FANDOM


Vn

Basics Edit

There are 4 major GSM network operators in Vietnam:

  • Viettel
  • Vinaphone
  • Mobifone
  • Vietnamobile

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 Former CDMA-operator S-Fone has gone bankrupt and its license was revoked.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 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. Generally, Viettel has the best coverage, followed by Vinaphone, Mobifone and Vietnamobile the least.

In 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 switch off all its 2G networks by 2022.

SIM Registration Edit

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 strictly enforced before 2016. Then the government shut down 12 million falsely registered SIM cards. The rules are now much more strictly applied, that you need to bring your passport and register to activate your SIM card in an official outlet of the provider. Small independent corner shops can't activate it for you and they may sell a SIM card on somebody else's identity to you. Sometimes this can be hard to tell, but you can check it (see below).

With these street 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 still buy a SIM card at a corner store in town or at the airport. But have in mind that they some of are not properly registered. Even in some 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 traveler 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 a few days already. There will be no other fine. 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 real name by showing your passport as required by law.

If you continuously 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.

Checking registration Edit

If you are unsure, where your SIM card has been properly registered, you can text 'TTTB' to 1414. This works with any local provider. You should receive an SMS in Vietnamese with your full name, date of birth (in DD/MM/YY format), passport number and possibly place of issue and an subscriber number of the operator. If these data don't match up or you get a totally different result, you should go to a local operator store with your passport and have it registered, so that it will not be shut off.

ViettelEdit

Viettel

Viettel is owned by the Ministry of Defense 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.

AvailabilityEdit

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. Type *101# to check your call balance.

Most convenience stores (including Seven-11 and Vinmart) sell scratch-off vouchers. Buy the desired amount and load it onto your phone by *100*{voucher-code}# and press enter.

To keep a 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 365 days with no worries.

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. These work on 2G and 3G too. Default data is 60 VND per MB.

Two daily packages are offered valid for 24 hours:

  • 700 MB: 7,000 VND, activation: 'MI7D'
  • 1 GB: 10,000 VND, activation: 'MI10D'

Two more packages are for 3 and 7 days:

  • 3 GB for 3 days: 15,000 VND, activation: 'ST15K'
  • 7 GB for 7 days: 30,000 VND, activation 'ST30K'

These monthly packages are given out for their 4G/LTE:

Data Price Activation Overuse
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 9123. 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 some years ago for visitors sold mostly at the airports and their big stores. Data on the tourist SIM is much more expensive than on a regular SIM card. It' might be still a deal, if you want to call overseas. When you route your IDD calls through VoIP, you are better off with a regular or Dcom SIM card.

It's sold for US$ 5 -10 and needs to be added with one of these plans:

Price Data domest.

Calls

interntl.

Calls

Validity
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

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 data bundles for Dcom only :

Data

Time

Price Activation
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 6 months 300,000 VND DC300
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.

More infoEdit

  • 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

VinaphoneEdit

Vinaphone new

new logo

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.

Vinaphone

old logo

Availability Edit

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:

Data Price Activation Overuse
Hard-capped packages (3G):
200 MB 10,000 VND DK1 M10 0.5 VND/KB
600 MB 25,000 VND DK1 M25
1.2 GB 50,000 VND DK1 M50
1.5 GB 70,000 VND DK1 M70
Soft-capped packages (3G):
3.8 GB 70,000 VND DK1 MAX throttled
5.8 GB 100,000 VND DK1 MAX1
15 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 4G/LTE Vinaphone has released these Big and Speed Packages valid on 3G too:

Data Price Activation Overuse
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:

Data Time Price Aktivation
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
3 GB 3 days 15,000 VND DK D3
1 GB 7 days 20,000 VND DK DT20
7 GB 30,000 VND DK DT 30

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:

Data Validity Price Activation Overuse
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 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 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.

They offer these packages with "unlimited" data:

  • for 7 days: 200,000 VND
  • for 15 days: 250,000 VND
  • for 30 days: 300,000 VND

"Unlimited" data means max. 2 GB per day in high speed, before throttled to 3G speeds.

More info Edit

Mobifone Edit

Mobifone

Mobifone is the 3rd provider in the country with a 18% market share. It's in the process of privatization. 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 (Band 3,7) and is open for prepaid without surcharge. It has been rolled out through the country and reached 95% at the end of 2019.

Availability Edit

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#.

Data packages Edit

Default data rate outside of packages is 75 VND per 50 KB. This default rate can be set by 'M0'. You may need to activate data first by texting "DATA ON" to 999. For 4G/LTE be sure to have a new 4G-enabled SIM card.

For short time users they offer these packages:

Data Time Price Activation
1 GB 24 hours 5,000 VND D5
1.5 GB 10,000 VND D10
3 GB 3 days 15,000 VND D15
7 GB 7 days 30,000 VND D30
50 MB 30 days 10,000 VND M10
150 MB 25,000 VND M25
450 MB 50,000 VND M50

To activate a pack text 'DK<activation code>, to cancel 'HUI<activation code>' and to renew 'GH<activation code> to 999. All texts cost 200 VND. Mobifone has released these monthly plans for up to 4G/LTE in up to 150 Mbit/s :

Data Price Activation Overuse
Monthly 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 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.

These larger basic and plus 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.
Way2go

Way2go Vietnam Edit

Way2go by Consortio, a subisdiary of Mobifone, now offers a Tourist SIM card called "Way2go Vietnam". It's for 250,000 VND and comes 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

Vietnamobile Edit

Vietnamobile

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. They have been awarded a 4G/LTE license, but it's still much more restricted than on the state-owned providers.

Generally, Vietnamobile can't recommended for data use at this time.

Availability Edit

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: [1] 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:

Data Period Price Activation
2 GB 1 day 5,000 VND D5
4 GB 10,000 VND D10
6 GB 3 days 15,000 VND D15
12 GB 7 days 30,000 VND D30
3 GB 30 days 35,000 VND M25T
5 GB 50,000 VND M50T
6 GB 60,000 VND M40T
3 GB/day 90,000 VND D90

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.

More info Edit

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