Prepaid SIM in Malaysia

I thought it would be good to include some articles/guides/tips on prepaid SIM focusing on mobile internet usage in this blog, so here's the first of my posts. It's gonna be brief and focused mainly on my personal experience (especially internet usage) and some information found online.

In Malaysia, there are 4 main network operators:
1) HOT Prepaid (Maxis)
2) First and Xpax (Celcom)
3) DiGi
4) U Mobile (Coverage)

And there are also other smaller providers:
1) Yes (WiMax)
2) XOX (MVNO)
3) OneXOX (MVNO)
4) Tune Talk (MVNO)
5) TMgo
6) Friendi mobile (MVNO)
7) Buzzme (MVNO)

In terms of nationwide network coverage, I believe Maxis is possibly the best. However, if you are travelling mainly in city areas, it might be cheaper to go with DiGi or U Mobile.

So far, I've tried all the 4 main providers and I visit mainly Johor Bahru (JB), Kuala Lumpur (KL) and Penang. I've also relied on them for my tripts to Malacca, Kuching and Kota Kinabalu. My favourite so far (and what I would recommend if your main usage is internet rather than calls/sms) would be U Mobile for reasonable coverage and best pricing for internet usage. I prefer using Hot (Maxis) for short weekend trips due to the lower cost of the starter pack.

For an overview of what Maxis/Celcom/DiGi provide, you can refer to this guide. In Malaysia, there are many internet plans that are for unlimited usage, but speed will be throttled after certain usage due to fair usage policy. However, the actual limit and speed after throttling may not be clearly spelt out in several cases.


My guide here will be focused mainly on U Mobile, which is not mentioned in the recommended guide. It is also my preferred choice of prepaid SIM. I even made an effort to reload regularly to keep the phone number since I do travel to JB/KL/Penang a few times a year.

The starter pack for U Mobile costs just RM8 with RM5 value included. It can be bought at 7-11 stores, petrol stations, U Mobile booths in some shopping malls (e.g. AEON Bukit Indah in JB) , and U Mobile shops (mainly in KL, e.g. Berjaya Times Square). The credit validity is according yo the reload value (e.g. 10 days for RM10 reload) and there is complimentary internet data package and free calls to U Mobile users. In recent times, it seems that many vendors only sell the higher cost starter pack which costs RM30+ inclusive of 5GB data usage.

There are "unlimited" internet plans at RM20 to RM50 per month, but your speed will be throttled down to 64kbps if you exceeded certain amount of usage (fair usage policy). There are also daily plans at RM2-5 as well as 7-day plan at RM9 and 15-day plan at RM15.

What's also very interesting is that they offer very attractive rates for roaming (and data roaming) in several countries

In summary for U Mobile:

For Celcom, their First plans are only on a monthly basis, so the prices won't make sense for short trips of 1-15 days. Xpax, on the other hand, would be more suitable for short trips.

Data plans for Xpax:
  • RM3 per day: 1GB usage
  • RM10 per week: 2GB usage
  • RM30 per month: 5GB usage
  • RM50 per month: 10GB usage

In DiGi's case, they seem to be tweaking their mobile data rates several times over these few years. Here are the prepaid plans available:
Strangely (just like for U Mobile), the prevalent starter packs on sale cost RM30+.
Data plans:


Maxis has quite good plans for short trips:
  • RM10 starter pack is easy to get in official Maxis shops. External vendors usually sell starter packs that cost RM30+.
  • FREE 1GB usage on Saturday and 1GB usage on Sunday as long as the SIM card is active
  • RM3 per day: 1GB usage
  • RM5 per week: 150MB usage
  • RM7 per week: 300MB usage
  • RM10 per week: 600MB usage
  • RM30 per month: 2GB usage
  • RM38 per month: 3GB usage

Recommended Guide: http://prepaidwithdata.wikia.com/wiki/Malaysia

57 comments:

  1. Lost my previous comment but again...
    very useful.
    Thanks from Ann

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  2. Thanks. Great sharing =) Will definitely bring a prepaid card into Singapore next time to roam! :) Btw, don't Singapore have free Wifi nationwide?

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    Replies
    1. Yes we do, e.g. https://www.singtel.com/personal/internet/broadband-on-the-go/wireless-sg.html but it is not at every nook and corner. Mainly at public libraries, main MRT stations.

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  3. It's not exactly nationwide, but it's available in most shopping malls. However, the quality of the connection leaves much to be desired. You also need to register before you can start using the WiFi connection. Ironically, U Mobile charges a lower internet usage rates in SG compared to the local operators.

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  4. hi! do you by any chance know where i can top up umobile prepaid in singapore?

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  5. U Mobile is not an operator in Singapore, so U Mobile reload vouchers are not available for sale in Singapore. However, you can purchase reload vouchers online via their online partners: http://www.u.com.my/prepaid-packages/top-up-locations

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  6. Thanks, this was what I needed :-)

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  7. Hi, which network you recommending for Tioman island?

