East Timor is an island nation East to Timor. Dili, the capital city, is a popular destination for travelers. Those who like to scuba dive or watch dolphins like to go to Atauro Island. Jaco Island is an unpopulated national park with a lot of beauty in it. There is enough to do in East Timor.
What you should not be doing, however, is paying expensive roaming bills. Roaming with your provider is often expensive, which is why well-seasoned travelers want to buy a local SIM card when visiting destinations. In this article, I will tell you all about the SIM cards in East Timor. Let's get this done.
Telecom Providers in East Timor
Timor-Leste, East Timor from now on, has 3 telecom providers; Telemor, Timor Telecom, and Telkomcel. Telemor and Timor Telecom are the largest providers in Timor, while Telkomcel is a small player. All providers have 2G, 3G, and 4G/LTE networks.
Coverage with all providers is good around the country, although you may experience some spotty connections in rural areas.
Just like most countries in Southeast Asia, you need to show your passport when buying your SIM card at official stores. You could also buy your card from street vendors. However, you could be charged an insane premium, up to 10 USD (they use the US dollar in East Timor, just “$” from now on) instead of $1. The only benefit of buying from a street vendor is that you would not have to register yourself. I can, however, not promise that the card will be shut down once the provider realizes that someone is using an unregistered card.
What SIM card should you buy when visiting East Timor? If you want to buy a SIM card in East Timor, I would recommend going with Telemor. They have good coverage and offer 4G/LTE to prepaid customers, unlike Timor Telecom.
There is not much more to add about telecom providers in East Timor, so let’s see what the providers have to offer to us.
Telemor became the most popular provider in 2017, beating the previous monopoly Timor Telecom. Telemor covers more than 95% of the population with its 2G and 3G networks. Their 4G/LTE is available in all 13 districts and covers 70% of the territory.
Telemor SIM cards are sold for $1 at their stores. Top-up vouchers are sold from $1 to $20. They offer various data packages, from $0.25 for unlimited data for an hour to $50 for 12 GB for 30 days. As they have so many plans, a handful of them will be listed below. All these plans have speeds up to 7.2 Mbps:
- $0.25: 70 MB for 24 hours
- $0.50: 150 MB for 24 hours
- $1: 150 MB for 7 days
- $1: Unlimited data for 24 hours
- $2: 350 MB for 7 days
- $2: Unlimited data for 48 hours
- $5: 1.1 GB for 15 days
- $10: 2.4 GB for 15 days
- $15: 2.4 GB for 30 days
- $25: 5 GB for 30 days
- $25: Unlimited data for 30 days
If you prefer faster speeds, you can go for Telemor’s 4G plans. You need a 4G SIM card to take advantage of these plans:
- $1: 400 MB daily
- $3: 800 MB weekly
- $20: 5 GB weekly
- $50: 13 GB monthly
Timor Telecom used to be a monopoly until Telemor joined the market. It has good coverage but is the most expensive provider out there. Its 2G and 3G networks cover 94% of the population. Unfortunately, 4G/LTE is not available for prepaid customers.
Timor Telecom SIM cards are sold for $1 and come with 5 minutes, 10 on-net SMS, and 1 MB, all to be used within 7 days. Top-up vouchers are sold from $1 to $50. You get a bonus of 100% on your first top-up. For example, a $10 top-up will get you another $10 for free.
Various data packages are available. They come with a 100% bonus too. For example, the $10 pack would get you 2.75 GB for 15 days. Now, you would get another 2.75 GB, meaning that your total data allowance is 5.5 GB. A handful of Timor Telecom’s data packages are listed below:
- $0.25: 70 MB + 70 MB (140 MB) for 1 day
- $0.50: 150 MB + 150 MB (300 MB) for 1 day
- $1: 200 MB + 200 MB (400 MB) for 7 days
- $3: 800 MB + 800 MB (1600 MB) for 7 days
- $5: 1.1 GB + 1.1 GB (2.2 GB) for 15 days
- $10: 2.75 GB + 2.75 GB (5.5 GB) for 15 days
- $15: 4 GB + 4 GB (8 GB) for 30 days
- $30: 8.5 GB + 8.5 GB (17 GB) for 30 days
Timor Telecom sells unlimited data packs called NetNonStop unlimited data. Your speeds will be reduced to 250 kbit/s, which is uselessly slow. I would not recommend getting their unlimited data packs.
Telkomcel is owned by an Indonesian company called Telkom Indonesia (Telkomsel, as written in the logo). It is the latest operator to join the market and has a market share of more than 10%. Its 2G and 3G networks cover 95% of the population. They use the 850 MHz frequency only. It is not important to know what that means. However, it is not a frequency that is used often (Asia and Europe – used a lot in the Americas, including the Caribbean), so check whether your device works on that frequency.
Telkomcel SIM cards can be bought at the airport or at other stores. They are sold for $0.50 or $1 and come with 1 MB or 10 MB, respectively, to be used within 7 days. Top-up vouchers are sold from $1 to $25.
Telkomcel sells many data packages. A handful of them will be mentioned below:
- $0.25: 40 MB for 1 day
- $0.25: 80 MB for 7 days
- $1: Unlimited data for 24 hours
- $1: 200 MB for 1 day
- $1: 150 MB for 7 days
- $2: 400 MB for 7 days
- $5: 1.1 GB for 10 days
- $10: 2.4 GB for 10 days
- $15: 2.5 GB for 30 days
- $25: 5 GB for 30 days
Telkomcel also has around 20 WIFI hotspots in Dili. You can 15 minutes for free. 2 hours will cost you $0.20 and 24 hours will be $1.
Other Ways to Stay Connected When Traveling in East Timor
The Best Way to Stay Connected When Traveling in East Timor
Getting a SIM card from Telemor would do you well when considering an East Timorese SIM card.
Local Prepaid SIM Card in Other Asian Countries
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