Whether travelling alone or with a buddy, nothing is more reassuring than keeping yourself in touch with your loved ones (and the internet, of course). Not just that; it also shakes off any worries or uncertainties since you can easily look it up on the internet or call it out to a friend. With just a few taps, your travel queries can easily be solved.
To experience that, you have to make sure that you chose the right sim card, data plan and/or pocket wifi (rentals) when traveling in Sri Lanka. Here are several tips you can use to stay connected.
Can I buy a Sim Card in Sri Lanka?
Why buy local sim cards? Using a sim card is one of the most common ways to keep in touch both locally and abroad. It lets you text or call someone and access the internet. It’s possible to consult online maps, look for restaurants, book hotels and cabs because of this. There is just so much ease on your part when you have one. But what sim card is the best for you?
There are five (5) telecommunication providers in Sri Lanka—Dialog, Mobitel, Airtel, Etisalat, and Hutch. All of these companies offer travel sim cards for tourists and these are all available in three sizes (standard, micro, nano). Of the five, Dialog and Mobitel are the biggest networks in the market.
Coverage of Tourist Sim Cards in Sri Lanka
Coverage in Sri Lanka is fairly good. You can access the internet almost everywhere. Both Dialog and Mobitel can provide 2G/3G to 4G network coverage in cities like Colombo, Dambulla, and Kandy, and even along the coast like Galle, Bentota, Hikkaduwa, Mirissa, Ella, Yala. Network may be slow, however, in mountainous areas.
Dialog is said to be the best network provider in terms of coverage. It has the highest number of subscribers, too. Just recently, they even pilot-tested a device which caters 5G network and have claimed to be the first “5G-ready” country in South East Asia (the point is, they are the network leader).
Mobitel, on the other hand, is hailed as the second biggest network provider. It offers a good coverage in 2G/3G and in 4G. They are as good as Dialog, too, and has millions of subscribers as well.
Prices and Data Plans in Sri Lanka
Here’s one of the unique things in a Sri Lankan sim card—a data plan may have consumables of data separated to day use and night use. This means a certain portion of your MB or GB can only be used at a particular time. Here is a comparison of Dialog and Mobitel’s services and prices.
Both Dialog and Mobitel has data packages that can be topped up according to your travel needs. Mobitel is cheaper compared to Dialog. It also has almost equal day and night data. This is perfect if you are on a budget and has activities that still allows you to use your data during the days. On the other hand, Dialog has bigger data for nighttime and is relatively more expensive (which is reasonable because of the bulk of data). I personally recommend Dialog network.
Where to Get Your Sri Lanka Sim Card?
Upon arrival at your airport, look for a kiosk of any of the two mobile operators. The sim cards are usually free, but the data packages are to top up. In availing the sim card, you will be asked to present an ID, usually your passport.
If you missed the airport, you can find retail stores at almost every corner. It is highly recommended to buy at their official outlets so that you can ask for assistance in sim activation.