Kuala Lumpur being the capital city of Malaysia has the best mobile network coverage from the local carriers. Though it is convenient to use the traveler’s local SIM during their foreign trips, we normally don’t recommend to do so as the international roaming packs are very expensive. Compared to the process of getting a new SIM in the Western countries, it pretty much easy in Malaysia, at least in Kuala Lumpur. The leading mobile network providers in the Kuala Lumpur are Celcom, Digi, Maxis Hotlink, and U Mobile.
All the four providers offer 4G LTE signal covering major cities. One important thing to know before looking into different options is that the traveler needs to have an unlocked smartphone to use any of the below mentioned SIMs. Though recently launched smartphones cover wider bands, it is first recommended to confirm the compatibility of the particular device with the network operators in the visiting country. Below is the table showing the different bands supported by each of these four network providers.
|Maxis Hotlink||Digi||Celcom||U Mobile|
|4G (LTE)||2600 MHz (Band 7)|
1800 MHz (Band 3)
|2600 MHz (Band 7)||2600 MHz (Band 7)|
1800 MHz (Band 3)
|2600 MHz (Band 7)|
|3G (UMTS/HSPA)||2100 MHz (Band 1)||2100 MHz (Band 1)||2100 MHz (Band 1)||2100 MHz (Band 1)|
|2G (GSM/Edge)||1800 MHz|
Airtel (International Roaming):
I have been to Malaysia twice and both the times I activated the International Roaming (IR) pack for Malaysia on my Airtel number. Compared to other Indian mobile networks, only Airtel offers the best in class international roaming plans when coming to the international roaming and even the plans aren’t that costly. If you are not on Airtel, you can get the Airtel Travel SIM to get the below mentioned benefits. While these packs are good for basic usage, I still recommend getting a local Malaysian SIM for heavy data usage. All the three Airtel IR packs come with 100 free SMSs and unlimited incoming calls.
The Airtel postpaid users first need to activate international roaming on their number for Rs. 149 and it will be waived off once any of the three IR packs are activated. On the prepaid numbers, the IR roaming activation costs Rs. 99 and it will not be waived off. While the postpaid international roaming packs validity starts from the commencement of usage, the prepaid IR pack validity starts from date/time of recharge. The Rs. 499 comes with a validity of just one day and includes 500MB of data and 100 minutes for making calls to India and Malaysian numbers.
Coming to the Rs 1199 plan, it comes with 10 days validity and offers 3GB of data and 250 minutes. There is also a monthly pack for Rs. 2,499, which includes 5GB of data and 500 minutes. If you are traveling to other countries on the same trip, the same IR pack activated for Malaysia can be used in Australia, Bangladesh, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and Thailand as well. Refer complete terms & conditions here.
Celcom is the oldest telecom operator in Malaysia and also has the widest coverage throughout the country. The company offers the prepaid services by the name Xpax. In 2013, the company started deploying LTE in the country and by the end of 2016, it covered 80% of the human populated areas in Malaysia. The starter Xpax SIM costs RM10 and includes a pre-loaded credit of RM6. It comes with 10GB free basic internet and another 10GB data only for Facebook. The internet data comes with a validity of 7 days and basic rates include 30Sen/Min for local calls and 15Sen/SMS. While the current generation travelers require more data, below are the daily, weekly, and monthly data plans.
USSD number for knowing the validity period, internet data, activating add-on plans on Celcom Xpax: *118#
Digi is the first to offer fully digital telecom network in Malaysia and Telenor is its major stockholder. Its costs RM8 to get the prepaid SIM card and we recommend you to get the Digi Prepaid Live plan. You get free 10GB of high-speed data (2.5GB/week) for consuming multimedia (which includes popular apps like Youtube, Twitch, Spotify, JOOX, Smule, and few others). The plan also includes 1000 free minutes and 1000 SMS to connect with 6 pre-selected Digi users. You also get basic internet free to stay connected online. The affordable internet add-on pack costs RM10 and includes 1.5GB of high-speed data along with 7GB of bonus data (1GB per day), that can be used only from 1 pm to 7 pm.
USSD number for knowing the validity period, internet data, activating add-on plans on Digi Malaysia: *116#
The U Mobile is the best choice if you are looking for the unlimited prepaid plans in Malaysia. However, check for the coverage if you are traveling outside of Kuala Lumpur as U Mobile and Maxis recently terminated their network sharing and alliance agreement. The unlimited power prepaid starter pack costs RM8.50 and includes 200MB of high-speed data & 1GB of the basic internet. With the add-on UMI 30 Plan priced at RM30, you will get 7.5GB (promotional) of high-speed data. You can also use unlimited data for using the several popular apps including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Apple Music, Spotify, and Waze. There is also 2.5GB of additional data for consuming video content via Youtube, Netflix, Yupp TV, and few others apps.
USSD number for knowing the validity period, internet data, activating add-on plans on U Mobile Malaysia: *118*#
- Except for the daily plans, all the weekly and monthly plans will be auto-renewed by default.
- GST of 6% will be deducted from the face value of all top-up vouchers.
- Use the Android or iOS app of the respective operators for additional benefits.
(If you find any incorrect information, please share with us @triprazer.)