If you're heading to Bali and want to stay connected, you'll definitely need internet access. You can use your phone there by swapping your SIM card for a local one, as long as your phone is unlocked.
But what exactly does it mean to have an unlocked phone? Essentially, an unlocked phone is not tied to a specific carrier, giving you the freedom to use any carrier's SIM card.
On the other hand, if your phone is locked, it can only be used with the carrier it is associated with and won't work with other carriers' SIM cards.
There are a few different ways to check if your phone is unlocked or not. Check out the video below, it'll walk you through the steps to make sure you're good to go before you buy a new SIM card in Bali.
Now that you've made sure your phone can handle a local SIM card, it's time to figure out which carrier is the best option for you and where to find the best deals.
You may also be interested in finding out where to get a cheaper SIM card and prepaid data. Don't worry, I've got you covered!
Best SIM card in Bali
There are a number of SIM card carriers to choose from in Bali, but only a few are the most commonly used. These include:
Based on my experience, all of the major carriers in Bali provide good service. However, I've personally found that Telkomsel stands out for its superior coverage and speed.
They have an extensive network of cell towers throughout the island, including in more remote areas like Nusa Penida and the Gili Islands.
The only downside to Telkomsel is that it can be a bit pricier compared to the other carriers, but it's not a huge difference, only about a dollar or two.
The superior coverage and speed that Telkomsel provides is definitely worth the slightly higher cost. So if you're planning a trip to Bali, I highly recommend getting Telkomsel for your phone.
Getting a SIM card in Bali
There are loads of ways to snag a SIM card in Bali, and some can be a breeze while others can be a bit of a hassle.
The easy way
Once you land in Bali, you can easily find booths that sell SIM cards along the way as you exit the airport. They're everywhere, so you won't miss them!
Just look out for the company names and logos I showed you earlier, and you'll spot them easily.
The only downside is that the price of SIM cards and prepaid data packages at the airport can be really expensive compared to buying one elsewhere.
The local way
One option for getting a SIM card in Bali is to leave the airport and look for kiosks or shops that sell them on the street. This is the cheapest way to get a SIM card, with prices typically around $1 - $2.
The good news is that the data packages are also much cheaper than at the airport, as you'll get the local price.
However, you might encounter some dishonest sellers who might try to charge you more than they would charge a local.
Despite this, it's still cheaper than buying at the airport, with prices around half or a third of what you'd pay there.
The official way
If you're looking for a safer option to buy a SIM card and prepaid data package, you may want to consider seeking out authorized offices outside of the airport.
These vendors offer a similar experience to those found at the airport, but without the inflated prices.
By purchasing from authorized offices, you can get a SIM card and prepaid data package at a lower cost and won't have to worry about being overcharged.
These are the carrier offices authorized near the airport:
Bali SIM card price
The SIM card and data package prices at the airport are different from those outside the airport. Here's a comparison of the prices for all four carriers at the airport and outside.
At the airport
|1||Starts from||Rp 250,000||18 GB|
|2||Up to||Rp 1,250,000||200 GB|
|1||Starts from||Rp 250,000||18 GB|
|2||Up to||Rp 650,000||85 GB|
|1||Starts from||Rp 250,000||18 GB|
|2||Up to||Rp 550,000||84 GB|
|1||Starts from||Rp 250,000||20 GB|
|2||Up to||Rp 450,000||60 GB|
Outside the airport
|1||Starts from||Rp 75,000||10 GB|
|2||Up to||Rp 280,000||235 GB|
|1||Starts from||Rp 62,000||30 GB|
|2||Up to||Rp 320,000||260 GB|
|1||Starts from||Rp 20,000||3 GB|
|2||Up to||Rp 162,000||90 GB|
|1||Starts from||Rp 38,000||10 GB|
|2||Up to||Rp 1,000,000||420 GB|
Cheapest way to get mobile internet in Bali
If you're on a tight budget, no worries! I have a tip to help you stay connected in Bali without breaking the bank. You can purchase a data package manually using credit, just like the locals do.
Before I go into the steps, I’ll break down each term so you don’t get confused.
SIM card: A small chip in your phone
Phone credit: The amount of money in your SIM card that used to make phone calls, internet or SMS
Data package: Prepaid plan that allows you to use a certain amount of data for a specific period of time
You can get the cheapest internet access in Bali by purchasing a data package using your phone credit. Here's what you need to do:
Get cash: 95% of transactions in Bali are done using cash
Exit the airport and go to a nearby Telkomsel office
Buy a SIM card
Register your SIM card: You can ask for the staff to do it for you, or do it yourself here
Dial *888# or *363# to view the available data plan packages
Turn off your data to avoid unintended usage that can deplete your credit before you buy your desired data plan.
Purchase phone credit that matches or slightly exceeds your desired data plan. Note that different data plans require different amounts of credit.
Purchase the data plan using the credit you just bought by dialing *888# or *363# and selecting the data plan package you want to purchase
This is how locals get the internet on their phones. I personally use the carrier 3 and buy a 117 GB plan for only Rp 117,000 per month.
That's enough for a month of work and streaming YouTube for hours a day. I even share it with my mom.
How to access mobile data if your phone is locked
If your phone is locked to a specific carrier and you want to access the internet while traveling in Bali, there are three options available:
Use roaming service
If your phone carrier has roaming service available in Bali, you can use your phone to stay connected while traveling. But this method can be expensive.
If you want to use this method to get the internet, here's what you need to do.
Check whether your mobile carrier offers roaming services in Bali. You can do this by contacting your mobile carrier or checking their website
Enable data roaming on your phone. To do this, go to your phone's settings, look for "Mobile Network" or "Cellular Network" settings, and enable data roaming
Check your mobile carrier's international data plans to see if they offer a plan that covers data usage in Bali. If they do, choose the plan that best fits your needs and budget
US mobile carriers that have roaming services in Bali:
The cost of using roaming services depends on your phone carrier. Some carriers offer it for free, but some charge a daily fee of around $10.
Buy portable wifi
This is a better option if you don’t want to spend a lot of money on data while traveling in Bali. You can buy one directly from a Telkomsel office.
The device is called a MiFi and it comes with a data plan that is much cheaper than what you can find at the airport.
|Lite||10 GB||30 days||Rp 75,000|
|Medium||20 GB||30 days||Rp 125,000|
|Heavy||30 GB||30 days||Rp 200,000|
Buy an android
Well, if they don't have the MiFi available for sale, there's still another option. You can buy a cheap android and use it as a wifi hotspot instead.
It's pretty simple! First, you'll need to buy the phone itself, then get a SIM card and data plan for it, and finally, activate the personal hotspot.
You can find the cheapest android phones for around $50 to $100 USD. I suggest looking for a second-hand phone to save some money.
You can use your phone in Bali if your carrier is partnered with a local carrier and offers international data roaming. Alternatively, you can switch to a local SIM card but only if your phone is unlocked.
They have had postpaid plans in the past, but since 99% of people in Bali don’t use it, now they only offer prepaid plans.
You only need to register your phone if you switch to a local SIM card, you can ask the vendor where you buy the SIM card to do it for you.
5G is only available from Telkomsel carrier and the coverage area is limited to a small region in Bali.