If you’re planning a trip to Malaysia, having a reliable sim card is essential for seamless travel experiences. With internet access, exploring new cities becomes a breeze as you can easily discover the best restaurants, locate your accommodation, arrange transportation, and share memorable moments with your loved ones.
While international roaming is an option, the costs can quickly accumulate. That’s why we recommend either obtaining an eSIM or a local sim card to enjoy the advantages of local phone rates. Thankfully, securing either option in Malaysia is incredibly convenient, but it’s helpful to know which one suits you best.
This comprehensive guide is designed to provide you with all the necessary information, including updated pricing, ensuring that you make an informed decision when purchasing a sim card in Malaysia.
Sim cards in Malaysia are generally pretty cheap and you can’t really go wrong with any of the main providers. My top picks are Digi, Celcom and Maxis who all offer strong coverage, fast networks and good reliability.
15GB of data is more than enough data for most travellers which is why I recommend the Digi prepaid sim card with 15GB of 5G enabled data for just RM20 ( about $4.5 USD).
eSims in Malaysia are quite a bit more expensive than local sim cards so if you’re looking for the best value then you should go with the Digi prepaid sim card above. If you’re short on time and you are happy to pay a little extra then you can buy the Airalo eSim here which is far more convenient than picking up a sim card in person.
A Tourist Sim Card in Malaysia costs RM20 in February 2024, however, the exact price will often depend on the store you visit and the plan you choose.
Alternatively, an eSim in Malaysia will cost between $4.50 USD and $40 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 Malaysia which includes 5GB of data which is valid for 30 days and costs $15 USD.
In Malaysia, the main sim card providers that dominate the telecommunications industry are Digi, Maxis, and Celcom. Digi, owned by Telenor Group, is known for its competitive prepaid and postpaid plans, offering reliable network coverage and affordable data packages. Maxis, a leading telecommunications company, provides a wide range of prepaid and postpaid services tailored to the needs of different customer segments. Its extensive network coverage and attractive add-on services make it a popular choice among consumers. Celcom, owned by Axiata Group Berhad, also offers a comprehensive range of mobile services, including voice, data, and international roaming. Its strong network infrastructure and customizable plans make it a preferred option for many in Malaysia. These three major players constantly strive to improve their services to meet the growing demands of the digital-savvy nation.
Digi, a leading telecommunication company in Malaysia, offers excellent tourist sim cards. Their sim cards provide unlimited data, allowing tourists to stay connected while exploring Malaysia’s vibrant cities and stunning landscapes. With widespread coverage, reliable network speeds, and affordable rates, Digi ensures seamless communication for travelers. Their dedicated customer support team is readily available for assistance. Digi’s tourist sim cards are a convenient option for tourists to make the most of their Malaysia visit without worrying about connectivity issues.
The price of a Digi tourist sim card in Malaysia is RM20.
The plan offered by Digi stores includes 15GB 5G data + unlimited social apps valid for 30 days.
Maxis is a leading telecommunications company in Malaysia that offers tourist sim cards for international travelers. Their sim cards provide seamless connectivity with high-speed internet and reliable network coverage across the country. With Maxis sim cards, tourists can easily stay connected to loved ones, navigate using maps, post updates on social media, and access various travel apps. It’s a convenient and affordable solution for tourists to enjoy their stay in Malaysia.
The price of a Maxis tourist sim card in Malaysia is RM35.
The plan offered by Maxis stores offers 15GB data valid for 30 days.
Celcom is a leading telecommunications company in Malaysia known for providing reliable services to both locals and tourists. They offer tourist SIM cards that cater specifically to travelers, providing them with convenient and affordable options to stay connected during their visit. With extensive network coverage, high-speed internet access, and easy top-up options, Celcom’s tourist SIM cards ensure seamless communication and effortless navigation for tourists exploring Malaysia’s vibrant cities and picturesque landscapes.
The price of a Celcom tourist sim card in Malaysia is RM35.
