At some point when you settle down into your new home as an expat – you will be looking for a phone service provider for your mobile. If you are like me: I don’t play game, don’t watch Netflix or video on my mobile while in data mode. You actually don’t need much, and the most cost-effective solutions are prepaid offerings.
On my first stay in Malaysia about 8 years ago, I didn’t even possess a smart phone and was using a dirty cheap Tunetalk Simcard. I was very happy with the service then. Now that I am moving back to Malaysia and am equipped with latest technologies – and let’s face it, with the rise of apps to buy from grocery shopping to hail taxis, your data usage can be a little above 1 Go per month without trying that hard.
Personally, and in the last years, I have never been over 2Go of data on my phone.
I have compiled a comparison table of the main pre-paid products available for you to make your choice.
|Prepaid brand name||Xpax||Next||Hotlink||Buddies|
|Market share||3||2||1||Uses Celcom network|
|New Simcard purchase||RM 10||RM 15||RM 10||RM 8|
|Short term Extra bonus||10 Go||3 Go (30 days)|
|Basic internet||1 Go free per month||Free||1 Go free per month|
|Start-up free credit||RM 6||RM 5|
|SMS||13 sen/SMS||10 sen/SMS||15 sen/SMS||10 sen/SMS|
|Call||30 sen/min||10 sen/min||30 sen/min||22 sen/min|
|Monthly internet package||RM 30 / 5 Go||RM 15 / 2 Go||RM 10 / 2 Go|
|Monthly internet + unlimited call all network package||RM 35 / 3 Go||RM 28 / 4 Go||RM 35 / unlimited|
|Monthly internet + call all network package||RM 15 / 4 Go / 30 min / RM 5 credit|
I believe for very light users like myself, Digi and Tunetalk are more than enough. But if you are playing or watching a lot of video then Celcom and Maxis should be your go to. The unlimited offer at 35 RM/month of Maxis is quite interesting.
It’s important to note that you can buy the Simcards in MyNews, even have them delivered to your home via their online shop. Finally, you can also buy them in the numerous kiosks and shops available in the malls. Would you not be happy with your operator, changing it is quite easy and mobile numbers can be ported from one operator to the next. When promotions are available, it can be free and done visiting one of their shop.
Tunetalk runs sometimes promotion when the simcard is RM 2 in Mynews, which is almost the same as free ! Be warry though that Tunetalk has two types of Simcards, and one of them is not 4G compatible.
Upon arrival in KLIA airport, I did ask the kiosk and they only sell tourists Simcards, not the permanent ones. So if your intention is to settle down, best is to buy it at the closest shop.
Top up of pre-paid cards is so easy and can be done online via most banks website, at the convenient stores, via credit cards, Touch’n go card or at your bank ATM. Some of the operators have automatic recharge systems, so that if you like a monthly pre-paid package, it can be automatically purchased making it almost as good as a postpaid plan and worry free!
Malaysia overall has a great coverage and speed and I have rarely been out of coverage even while visiting Borneo. Most operators are all good to pick.
Photo credit: Unplash - John Fornander