Buying a Prepaid SIM Card in Malta Guide

Logos of Telecom Providers in Malta: Vodafone Malta, GO Mobile, and Melita

Malta is an excellent destination for those who love to dive, but also those who love architecture. With great weather all year and a majestic sea, it is understandable why Malta is a popular travel destination.

The capital of Malta, Valletta, has many museums, palaces, and a fantastic nightlife. The same can be said for Mdina and Mellieha. Saint Julian's is your typical seaside town with buzzing beaches and a great nightlife. There is no reason to be bored in Malta.

In fact, you will probably make your friends and family a bit jealous when sharing your Malta experiences online. However, roaming with your provider can be expensive, so getting a Maltese SIM card will be the most cost-effective way to stay connected.

In this article, I will go over everything you need to know about buying a SIM card in Malta. Let's get started, shall we?

Telecom Providers in Malta

Malta has 3 telecom providers:

  • Vodafone Malta
  • GO Mobile
  • Melita

All operators have 3G and 4G/LTE networks. Vodafone Malta and GO Mobile also have a 2G network.

What SIM card should you buy when visiting Malta? If you want to buy a SIM card in Malta, I would recommend going with either Vodafone or GO Mobile. Both operators have excellent coverage and fast speeds. The main difference between the 2 operators is their offering. Vodafone has more options.

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Like many countries in Southern Europe, and Europe in general, you do not have to register yourself when buying a SIM card in Malta.

Malta is part of the European Union (EU). As of June 2017, a new regulation has been enforced, which is known as roam like at home, meaning that those with a European Union (or EEA) SIM card should be allowed to use (some) of their data allowance in other EU/EEA countries without a surcharge, including Malta.

There is not much more to say about Malta, so let’s see what they have to offer to us.

Vodafone Malta

Vodafone Logo

Vodafone Malta, just Vodafone, is the largest operator in Malta. They have the best coverage throughout the country, and they have the fastest speeds.

Vodafone Malta has, however, been sold to Monaco Telecom in the end of 2019. For now, the Vodafone brand will remain, but it may change in the future. If it does, this section will be updated accordingly.

You can buy a Vodafone SIM card for €10, which does not come with any credit, in Vodafone stores. The SIM card can also be purchased at Malta Airport. Top-up vouchers are sold in denominations of €5, €10, €20, and €50 in many establishments, including convenience stores. Send a blank SMS to 16290 to check your Vodafone balance.

Vodafone has various combo plans and data-only bundles. Let’s go through each of them

Genius

The Genius combo plans come with data throttled at 2 Mbps (SD experience), which can be upgraded with Genius HD bundles, and unlimited on-net calls.

To activate Genius, text YES to 16200, then top-up a certain amount to enable a genius bundle. Do note that unused data rolls over to the next month as long as you top-up the same amount within 28 days.

The following 3 Genius bundles are available, which are all valid for 28 days:

  • €8.99 (€10 top-up): 2.5 GB SD experience data and unlimited on-net call
  • €10.99 (€15 top-up): 5 GB SD experience data and unlimited on-net call
  • €17.99 (€20 top-up): 10 GB SD experience data and unlimited on-net call

You probably have noticed that SMS is not included in these combo plans. You will be charged €0.05/SMS and €0.22/off-net minute. If you are out of data, then a charge of €0.99 per 200 MB per day applies.

Not a fan of the SD speed restriction? You can upgrade your speeds with the Genius HD Experience bundles, which come in 3 variants:

  • €0.49: Unlimited HD speeds for 1 hour. Activation: My Vodafone app or online
  • €0.99: 1 GB HD speeds for 1 day. Activation: text 1GBDaily to 16200
  • €3.99: 1 GB HD speeds for 7 days. Activation: text 1GBfull to 16200

Genius Expert

The Genius Expert combo plan is like your Genius plan, except for the fact that you get an SMS allowance and get minutes for off-net use and for calling other EU numbers. The Genius Expert plan comes with the following perks:

  • 10 GB SD experience (can be upgraded with Genius HD Experience bundles)
  • Unlimited on-net minutes
  • 100 off-net minutes and for calling EU numbers
  • Unlimited SMS for local use and texting EU numbers

The Genius Expert plan can be activated by visiting a Vodafone store or requesting Vodafone to call you.

