If you’re planning a trip to Laos, having a sim card is essential for staying connected. With internet access while travelling, you can easily explore new cities, discover the best places to eat, find directions to your accommodation, book taxis, and share photos with your loved ones.
While roaming is an option, international fees can quickly become pricey. That’s why we recommend either an eSim or a local sim card to enjoy local phone rates.
Fortunately, obtaining either option in Laos is incredibly simple. To help you make the right choice, this guide provides all the information you need on purchasing a sim card in Laos, including current prices and the best sim card available.
The best sim card in Laos is the Lao Telecom prepaid sim card. The good news is that sim cards are extremely cheap in Laos. No matter what you go for, it should only cost a couple of dollars and the plan will come with plenty of data.
The easiest option if you are staying for less than 7 days is to opt for their tourist sim card which gives 7GB data for 7 days and costs 25,000 LAK. This is plenty for most people. If you’re visiting for longer, then Lao Telecom have a plan for 35,000 LAK which includes 15GB data for 30 days, or 65,000 LAK for 35GB valid for 30 days.
Considering how affordable the sim cards are, I think it’s best to choose the mobile network operators with the best coverage. Lao Telecom has the best network in Laos so regardless of the deals you see this is your best option. Unitel is also pretty good and has a reputation for strong coverage in rural areas. Either will be suitable, just don’t go for TPlus as their coverage is noticeably worse than the others.
Another option is to get an Airalo Laos eSim, however, it’s are not at all competitively priced in Laos so I can’t really recommend it. If you’re only visiting for a couple of days then it might be worth it for the convenience.
A Tourist Sim Card in Laos costs 25,000 LAK in February 2024, however, the exact price will often depend on the store you visit and the plan you choose.
Alternatively, an eSim in Laos will cost $9.50 USD. This, again, depends on how much data you require and which eSim provider you choose.
I generally recommend this Airalo plan for most tourists visiting Laos which includes 1GB of data which is valid for 7 days and costs $9.50 USD.
In Laos, the main sim card providers are Lao Telecom, Unitel, and TPlus. Lao Telecom is the oldest and most popular provider, offering a wide range of services and coverage across the country. They have various data plans and offer good network reliability.
Unitel is another prominent provider in Laos, known for its affordable rates and competitive data packages. The company has steadily expanded its network and is widely recognized for its reliable coverage, especially in urban areas.
Lastly, TPlus is a relatively new player in the market but has already gained popularity among locals and tourists. They offer competitive rates and data packages, specifically targeting younger customers.
Overall, these sim card providers in Laos offer a variety of options to cater to the diverse needs of users in terms of coverage, affordability, and services.
Lao Telecom is a leading telecommunications company in Laos that offers reliable connectivity and services to both locals and tourists. Their tourist sim cards are popular among international travelers visiting Laos. These sim cards provide convenient access to high-speed internet, allowing tourists to stay connected with their loved ones and access essential information while exploring the country. Lao Telecom’s tourist sim cards also come with affordable data plans and attractive packages, making them an ideal choice for travelers in Laos.
The price of a Lao Telecom tourist sim card in Laos is 25,000 LAK.
The plan offered by Lao Telecom stores includes 7GB data valid for 7 days.
Unitel is a leading telecommunication company in Laos. They offer specialized tourist SIM cards, ideal for travelers visiting the country. With these SIM cards, tourists can enjoy uninterrupted connectivity, making it easier to navigate, access information and stay connected with loved ones. Unitel’s tourist SIM cards are cost-effective and come with generous data plans, allowing travelers to explore Laos without worrying about excessive charges. Experience hassle-free communication and internet access with Unitel’s reliable tourist SIM cards.
The price of a Unitel tourist sim card in Laos is 25,000 LAK.
The plan offered by Unitel stores offers 15GB data valid for 10 days.
TPlus provides reliable tourist sim cards in Laos, catering to the needs of travelers. Their sim cards offer convenient data and voice plans that ensure seamless communication throughout the country. With extensive coverage and fast internet speeds, travelers can easily navigate and stay connected during their trip. Additionally, TPlus sim cards come with user-friendly activation instructions and reasonable pricing, making them a popular choice among tourists visiting Laos.
The price of a TPlus tourist sim card in Laos is 15,000 LAK.
The plan offered by TPlus stores includes 15GB data valid for 7 days.
Identify mobile providers: Lao Telecom, Unitel and TPlus are your best options in Laos.
