||On-net Text|
|1.5 GB||70,000 VND||DP70A||cut-off||70 mins||70|
|3 GB||120,000 VND||DP120||120 mins||120|
|4 GB||200,000 VND||DP200||200 mins||200|
|6 GB||300,000 VND||DP300||300 mins||300|
|9 GB||600,000 VND||DP600||600 mins||600|
|15 GB||1,500,000 VND||DP1500||cut-off||unlimited(*)||1,500|
(*) Each On-net call is limited to 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, your call will be automatically disconnected.
Activation is by texting 'DK <code>' to 999. To check data balance text 'KT DATA' to 999. All packages auto-renew. To stop text "HUY"<blank><activation code> to 999. Voice included in the Plus packages is domestic only to all lines.For more high speed data you can add MAX15-35 add-on packages shown under 3G plans.
Way2go Vietnam Edit
Way2go by Consortio, a subisdiary of Mobifone, now offers new Tourist SIM cards called "Way2go Vietnam". They are for 250,000 VND and come with 6 GB data, 60 local minutes, 100 local SMS, 30 minutes of international calls to certain countries all valid for 30 days.
This SIM card is for visiting foreign tourists to Vietnam only and includes a English-speaking support hotline and many travel tipps, discounts and tourist related advertisements. It can also be used with an app available for Android and iOS and for more volume regular Mobifone packages can be added. This SIM card is available at Mobifone stores in the terminals of HCMC, Hanoi and Na Trang airports and selected hotels all over the country (list). A copy of you passport will be made at the point of purchase for registration.
To activate dial 900, to check balance *101# or phone number *0#. For all included international calls you have to use prefix 1313.
More info Edit
- APN: m3-world /or/ m-wap
- Website partly in English: http://mobifone.vn/wps/portal/public
- Way2go tourist SIM card: https://www.way2go.vn
Vietnamobile is the smallest of the 4 providers and the only one that is privately owned. It gives out the best prices in Vietnam and has a market share of around 10%.
In 2011 they started with 3G services in Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang and Hanoi, but since then 3G coverage has been expanded to Ba Ria-Vung Tau, An Giang, Khanh Hoa, Binh Thuan, Dong Thap, Long An, Dong Nai, Thai Nguyen and Binh Duong. In 2017 it covers 90% of the population in all 63 cities and provinces by 3G, but coverage is still lower as on the state-owned providers. 4G/LTE is going to start and is already advertized in 2018 started as they were awarded a licence to provide 4G/LTE services in 2017.
In the major towns you have to look for their logo to find an outlet first, as their English online store locator is not working. But, you can try your luck here:  Starter kits come in different varieties. Their standard VMOne is sold for 25,000 VND with 10,000 credit, valid for 30 days. Other kits may be higher with more credit preloaded.
Top-ups are by scratch cards of 10,000, 20,000, 50,000 and 100,000 VND valid for 3 to 180 days depending on value. You get a bonus of 100% for the first 10 recharges of 20k or higher.
Data feature package Edit
You may have to enable 3G/4G data by typing *345#. Default rate outside of package is 75 VND per 15 KB, overuse fee as long as package is still on is 75 VND per 15 KB. They offer these packages or special scratch cards for data:
|4 GB||1 day||5,000 VND||D5|
|4GB/day||30 days||90,000 VND||D90|
|1 GB||30 days||10,000 VND||M10|
|2 GB||30 days||25,000 VND||M25|
|4 GB||30 days||40,000 VND||M40|
|8 GB||30 days||70,000 VND||M70|
|12 GB||30 days||90,000 VND||M90|
|20 GB||30 days||120,000 VND||M125|
|40 GB||30 days||200,000 VND||M200|
To activate send text "DK"<blank><code> to 345. All plans auto-renew. To stop send "HUY"<blank><code> to 345. All overuse is charged at the default rate. All packages will be throttled to 2G speeds after having reached quota.
They have also matched the promotion of the state-rum operators, call it vEasy and give out 2 GB per day for a month (adding up to 60 GB) for 50,000 VND. Activation is by *702*2#.
Tourist SIM Edit
In 2016 they introduced a Tourist SIM too. But have in mind that their coverage is not so good for travelling, only when you stay in the main cities. It comes in 2 denominations:
- Tourist SIM 100: 125,000 VND including 50 mins to USA, Canada, Malaysia, Australia, Singapore, India, S.Korea, Thailand and Hong Kong, 4 GB data per day, unlimited Vietnamobile on-net calls and SMS for 7 days - activation: *699*1#.
- Tourist SIM 200: 225,000 VND including 120 mins to the countries mentioned above, 4 GB data per day, unlimited Vietnamobile on-net calls and SMS for 14 days - activation: *699*2#.
The SIM must be activated by calling 188 and choosing one of these packages above. Package will be auto-renewed after 7 or 14 days and SIM card will expire 60 days after activation. It can be topped up like any usual Vietnamobile SIM card, but stays on one of these packages only
Data-only SIM Edit
For 65,000 VND they sell a data-only SIM without text or voice. It comes with 5 GB for 30 days included. You can also convert a regular voice SIM to a data SIM by texting 'DATA SIM' to 345. Only for this data SIM, they offer special packages valid for 30 days:
- 1 GB: 20,000 VND, activation: DK USB20
- 5 GB: 50,000 VND, activation: DK USB50
- 10 GB: 100,000 VND, activation: DK USB100
For activation text code to 345.
More info Edit
- APN: internet
- Website partly in English: http://www.vietnamobile.com.vn