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Celcom Xpax Review: A Malaysian SIM Card Without Gimmicks (+Speedtests)

There are many SIM cards and operators in Malaysia, where Celcom is one of with their Xpax prepaid SIM cards. They may secretly be the best SIM card in Malaysia.

Celcom is considered to be a full operator, offering 2G, 3G, and 4G/LTE networks, together with Digi, Maxis/Hotlink, and U Mobile. There are a few 4G-only operators (Unifi, Altel & Yes 4G), which is why the distinction between full and 4G-only operators are made in Malaysia.

The former two have a national roaming 2G and 3G agreement with Celcom.

Many Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs), like Tune Talk, XOX Mobile, and ONEXOX, use the Celcom network to offer their services.

Does this make Celcom any good? It looks like a lot of companies trust Celcom, at least.

In this review, I will go over everything you need to know about buying a Celcom Xpax Prepaid SIM card as a tourist, traveler, student, or Malaysian national/resident.

Celcom Xpax Review

Celcom Frequencies

Celcom uses frequencies that are used mainly in Asia and Europe. I know that nobody likes to about frequencies, especially the technology behind it. Still, it is essential to be aware of what frequencies Celcom supports before buying their SIM card, as it may not work with your phone.

Celcom uses the following frequencies:

  • 2G: 900 MHz
  • 3G: 900 MHz & 2100 MHz
  • 4G/LTE: 1800 (B3), 2100 MHz (B1) & 2600 MHz (B7)

To learn whether your device supports these frequencies or not, go to this site to find out.

As always, make sure your phone is unlocked. Otherwise, you will not be able to use any SIM card except the one from your home operator.

CommsUpdate reported in July 2020 that Celcom is ready to deploy 5G (NR) once they obtain the necessary license and frequency. It is unknown whether 5G NR will be available for prepaid customers initially.

Celcom Coverage

I tried using the Celcom Coverage Checker to see their nationwide coverage. That did not work (for me, at least, with myultiple browsers). I also tried the Opensignal app, but you have to zoom in a lot to see the coverage, and I am interested in knowing about the nationwide coverage of Celcom.

The Speedtest app has coverage maps of operators around the world, including Celcom. I find this the most reliable crowdsourced coverage map checker because a lot of speed tests get done with the Speedtest app, including by myself.  

Celcom Coverage map by Speedtest (West Malaysia)
Celcom coverage in Peninsular Malaysia by the Speedtest app
Celcom Coverage map by Speedtest (East Malaysia)
Celcom coverage in East Malaysia by the Speedtest app

Nperf also has a map showing Celcom's coverage.

Celcom coverage map by Npref
Celcom coverage throughout Malaysia by Npref.

I find Npref’s coverage maps less accurate than the ones of Speedtest. However, Npref allows you to switch between technologies (2G, 3G, 4G/LTE maps), while the Speedtest app shows you the combined coverage.

Both methods should be used to assess the network coverage of an operator if they do not display a (working) map on their site.

Based on the maps of both Speedtest and Npref, you will see that coverage with Celcom is good throughout Malaysia. Coverage in West Malaysia, also referred to as Peninsular Malaysia, is much better than in East Malaysia (on Borneo with the states of Sabah, Sarawak, and Labuan).

Celcom claims to cover more than 94% of the population in Malaysia. At least, that is what their Bluecube store did at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

Celcom 94% 4G coverage claim at Kuala Lumpur Airport

Opensignal reported that Celcom has the best 4G/LTE availability throughout Malaysia, which is a good sign.

Opensignal 4G Coverage experience by Malaysian Mobile Operators
Interested in learning more about the other operators? Check out my other Malaysian SIM card reviews.

Remember, population coverage is different from physical coverage. Mountains, jungles, and forests usually have no antennas because barely anyone lives or goes there, so there is no point for the operators to build antennas there.

In short, you should have good coverage throughout Malaysia with Celcom, even when traveling between states, cities, towns, and villages.