Vodafone MIX

Vodafone MIX is another type of combo plan. However, with MIX, you can use your units the way you want.

Let’s say you have 1000 units, you could use all those units for 1000 MB, mix it a bit to get 500 MB and 500 minutes, or whatever combination you want. 1 unit equals 1 MB, 1 minute, and 1 SMS.

There are 3 MIX plans, which get activated by topping up a certain amount. However, MIX has to be activated with a text message first. Moreover, these plans also come with minutes and data in addition to your MIX allowance. Finally, you can use your Vodafone MIX allowance when traveling in the EU.

The following 3 Vodafone MIX bundles are available, which are all valid for 28 days :

  • €8 (€10 top-up): 500 units. Initial activation: text MIX500 to 16200
  • €16 (€20 top-up): 2 GB and 1000 units. Initial activation: text MIX1000 to 16200
  • €28 (€30 top-up): 2 GB and 2000 units. Initial activation: text MIX2000 to 16200

Do note that Vodafone MIX bundles auto-renew if there is enough credit. Text STOPMIX500, STOPMIX1000, or STOPMIX2000 to 16200 to stop the auto-renewal of the 500 units, 1000 units, and 2000 units plans, respectively.

If you need more data, you can get 500 MB for €2 by texting 500 to 16200 (and text STOP500 to 16200 to cancel the auto-renewal for this add-on).

Additionally, you can get more units and data if you top-up online or on the My Vodafone app:

  • 500 units plan: extra 600 units if topped up online or on the My Vodafone app
  • 1000 units plan: extra 2 GB and 2000 units if topped up online or on the My Vodafone app
  • 2000 units plan: extra 2 GB and 4000 units if topped up online or on the My Vodafone app

Vodafone YU

Those younger than 25 can take advantage of Vodafone’s UY plans. The core benefits of Vodafone YU is that they come with more data than your regular combo plans, unlimited friends, which allow you to set up 2 or 4 numbers to make unlimited calls to and send unlimited SMS to, and unused benefits roll-over if you renew your plan before they expire.

You can activate Vodafone YU in a Vodafone store or on My Vodafone if you already have a Vodafone SIM card.

There are 2 YU plans, which both are valid for 28 days:

  • €8.99: 5 GB, 200 on-net minutes, 200 on-net SMS, and 2 unlimited friends
  • €13.99: 20 GB (+5 GB if using the My Vodafone App), unlimited on-net calls, unlimited local SMS, and 4 unlimited friends

The data allowances are listed as above if you enable automatic top-up. If you decide to go for a manual top-up, which you should as a traveler who is staying in Malta for less than 28 days, then you will get 2.5 GB instead of 5 GB and 10 GB instead of 20 GB.

You could try to enable Vodafone YU with an automatic top-up and cancel it the day you leave Malta. That should get you double data, but that is not something I can confirm.

Data-Only Prepaid Bundles

Vodafone also has your typical data-only bundles. There are 8 of them:

  • €1.50: 100 MB for 1 week. Activation: text 100MB to 16200
  • €1.99: 3 GB for 1 weekend (Friday 6 PM until Sunday 11.59 PM). Activation:  text 3GBWEEKEND to 16200
  • €3: 200 MB for 1 week. Activation: 300MB to 16200
  • €5: 1 GB for 1 week. Activation: 1GB to 16200
  • €5: 500 MB for 4 weeks. Activation: 500MB to 16200
  • €15: 3 GB for 4 weeks. Activation: 3GB to 16200
  • €20: 6 GB for 4 weeks. Activation: 6GB to 16200
  • €25: 10 GB for 4 weeks. Activation: 10GB to 16200

All these plans auto-renew. To cancel auto-renewal, add STOP in front of the activation code to 16200. For example, if your activation code is 100MB, you would text STOP100MB to 16200.

