Buying local SIM card can be a chore in many countries. Sri Lanka, however, makes it is as easy as deciding which brand name appeals to you the best! When you arrive in Sri Lanka and walk from your plane to immigration, it would be hard to miss the huge and colorful billboards advertising various telecom companies. Once you get through immigration, you’ll pass several little outlets of Sri Lankan telecom providers touting their wares.
So who’s who of the telecom world in Sri Lanka?
Dialog – has the biggest percentage of mobile users in Sri Lanka. My personal recommendation would be to go for a Dialog SIM card with a pre-paid package. Well…. There is a reason why it has the highest percentage of mobile users using their service and I would probably say they are the safest choice you can go with.
Mobitel – the national telecom provider
Airtel – the giant from India that has moved in to conquer the Sri Lanka market
Hutch – the small timer which is nevertheless creeping up on the big guys
Etisalat – the re-branded pioneer in the Sri Lankan telecom market
Once you’ve identified the most appealing logo, you should probably also consider the deals they offer before making your final decision.
1. The ‘Tourist Package/Plan’
- Dialog, Mobitel and Etisalat all have special deals for tourist which cost from Sri Lankan
Rupees (LKR) 499 to LKR 1300 (which, as of December 2015, is about US$ 4-10).
- This package includes SIM + Data (upto 3GB) + Voice + SMS + IDD. This can be topped up at any little corner shop or supermarket which would be proudly showcasing the logo of your chosen telecom provider.
2. The ‘Pre-paid Package’
- If you were way too tired and jet lagged to pay attention to the various telecom companies touting their SIM cards at the airport, all companies have the option for anyone to buy a SIM card at any of their outlets across the country.
- All you’ll need to do is show your passport (original) and they would take a digital photo for their records (if you’re shy, you can give them an extra passport sized photo you may have with you).
- The SIM card would cost from LKR 150 – LKR 300 (~ US$ 1 – 3) depending on the company.
- Topping up is the same as for the Tourist Package.
(Have the latest smartphone? Don’t worry, all these companies are well equipped to provide micro SIMs and nano SIMs as well)
Last but not least, you just need to make sure that your phone is not blocked to your telecom provider at home.
With cheaper data and call rates, you can start instagraming away and make your friends jealous of your fabulous holiday in Sri Lanka now!
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Blog post written by: Anu Dias