How to Buy a Celcom Prepaid SIM Card

You can get a Celcom SIM card, called Xpax, in Celcom stores, called Celcom Bluecubes, and from Certified Partners. Celcom also has booths at Kuala International Airport (in terminal 1 & 2 – KLIA 1 & KLIA 2), which is where I bought by Celcom SIM card (KLIA 1). Other Malaysian airports with Bluecubes are Penang, Kota Kinabalu, and Senai.

Celcom Bluecube at Kuala Lumpur International Airport
Celcom Bluecube at Kuala Lumpur International Airport Terminal 1 (KLIA 1)

Back then, Celcom did not offer tourist SIM cards or tourist packages, so I could buy a normal Celcom package without inflated prices at the airport. That is uncommon!

Celcom Prepaid Packages Offered at Kuala Lumpur International Airport
Celcom Xpax Prepaid Offers at the Bluecube in Kuala Lumpur International Airport

I purchased the 10 MYR plan that came with 2 GB of data and unlimited YouTube at night (1:00-7:00/1 AM-7 AM). It also came with something called iflix, which I did not use. It could be useful to you.

Celcom package activation confirmation SMS

As of March 2020, Celcom started offering a tourist SIM card called Celcom Xpax Tourist SIM. I only found out about this tourist SIM card when I was writing this article (it was not offered when I was in Malaysia in February 2020).

Celcom Tourist SIM Card

If you plan on getting the Celcom Xpax Tourist SIM card, it can be purchased at:

  • Kuala Lumpur International Airport Terminal 1 (Bluecube KLIA)
  • Kuala Lumpur International Airport Terminal 2 (Bluecube KLIA 2)
  • Penang International Airport
  • Kota Kinabalu International Airport
  • Senai International Airport

Some Malaysian operators, like Digi and Maxis/Hotlink, allow you to select your own phone number. Well, not entirely. They allow you to choose from a stack of starter packs with different phone numbers so that you can select the one you prefer.

In my case with Celcom, I was just given a random Xpax SIM card starter pack. To me, that was not an issue because I was not planning on staying in Malaysia for an extended period, so I did not need an easy-to-remember phone number.

Celcom Prepaid SIM Card Cost

A Celcom Xpax SIM card will cost you 10 MYR, which is about 2.35 USD. The Xpax Prepaid Pack will come with 1 GB of basic internet every month, 10 GB for Facebook, Instagram, and Games Walla (monthly freebie), and 6 MYR in preloaded credit (5 days).

These perks warrant an explanation:

  • Celcom basic internet: 1 GB unrestricted internet use throttled at 64 Kbps
  • Monthly Freebie: 10 GB for Facebook (no VoIP), Instagram, and Games Walla (Free Fire, Area of Valor, PUBG). Data usage with these apps will not be deducted from other data allowances
  • 6 MYR preloaded credit: valid for 5 days for standard Pay As You Go use

The Celcom Terms and Conditions page states that there is also a Celcom Xpax starter pack that costs 5 MYR instead of 10 MYR. However, I had no luck locating this mysterious starter pack. To be honest, I did not look for it.

Although Celcom allows you to order an Xpax SIM card online, you need a Malaysian NRIC number, which is only assigned to Malaysian nationals and permanent residents. Even then, it could take some time before the SIM card would arrive, so you are better off purchasing your Celcom SIM card in person as a tourist or traveler.

What about the Celcom Xpax Tourist SIM? Those are sold at select airports (Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Kota Kinabalu & Senai) for 30 MYR. The Tourist SIM is valid for 10 days and comes with the following perks:

  • 10 GB for Malaysia (1 GB high-speed data cap/day)
  • 1 GB roaming data in Singapore
  • 1 GB roaming data in Thailand
  • Unlimited data for WeChat and WhatsApp

Be aware that although the Tourist SIM perks are valid for 10 days, the SIM card itself can be used for a total of 90 days (10-day of tourist SIM perks inclusive). Once the Tourist SIM benefits are expired, you can purchase a regular Xpax prepaid plan.

