Malaysia is such a gem in Southeast Asia. The way the country is split into two halves (West Malaysia/Peninsular and East Malaysia on Bornea with Sarawak and Sabah), the AMAZING street food for low prices, and the general low cost of living (except for Kuala Lumpur), makes it a fun travel destination.
Sure, it may not be super cheap compared to Vietnam, Cambodia, or Thailand, but Malaysia is still more affordable than Singapore.
The number of things you can do in Malaysia is a book's worth of content, but what you do not want to do is roam with your provider in Malaysia. Roaming can be expensive in many cases, which is why many travelers prefer to buy local SIM cards, like a Malaysian one.
Mobile data in Malaysia is cheap for Southeast Asian standards, and especially compared to the world's average, so you should take advantage of that.
On my quest for finding the best Malaysian SIM card, I tested out 5 SIM cards when I was in Malaysia: Hotlink (Maxis), Celcom, U Mobile, Yes, and, of course, Digi. Let's see if Digi is any good.
Telecom Providers in Malaysia
Before I talk more about Digi, I need to inform you about your options in Malaysia. If you have read my Buying a SIM Card in Malaysia Guide, then you know that Malaysia has 4 full operators: Digi, Hotlink, Celcom, and U Mobile.
Moreover, there are 3 4G/LTE-only operators, which are Altel, Unifi, and Yes. Unlike Altel and Unifi, Yes does not have national roaming agreements with the full operators, meaning that Yes is genuinely a 4G/LTE-only operator.
Finally, there are plenty of Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs), such as Tune Talk, XOX Mobile, SpeakOut, and redone, which use the mobile networks of the full operators to facilitate their mobile services.
Now that you know all of this, it is time to introduce you to Digi.
Digi used to be the largest Malaysian operator until 2020 when they were overtaken by Maxis/Hotlink. Before that, Digi managed to pass Maxis/Hotlink in 2016 and became the largest for 4 years. Now, the subscriber numbers are so close that it is likely they will keep overtaking each other each quarter.
Even then, becoming the largest operator is not an easy achievement to achieve, especially with the stiff competition in the Malaysian telecom market. That is why I had to see if Digi is any good or not. Let’s see how my experience with Digi was.
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What Frequencies does Digi Use?
Digi uses primarily Asian/European frequencies, which are:
Digi supports the following frequencies:
- 2G: 900 MHz & 1800 MHz
- 3G: 900 MHz & 2100 MHz
- 4G/LTE: 800 MHz (B20), 900 MHz (B8), 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.
How do I Buy a Digi Prepaid SIM Card?
Digi SIM cards are sold in Digi stores. Digi also has booths at airports such as Kuala Lumpur Airport (in Terminal 2 – KLIA 2 (the budget terminal with AirAsia, Cebu Pacific, Jetstar, Scoot, or JC Cambodia)), Penang Airport, Senai Airport, Langkawi Airport, Kuching Airport, and Kota Kinabalu Airport. Digi claims to be around in terminal 1 at Kuala Lumpur Airport, but they were nowhere to be found when I was looking for their booth or store.
At the airports, Digi offers tourist SIMs cards called 4G Plus Traveller SIM. Only foreigners can buy these SIM cards, and they come in the following 2 variants:
- 20 MYR: 2 GB, 7 GB (1 GB/day) social media internet for WhatsApp, Facebook, and WeChat, unlimited WeChat, 5 MYR in credit, (Digi Prepaid BEST), 10 local minutes, and 10 IDD calls (international direct dialing) to China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore, and Thailand for 7 days
- 40 MYR: 10 GB, 15 GB (1 GB/day) social media internet for WhatsApp, Facebook, and WeChat, unlimited WeChat, 5 MYR in credit, (Digi Prepaid BEST), 30 local minutes, and 30 IDD calls (international direct dialing) to China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore, and Thailand for 15 days
You may have noticed that WeChat is included in the social media allowance, while also being the only app that has unlimited data. Once you have used up your 1 GB of social media data for the day, then you can still use WeChat (at 64 Kbps).
Unlike most tourist SIM cards in the world, you can still keep using your SIM card once your plan expires if you buy an internet plan – super cool!
As I was not able to find a Digi booth at the airport, I decided to get a Celcom SIM card for now and get my Digi SIM card in town. I would not have been interested in a tourist SIM card anyway because I knew Digi sells cheaper data packages. I would get a lot of data in general because I would be reviewing multiple Malaysian operators (Maxis, Celcom, U Mobile, and Yes).