GO Mobile

GO Mobile Logo

GO Mobile is the second-largest operator in Malta. They have good coverage, but slightly worse than the one of Vodafone, and have fast speeds. In fact, they also have the fasted speeds in Malta, according to NetCheck.

You can get a GO SIM card for €15, which comes with 1 GB and €5 in credit, in GO Mobile stores, and from various other retailers. Top-up vouchers are sold in denominations of €5, €10, €20, and €50 in many establishments. Send a blank SMS to 1232 to check your GO Mobile balance.

Top-up plans

GO Mobile has 4 top-up plans, called Smart, which are combo plans with data, minutes, and SMS. You can use your allowances in Malta, the EU (zone 1), and the UK and call and text to those places (with all Smart plans).

Additionally, you get a Music WildCard, which allows you to stream unlimited Spotify, Amazon Music, Deezer, and Apple Music without depleting your data allowance when in Malta, also for all Smart plans.

The following 4 GO Mobile Smart Top-up plans are available:

  • €5: 250 MB, 100 minutes, and 100 SMS. Activation: Text ONE to 16410
  • €10: 2 GB, 100 minutes, and 100 SMS. Activation: Text TWO to 16410
  • €16: 4 GB, 200 minutes, and 200 SMS. Activation: Text THREE to 16410
  • €35: 6 GB, and unlimited minutes and SMS. Activation: Text FOUR to 16410

All Smart Top-up plans auto-renew. To cancel auto-renewal, add STOP in front of the activation code to 16410. For example, if your activation code is ONE, you would text STOPONE to 16410.

Play Youth Plans

Those who are 27 years old or younger can take advantage of the Play Youth Plans, which are combo plans specifically for the youth. You get data and minutes that you can use in Malta, the EU (zone 1), and the UK and call and text to those places. SMS is for local use only. With each top-up of €10 or more, you also get 500 MB for free. You also get the Music WildCard.

  • €8: 2 GB, 100 minutes, and unlimited SMS. Activation: text DIS to 16410
  • €12: 16 GB, 200 minutes, and unlimited SMS. Activation: text DoubleDAT to 16410

All Youth plans auto-renew. To cancel auto-renewal, add STOP in front of the activation code to 16410. For example, if your activation code is DIS, you would text STOPDIS to 16410.

Data Bundles

Only need data? The following 6 GO Mobile data bundles are available (although one of them comes with minutes too):

  • €1: 10 GB for 1 day. Activation: GO App
  • €3: 10 GB and 1000 minutes for 1 weekend (Saturday & Sunday). Activation: GO App
  • €5: 500 MB for 4 weeks. Activation: text 500MB to 16410
  • €8: 1 GB for 4 weeks. Activation: text 1GB to 16410
  • €20: 6 GB for 4 weeks. Activation: text 6GB to 16410
  • €25: 10 GB for 4 weeks.  Activation: text 10GB to 16410

All Data bundles auto-renew. To cancel auto-renewal, add STOP in front of the activation code to 16410. For example, if your activation code is 1GB, you would text STOP1GB to 16410.

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Melita

Melita Logo

Melita is the smallest operator in Malta. They are, however, a big player in the broadband market.

You can get a Melita SIM card for €10 in Melita stores. Top-up vouchers are sold in denominations of €5, €10, and €20 in many establishments. Dial *121# to check your Melita balance.

Melita has 2 monthly plans, which can be activated by topping up a certain amount. The top-up amount will give you data and 20 GB on MelitaWIFI, but the credit can still be used for calling (€0.10/minute in Malta and the EU) and texting (€0.01/SMS in Malta and the EU):

  • €10 top-up: 600 MB
  • €20 top-up:  1.5 GB

You can also get one of the following data packs:

  • €3: 500 MB. Activation: text 500MB to 16860
  • €5: 1 GB. Activation: text 1GB to 16860
  • €10: 3 GB. Activation: text 3GB to 16860
  • €20: 10 GB. Activation: text 10GB to 16860

These data packs have no expiry and can also be used to extend the validity of the data bonuses of the top-up plans. The data packs do, however, auto-renew if there is enough credit. Send a blank SMS to 16852 to disable auto-renewal.

