Malaysia – Staying Connected
Malaysia is very well connected in terms of mobile phone coverage and the internet. Unless you are going to very remote areas, you should be guaranteed a decent connection and there are mobile phone shops everywhere so it is easy to buy credit and top up. Note that ‘remote areas’ applies to parts of Borneo where coverage even in towns may be patchy.
Arriving in Malaysia:
Almost all Malaysian airports offer free Wi-Fi even if this is sometimes limited to an hour of usage. There are shops where you can buy SIM cards at most airports so you can easily connect to a local operator as soon as you arrive.
Wi-Fi is widely available in Malaysia. Many hotels offer this as a complimentary service or you can find it in restaurants and cafes. If you need to use the Internet, then this can be the best and cheapest option. Wi-Fi is usually fast unless you are somewhere very remote.
If you are using an international phone then there are a number of SIM cards that you can buy that will let you take free incoming calls and make paid local calls. To buy a Malaysian SIM card however you will need to take your passport with you for registration purposes and this is more strictly enforced than other places like Indonesia.
Mobile Phone Operators in Malaysia:
There are three main operators in Malaysia that offer the best coverage, namely Celcom, Maxis, and DIGI. Of these, the largest and easiest to use is Celcom, which has a SIM card aimed at travelers. The recommended package includes:
SIM card + 500 MB of Wi-Fi or 40 MB of mobile internet credit + 32 RM of phone credit = RM 38
You can also add an Xpax data package to this which is RM 2 for 500 MB per day or RM 8 for 2 GB weekly.
You can also get roaming packages from Xpax (part of Celcom) such as Wonderroam, which costs RM38 per day and allows roaming in 138 countries including unlimited internet in 9 countries across Asia.
It is helpful however to remember that mobile packages can differ from one operator to the next and can change rapidly in terms of price and limitations of usage. As such it is best to check the latest options available through the operator website:
If you want to recharge your phone then this is a fairly simple procedure and can be done by topping up at a kiosk operated by your provider or choice or at a convenience store.