When I got inside the Digi store, I had to wait for a while before I go assisted. Then, I asked for a Digi prepaid SIM card. I was told to select a starter kit from a wall to choose a phone number I liked. I was staying in Malaysia for less than a week, so I chose a random starter kit.
The Digi prepaid SIM card is called Digi Prepaid Live and is sold for 8 MYR. It comes with the following perks:
- 5 MYR in credit and 300 MB (both valid for 5 days)*
- 10 GB for music and video streaming a month (2.5 GB per week)
- 1000 minutes and SMS to 6 Buddyz (user-selected Digi numbers)**
- 500 MB Basic Internet (capped as 64 Kbps)
* Dial *888*1# to redeem your free 300 MB
** To set up Buddyz, dial *128*1*8#, and enter the selected Digi number(s)
In Malaysia, you have to show your passport and register it with the provider. When you buy your SIM card at a Digi store, the salesperson will handle all of this for you, but you do have to bring your passport with you if you intend to buy a Malaysian SIM card.
I decided to go with the 12 MYR plan that comes with 4 GB of data for 7 days. In total, I spent 20 MYR on a SIM card and 4 GB of data – not bad.
How do I Activate my Digi SIM Card?
The Sales salesperson will activate your SIM card upon purchase and registration. Remember to bring your passport with you.
How do I Reload my Digi SIM card?
You can reload online, at a Digi Kiosk, or with Softpin Reload Vouchers, which are supermarkets, convenience stores, pharmacies, and gas stations.
Digi Reload: Online
First, you have to head to the reload page. Select your reload amount, enter your phone number, and your email address. Then, press Reload.
Enter your payment details (Visa, Mastercard, and American Express), and press Pay.
You have successfully reloaded your Digi SIM card online!
Digi Reload: Digi Kiosk
To reload at a Digi kiosk, head to Digi Kiosk, select your preferred language, choose Prepaid Reload, and follow the instructions given on the screen.
Digi Reload: Softpin Reload Vouchers
To reload with a Softpin Reload Voucher, go to a Digi Store, supermarket, convenience store, pharmacy, or gas station, and buy your Softpin Reload Voucher with the reload amount of choice.
A Softpin Reload Voucher has 16 digits. Dial *123*VoucherCode# to redeem the Softpin Reload Voucher. For example, if the Softpin Reload Voucher is 12345678990123456, then you would dial *123*1234567890123456#
You have successfully redeemed your Softpin Reload Voucher!
What Packages does Digi Offer, and How do I Activate Them?
Digi has different kinds of packages, which are Internet Cili Padi Passes, Time Based Passes, App Based Passes, and Bonus Passes. You can also consider the Auto Renew Internet Passes, which are simply called Internet Passes. Let’s go through each of them.
Digi Internet Cili Padi Passes
The Internet Cili Padi Passes are Digi’s most popular plans. They come with data and unlimited data for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (and YouTube for 2 plans). You can often get more data when there is a promotion going on. However, I will only list the base prices.
The following 4 Internet Cili Padi Passes are available:
|Price||Data||Bonus Data||Unlimited Social Apps||Validity|
|12 MYR||2 GB||2 GB bonus between 1 PM and 7 PM||None||7 days||dial *116*2#|
|15 MYR||2 GB||None||Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram||30 days||dial *116*3#|
|28 MYR||4 GB||None||Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube||30 days||dial *116*3#|
|35 MYR||6 GB||None||Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube||30 days||dial *116*3#|
Digi Time Based Passes
The Time Based Passes are short term data packs that come with a lot of data, but usage restrictions apply. The following 4 Time Based Passes are available, which can be activated by dialing *116*2#:
|Price||Data||Validity and restrictions|
|1 MYR||1 GB||1 hour|
|2 MYR||10 GB||Between 1 AM and 7 AM|
|2 MYR||10 GB||Between 7 AM and 1 PM|
|8 MYR||Unlimited||24 hours|
Digi App Bases Passes
Digi has the Video-Lite and Social-Life Passes. The Social-Lite pass costs 1 MYR and comes with unlimited Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for 24 hours. Video-Lite also costs 1 MYR and is valid for 24 hours, and the following apps call under Video-Lite, which are referred to as Video Freedom Partners:
- Astro on the Go
- NJOI Now
- Twitch TV
- YouTube Gaming
- YouTube Kids
- Unifi playTV
Both Video-Lite and Social-Life can be activated by dialing *116*#2#.