Find your nearest store: Locate a store or retailer by searching on Google Maps for your nearest store or asking at your hotel reception. I’ve never had issues finding a store as they can usually be found in major cities, shopping centers, or tourist areas. If possible, I always recommend to to avoid airports and head in to an official store in the city.
Bring the necessary documents: It is always a good idea to carry your passport or identification documents for sim card registration purposes. We’ve found most providers will need to confirm your identity to provide a sim card and it can be a major hassle to head to a store only to have to come back again later with your passport.
Choose your plan: Either request the plan you are after or consult with the staff in the store to select the right plan for you. My recommendations at the beginning of this guide are a good starting point, but the staff will usually be able to suggest the best option.
Pay and activate your card: Pay for the SIM card and plan, and the staff will activate it for you.
Test: It’s always a good idea to check that you can access the internet before you leave the store. I always search for something on Google then refresh my Instagram feed to check it’s working fine.
Buying a prepaid sim card for Laos at the airport is usually considered the most convenient option for travellers arriving by plane.
However, airport stores selling sim cards are almost guaranteed to charge inflated prices, so if you are a cost-conscious traveller then you should definitely buy your sim card from a store in the city center.
In addition to this, we would argue that buying physical sim cards at all aren’t particularly convenient now that most people use esim compatible phones. If you are looking for the most convenient option, then buying an esim before you arrive or with the airport wifi is much easier and will save you having to queue up or communicate with staff.
If you must purchase a sim card at the airport in Laos then you will be in luck. All major international airports in Laos have stores selling sim cards. Despite the prices being higher than normal, the staff are knowledgable and will be able to get you set up with the correct sim card relatively quickly.
If you want to avoid the inflated sim card prices you’ll find at the airport and your phone isn’t esim compatible, then you’re going to need to head in to a store to buy your sim card.
I recommend visiting one of the official retail stores of the mobile internet operators such as Lao Telecom, Unitel and TPlus. Your best option is to enter their names into Google Maps and find the branch closest to your hotel or accommodation. Typically the staff in the official stores in Laos are knowledgable and helpful which means you can ensure you’ll walk away with a functioning sim card.
Despite this, it’s always a good idea to check your internet is working before you leave the store by loading a Google search results page and your preferred social media app. You should also ensure you always bring your passport with you when purchasing a sim card in case they need to register it.
If you like to be prepared and would prefer to arrive in Laos with your sim card all sorted and your phone ready to connect to the internet immediately then you should look into purchasing a sim card online.
The first option is to buy your sim card in advance via SimOptions, which is a company that will prepare and ship a sim card directly to your door. It’s a reliable and effective service, but with the invention of eSims it’s becoming obsolete.
The better option is to purchase an eSim online. We’ve written more on that below!
An eSim is a digital version of a traditional sim card and is most likely the future of connectivity for mobile devices. The convenience of no longer visiting a store, handing over your passport and purchasing a physical sim card is quickly making physical sim cards obsolete in favour of eSims.
We recommend Airalo’s eSim when travelling to Laos. The Airalo Laos eSim offers fast internet speeds, wide coverage and extremely competitive prices making it a far more compelling option than purchasing a physical sim card from any of the local sim card providers.
In order to get set up with an Airalo eSim, all you need to do is visit Airalo here and purchase the eSim online (the $9.50 USD plan is suitable for most travellers). Once you’ve purchased the sim card Airalo will email you instructions and a QR code. Following these instructions should take just a couple of minutes, then you’ll have a sim card in Laos without having to venture outside.
Our preferred eSim provider in Laos is Airalo. We used them, alongside a local sim card on another device, for our most recent trip to Laos and found the service to be equal to the local sim card but without the hassle of acquiring a sim card in a store.
Airalo’s Laos eSim uses the ETL Mobile network to provide data and connect users to the internet. You can expect very good coverage and reliability with the ETL Mobile networknetwork as they are amongst the best mobile internet operators in Laos.
Here are the plans and prices for Airalo’s Laos eSim:
1GB data valid for 7 days – Price: $9.50 USD
For most travellers we recommend the 1GB data plan for $9.50 USD which is valid for 7 days. Some travellers may prefer a larger plan, whilst travellers visiting for just a couple of days may be fine with a smaller plan.
An alternative eSim provider we can recommend is Holafly.
Holafly’s eSim is a suitable option for travellers who require large amounts of data, such as digital nomads and people who work online while they travel. All of Holafly’s Laos eSims offer unlimited data.
