Macau, also spelled as Macao, is an interesting travel destination.
However, it is not known for being a cheap place to be.
What you should not do, in many cases, is roam internationally in Macau.
International roaming can be 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 Macau.
How much will a local or travel eSIM for Macau cost you?
You can get an eSIM for Macau for as little as 4.50 USD, with 1 GB of data for 7 days, up to 99 USD, with unlimited data for 90 days, from CTM Macau, Airalo (Macao Mobile) & Holafly.
Those are some generous data allowances, right?
And you can even get unlimited data if you want.
See how much it would cost you to use 10 GB while roaming – much more than what Holafly would charge you for unlimited data for 90 days!
In this guide, I will go over the eSIM options offered by the Macanese mobile operators (CTM Macau), Airalo & Holafly. Let's do this.
Original publication: 25th of August 2022. Last updated: 27th of January 2023.
Table of Contents
eSIMs offered by the Macanese 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 Macanese mobile operators offer eSIMs to prepaid customers?
Currently, only CTM Macau offers eSIMs to prepaid customers.
You also have several other options for getting an eSIM for your trip to Macau: You can choose travel eSIMs from Airalo (with Macao Mobile) & Holafly.
Not only can you set up these eSIMs before arriving in Macau and activate them upon landing, but you can also avoid Macau's SIM card registration scheme, which is mandatory for anyone using Macanese SIM cards and eSIMs.
While mobile data is already affordable in Macau, getting a travel eSIM will not break the bank – not at all.
Plus, I have plenty of experience with Airalo & Holafly and I can assure you they work well – and other Phone Travel Wiz readers also had pleasant experiences with them.
So let's see what these travel eSIM providers have to offer in Macau right?
Airalo eSIMs for Macau (Macao Mobile)
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 Macao Mobile eSIM for as low as 4.50 USD, with 1 GB of data, up to 20 USD, with 10 GB of data.
Those prices and data allowances are not too bad, right?
Especially knowing that the Macao Mobile eSIM uses the CTM Macau network – the best network in Macau with the best coverage and the fastest speeds.
So you do not have to worry about reception and speeds with the Macao Mobile eSIM, even in remote areas.
The following four Macanese Macao Mobile eSIM options are available:
- Macau/Macao Mobile 1 GB eSIM for 7 days, costing 4.50 USD
- Macau/Macao Mobile 3 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 9 USD
- Macau/Macao Mobile 5 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 13 USD
- Macau/Macao Mobile 10 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 20 USD
The Airalo links will automatically get you the available Phone Travel Wiz exclusive offers – a code is unnecessary.
- Check out my Airalo eSIM reviews
Overall, the Macao Mobile eSIM gives you fantastic value for your money.
Airalo Macao Mobile eSIM Pros
Are there any other reasons why you should get the Macao Mobile eSIM for your trip? For sure:
- You can activate your Macao Mobile eSIM as soon as you land in Macau
- You get full (up to 4G/LTE) access to Macau's best mobile operator – CTM Macau
- Macao 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 Macao 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 Macao Mobile eSIM Cons
So, why should you not get the Macao Mobile eSIM?
- The Macanese mobile operators, including CTM Macau itself, have much more generous data allowances
- While you get access to CTM Macau's network, the best in Macau, your speeds will not be as fast as going with CTM Macau itself because you will be roaming on their networks (and not be a native customer)
- There is no 5G NR access with the Macao Mobile eSIM (yet)
- You cannot call or text with the Macao Mobile eSIM (nor can you receive them – you get no (local) phone number)
Airalo Macao Mobile eSIM Overall Thoughts
Honestly, the Macao Mobile eSIM is fantastic.
The plans offered with Macao Mobile eSIMs are generous and affordable.
You get fast speeds and access to Macau's best network, CTM Macau 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).
Unfortunately, you cannot call or text with the Macao Mobile eSIM, as it is a data-only eSIM.
Holafly eSIMs for Macau
Another travel eSIM provider I recommend is Holafly.
In June 2022, Holafly introduced something that no other travel eSIM provider had done by that time.
You can now get unlimited data plans for Macau, several other Asian countries, almost all European Union member states (except for Liechtenstein) & a few other countries, like Canada and the United States.
And that is super exciting!
Now, I have to say that the unlimited data plans offered by Holafly are more expensive than the Airalo Macau eSIM.
But if you do not want to worry about data allowances, Holafly is the one to go for.
The Holafly eSIMs use the Three (3) Macau network.