Other Ways to Stay Connected When Traveling in Malta

So far, you have been informed about the SIM card options in Malta. However, that is not the only way to be online in Malta. I have already briefly mentioned that you can roam with your provider, although it can be expensive in most cases. Besides that, you can use free WIFI connections, mobile hotspots, or international SIM cards.

Roaming in Malta with Your Provider

Roaming is a term used in wireless telecommunication that indicates a mobile device is outside the range of its home network and has connected to a different, available cell network. Let’s say your provider is JT from the Channel Islands, then you would be roaming with JT in Malta.

You may have read horror stories of people coming back from a lovely holiday, only to be confronted with a roaming bill in the thousands. This can still be the case if you do not review your roaming options before going on a holiday. Luckily for you, I have written about the roaming options you have with various providers around the world, which you can read here.

Some operators offer roaming plans. Others allow you to roam for free in Malta, while several operators let you use your plan’s allowance for a daily fee. As you can see, roaming does not have to be a horrific experience. If your provider is generous and lets you roam for free in Malta, then you do not even need a local SIM card (although I would still recommend doing so, as your connection speed will be much slower as a roamer than someone who is a customer of the network).

No idea how roaming works? I made this comprehensive guide about what roaming is and how it works. It is worth the read – promised!

Pay As You Go roaming should be avoided, as that is how travelers get high roaming bills. One provider charges you about 1000 USD per GB in certain destinations, which is insane. If you really want to roam, check whether your provider has attractive roaming plans. Else, you will be better off with buying a local SIM card.

Using Free WIFI connections in Malta

This does not require a lot of explanation, but using free WIFI connections is the cheapest way to connect to the internet because you do not have to pay anything. Nothing beats free stuff, right? Well, not so fast.

First, you need to find hotspots in Malta. In some countries of cities, you will find so many hotspots that you can try them out one by one and find the one with the fastest speeds. In other places, however, WIFI connections do not seem to exist.

In the case of Malta, you can find many hotspots.

Additionally, public WIFI hotspots are unsecure. They are a prime target for hackers to steal your data and use it for illicit purposes. That is I use, and would recommend you to start using, a Virtual Private Network (VPN) if you connect to a public hotspot. What a VPN does is creating an encrypted tunnel between your device and the hotspot so that your data will stay private. I use NordVPN, and you can get up to 70% off when you get a NordVPN subscription. Get your subscription now or learn more about NordVPN.

Using a Pocket WIFI (Mobile Hotspot) in Malta

Pocket WIFI is a portable, battery-powered wireless router that allows you to connect your phone, laptop, or tablet without needing multiple SIM cards for those devices to be connected to the internet. They are compact and lightweight so that you take them along with you whenever you need internet access on the go.

Many companies have created mobile hotspots (just have a quick search on Amazon, for example, you will find many). Skyroam, Vision Global Wireless, and Travelwifi are reputable pocket WIFI providers I know. You can get a discount if you rent a router through Skyroam by using coupon code PHONETRAVELWIZ. Cellular access with Skyroam starts at $8 a day while using a Vision Global device starts at $2 a day. Travelwifi offers Teppy, the name of the pocket WIFI, starting from $7 per day. All these services cover more than 130 destinations around the world.

Travelwifi banner

I recently wrote an article analyzing the 7 Best Mobile Hotspots for Travelers like yourself, which should be an interesting read if pocket WIFI is something you are considering. I do reviews of individual devices every now and then, so check out my mobile hotspot category to stay up to date.

Getting an International SIM card for Traveling in Malta

International SIM cards are, as the name implies, SIM cards for international use. Well, that does not explain anything. Although most providers allow you to use your card abroad, some actually restrict this possibility. An international SIM card lets you go abroad without having to change SIM cards when visiting multiple destinations. They have been made with the traveler in mind.

