There are so many things to do in Indonesia. You could visit the many temples the country has to offer, go island-hopping because the country consists of more than 17000 islands (making Indonesia the largest island country), and enjoy its beaches because you can find them all over the place. Not to mention the delicious Indonesian cuisine (my partner has been giving me Indonesian snacks – they are delicious!)
Although all of that sounds amazing, roaming in Indonesia does not sound that appealing. Roaming with your provider can be expensive, especially if you are not from a country near Indonesia (the further your home provider is away from Indonesia, the higher the roaming rates will be). Since you are not interested in coming back home with a phone bill in the thousands, you are looking for affordable ways to use your phone in Indonesia.
Many seasoned travelers look for local SIM cards so that they can enjoy local rates instead of roaming rates. As wages in Indonesia are relatively low compared to Western countries, telecom providers have to keep their prices low. Else, nobody can be the providers’ customer. Can you buy an Indonesian SIM card? What is the process and which telecom provider will be the best for you? Let’s find out right now.
Telecom Providers in Indonesia
Indonesia has 4 leading telecom networks: Telkomsel, IM3 Ooredoo (Indosat), 3 (Tri), and XL Axiata. There are 2 4G/LTE-only providers, which are Smartfren and Net1 Indonesia. Telkomsel is the largest provider in terms of market share, 40%, and coverage, 98%. It is also the only provider that is active in all Indonesian provinces.
What SIM card should you buy when visiting Indonesia? If you want to buy a SIM card in Indonesia, I would recommend going with Telkomsel. With the best coverage and speed, you do not have to worry about bad reception when traveling around the country. The only downside with Telkomsel is that they have the highest prices, which is a price to pay, considering the quality of service you will get.
IM3 Ooredoo and XL Axiata should be considered if on a low budget and are only staying on the main islands. These providers have good speeds in these areas, but their coverage in more remote places are subpar.
Like many destinations in Southeast Asia, you have to register your Indonesian SIM card before you can use it. You can register yourself in an official store with your passport. I would not recommend buying a SIM card on the mini market, as Indonesians refer to the gray market, because these SIM cards will not be registered properly. As a result, your service could be cut off at any time.
Even if you buy a SIM card on the mini market, getting cut off is not a big deal because you can go to an official store to register yourself. A slight inconvenience when you are in the cities. A big one when you are in remote areas exploring the beautiful nature of what Indonesia has to offer to you.
You should not buy SIM cards at airports. Although registering SIM cards at airport stores will be faster than in town, you will be paying high tourist premiums when getting cards there. Some report that you may pay up to 10 times the local offer when buying cards or plans at airports, which is a total rip-off. The same applies to tourist areas, like Bali, so be aware when getting your card.
Lastly, be aware of internet censorship in Indonesia. The government created a web filter that blocks pornographic websites. However, it blocks non-sexual websites like Reddit. Moreover, dating apps and LGBTQ-related content seem to be blocked too.
You can use a solid VPN (Virtual Private Network) to circumvent this censorship, like NordVPN. NordVPN has servers in Indonesia that help you avoid censorship. If that does not work, you can use servers from Malaysia, Singapore, or Australia, depending on where you are. You can get up to 70% off when you get a NordVPN subscription. Get your NordVPN subscription today!
Some travelers who are from other Southeast Asian countries or those who visited other Southeast Asian destinations before going to Indonesia decide to roam with their Southeast Asian SIM card. Countries like Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand offer attractive roaming plans for Southeast Asian destinations. Although I always prefer to get a local SIM card when possible, not having to be in a queue to register a SIM card or having to deal with which phone package to buy could be worth to roam.
With that out of the way, let’s see what our options are with the Indonesian telecom providers.
The largest company offering SIM cards in Indonesia is Telkomsel, and its coverage and services can be used throughout the entirety of the provinces. They offer 2G, 3G, and 4G/LTE services to their customers alongside some of the fastest internet speeds in the country.
The initial prepaid SIM card options include SimPATI, Kartu AS, or Loop. All can be purchased for the price of 2000 Rupiah (or about 0.14 USD. 1000 Rupiah is about $0.07), although you will eventually need to top-up your card with one of the many packages or deals.
In general, there are three different types of plans:
- Pulsa 777 National credit can be used anywhere in Indonesia.
- Pulsa 369 local credit is ideal if you are staying in one province, as it cannot be used throughout.
- Pulsa is a mixture of both and can be found almost anywhere.
Data packs and add-ons are available for purchase and will land you anywhere from 5000 to 100 000 Rupiah, depending on your needs.
Below are a few of the Pulsa packages that are available:
- 20 000 Rupiah: 400 MB valid for 7 days
- 50 000 Rupiah: 1.3 GB and 1 GB extra for night time use (12 AM – 7 AM) valid for 30 days
- 100 000 Rupiah: 4 GB and 2 GB for night time use valid for 30 days
- 200 000 Rupiah: 8.5 GB and 2 GB for night time use valid for 30 days
- 300 000 Rupiah: 13 GB and 2 GB for night time use valid for 30 days
XL Axiata, while considered to be small-scale, they are the second-largest provider in terms of subscribers. They provide some fantastic coverage in 2G, 3G, and 4G/LTE capabilities. The speed is reasonably quick, and the company has some of the best deals to save you money. XL Axiata offers a basic prepaid SIM card for 5000 Rupiah. With this card, you get 2 MB of data right off the bat. From there, you can add on additional data starting at 1500 Rupiah for 15 MB.
For example, for 12 000 Rupiah, you can get 350 MB that is valid for 7 days. Not enough data for you? Spend between 50 000 Rupiah and 220 000 Rupiah to get at least 1.5 GB and a maximum of 16 GB.