However, the Tourist SIM card will be terminated after 90 days, even when you can typically extend the validity of your SIM card by recharging within every 90 days.

How to Activate a Celcom Prepaid SIM Card

As per the Prepaid Registration laws dating back to 2006 by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC for short), all users, regardless of their nationality, are required to register as long as they are subscribers of a Malaysian prepaid SIM card. This applies to tourists (long-time) travelers, migrant workers, and students.

What is meant with registration? Your personal details, including your passport details, will be stored into a database that will be linked to your Celcom prepaid SIM card. If you buy your Celcom Xpax SIM card at a Bluecube or from a Certified Dealer, the salesperson will activate and register the SIM card right there and there (but bring your passport with you – photocopies are not allowed).

It is also possible to purchase Celcom SIM cards from third-parties (dealers that are not certified by Celcom), which do not register the SIM card for you. I am not sure how they get these SIM cards, but they are out there.

In that case, you can use the Celcom App or go to a Bluecube store to register and activate the SIM card. It is not possible to use an unregister prepaid SIM card in Malaysia (and it is illegal).

Celcom has a video on how to self-register with their app:

Additionally, you can only have 5 Malaysian prepaid SIM cards on your name as of the 1st of June 2017. I am not 100% sure if this is 5 prepaid SIM cards per operator OR 5 prepaid SIM cards in total. Some operator websites, like the Celcom one, say, “Each user may only register up to 5 prepaid numbers”. In contrast, MCMC states, “each customer can only register up to 5 Prepaid SIM cards per service providers.”

Unless you are like me and want to try out all Malaysian SIM cards (which I eventually will), this restriction should not be an issue (in fact, I tried out 5 Malaysian SIM cards, including Celcom, when I was in Malaysia, and I was not aware of this rule at that time – I was lucky, I guess).

How to Reload a Celcom Prepaid SIM Card

Celcom reload cards are widely available throughout Malaysia. You can purchase them in Celcom stores, supermarkets, gas stations, and convenience stores. Any store that has the Celcom or Xpax logo pasted on their storefront will sell Xpax reload cards.

Celcom Reload Cards

The following Xpax reload cards are available:

Reload AmountCredit Validity
5 MYR5 days
10 MYR10 days
30 MYR30 days
50 MYR50 days
100 MYR100 days

To reload with a Celcom reload card, dial *124# and follow the instructions.

It is also possible to reload online or on the Celcom app. Although it is unknown whether the site and app accept international debit and credit cards.

Celcom online reload page

Celcom Prepaid Packages, Plans, and Offers

Celcom offers several data-only bundles, which are:

Click on the links above to jump to the package you are interested in.

Celcom Internet Passes

The Internet Passes are mostly data-only plans, although some plans come with unlimited minutes. None of the plans include SMS. The following Internet Passes are available:

PriceDataHotspot DataLate Night YouTubeVideo WallaData RolloverMinutesValidityAuto-renewalActivation
3 MYR2 GBN/AYesN/AYesN/A24 hoursNo*118*2*2*1#
5 MYR4 GBN/AYesN/AYesN/A24 hoursNo*118*2*2*2#
6 MYR500 MBN/AYesN/AYesN/A7 daysYes*118*2*2*3#
10 MYR2 GBN/AYesN/AYesN/A7 daysYes*118*2*2*4#
12 MYRUnlimited1 GBN/AN/AN/AUnlimited7 daysYes*118*2*2*9#
19 MYR5 GBN/AYesN/AYesN/A7 daysYes*118*2*2*5#
30 MYR5 GBN/AYesN/AYesN/A30 daysYes*118*2*2*6#
35 MYRUnlimited1 GBN/AN/AN/AUnlimited30 daysYes*118*2*2*10#
50 MYR10 GBN/AYesN/AYesN/A30 daysYes*118*2*2*7#
79 MYR15 GBN/AYes15 GBYesN/A30 daysYes*118*2*2*8#