Holafly’s Laos eSim uses the LTCnetwork to provide data and connect users to the internet. This network will provide reliable speeds and coverage while in Laos
Here are the plans and prices for Holafly’s Laos eSim:
8GB data valid for 30 days – Price: $47 USD
An eSIM, also known as an embedded SIM, is a digital SIM card that is inherently built into a device like a smartphone, tablet, or smartwatch. Unlike the conventional physical SIM cards, the eSIM does not necessitate physically inserting or removing a card from the device.
Rather, the eSIM is seamlessly integrated into the device’s hardware, allowing it to be remotely activated and programmed by a mobile network operator. This enables users to effortlessly switch between different mobile networks or plans without the need to physically interchange SIM cards.
The adoption of eSIM technology brings forth convenience, flexibility, and simplicity, especially for frequent travelers or individuals who often switch between various mobile networks or engage in international travel. It eradicates the requirement to purchase and insert physical SIM cards, thereby simplifying the management of multiple mobile connections on a single device.
To activate an eSIM, users can either scan a QR code provided by their mobile network operator or manually input the activation details. Once activated, the device can effortlessly connect to the desired mobile network and seamlessly utilize voice, data, and messaging services, just like a traditional SIM card.
Some reasons why using an eSIM can be beneficial include:
– Convenience: No need to physically insert or remove a SIM card when switching networks or plans, which is especially helpful for frequent travelers.
– Dual SIM functionality: Allows for having two active mobile numbers on one device, useful for separating personal and work numbers or managing multiple phone lines.
– Space-saving: eSIMs are embedded within the device, eliminating the need for a physical SIM card slot and freeing up space for other components or making devices smaller.
– Remote provisioning: Activation and management of mobile plans can be done remotely over the air, without needing a physical SIM card or visiting a store, offering flexibility and convenience.
– Future-proofing: More mobile networks and service providers are adopting eSIM technology, so using an eSIM-compatible device ensures access to new services and offerings in the future.
In summary, eSIM technology provides flexibility, convenience, and future-proofing for mobile connectivity.
eSIM technology is becoming increasingly popular and is supported by a growing number of smartphones and other devices. Here are some examples of eSIM-compatible phones:
Apple iPhone series (iPhone 11, iPhone 12, iPhone 13, etc.): Apple was one of the early adopters of eSIM technology and offers support for eSIM on various iPhone models.
Google Pixel series (Pixel 3, Pixel 4, Pixel 5, etc.): Google’s Pixel smartphones also support eSIM functionality, allowing users to activate and use eSIMs.
Samsung Galaxy series (Galaxy S22, Galaxy Note 20, etc.): Many of Samsung’s flagship devices now come with eSIM support, enabling users to utilize eSIM technology.
OnePlus devices (OnePlus 7, OnePlus 8, etc.): OnePlus has included eSIM support in some of its smartphone models, offering users the flexibility of using eSIMs.
Motorola Razr (2020): The latest iteration of the iconic Motorola Razr features eSIM compatibility, enabling users to use eSIMs for cellular connectivity.
These are just a few examples, and the list of eSIM-compatible phones continues to expand as more manufacturers embrace this technology. There’s a very strong chance your phone supports eSims so if you’re unsure we recommend looking it up on our list of eSim supported phones.
Using an eSim is new for many travellers, however, the good news is it’s surprisingly easy to get set up – even for the technologically challenged!
Here’s a general guide on how to use an eSIM:
Check eSIM Compatibility: Ensure that your device supports eSIM functionality. Many newer smartphones, smartwatches, tablets, and other devices are eSIM compatible including all iPhones produced since 2018.
Obtain an eSIM: There are multiple ways to acquire an eSIM. You can purchase an eSIM online from a provider like Airalo (which we recommend) or directly from a mobile network operator. Some devices also allow you to scan a QR code provided by your carrier to download the eSIM profile.
Activate the eSIM: Your eSim provider will send you instructions to activate the sim. This will usually involve scanning a QR code, entering an activation code, or downloading the eSIM profile directly onto your device.
Set up the eSIM: Once activated, your device will guide you through the eSIM setup process. This typically involves selecting the eSIM as your preferred mobile plan, configuring settings like data roaming, and entering any necessary authentication details.
Enjoy the Connection: Once the eSIM is set up, you can use it as you would with a physical SIM card. Make calls, send messages, browse the internet, and use data services as needed. You can also switch between eSIM profiles if you have multiple eSIMs installed on your device.
Hi, I’m Mitchell. I’m a full-time traveller, explorer and travel blogger. Travel Sim Expert is a blog dedicated to helping you find the best sim card for you, no matter where you are or what your budget is.