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  8. I would probably side with DiGi or Maxis as next better choice. My fave is U Mobile because it is quite cheap to keep the line active forever at just RM100 topup every 300 days. However, U Mobile may not be the best option for short term especially in places with weak connection. I guess one way to find out is to see how easily available U Mobile prepaid SIM cards are in Tioman as a rough indication of their presence/support/network. As you can see in my guide, DiGi and Maxis have the cheapest plans for 5-7 days.

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    Replies
    1. Hi!! Would you know if the coverage of U Mobile is good around Legoland area? Will be visiting with my family this December. We will stay in Malaysia for 1 week then drive to Singapore! Will I be able to find directions how to activate roaming of U Mobile for Singapore on the pack? Thanks a lot!!!

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  9. From U Mobile's coverage map, it seems that there is very limited support for 3G in Tioman, and I'm guessing it's limited mainly to the town area then. Other parts of the island should have EDGE/GPRS. Still, they don't haven't the cheapest week plan so I wouldn't recommend for short term usage anywhere. U Mobile is better for more than 1 week or if your usage pattern is so low that you do not need a data plan.

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  10. Does U mobile supports hotspot tethering by MiFi ?
    How is the signal Coverage on NS highway in general ?
    Kindly provide the web link for "keeping the line active forever at just RM100 topup every 300 days""

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  11. Yes, tethering is supported. Coverage is better in the big cities. on the NS highway, sometimes it's only EDGE and sometimes there is no reception. For topup, just purchase the reload card in stores or via their online partners (link was given in post).

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  12. Hi,

    will Umobile; i.e RM48 per month (LTE), be strong enough for Genting? I understand that network is bad over there even for the locals.

    Please advice

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  13. I'm not too sure about Genting. I suspect it might be weak and down to EDGE signal.

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  14. Hi, just found your page, hope you can reply asap since i'm flying to kl this weekend.

    RM28 per month: Speed throttled to 64kbps after 1GB usage.
    RM38 per month (LTE): Speed throttled to 64kbps after 1GB usage.

    for u mobile, is there a lot of difference between their LTE and non-LTE plans? also, does this allow us to use facebook, twitter, and most importantly whatsapp? Sorry, it's my first time using malaysia's data sim so i'm a bit "kiasu" because DiGi and Maxis seem to separate their social media services for different plans.

    Please advice.

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  15. 3G/HSDPA is good enough for most usage unless u are fussy about speed when uploading big files or watching videos. Sometimes, even EDGE is not too bad compared to Singapore's jammed 3G in trains during peak hours.

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  16. Hi Vicott,

    Thanks for sharing these useful information.

    If I need a pre-paid Malaysian SIM card that allows roaming back in Singapore, what do you recommend?

    Basically, I have a Malaysian bank account that will trigger SMS pins to a Malaysian number but I am a Singaporean living in Singapore. The phone number will not be used much so it would be great if the top up required is not too frequent.

    Thanks for any advice!

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  17. I would recommend U Mobile as they have special roaming rates in SG. But you still need to topup a few times a year to keep the line active, as with most prepaid SIM cards around the world. RM100 topup will last you 200 days of credit validity and extra 60 days before the SIM card is deactivated.

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  18. I am also using Digi roaming in Malaysia. This helped me in cutting off high international roaming bills. Before leaving from my country luckily I unlocked my mobile phone using unlock code. I got the unlock code for my mobile phone from TheUnlockSpot.Com at affordable cost with easy unlocking code.

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  19. Thanks Vicott, I bought the U Mobile SIM Card today and managed to roam in SG.

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  20. Thanks for the post, Vicott- I was having trouble finding info! Not like SF where Starhub, Singtel etc are ubiquitous!

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  21. thanks a lot for your information. it's very helpful

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  22. Hello Vicott,.
    I am going to KL in December for a weekend. I need to text, make a couple of local calls, and operate Whatsapp. which SIM do you recommend? I think its U mob is best for me..what do you think lah? thanks

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    Replies
    1. U Mobile would be good and cheap. Get it from the shop or U Mobile booth which is found in many shopping malls.

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    2. Back home now, and the U mobile worked out perfectly. Thanks again Vicott for your help and advice. :)

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  23. Hi!! Would you know if the coverage of U Mobile is good around Legoland area? Will be visiting with my family this December. We will stay in Malaysia for 1 week then drive to Singapore! Will I be able to find directions how to activate roaming of U Mobile for Singapore on the pack? Thanks a lot!!!

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    Replies
    1. The reception at Legoland area is not fantastic but still useable. Roaming in Singapore is automatically activated. You just need to enable data roaming in order to use their internet services in Singapore. They have daily plan for data roaming in Singapore btw.

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  24. Hi Vicott, my family of 4 goes in to JB once/twice a month and needs the internet for whatsapp, check emails, make some calls occasionally. What's the most suitable plan you would recommend?

