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Best Tourist Sim Cards in Philippines in 2024

Choosing a sim card is hard. We've analysed the best tourist sim cards in Philippines across pricing, coverage and data. Find out the best pick!

If you’re planning a trip to the Philippines, having a reliable sim card is essential. It allows you to stay connected and make the most of your travel experience. With internet access at your fingertips, navigating through unfamiliar cities becomes a breeze.

Whether you’re looking for the top-notch dining spots, directions to your accommodation, or simply sharing memorable moments with your loved ones, a sim card enables you to do it all on the go.

While roaming is an option, the charges can quickly accumulate when traveling internationally. Therefore, we always recommend either an eSim or a local sim card to take advantage of local phone rates. Thankfully, obtaining one in the Philippines is hassle-free, but it’s advantageous to understand which option suits you best.

This comprehensive guide has everything you need to know about purchasing a sim card in the Philippines, including current prices and the absolute best choice for your needs.

Table of Contents

Best Sim Card in Philippines for Tourists

The best sim card in the Philippines is the Smart prepaid sim card that offers 8GB data for 699 PHP. Smart is the network with the best coverage of the three operators in the Philippines which ensures you will have access to the internet wherever you are. This is the perfect option for most travellers.

However, Globe also has a very extensive network, which also happens to be the network that Airalo uses for their eSims in the Philippines. If you value convenience then I would recommend purchasing the Airalo Philippines eSim for around 725 PHP that comes with 5GB of data. This is not quite as good as the Smart sim card but it is certainly easier as you can order the eSim before you leave and activate it once you arrive in the Philippines.

If you are after the cheapest sim card in the Philippines then it could be worth looking in to Dito, which is the newest mobile operator in the country. Unfortunately, their coverage and network is significantly worse than Globe or Smart, so I can only recommend this to extreme budget travellers who don’t intend to travel to very remote areas.

Philippines Sim Card Prices

A Tourist Sim Card in Philippines costs around 700 PHP in February 2024, however, the exact price will often depend on the store you visit and the plan you choose.

Alternatively, an eSim in Philippines will cost between $4.50 USD and $32 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 Philippines which includes 5GB of data which is valid for 30 days and costs $13 USD.

Philippines Sim Card Providers

In the Philippines, the main players in the sim card market are Smart, Globe, and the recently launched Dito Telecommunity. Smart Communications, a subsidiary of PLDT, is one of the leading telecom providers in the country. With its extensive network coverage and reliable service, Smart offers a wide range of prepaid and postpaid sim card options to meet the diverse needs of its customers.

Globe Telecom, on the other hand, is a formidable competitor known for its innovative offers and excellent customer service. It boasts a vast network coverage and a variety of prepaid and postpaid sim card plans, catering to different preferences and budgets.

Additionally, we have Dito Telecommunity, a new entrant in the industry. Launched in 2021, Dito aims to provide more competition and better connectivity options for Filipino consumers. With its affordable rates and promises of improved network speeds and coverage, Dito is quickly gaining attention in the market. Overall, these three sim card providers continue to fuel the highly competitive landscape of telecommunication services in the Philippines.

Smart Tourist Sim

Smart, one of the leading telecommunications companies in the Philippines, offers tourist sim cards that cater to the needs of travelers. With reliable network coverage and high-speed internet connectivity, tourists can stay connected throughout their journey in the country. The sim cards come with free data, local and international calls, and text bundles at affordable prices. Smart’s tourist sim cards ensure a hassle-free experience, allowing visitors to easily navigate and explore the beautiful islands of the Philippines.

Smart Philippines Tourist Sim Price

The price of a Smart tourist sim card in Philippines is 699 PHP.

The plan offered by Smart stores includes 8GB data valid for 15 days.

Globe Tourist Sim

Globe Telecom, a leading telecommunications provider in the Philippines, offers Tourist SIM cards for travelers. These sim cards provide convenient and affordable mobile connectivity with unlimited data, calls, and texts. With extensive coverage across the country, tourists can easily stay connected and explore popular tourist destinations without worrying about high roaming charges. Globe’s Tourist SIM cards are a must-have for a hassle-free travel experience in the Philippines.

Globe Philippines Tourist Sim Price

The price of a Globe tourist sim card in Philippines is 500 PHP.

