The Maldives is a nation in the Arabian Sea of the Indian Ocean. It is known for its beautiful waters and beaches.
Male, the capital of the Maldives, has an impressive downtown full of colorful buildings. You also have to visit the fish market there. Maafushi is great for snorkeling and has cool beaches too. You can find manta rays while scuba diving in Addu City (I like that name – should remove 1 “D”), and you can see whale sharks in Dhangethi. It is a beautiful country, I can tell.
What may not be beautiful is getting a high bill from your operator because you decided to roam with your provider in the Maldives. Roaming can be expensive in many cases, which is why many travelers prefer to buy a local SIM card in the Maldives.
In this article, I will go over everything you need to know about buying a SIM card in the Maldives. Let's have a look, shall we?
Telecom Providers in the Maldives
The Maldives has 2 telecom providers: Dhiraagu and Ooredoo Maldives. Both providers have 2G, 3G, and 4G/LTE networks. Travelers visiting Male can use Dhiraagu’s 5G network at no extra charge, which is still in development, if you have a 5G capable phone.
What SIM card should you buy when visiting the Maldives? If you want to buy a SIM card in the Maldives, I would recommend going with Dhiraagu because they have the best coverage in the country.
Just like many countries in South Asia, you have to show your passport when buying a Maldivian SIM card.
As of 2014, 6% GST (VAT) has to be added to the prices mentioned throughout this article. Normally, I incorporate these taxes into the prices if not done so by the operators. However, if you buy your SIM card at a tourist establishment, you will have to pay a 12% tax. As I do not know where you will buy your SIM card or data packages, I will list the base prices in this article, but be aware that the prices will be higher upon purchase.
With that out of the way, let’s see what Dhiraagu and Ooredoo Maldives have to offer.
With Dhiraagu, you can find 2G and 3G on all islands. In fact, the operator claims that 100% of the Maldivian population can use 3G on all inhabited islands. The same is being done with their 4G/LTE network, but it is not clear what the progress is with that project. Either way, you will have a connection when visiting inhabited Maldivian islands.
You can buy a Dhiraagu SIM card for 30 MVR ($1.95) in Dhiraagu shops or from authorized resellers, which comes with 20 MVR in credit. You can also buy your Dhiraagu SIM card at Velana International Airport.
You can buy Dhiraagu recharge vouchers in plenty of stores. Do not attempt to top-up online because the site does not accept international cards, unfortunately. You can check your balance by dialing *142#.
The standard Dhiraagu plan, also referred to as the base plan, comes with unlimited Facebook and Twitter data. You could choose to upgrade to Dhiraagu RED, which lowers the default data rate from 100 MVR per MB to 30 MVR per MB for 24 hours, by texting PKG RED to 444, but you will be better off buying a data plan anyway.
The following Dhiraagu Power data plans are available, which are time-based data plans:
- 10 MVR: 25 MB for 1 hour. Activation code: text DATA25 to 343
- 25 MVR: 125 MB for 24 hours. Activation code: text DATA125 to 343
You can also choose one of Dhiraagu’s monthly Power Plans, which come with more data:
- 99 MVR: 500 MB. Activation code: text 500MB to 343
- 199 MRV: 2 GB. Activation code: text 2GB to 343
- 249 MVR: 3 GB. Activation code: text 3GB to 343
- 349 MVR: 5 GB. Activation code: text 5GB to 343
- 549 MVR: 8 GB. Activation code: text 8GB to 343
- 949 MVR: 15 GB. Activation code: text 15GB to 343
Finally, you have Dhiraagu’s monthly Power Plus Plans, which come with much more data:
- 299 MVR: 3 GB. Activation code: text Plus3 to 343
- 399 MVR: 5 GB. Activation code: text Plus5 to 343
- 1299 MVR: 25 GB. Activation code: text Plus25 to 343
- 1899 MVR: 50 GB. Activation code: text Plus50 to 343
- 2599 MVR: 75 GB. Activation code: text Plus75 to 343
- 2999 MVR: 100 GB. Activation code: text Plus100 to 343
Only for the Power Plus Plans, you will not be charged an overuse fee if you go over your data allowance. Instead, your speeds will be throttled. You can also buy more high-speed data, such as 3 GB for 169 MVR, by texting TBB Plus3 to 343 or 5 GB for 249 MVR by texting TBB Plus5 to 343. Do note that you will be charged 1 MVR per SMS to 343.
In the case of the Power Extra plans, you will be charged 90 MVR per MB for overuse. For the Power Plans, a 15 MVR per MB overuse fee will be charged, except for the 949 MVR 15 GB plan, you will be charged 10 MVR per MB for going over your allowance.
You can check your data balance by dialing *123*6*3*1#
You can activate any plan by dialing *123*6*3# and select the preferred plan from the menu. You can also text the activation code to 343 for 1 MVR per text. To activate a plan by text, text ADD with the activation code to 343. For example, if you want to purchase the 399 MVR 5 GB plan, you would text ADD Plus5 to 343.
All plans auto-renew if there is enough credit. You can cancel the auto-renewal by texting REMOVE with the activation code to 343. Using my previous example, you would text REMOVE Plus5 to 343 if you wanted to cancel the 399 MVR plan.
Ooredoo Maldives, just Ooredoo, is the other operator in the Maldives. Their coverage is not as extensive as the one of Dhiraagu. If you are staying in populated areas, Ooredoo could be an option. If you plan on hopping around various islands, you may not want to go with Ooredoo.
Ooredoo SIM cards, called connection kits, are sold for 30 MVR and come with 20 MVR in credit to be used within 60 days. You can buy Ooredoo SIM cards at Ooredoo stores and at Velana International Airport, but you will pay a tourist premium for the packages offered there.
Ooredoo recharge cards are sold in many stores throughout the country. To top-up your SIM card, you dial *201*VoucherCode#. If your voucher code is 123456, you would dial *201*123456#. You can check your balance by dialing *200#.
Ooredoo has many data packages. The plans will be split between short term plans (up to 15 days) and monthly plans.
The following short term Ooredoo data plans can be purchased:
- 10 MVR: 30 MB for 60 minutes
- 30 MVR: 160 MB for 3 days
- 50 MVR: 300 MB for 7 days
- 51 MVR: 1 GB for 24 hours
- 101 MVR: 2.5 GB for 2 days
- 198 MVR: 3 GB for 7 days
- 201 MVR: 5 GB for 5 days
- 298 MVR: 5 GB for 10 days
- 499 MVR: 10 GB for 15 days
You can activate a plan by dialing *929# and select a plan from the menu. All plans auto-renew, which you can stop by texting STOP to 5555. You can check your balance by texting BALANCE to 555 or by dialing *200#.
The following monthly Ooredoo data plans are available:
- 99 MVR: 550 MB
- 149 MVR: 1 GB
- 199 MVR: 2 GB
- 249 MVR: 3 GB
- 299 MVR: 4 GB
- 399 MVR: 6 GB
- 599 MVR: 9 GB
- 899 MVR: 14 GB
- 999 MVR: 20 GB
- 1999 MVR: 60 GB
- 2999 MVR: 100 GB
- 5699 MVR: 200 GB
Remember, you activate a plan by dialing *929# and select your plan of choice from the menu.
Other Ways to Stay Connected When Traveling in the Maldives
The Best Way to Stay Connected When Traveling in the Maldives
Getting a SIM card from Dhiraagu would do you well when considering a Maldivian 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.
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