    Thanks

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    Replies
    1. You can try the 250MB plan first, which sould be enough. Top up 1GB for 3 days if needed. Then, you can decide whether to change plan in future. You can also cancel the auto renewal at any time.

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  25. Hi Vicott,

    Thanks for your reply.
    1. Can I put the sim card in a mifi modem so that my family members can use the internet together?
    2. Once the 250MB is reached, how do I top up? Every time I do a topup, is the validity extended?

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    Replies
    1. I mean the 1GB booster pack for 3 days, not the normal credit topup. Yes, it allows sharing and my friend tried it in MiFi also.

      Delete
  26. Hi Vicott,

    nice post, thanks. I have questions concerning UMI 48 from U-Mobile. We are 20 people from Germany and want to visit KL and then travel for 3 days to Singapur.

    1. Can we call each other for free in KL?
    2. How do we load 48RM to buy UMI 48? I understood that we have to buy the card in e.g. Pavilion and have 5RM credits. But we do not have credit cards.
    3. How does the roaming operate if we are in Singapure? We only need there Internet.

    Thanks a lot !!!

    Karim

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 1. Free calls to all U Mobile customers.
      2. It is a data plan. You use the credit in your SIM card to subscribe to the plan. You can add credit to your SIM card at their booths or at convenience stores like 7-11.
      3. It costs RM0.30/MB.

      http://www.u.com.my/new_prepaidplan
      http://www.u.com.my/prepaid-packages/prepaid-roaming

      Delete
  27. Nice article, Victor.
    I have a question: Most Singpore prepaid sim cards have validity of 6 months (i.e. you only need to top-up twice a yearf in order to keep the account and number). However, prepaid sim cards seem to have shorter
    validity period (30 days, 90 days?), do you know any sim card which has validity of 6 months?

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  28. Hi Vicott, great info!! I will be visiting. KL in Jan. I'm heavy data user, I use abort 1Gb a day. May I know if U Mobil is suitable. I will be in SG for 2 to 3 days too, Will I be able to use data when I'm in SG? Thanks ww

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, but it will cost RM0.30/MB using U Mobile, or a lot more using other operators. For surfing in KL, U Mobile would be most economical for high usage. They have booster pack available for subscription or u will have to tolerate with the speed throttling after the limit is reached.

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    2. Apparently, they have just introduced some changes to their internet roaming charged. First 50MB usage is free evereyday. Subsequently, it costs RM0.30/MB and is capped at RM30/day. You may also want to check out the prepaid SIM cards in Singapore if your usage is really that high.

      Delete
  29. Thanks for your information. Do you know whether UMobile has coverage on Pangkor Laut island for internet? If not, which carrier would you recommend? I will be there for my birthday so would like internet access:)

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  30. Hi! I'm going Malaysia (Penang & genting highlands) for about 5-6days. Which SIM card is suitable? Shared with around 3 people. Prefer with high speed and some video watching or download of movies. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  31. Hi Vicott,

    I'm going to melaka for 3 days and im planning to use 3g for googlemaps, whatsapp, ig, and occasional fb. Which network sim and plan would u recommend?

    Thanks in advance

    ReplyDelete
  32. Hi, i will be going to kl for 3 days and it's my first time going to kl with my friends (instead of the usual family trip) what would you recommend to use? As my hotel have wifi but, i still need the internet to use (probably 1gb of it) which includes everything instead of i have to buy seperate plans. Also what's important is that i have efficient amount to call my parents in singapore in case of emergency.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Theoretically speaking, all data plans in Malaysia are unlimited. However, they trottle the speed after the mentioned limit is reached.

      Anyway, I still think U Mobile is more value for money.

      http://www.u.com.my/u-broadband/prepaid_plans

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  33. In northern parts of Singapore near Malaysian border such as kranji and punggol
    Can get Malaysian Signal via manual network selection

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  34. Hi, Im going off to KL in two days. I want to purchase a prepaid simcard for my phone which allows calls and sms to singapore and data roaming. What do you recommend? If U mobile, what type?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Both U Mobile and Hotlink (Maxis) have RM10/day data roaming plans for Singapore

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  35. Can recommend which tel could is best to purchase if use for GPS navigation in KL and Penang?

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    Replies
    1. Hotlink (Maxis) will probably have better reception along the highway.

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    2. Thanks very much for your advise

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  36. Hi. I will be staying in Kuala Lumpur for 5 months as a student. I am looking for a service provider that will allow me to connect to the usual apps, surf the internet as well as for downloads. Downloads are not really that heavy. Just somewhere around 1.4Gb a week or so... I was wondering what service provider you can recommend?

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    Replies
    1. Comparing the higher usage plans (4GB and above), U Mobile seems to have the cheapest plan: http://www.u.com.my/umi

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  37. Hi! Do you know if there's any place to top up my maxis simcard in sg?

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