If you are planning a trip to Nepal, having a reliable SIM card is essential. Access to the internet while traveling can greatly enhance your experience by helping you navigate new cities, discover the best restaurants, find directions to your accommodation, book taxis, and share your adventures with loved ones through photos.
While roaming is an option, the costs can quickly accumulate, especially when traveling internationally. Therefore, we highly recommend getting either an eSIM or a local SIM card to access local phone rates. Luckily, obtaining either of these options in Nepal is incredibly straightforward, but it’s beneficial to know which one suits your needs best.
This comprehensive guide aims to provide you with all the information you need to know about purchasing a SIM card in Nepal, including current pricing and the absolute best option for you to consider.
The best sim card in Nepal is the Ncell Home & Away prepaid sim card. Fortunately, both sim card providers offer extremely cheap mobile data for travellers visiting Nepal.
Ncell’s package is a bit cheaper than Nepal Telecom and their coverage is better. This makes recommending Ncell an easy choice. That said, if you are heading into the mountains then you shouldn’t expect very good coverage with either mobile operator.
If you prefer the convenience of an eSim and don’t require much data, Airalo’s Nepal eSim is an option as well. It uses the Ncell network. Bear in mind that it costs a lot more per GB than a local sim card.
A Tourist Sim Card in Nepal costs 599 NPR in February 2024, however, the exact price will often depend on the store you visit and the plan you choose.
Alternatively, an eSim in Nepal 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 Nepal which includes 1GB of data which is valid for 7 days and costs $9.50 USD.
In Nepal, Ncell and Nepal Telecom are the two main sim card providers. Ncell is a privately-owned telecommunications company, operated by Axiata Group from Malaysia. It offers a wide range of services including voice, data, and value-added services like mobile banking and music streaming. Ncell is known for its strong network coverage and high-speed internet services.
On the other hand, Nepal Telecom is a government-owned telecommunication service provider. It offers various mobile services, broadband internet, landline services, and more. Nepal Telecom is known for its extensive network coverage across the country, especially in rural areas.
Both Ncell and Nepal Telecom are popular choices among the people of Nepal, providing reliable and affordable sim card services to meet the growing demand for communication and connectivity in the country.
Ncell, a prominent telecommunications company in Nepal, offers specialized tourist sim cards catering to the needs of travelers. These sim cards provide seamless connectivity throughout the country, enabling tourists to stay connected with their loved ones and access the internet conveniently. With attractive data packages, affordable rates, and widespread network coverage, Ncell tourist sim cards have become a popular choice among visitors exploring the breathtaking beauty of Nepal’s cultural heritage and natural landscapes.
The price of a Ncell tourist sim card in Nepal is 599 NPR.
The plan offered by Ncell stores includes 60GB data valid for 28 days.
Nepal Telecom is the largest telecommunication service provider in Nepal. They offer tourist sim cards specially designed for travelers visiting Nepal. These sim cards provide affordable data and voice services with extensive coverage across the country. With attractive packages and reliable connectivity, tourists can easily stay connected with family and friends during their visit. Nepal Telecom’s tourist sim cards are a convenient and reliable choice for communication needs while exploring the beautiful landscapes of Nepal.
The price of a Nepal Telecom tourist sim card in Nepal is 999 NPR.
The plan offered by Nepal Telecom stores offers 2GB per day data + unlimited calls + 400 SMS valid for 28 days.
Nepal has several telecommunication companies offering tourist sim cards with great connectivity options. These sim cards provide affordable data, call, and SMS packages, allowing tourists to stay connected throughout their trip. Companies like Ncell and Nepal Telecom offer reliable network coverage across the country, ensuring seamless communication. These sim cards can be purchased easily at the airport or local stores, making it convenient for travelers to remain connected while exploring Nepal’s beautiful landscapes and cultural heritage.
The price of a tourist sim card in Nepal is .
The plan offered by stores includes valid for .
Identify mobile providers: Ncell, Nepal Telecom and are your best options in Nepal.
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 Nepal 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 Nepal then you will be in luck. All major international airports in Nepal 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 Ncell, Nepal Telecom and . 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 Nepal 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 Nepal 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 Nepal. The Airalo Nepal 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 Nepal without having to venture outside.
Our preferred eSim provider in Nepal is Airalo. We used them, alongside a local sim card on another device, for our most recent trip to Nepal 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 Nepal eSim uses the Ncell network to provide data and connect users to the internet. You can expect very good coverage and reliability with the Ncell networknetwork as they are amongst the best mobile internet operators in Nepal.
Here are the plans and prices for Airalo’s Nepal 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 Nepal eSims offer unlimited data.
Holafly’s Nepal eSim uses the Nepal Telecomnetwork to provide data and connect users to the internet. This network will provide reliable speeds and coverage while in Nepal
Here are the plans and prices for Holafly’s Nepal eSim:
6GB data valid for 15 days – Price: $44 USD
An eSIM, also known as an embedded SIM, is a digital SIM card that is incorporated into the hardware of a device, like a smartphone, tablet, or smartwatch. Unlike traditional physical SIM cards, there is no need to physically insert or remove an eSIM.
Instead, the eSIM is built-in and can be remotely activated and programmed by a mobile network operator. This allows users to easily switch between different mobile networks or plans without the hassle of swapping SIM cards.
eSIM technology offers convenience, flexibility, and user-friendliness, particularly for individuals who frequently change mobile networks or travel internationally. It eliminates the necessity of purchasing and inserting 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 access voice calls, data, and messaging services just like with a traditional SIM card.
There are several advantages to using an eSIM:
– Convenience: With an eSIM, you can easily switch between mobile networks or plans without physically inserting or removing a SIM card. This is especially beneficial for travelers who frequently switch networks or use local SIM cards.
– Dual SIM functionality: An eSIM allows you to have two active mobile numbers on one device, making it useful for separating personal and work numbers or managing multiple phone lines.
– Space-saving: Since eSIMs are embedded within the device, the need for a physical SIM card slot is eliminated. This creates extra space for components or allows manufacturers to make smaller devices.
– Remote provisioning: Activation and management of mobile plans can be done wirelessly with eSIMs. This means you can easily activate or switch to a new plan without requiring a physical SIM card or visiting a store.
– Future-proofing: As eSIM technology becomes more popular, more mobile networks and service providers are offering support for eSIMs. By using an eSIM-compatible device, you can 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 an appealing 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.