Let me explain some of these features:

  • Data: Standard data allowance. The speeds for the unlimited data bundles are throttled to 3 Mbps.
  • Hotspot data: Applicable to the unlimited data plans. Hotspot data, also known as tethering, is not unlimited. Up 3 GB hotspot data is given. More can be purchased by 1 MYR for 1 GB (1 day) or 3 MYR for 3 GB (3 days)
  • Late Night YouTube: unlimited YouTube streaming between 1:00-7:00 (1 AM-7 AM)
  • Video Walla: 15 GB for YouTube, YouTube Kids, Netflix, Dimsum, Viu, Eros Now, Astro Go & iFlix
  • Data Rollover: Use unused data when your plan renews. Up to 10 GB can be saved in your Data Rollover “bank”
  • Auto-renewal: Most plans, except for the daily plans, auto-renew when there is enough credit. Auto-renew can be stopped by dialing *118*2# or on the Celcom App.

Celcom Internet Passes Data Add-Ons

If you are out of data (applicable to all non-unlimited plans), you can purchase more data by dialing *118*3*2#:

PriceAdditional DataValidity
3 MYR100 MBUntil the current plan expires
5 MYR500 MBUntil the current plan expires
15 MYR1 GBUntil the current plan expires
50 MYR5 GBUntil the current plan expires

Celcom Ultra Hour Passes

The Ultra Hour Passes are short-term unlimited data plans that are valid for up to 24 hours. Your speeds will not be throttled with the Ultra Hour Passes, unlike the Unlimited Internet Passes. The following Ultra Hour Passes are available:

1 MYRUnlimited1 hour*118*2*1*1#
2 MYRUnlimited3 hours*118*2*1*2#
5 MYRUnlimited12 hours*118*2*1*3#
8 MYRUnlimited24 hours*118*2*1*4#

Celcom Walla Add-Ons

The Walla are social data add-ons. The following add-ons are available:

Click on the links above to jump to the Walla add-on you are interested in.

Celcom Video Walla Add-Ons

The Video Walla add-ons apply to the following apps:

  • Astro Go
  • dimsum
  • Eros Now
  • iflix
  • Netflix
  • Viu
  • Youtube
  • Youtube Kids

The following Video Walla Add-Ons are available:

2 MYR3 GB24 hours No
7 MYR10 GB7 daysYes
20 MYR15 GB30 days Yes

To disable the Video Walla auto-renewal, dial *118*3*5#.

Celcom Games Walla Add-Ons

The Games Walla add-ons apply to the following apps:

  • Arena of Valor
  • Free Fire
  • PUBG

The following Games Walla Add-Ons are available:

2 MYR1 GB24 hours No
7 MYR10 GB7 daysYes
20 MYR15 GB30 days Yes

To disable the Games Walla auto-renewal, dial *118*3*9*2#.

Celcom Social Walla Add-Ons

The Social Walla add-ons apply to the following apps:

  • Facebook OR Instagram
  • IMO
  • Twitter
  • WhatsApp

The following Social Walla Add-Ons are available:

2 MYR3 GB24 hours No
7 MYR10 GB7 daysYes
20 MYR15 GB30 days Yes

To disable the Social Walla auto-renewal, dial *118*3*4# for the Facebook version AND *118*3*8# for the Instagram version.

Celcom Internet Walla Add-Ons

The Internet Walla add-ons, also known as Late Night Internet, is an add-on that comes with data at night, which is between 1:00-7:00 (1 AM-7AM).

The following Internet Walla Add-Ons are available:

2 MYR3 GB24 hours No
7 MYR10 GB7 daysYes
20 MYR15 GB30 days Yes

To disable the Internet Walla auto-renewal, dial *118*3*3#.

Celcom Music Walla Add-On

The Music Walla add-on applies to the following apps:

  • Astro Arena
  • Fly FM
  • Hot FM
  • Hungama
  • JOOX
  • Kool FM
  • One FM
  • Spotify
  • SYOK

The Music Walla add-on costs 3 MYR and comes with unlimited data for the Music Walla apps for 30 days.