All of this sounds lovely, but international SIM cards are much more expensive than local SIM cards in Malta. Not only that, some offer poor service as well for high rates. Some reputable companies I know are OneSimCard, SimOptions, Surfroam, BNESIM, and SimCorner.

simoptions banner
Surfroam Banner

International SIM cards are appealing to those who travel frequently or are visiting multiple destinations in one trip. Many countries in Europe require you to register before you can use a SIM card, which can be a hassle for some. Additionally, the language barrier may be off-putting to some travelers, which is why an international SIM card can be handy. You order it before you depart and can use it in various destinations.

My recommendation, however, is to get a local SIM card if you are only visiting one destination. If you are visiting multiple ones, an international SIM card could be handy. If you want to learn more about international SIM cards, check out my international SIM card comparison article, where I analyze 10 international SIM card providers so that you do not have to.

The Best Way to Stay Connected When Traveling in Malta

Getting a SIM card from either Vodafone or GO Mobile would do you well when considering a Maltese SIM card. Be sure to explore the roaming options your provider offers you, as they may offer free or cheap roaming bundles.

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You could also consider getting an international SIM card or using a portable hotspot. International SIM cards are attractive for those visiting multiple destinations at once or within a year. Portable hotspots will be useful when traveling with multiple people so that not each individual has to get a SIM card but can use the hotspot.

Visiting other countries in Southern Europe? Check out my Southern Europe SIM card buying guide, covering other South European countries, such as Albania, Andorra, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Gibraltar, Greece, Italy, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Portugal, San Marino, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, and the Vatican City (Holy See).

What about other places in Europe? My Europe SIM card buying guide covers all European destinations, such as Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Russia, Switzerland, and Turkey.

Going to other places around the world? Then you should also check out my sim card buying guides for other destinations around the world.

What is next?

Looking for the best companies and gadgets to enhance your travel experience? Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel! Save money 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!

Book Your Flight for Malta

It is time to book your flight. Find cheap flights with AirWander so that you can add free or cheap stopovers in destinations you have not considered yet before going to Malta. If you are not ready to take off yet, set up flight alerts with Airfarewatchdog, and they will notify you once ticket prices to Malta drop.

Travel by Train within Europe with InterRail or EURail

Although low-cost carriers are a big thing in Europe, they are not the best way to experience Europe. Everyone knows that the European railway system is awesome. InterRail/EURail makes it much easier to explore Europe by train by having one ticket for participating countries instead of having to buy multiple tickets per country. InterRail is for European citizens and EURail is for non-European citizens.

Book Your Accommodation for Malta

I am a huge fan of Airbnb because it allows me to live with a local or get a local place for myself. Staying in someone’s house or apartment feels much different than being in a ho(s)tel, especially in Malta. At least, that is how I see it. Moreover, Airbnb can often be much cheaper than staying in a Maltese hotel.

Get Your Travel Insurance for Malta

You will regret not having travel insurance once you actually need it and “forgot” to get it. Nowadays, travel insurance is cheap and comprehensive unlike back in the days. World Nomads is by far the best travel insurance for adventurous travelers like yourself. You can even get insured WHILE already traveling in Malta, which is not something many insurance companies allow you to do.

Get a Travel Debit Card

Travel Cheques are outdated. Paying with your credit card or debit card can be expensive because of all the exchange commissions banks charge you. TransferWise allows you to convert your main currency to Euros for a small fee (up to 8 times less than with your bank!) Getting a Transferwise Borderless account is FREE, so you will get an instant return on your investment.

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Enjoy your trip!

Ernest Adu

Ernest Adu, going by just Adu, is the founder and editor at Phone Travel Wiz. He has been a traveler for 6 years. Although from Europe, the Netherlands, Adu's favorite region in Asia, in particular, East and Southeast Asia. He currently lives in Tainan, Taiwan, and plans on exploring Oceania and more of East and Southeast Asia.

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