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 (travel) eSIM for Timor Leste cost you?
You can get an eSIM for Timor Leste for as low as 6.50 USD and up to 12.50 USD from Airalo and Alosim, offering 1 GB data to be used locally, in Asia, or globally.
Those are some generous data allowances, right?
In this guide, I will go over the eSIM options offered by the Timorese mobile operators (if available), Airalo and Alosim. Let's do this.
Original publication: 29th of August 2022. Last updated: 5th of September 2023.
Table of Contents
In a Hurry? A Quick Introduction
I will write about two eSIM options in Timor Leste (and explain why they are included).
But if you want to quickly check out what the best eSIMs are for Timor Leste without my analysis and explanations, here is an overview of the eSIMs covered in this guide:
- Airalo Jaco Mobile eSIM (best value for money)
- Alosim Timor Leste eSIM (priced roughly the same as Airalo with a bit more options – use code PTW for 5% off)
Note: the promo codes mentioned above can also be used for regional and global eSIMs (they are not restricted to country-specific eSIMs only). In other news, the eSIM providers are in alphabetical order per grouping (Timor Leste-only, regional & global) – not in order of preference (you would have to read the complete guide to find out which eSIMs I love the most for Timor Leste 😜).
Let's truly get started, shall we?
eSIMs offered by 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).
Anyway, which Timorese mobile operators offer eSIMs to prepaid customers?
Currently, none of the mobile operators offer eSIMs to prepaid customers.
But you have to deal with Timor Leste's SIM card registration scheme, which is mandatory for anyone using Timorese SIM cards and eSIMs – it can be a time-consuming affair.
(Why does this matter? Because hackers can steal your (critical) personal data if the mobile operator does not secure your data properly, like what happened in Australia (10 million Optus customers were affected, where info, like passport numbers, were stolen (including mine – luckily not my passport number but my boyfriend was not as lucky) or Indonesia (1.3 billion SIM card-related data was hacked)).
While mobile data is already affordable in Timor Leste, getting any of the travel eSIMs mentioned in this guide will not break the bank – not at all.
Travel eSIM providers Airalo and Alosim offer attractive eSIMs for Timor Leste – some allow their eSIMs to be set up before arriving in Timor Leste and activating them as soon as you land.
Very convenient, right? And I have used eSIMs from Airalo and Alosim before, and I can assure you they work well!
So let's see what these travel eSIM providers have to offer in Timor Leste, right?
Airalo eSIMs for Timor Leste (Jaco Mobile)
If I could only get one travel eSIM during my trip because I do not have the time or opportunity to buy a local SIM card or eSIM, I would always get an eSIM from Airalo, like its Jaco Mobile eSIM for Timor Leste.
Not only does Airalo have eSIMs for more than 200 countries and territories, which is an insane number on its own, I almost always have the best network performance with its eSIMs.
Additionally, its eSIMs are frequently one of the cheapest compared to its competition, including the ones mentioned in this guide, which is remarkable on its own.
If you have no idea who or what Airalo is and are confused right now, worry not – I have an in-depth review explaining how Airalo works and all its options based on four years of using Airalo eSIMs – you can read it now or later (I will briefly introduce Airalo anyway in this guide).
Basically, what Airalo does is partner up with local mobile operators to sell plans through its eSIMs in a convenient way on its platform.
In many Asian countries, Airalo works with Singtel from Singapore, the country's best mobile operator, which can then be used in various Asian countries.
That way, you do not have to fly to Singapore, get its SIM card, buy a roaming plan, and then go to Timor Leste with your new package.
Not only would this be expensive, but it would also be a waste of time (unless you already planned on visiting Singapore anyway, like a transit).
So, I already told you that Airalo's Timor Leste eSIM is called Jaco Mobile.
The Jaco Mobile eSIM uses the Telemor Timor-Leste network on 3G (no 5G NR access yet, but some Airalo eSIMs already do, so it is only a matter of time).
That way, you can use the Telemor Timor-Leste 3G network without going through Timor Leste's SIM card registration requirements (legally, of course)!