The plan offered by Celcom stores includes 30GB data valid for 30 days.
Identify mobile providers: Digi, Maxis and Celcom are your best options in Malaysia.
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 Malaysia 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 Malaysia then you will be in luck. All major international airports in Malaysia 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 Digi, Maxis and Celcom. 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 Malaysia 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 Malaysia 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 Malaysia. The Airalo Malaysia 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 $15 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 Malaysia without having to venture outside.
Our preferred eSim provider in Malaysia is Airalo. We used them, alongside a local sim card on another device, for our most recent trip to Malaysia 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 Malaysia eSim uses the Maxis & Digi networks to provide data and connect users to the internet. You can expect very good coverage and reliability with the Maxis & Digi networksnetwork as they are amongst the best mobile internet operators in Malaysia.
Here are the plans and prices for Airalo’s Malaysia eSim:
1GB data valid for 7 days – Price: $4.50 USD
2GB data valid for 15 days – Price: $8 USD
3GB data valid for 30 days – Price: $10.50 USD
5GB data valid for 30 days – Price: $15 USD
10GB data valid for 30 days – Price: $25 USD
20GB data valid for 30 days – Price: $40 USD
For most travellers we recommend the 5GB data plan for $15 USD which is valid for 30 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 Malaysia eSims offer unlimited data.
Holafly’s Malaysia eSim uses the Maxisnetwork to provide data and connect users to the internet. This network will provide reliable speeds and coverage while in Malaysia
Here are the plans and prices for Holafly’s Malaysia eSim:
Unlimited data valid for 5 days – Price: $19 USD
Unlimited data valid for 7 days – Price: $27 USD
Unlimited data valid for 10 days – Price: $34 USD
Unlimited data valid for 15 days – Price: $47 USD
Unlimited data valid for 20 days – Price: $54 USD
Unlimited data valid for 30 days – Price: $64 USD
Unlimited data valid for 60 days – Price: $84 USD
Unlimited data valid for 90 days – Price: $99 USD
An eSIM, also known as an embedded SIM, refers to a digital SIM card that is built into devices like smartphones, tablets, or smartwatches. Unlike traditional physical SIM cards, an eSIM does not require any physical insertion or removal from the device.
Instead, the eSIM is seamlessly integrated into the device’s hardware and can be remotely activated and programmed by a mobile network operator. This allows users to effortlessly switch between various mobile networks or plans without the need to physically swap SIM cards.
The introduction of eSIM technology brings in convenience, flexibility, and ease of use, particularly for frequent travelers or individuals who often switch between different mobile networks or travel internationally. It eliminates the requirement to purchase and physically insert physical SIM cards, making it much more convenient to manage multiple mobile connections on a single device.
To activate an eSIM, users simply need to scan a QR code provided by their mobile network operator or manually input the activation details. Once activated, the device can seamlessly connect to the chosen mobile network and avail all usual voice, data, and messaging services, just like a traditional SIM card.
Using an eSIM can be beneficial for various reasons. First, it offers convenience as you don’t have to physically insert or remove a SIM card when switching networks or plans. This is particularly useful for frequent travelers who need to use local SIM cards in different countries.
Second, eSIM allows for dual SIM functionality, meaning you can have two active mobile numbers on the same device. This is helpful for separating personal and work numbers or managing multiple phone lines.
Third, eSIMs save space as they are embedded within the device, eliminating the need for a physical SIM card slot. This allows manufacturers to make smaller devices or use the extra space for other components.
Fourth, eSIMs enable remote provisioning, allowing for activation and management of mobile plans over the air. This eliminates the need for a physical SIM card or visiting a store when activating or switching plans, providing greater flexibility and convenience.
Lastly, using an eSIM-compatible device ensures future-proofing as more mobile networks and service providers offer support for eSIMs. This allows you to take advantage of new services and offerings as they become available. Overall, eSIM technology offers flexibility, convenience, and future-proofing for mobile connectivity, making it a compelling choice for many users.
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.