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Timor Leste: Best eSIM for Dili East Timor (2023)

Timor Leste (East Timor) is probably not the most popular travel destination in Southeast Asia, but it still has a lot to offer.

Especially when it is a relatively affordable country for travel.

One way to keep your costs low is by using a travel eSIM because international roaming can be crazy expensive.

Which is why using local and travel eSIMs is recommended to save money.

And if you get a travel eSIM, you do not have to deal with the SIM card registration bureaucracy and skip the queues in Timor Leste.

How much will a local or travel eSIM for Timor Leste cost you?

You can get an eSIM for Timor Leste for 6.50 USD with 1 GB of data for 7 days from Airalo (Jaco Mobile).

Well… that is not much choice, as you can see.

Unfortunately, the Timorese mobile operators have yet to introduce eSIMs and other reputable (which I consider to be Holafly and Nomad) have yet to offer plans for Timor Leste.

At least we have Airalo with Jaco Mobile 😀.

Those are some generous data allowances, right?

In this guide, I will go over Airalo's Jaco Mobile. Let's do this.

Buying an eSIM for Timor Leste Guide (logos of Airalo & jaco mobile)

Original publication: 29th of August 2022. Last updated: 27th of January 2023.

Table of Contents

eSIMs offered by the Timorese Mobile Operators

To get the best service available, in terms of reception and speeds, you want to go with the local mobile operators directly instead of with a travel eSIM.

That is because you will have a higher priority on the network in case of network congestion.

However, that does not mean travel eSIMs will always be slow.

In fact, some mobile operators throttle (prepaid) on select plans or all plans for “optimization” reasons (read: we cannot be bothered to invest in our network).

You have only one option for getting an eSIM for your trip to Timor Leste: Airalo (with Jaco Mobile).

Not only can you set up these eSIMs before arriving in Timor Leste and activate them upon landing, but you can also avoid Timor Leste's SIM card registration scheme, which is mandatory for anyone using Timorese SIM cards and eSIMs.

While mobile data is already affordable in Timor Leste, getting a travel eSIM will not break the bank – not at all.

Plus, I have plenty of experience with Airalo, and I can assure you they work well – and other Phone Travel Wiz readers also had pleasant experiences with them.

Phone Travel Wiz Approved Seal

So let's see what these travel eSIM providers have to offer in Timor Leste, right?

Airalo eSIMs for Timor Leste (Jaco Mobile)

East Timor Jaco Mobile eSIM Airalo
© Airalo

If I could only get a travel eSIM during my trip because I do not have the time or opportunity to buy a local SIM card or eSIM, then I would always get an eSIM from Airalo.

Airalo has eSIMs for around 190 countries, offers eSIMs at the lowest prices (on average compared to the competition) & has good service.

Airalo usually partners with the local mobile operator with the best coverage, the fastest speeds, or both.

And if it needs to partner up with multiple mobile operators, it does so, allowing you to have the best reception at all times.

Anyway, you can get a Jaco Mobile eSIM for 6.50 USD, with 1 GB of data.

Timor Leste Jaco Mobile eSIM Airalo (with Prices)

Not too bad, right? But not amazing either 💀.

But the Jaco Mobile eSIM uses the Telemor network, which has the best coverage and the fastest speeds in the country.

Telemor East Timor Logo
© Telemor Timor Leste

Be aware: you will be restricted to 3G – not 4G/LTE with the Jaco Mobile eSIM (unlike most Airalo eSIMs).

Now, you may think this is a sad selection or that 1 GB of data is insufficient.

Both points are true… I agree – but you can make unlimited top-ups with the Jaco Mobile eSIM through the Airalo website or apps.

So if you need 5 GB of data, you can purchase the Jaco Mobile 1 GB eSIM and get four 1 GB top-ups.

Yes, it is a bit inconvenient for now; Airalo may offer 3 GB, 5 GB & 10 GB plans with a 30-day validity for Timor Leste soon, as it did for many other countries it supports.

The Airalo links will automatically get you the available Phone Travel Wiz exclusive offers – a code is unnecessary.

Airalo Jaco Mobile eSIM Pros

Are there any other reasons why you should get the Jaco Mobile eSIM for your trip? For sure:

  • You can activate your Jaco Mobile eSIM as soon as you land in Timor Leste
  • You get full (up to 3G) access to Telemor
  • Jaco Mobile eSIMs are affordable (especially compared to roaming) and have generous data allowances
  • You do not have to worry about SIM card registration with the Jaco Mobile eSIM, saving you time
  • Out of data? You can simply top up online on the Airalo website and not worry about language barriers when dealing with local agents

There are many other small pros, but these are the major ones.

It would be disingenuous not to mention some cons, so here we go.

Airalo Jaco Mobile eSIM Cons

So, why should you not get the Jaco Mobile eSIM?