Are you a morning owl? Get the XL Axiata morning packs, also known as Super Ngebut, which will give you a lot of data in the morning, midnight to noon, than during the day, noon to midnight.
For comparison, for 25 000 Rupiah, you get 2 GB morning data and 200 MB day data. For 125 000 Rupiah, you will get 15 GB morning data and 1.5 GB day data. All Super Ngebut packages are valid for 30 days, except the 5000 Rupiah package that gives 200 MB morning data and 20 MB day data for a day.
IM3 Ooredoo is another popular company in Indonesia that provides SIM cards and coverage with 2G, 3G, and 4G/LTE plans. Their internet speeds are relatively quick as well. Combined with some great data and voice package deals, it is a top choice amongst locals and tourists alike.
When it comes to the prepaid plans, you have three to choose between: the Freedom Internet, Freedom Mini, and Freedom Combo. They all land around 4,000 Rupiah, and you can easily add more data packs if needed.
Data packs will typically range from 2000 Rupiah for 24 hours and 5 MB to 30 days of use with 8 GB for 160 000 Rupiah. If you just need more data period, you can buy add-ons such as 15 000 Rupiah for 22 MB up to 6 GB for 80 000 Rupiah.
Freedom Combo Packages
Below are the Freedom Combo packages that are all valid for 30 days. All combos come with unlimited on-net calls and texts and unlimited social media usage (Facebook, Whatsapp, Twitter, Messenger, Line, Goyek, and Grab):
- 65 000 Rupiah: 2 GB main data, 3 GB 4 G/LTE data, 2 GB streaming data, and 5 GB night data (1 AM – 6 AM)
- 100 000 Rupiah: 4 GB main data, 8 GB 4 G/LTE data, 4 GB streaming data, and 10 GB night data
- 150 000 Rupiah: 8 GB main data, 12 GB 4 G/LTE data, 6 GB streaming data, and 15 GB night data
- 200 000 Rupiah: 12 GB main data, 25 GB 4 G/LTE data, 8 GB streaming data, and 20 GB night data
YouTube, Spotify, and iFlix are apps that count towards the streaming data quota.
Freedom Internet Packages
Below are the Freedom Internet packages, which are all valid for 30 days:
- 55 000 Rupiah: 3 GB main data, 4 GB 4G/LTE data, 8 GB for night time use (1 AM – 6 AM)
- 65 000 Rupiah: 5 GB main data, 5 GB 4G/LTE data, 22 GB for night time use
- 75 000 Rupiah: 9 GB main data, 5 GB 4G/LTE data, 16 GB for night time use
- 110 000 Rupiah: 20 GB main data, 5 GB 4G/LTE data, 10 GB for night time use
3 (Tri) Indonesia
3 (Tri) is another popular choice in Indonesia. They offer their customers with 2G, 3G, and 4G/LTE network coverage, which has recently become much better than in the past. They also have the best promotions and deals amongst the competitors in Indonesia, while being a smaller provider compared to the other three mentioned so far.
The Bali prepaid card from 3 (Tri) will run you around 40 000 Rupiah. From there, you have the option of adding more data. For 2000 Rupiah, you can get 20 MB, while 150 000 Rupiah will give you 9 GB of data.
Smartfren & Net1 Indonesia
Smartfren and Net1 Indonesia are the 4G/LTE-only providers that deserve an honorable mention. Unfortunately, I do not know enough about them to say anything useful (and my partner does not know them either). I do know that Smartfren has been growing rapidly in recent years and has more than 10 million subscribers.
With Smartfren, your phone needs to support VoLTE to text and call, or you can use their app to do so. It will not work when on a WiFi network, and it apparently does not work well when using two SIM cards at a time. A Smartfren SIM card will cost you 20 000 Rupiah, but you will get 20 000 Rupiah in credit.
Other Ways to Stay Connected When Traveling in Indonesia
The Best Way to Stay Connected When Traveling in Indonesia
Getting a SIM card from Telkomsel would do you well when considering an Indonesian SIM card.
Local Prepaid SIM Card in Other Asian Countries
Visiting other countries in Asia? Check out my SIM card buying guides for individual Asian countries:
Going to other places around the world? Then you should also check out my sim card buying guides for other destinations around the world.
Next Steps to Enhance Your Travel Experiences
Looking for the next steps to enhance your phone travel experiences? Here is what to do:
Support Phone Travel Wiz
It takes a lot of time to analyze, translate, and review the SIM card options worldwide (especially to test them out).
Check Out My Resource Page
Looking for the best companies and gadgets to enhance your travel experience? Check out my travel resources page for the best companies to use when you travel!
Save money with international SIM cards, on plane tickets, bus rides, cruises, and accommodation.
Besides that, I also list services and items I use to make my life easier – and I believe they will help you too!
Start Your Own Online Business – Make Money While Traveling
Do you want to learn how I started an online business that allows me to generate income while traveling?
In my starting an online business guide, I tell you which tools, services, and products I have for this site and my YouTube channel.
If I can start a business about something I am passionate about (phone travel), then you can do it too!
Learn About Your Phone Travel Options
Each of these options has its pros and cons. Learn more about them, and find the best option for you.
Phone Travel Tips, Tricks & Hacks
I have written many articles with tips and hacks to save money on mobile costs while abroad. You surely want to check them out!
Sign Up for the Phone Travel Wiz Newsletter
Sign up for my newsletter: Get an excel sheet of the best SIM cards of over 230+ destinations around the world! Moreover, I send you many tips and tricks on how to save money while traveling every now and then.
Let's Be Social
Did you know that I have a YouTube channel covering everything you need to know about traveling with your phone? A lot of useful videos are uploaded multiple times a week, and you do not want to miss out on them!
Learn More About Who Adu Actually Is
Who is the guy behind Phone Travel Wiz? Well, find out on the Ernest Adu about page!