You have the following seven Macau eSIM options with Holafly:
- Macau unlimited data eSIM for 5 days, costing 19 USD/19 EUR/19 GBP/27 AUD/24 CAD
- Macau unlimited data eSIM for 10 days, costing 34 USD/34 EUR/29 GBP/49 AUD/44 CAD
- Macau unlimited data eSIM for 15 days, costing 47 USD/47 EUR/44 GBP/67 AUD/55 CAD
- Macau unlimited data eSIM for 20 days, costing 54 USD/57 EUR/49 GBP/84 AUD/74 CAD
- Macau unlimited data eSIM for 30 days, costing 64 USD/69 EUR/59 GBP/99 AUD/89 CAD
- Macau unlimited data eSIM for 60 days, costing 84 USD/87 EUR/77 GBP/127 AUD/114 CAD
- Macau unlimited data eSIM for 90 days, costing 99 USD/99 EUR/87 GBP/144 AUD/129 CAD
Based on the emails I have received, the 20-, 30- & 60-day plans are popular because those who buy Holafly eSIMs tend to stay in Macau for a prolonged period to explore the country.
As I recently started my collaboration with Holafly, you can get 5% off each purchase whenever you use code PHONETRAVELWIZ – awesome, right?
- Check out my Holafly reviews
Of course, there are some pros and cons with going with Holafly, so let's go over them.
Holafly Macau eSIM Pros
So, why should you get the Holafly eSIMs? Well, because of the following:
- You can purchase and set up your Holafly Macau eSIM before arriving in Macau (and activate it upon landing)
- You do not have to worry about SIM card registration, saving you time
- You get full (up to 4G/LTE) access on the Three (3) Macau network
- You do not have to deal with data caps because you get unlimited data (87 GB – here I come!)
- You can avoid expensive international roaming fees
But it is not all good news with Holafly though – there are some disadvantages.
Holafly Macau eSIM eSIM Cons
So, why should you not get a Holafly Macau eSIM?
- While the Macanese mobile operators do not offer unlimited data plans (yet), their plans are much cheaper than Holafly
- While you get access to the Three (3) Macau network, your speeds will not be as fast as going with Three (3) Macau itself because you will be roaming on their networks (and not be a native customer)
- There is no 5G NR access with the Holafly eSIM
- You cannot call or text with the Holafly eSIM (nor can you receive them – you get no (local) phone number)
- Holafly is the most expensive travel eSIM provider in this guide
Holafly Macau eSIM Overall Thoughts
Overall, the Holafly Macau eSIM is an excellent eSIM for those who do not want to deal with data caps because you get unlimited data.
Even then, you will still get fast speeds and 4G/LTE reception.
However, Holafly is the most expensive option in this guide and may not be the best for budget travelers.
Best eSIMs for in Asia (not just Macau)
Unfortunately, you cannot use your Airalo Macao Mobile or Holafly Macau in any country than Macau.
However, the two eSIM providers have eSIMs covering several East Asian and Southeast Asian countries.
I highly recommend these Asia/APAC eSIMs if you plan to visit multiple East- and Southeast Asian countries to save money!
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 Macau).
The Asialink eSIM can be used in the following 14 countries:
- Hong Kong
- Singapore 1
- South Korea
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:
- Asia/Asialink 1 GB eSIM for 7 days, costing 5 USD
- Asia/Asialink 3 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 13 USD – very popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
- Asia/Asialink 5 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 20 USD – most popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
- Asia/Asialink 10 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 37 USD – very popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
- Asia/Asialink 50 GB eSIM for 90 days, costing 100 USD
- Asia/Asialink 100 GB eSIM for 180 days, costing 185 USD
Holafly & Nomad eSIMs for Macau
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).
As you can see, this eSIM cannot be used in Macau, 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.
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 Macau (Airalo vs. Holafly)
In this guide, I went over various eSIMs for Macau: Airalo (Macao Mobile) & Holafly.
Below is an overview of my recommendation order:
- Airalo's Macau Macao Mobile eSIM (best value for money)
- Airalo's Asia Asialink eSIM (best value for money when also visiting other East- and Southeast Asian countries)
- Holafly Macau eSIM (truly unlimited data plans at premium prices)
- Holafly Asia eSIM (to be used in 14 countries)
Remember to use code PHONETRAVELWIZ for Holafly eSIMs – a code is not necessary for Airalo eSIM purchases.
Buying a SIM Card in Macau
Want to just use a SIM card but not your current one because roaming will be criminally expensive?
Consider getting a Macanese SIM card instead – local SIM cards are the cheapest way to stay connected abroad.
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