To disable the Music Walla auto-renewal, dial *118*3*7#.

Celcom Speed Test Results

When I was in Malaysia, I did 3 speed tests with Celcom and the other SIM cards I tested (which are Digi, Maxis/Hotlink, U Mobile & Yes 4G). One speed test was done at a restaurant somewhere in Kuala Lumpur (I do not recall which one), on the 5th floor in the Pavillion Mall in Kuala Lumpur, and one test as Kuala Lumpur International Airport (while sitting at the Old Town White Coffee, to be exact). There were my results:

Celcom speed test in Kuala Lumpur
Celcom speed test at an unknown restaurant in Kuala Lumpur
Celcom speed test result in Kuala Lumpur
Celcom speed test on the 5th floor in the Pavillion Mall in Kuala Lumpur
Celcom Speed test result at Kuala Lumpur International Airport
Celcom Speed test at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (Old Town White Coffee)

Those are some decent speeds. Watching YouTube videos with Celcom was no issue – no constant buffering, and they loaded quickly. Searches around the web were quick, and uploading photos to The Gram (Instagram) could be done with no issues.  

According to the Speedtest Global Index (June 2020), the average download is above 24 Mbps in Malaysia, while the average upload speed is close to 11 Mbps.

Opensignal (April 2020), on the other hand, did as study and found that the average download speed with Celcom is 12.7 Mbps, while the average upload speed is 7.3 Mbps.

Opensignal average download speeds with Malaysian Mobile Operators
Opensignal average download speeds with Malaysian operators. Read my reviews about the other Malaysian operators here.
Opensignal average upload speeds with Malaysian Mobile Operators
Opensignal average upload speeds with Malaysian operators. Read my reviews about the other Malaysian operators here.

Of course, the studies of both Speedtest and Opensignal are done in different ways, and both companies have different data sets. As long as your speeds are between the speeds reported by both companies (12.7 Mbps – 24 Mbps download, 7.3 Mbps – 11 Mbps upload) or higher, then you are good.

When looking at my speed results in again, Celcom did well.

Speedtest Mobile Speeds by State and Federal Territories in Malaysia
A table by Speedtest to give you an idea about the average download and upload speeds in all Malaysian states and Federal Territories.

Should You Get a Celcom Xpax SIM Card?

I would recommend Celcom for anyone wanting to buy a Malaysian SIM card. Overall, my experience with Celcom was pleasant. In fact, my Celcom Xpax SIM card may actually have been my favorite Malaysian SIM card.

I bought my Celcom SIM card at the airport, and it took an hour to get to my amazing Airbnb in Kuala Lumpur (click this link for a discount if you have not used Airbnb before) with Grab (the local Uber equivalent), so it was a great time to test the SIM card to see how it would do while on the road.

While driving to Kuala Lumpur, my phone may have switched to 3G every now and then, but I was mostly connected to 4G/LTE. I do not recall downgrading to 2G once.

I could browse the web fast while on the road, and even Reddit content loaded quickly. I probably watched a YouTube video or two without issues.

I also like the data packages that Celcom offers. They are straightforward without gimmicks. The Walla Add-ons are nice, but I did not try any of them because I had no need to. Even then, I believe they are reasonably priced.  

In short, I would recommend Celcom for those planning on buying a Malaysian SIM card. Celcom may discreetly be the best SIM card in Malaysia. Therefore, they deserve their 5-star rating.

A happy Adu with his Celcom SIM card
A happy me with my Celcom SIM card

But before you go out and get yourself an Xpax SIM card, be sure to check out my other Malaysian SIM card reviews, which are Digi, Maxis/Hotlink, U Mobile, and Yes 4G. They could be better for you depending on your scenario. They also offer unique packages (like the unlimited data plans by Yes 4G for 30 MYR).  

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