Digi Bonus Pass
The Digi Bonus Pass is a simple 24-hour pass that comes with 2 GB and 1 GB bonus between 1 PM and 7 PM. Dial *116*#2# to activate this pass.
Those staying in Malaysia for more than a month can take advantage of Digi biGBonus, which are Digi’s Auto Renew Internet Plans. Besides data, you get unlimited local calls and can roll over up to 100 GB in your data bank. The following 4 monthly biGBonus Internet Plans are available, which can be activated by dialing *116*1#:
|Price||Data||Bonus Data (1 PM – 7 PM)||Unlimited calls?|
|28 MYR||4 GB||1 GB||Yes|
|35 MYR||8 GB||2 GB||Yes|
|50 MYR||9 GB||3 GB||Yes|
|70 MYR||14 GB||3 GB||Yes|
What Speeds Will I Get with Digi in Malaysia?
I did 3 speed test when in Malaysia: 2 in Kuala Lumpur (a restaurant and Pavillion mall on the 5th floor) and Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
These are decent speeds. Not extremely fast compared to some other operators around the world, but still fast for Malaysian standards. Even then, these speeds are fast enough for browsing the web without much lag. The same can be said for watching YouTube videos. I did not experience much buffering at all with Digi.
I do not know what happened to the upload speed at the airport, but that seemed to have been a one-off thing. Uploading photos on WhatsApp or on Instagram went smoothly with Digi.
Do I Recommend Digi to Travelers Visiting Malaysia?
I would recommend Digi to those traveling to Malaysia. I managed to get decent speeds with them, and the coverage was good. Even outside of Kuala Lumpur city but still close to Kuala Lumpur. Even then, Digi has a reputation for having good coverage throughout the country, so I bet those visiting rural Malaysia will not experience many coverage issues.
Getting a Digi SIM card was easy, and the SIM card price was meeting market standards. The packages Digi offers are straightforward and reasonably priced. You get your money’s worth, I would say.
Unlike some other operators in Malaysia, I could choose the package I want with Digi. Yes (real name of the operator), for example, could only sell me one of their expensive plans, which, compared to packages I have bought since I started this blog, was still cheap (unlimited data and SD video streaming), but I did not need unlimited data – 1 GB – 2 GB would be enough for testing purposes.
The same can be said for U Mobile. The store advertised plans that were nowhere to be found on the website (and were plans I had never heard off – and I had done my research before going to the U Mobile store). At least Digi was not trying to scam me like that.
One thing that surprised me that there was no Digi store or booth at Kuala Lumpur Terminal 1 (KLIA), which is where most tourist and travelers arrive when visiting Malaysia. It would make sense to have a booth or store there instead of KLIA2. Ah well, they probably have their reasons.
Overall, there is nothing I can complain about with Digi. My overall experience was pleasant, which is why they deserve their 5-star rating.
Best International SIM Cards for Malaysia
Getting a local SIM card is often the cheapest way to stay connected while traveling. Some travelers, however, prefer to buy international SIM cards so that they do not have to pay expensive roaming bills while being reachable on one phone number.
There are many international SIM cards out there covering Malaysia, but there are a few 4 I would recommend for Malaysia.
AIS Smart SIM Cards
For Malaysia, they only have 1 SIM card, called AIS Smart Traveler, which costs $20, comes with 6 GB, and is valid for 10 days. You cannot call or text with this SIM card, nor can you receive calls and SMS.
Besides Malaysia, the AIS Smart Traveler SIM card can be used in the following 24 destinations:
- Hong Kong
- South Korea
- Sri Lanka
Surfroam is my to-go international SIM card that acts as a bridge between me arriving in a new destination and before buying a local SIM card. Often, airport WIFI is slow (like at Kuala Lumpur International Airport), and the SIM cards offered at the airports are overpriced or the more expensive ones.
Surfroam is a data-only SIM card. You get a UK number (+44) and can receive SMS, but you cannot call or text. The SIM card will not expire as long as you top up once a year. The Surfroam SIM card is free, but you have to top-up at least €15 (or €20 for the eSIM variant) upon purchase, which is already incorporated into the buying price.