Anyway, you only have one Airalo Jaco Mobile eSIM option:
- Timor Leste/Jaco Mobile 1 GB eSIM for 7 days, costing 6.50 USD
Honestly, the Airalo Jaco Mobile eSIM is fantastic and loved by many Phone Travel Wiz readers, especially considering its options and prices.
Let me highlight some strengths and weaknesses of the Airalo Jaco Mobile eSIM before you make your purchase decision (but we still have plenty of Timorese travel eSIMs to cover, so do not be too quick!).
Airalo Jaco Mobile eSIM Pros
What are the main perks of Airalo's Jaco Mobile eSIMs?
- You can avoid expensive international roaming fees
- You can purchase and set up your Jaco Mobile eSIM before arriving in Timor Leste (and activate it upon landing)
- The eSIM will start once you have it enabled and are in Timor Leste – not earlier (so you can pre-purchase your eSIM months in advance in peace – I do this often)
- You can skip Timor Leste's SIM card registration requirements and any queues at the airport or in town
- You get full (3G) access to the Telemor Timor-Leste network
- The eSIMs are affordable and have generous data allowances
- You can manage your eSIM easily on the Airalo website or its apps (Android and iOS)
- If you need more data, top-ups are available (at the same prices as listed earlier – not at a markup)
Airalo Jaco Mobile eSIM Cons
What are the main cons of Airalo's Jaco Mobile eSIMs?
- You cannot call or text with the Jaco Mobile eSIM – it is a data-only eSIM (so you do not get a (Timorese) phone number either)
- While you get access to Telemor Timor-Leste's network, your speeds will not be as fast as going with Telemor Timor-Leste itself because you will be roaming on their networks (and not be a native customer)
- The Timorese mobile operators have much more generous data allowances (while Jaco Mobile's is capped at 1 GB, but top-ups are available)
- There are no unlimited data plans
- There is no 5G NR access with the Jaco Mobile eSIM
Airalo Jaco Mobile eSIM Overall Thoughts
I have been a big fan of Airalo and its eSIMs in years, as mentioned in my Airalo review, including the Jaco Mobile eSIM.
It offers reasonable data plans for low prices, especially compared to international roaming.
You get fast (3G) speeds and access in Timor Leste without standing in queues or dealing with SIM card registration bureaucracy.
Unfortunately, you cannot call or text with the Jaco Mobile eSIM, as it is a data-only eSIM.
But if you wish to make actual calls, not through VoIP apps like WhatsApp, consider buying an Timorese SIM card instead (an in-depth guide).
Alosim eSIMs for Timor Leste
Alosim is an eSIM provider covering
130+ 150+ countries.
Although I only started using its eSIMs in 2023, I like them a lot.
Mostly because Alosim eSIMs have 5G NR access in popular destinations in Asia.
Unfortunately, that is not the case for Timor Leste yet… but that could change soon 😏.
Something even Airalo, the King of eSIMs, does not offer (yet).
And you know I am all about that speed 🐆.
In Timor Leste, Alosim uses the Telemor Timor-Leste network.
Just like Airalo, Alosim often partners with the best local network(s) in a country, which I love.
And the eSIMs are affordable too!
You only have one Alosim Timor Leste eSIM option:
- Timor Leste 1 GB eSIM for 7 days, costing 12.50 USD
And as I am always looking out for you, use code PTW for 5% off your Alosim eSIM purchase!
Just note that when you have installed your Alosim eSIM, you always have to manually change the Access Point Name (APN) to alosim instead of the default one, as in the screenshot below.
Of course, Alosim mentions this on the installation page, but it is not something you have to do with man eSIM providers.
So I thought I would mention it here as a heads-up 😜.
Overview of the Best eSIMs for Timor Leste
So, we reviewed some eSIMs that can be used in Timor Leste.
I will give you a quick recap of each and link to their product pages in case you need more info or want to purchase an eSIM already:
- Airalo Jaco Mobile eSIM (best value for money)
- Alosim Timor Leste eSIM (priced roughly the same as Airalo with a bit more options)
Remember to use code the relevant discount codes for (ADU123 (Nomad), PTW (Alosim), or PHONETRAVELWIZ (others)).
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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