The plan offered by Globe stores offers 20GB data valid for 15 days.

Dito Tourist Sim

Dito is a telecommunications company in the Philippines that offers tourist sim cards for travelers. With Dito’s tourist sim, visitors can enjoy fast and reliable internet connection for their stay. The sim card comes with generous data allocation, allowing tourists to stay connected, navigate their way around, and share their experiences on social media. Dito’s tourist sim cards are convenient and affordable, making them a great choice for travelers exploring the beautiful Philippines.

Dito Philippines Tourist Sim Price

The price of a Dito tourist sim card in Philippines is 39 PHP.

The plan offered by Dito stores includes 3GB data valid for 15 days.

How to Get a Sim Card in Philippines

Identify mobile providers: Smart, Globe and Dito are your best options in Philippines.

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.

Where to Get a Sim Card in Philippines

At the Airport

Buying a prepaid sim card for Philippines 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 Philippines then you will be in luck. All major international airports in Philippines 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.

In Stores

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 Smart, Globe and Dito. 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 Philippines 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.

Online

If you like to be prepared and would prefer to arrive in Philippines 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!

Philippines eSim

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 Philippines. The Airalo Philippines 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 $13 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 Philippines without having to venture outside.

Airalo Philippines

Our preferred eSim provider in Philippines is Airalo. We used them, alongside a local sim card on another device, for our most recent trip to Philippines 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 Philippines eSim uses the Globe network to provide data and connect users to the internet. You can expect very good coverage and reliability with the Globe networknetwork as they are amongst the best mobile internet operators in Philippines.

Here are the plans and prices for Airalo’s Philippines eSim:

1GB data valid for 7 days – Price: $4.50 USD
3GB data valid for 30 days – Price: $9.50 USD
5GB data valid for 30 days – Price: $13 USD
10GB data valid for 30 days – Price: $21 USD
20GB data valid for 30 days – Price: $32 USD

For most travellers we recommend the 5GB data plan for $13 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.

Holafly Philippines

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 Philippines eSims offer unlimited data.

Holafly’s Philippines eSim uses the Smartnetwork to provide data and connect users to the internet. This network will provide reliable speeds and coverage while in Philippines

Here are the plans and prices for Holafly’s Philippines eSim:

8GB data valid for 30 days – Price: $47 USD

What is an eSim?

An eSIM, or embedded SIM, is a built-in digital SIM card found in devices like smartphones, tablets, or smartwatches. Unlike physical SIM cards, an eSIM doesn’t require insertion or removal from the device.

Instead, the eSIM is incorporated into the device’s hardware and can be remotely activated and programmed by a mobile network operator. This enables users to switch between different mobile networks or plans without swapping physical SIM cards.

eSIM technology offers convenience, flexibility, and ease of use, particularly for travelers or those who frequently switch between various mobile networks or travel internationally. It eliminates the need to purchase and insert physical SIM cards, making it more convenient to manage multiple mobile connections on one device.

To activate an eSIM, users can either scan a QR code provided by their mobile network operator or manually enter the activation details. Once activated, the device can connect to the chosen mobile network, providing voice, data, and messaging services similar to a traditional SIM card.

Why Use an eSim?

There are multiple advantages of using an eSIM:

– Convenience: No need to insert or remove a physical SIM card when changing networks or plans. This is especially beneficial for frequent travelers who switch networks or use local SIM cards abroad.
– Dual SIM functionality: eSIM enables having two active mobile numbers on the same device. This is helpful 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. This creates extra space that can be used for other components or makes devices smaller.
– Remote provisioning: Activation and management of mobile plans can be done remotely via the internet. This means no physical SIM card or store visits are required, providing flexibility and convenience in managing mobile connectivity.
– Future-proofing: More mobile networks and service providers are supporting eSIMs. By using an eSIM-compatible device, users can access 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 Supported Phones

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.

How to Use an eSim

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.

Mitchell

Mitchell

Hi, I’m Mitchell. I’m a full-time traveller, explorer and travel blogger. I've travelled all around the world, using and testing countless travel sim cards along the way. I'm the founder of and writer for Travel Sim Expert where I write guides to help travellers stay connected all around the world.

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. 

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