  • The Timorese mobile operators, including Telemor itself, have much more generous data allowances
  • While you get access to Telemor' network, you will be restricted to 3G – so no 4G/LTE.
  • You cannot call or text with the Jaco Mobile eSIM (nor can you receive them – you get no (local) phone number)

Airalo Jaco Mobile eSIM Overall Thoughts

Honestly, the Jaco Mobile eSIM is fantastic… if you do not mind the slower speeds.

But speeds in Timor Leste are slow anyway 😩.

You get access to Telemor, without standing in queues or dealing with SIM card registration bureaucracy.

And everything, purchasing and topping up, can be done online on the Airalo website or Airalo app (downloading the app is recommended).

The main flaw, for now, is that you have to purchase multiple top-ups if you need more data than just 1 GB.

While getting a top-up is straightforward, some tourists, like myself, prefer to just buy one big data plan so that you do not have to worry about data allowances.

But besides that flaw, the Jaco Mobile eSIM is fine.

Remember, you cannot call or text with the Jaco Mobile eSIM, as it is a data-only eSIM.

Consider a Timorese SIM card if calling and texting is important, but you have to deal with the (e)SIM (card) registration laws.

Best eSIMs for in Asia (not just Timor Leste)

So what if you plan to visit neighboring Indonesia? Or other countries in East Asia or Southeast Asia?

Unfortunately, you cannot use your Airalo Jaco Mobile eSIM in any country than Timor Leste.

There are some eSIMs out there that allow you to use your allowance in several East Asian and Southeast Asian countries.

Sadly, Timor Leste is not one of them, but I still want to introduce them to you because they will be much cheaper than buying multiple eSIMs, or SIM cards for that matter, per country.

I highly recommend these Asia/APAC eSIMs if you plan to visit multiple East- and Southeast Asian countries to save money!

Airalo Asialink Asia eSIM

Asialink Asia eSIM Airalo
© Airalo

Airalo recently heavily improved its Asia eSIM, which used to offer a meager 4 GB of high-speed data before allowing for unlimited data at snail speeds, following the popular Eurolink eSIM for 39 European countries.

The Eurolink eSIM is the most popular eSIM for Phone Travel readers, and I have no doubt that the Asialink eSIM will be popular too.

Just like in Europe, many readers tend to visit multiple Asian countries, so they would rather have a travel eSIM covering multiple countries than just one (like Timor Leste).

The Asialink eSIM can be used in the following 14 countries:

  • Cambodia
  • China
  • Hong Kong
  • Indonesia
  • Japan
  • Laos
  • Macau
  • Malaysia
  • Philippines
  • Singapore 1
  • South Korea
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam

1 currently, newly bought Asialink eSIMs cannot be used in Singapore. Airalo is working on re-including Singapore in its Asialink offering

Below is an overview of how much each Asialink eSIM costs:

  1. Asia/Asialink 1 GB eSIM for 7 days, costing 5 USD
  2. Asia/Asialink 3 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 13 USD – very popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
  3. Asia/Asialink 5 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 20 USD – most popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
  4. Asia/Asialink 10 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 37 USD – very popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
  5. Asia/Asialink 50 GB eSIM for 90 days, costing 100 USD
  6. Asia/Asialink 100 GB eSIM for 180 days, costing 185 USD
Asialink Asia eSIM Airalo (with Prices)

Holafly & Nomad eSIMs for Timor Leste

Because of Airalo's previous Asia eSIM, I used to recommend Nomad's APAC eSIMs instead (to be used in 8 countries).

This eSIM can be used in Australia, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore & Thailand (1 GB/7 days/15 USD – 20 GB/30 days/69 USD).

APAC eSIMs Nomad
APAC Value Pack eSIMs Nomad

As you can see, this eSIM cannot be used in Timor Leste, so it would be useless here but useful in the aforementioned countries.

The Holafly Asia eSIM has only one variant: 8 GB for 30 days, costing 47 USD/49 EUR/34 GBP.

This eSIM can be used in Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand & Vietnam.

Asia eSIMs Holafly

Basically, the same countries as the Airalo Asialink eSIM with just fewer options (1 variant (8 GB) vs. 6 variants (1 GB/3 GB/5 GB/10 GB/50 GB/100 GB) and much more expensive.

So yeah, the Asialink eSIM is superior, I would say.

Remember, the Airalo links above will automatically offer you the best deals.

Overview of the Best eSIMs for Timor Leste (Airalo)

In this guide, I went over Airalo's Jaco Mobile as the only (reasonably priced) eSIM for Timor Leste.

I recognize that there are other eSIM providers that do offer services for Timor Leste.

But they are either crazy expensive or the quality of service is whack (based on my experience or the experiences of other Phone Travel Wiz readers).

But you are free to try them out and let me know if they were any good 😀.

Buying a SIM Card in Timor Leste

Want to just use a SIM card but not your current one because roaming will be criminally expensive?

Consider getting a Timorese SIM card instead – local SIM cards are the cheapest way to stay connected abroad.

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