Depending on where you are, you pay a minimum of €0.01 per MB (or slightly more than €10 per GB), which is cheaper than data packages in various countries around the world.
In Malaysia, you will pay €0.02 per MB when using your Surfroam SIM card on the Maxis network.
Surfroam has agreements with operators in more than 200 destinations around the world, including Malaysia, which means that it will always have your back.
China Unicom Hong Kong SIM Cards
China Unicom is officially an operator from China, as the name implies. However, they have subsidiaries in both Hong Kong and Macau. This China Unicom SIM card, called Smart Traveler X, is issued by China Unicom Hong Kong, so you will not be subjected to the Great Firewall of China.
The Smart Travel X SIM card for Malaysia, which costs $23, comes with a +852 number (Hong Kong) and 4 GB for 12 days. You cannot call or text with this SIM card, nor can you receive calls and SMS.
Including Malaysia, the China Mobile Smart Travel X SIM card can be used in the following 14 destinations:
- Hong Kong
- the Philippines
- South Korea
TrueMove H Smart SIM Cards
TrueMove H is a Thai operator that is known for offering attractive international roaming packages for in the Asia Pacific region and for affordable international SIM cards, like their Smart SIM cards. These SIM cards come with a Thai number (+66) and in 2 variants:
|SIM Card||Price||Data||Calls||SMS||Coverage||Credit Validity|
|TrueMove H Smart Light||$20||10 GB||None||None||20 destinations||10 days|
|TrueMove H Smart Traveler +||$40||6 GB||None||None||55 destinations||15 days|
Besides not being able to call and text with these SIM cards, you also cannot receive calls or SMS. Additionally, once the SIM card has been activated (when you put it in your device), the SIM card will expire once the credit validity hits, meaning that you cannot top-up your TrueMove H SIM card.
You can use your Smart SIM cards in the following 60 destinations:
|Destination||TrueMove H Smart Light||TrueMove H Smart Traveler|
Best Mobile Hotspots for Malaysia
Mobile hotspots, also known as Pocket WIFI, are useful for those traveling to Malaysia as a group or family. Buying data packages for everyone can add up quickly, which is why mobile hotspots can be a good alternative.
Just like international SIM cards, many companies are offering mobile hotspots, but there are 3 companies I would recommend for Malaysia.
Travelwifi offers unlimited data with their Teppy Pocket WIFI device. You can rent Teppy from $7 a day, and browse the web in more than 130 destinations around the world.
Travelwifi also allows you to buy add-ons, such as calling and texting internationally or use in-flight WIFI.
Travelwifi has several tiers for Malaysia:
- Asia Adventure: $8/day – 1 GB per day
- Asia Escape: $10/day – 2 GB per day
- Asia Voyage: $12/day – 5 GB per day
Want to use Teppy throughout Asia? Then the following applies:
- World Voyage: $9/day: 1 GB per day
- World Escape: $12/day: 2 GB per day
- World Voyage: $13/day: 3 GB per day
The following 22 destinations, including Malaysia, fall under Travelwifi’s Asia definition:
- Hong Kong
- The Philippines
- South Korea
You can also buy Teppy for $150 (in red, blue, or green) and buy country or global passes when traveling.
Vision Global Wifi
Vision Global WIFI is another mobile hotspot provider that has a good reputation among travelers.
Vision Global hotspots cover more than 130 destinations around the world – Malaysia included. Their service comes in 3 variants:
- Unlimited 4G Basic: $6/day – 500 MB high-speed data per day, then unlimited normal speed
- Unlimited 4G Advanced: $7.90/day – 1 GB high-speed data per day, then unlimited normal speed
- Unlimited 4G Max: $14.90/day – Unlimited high-speed data every day
The prices drop if you plan on using a Vision Global device for more than two weeks.
Skyroam is a popular portable hotspot because they rent their Skyroam hotspot with unlimited data from $6 a day, and up to 10 devices can be connected to the hotspot. It works in more than 130 countries.
In Malaysia, you will pay $9 per day for unlimited high-speed data if you rent it, which is incredible.
Both devices offer fast and secure WIFI speeds and allow you to connect to 10 devices. The Solis X also has a remote camera, speaker, microphone, Bluetooth, and a Smart Assistant. Nice.
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 Malaysia
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 Malaysia. If you are not ready to take off yet, set up flight alerts with Airfarewatchdog, and they will notify you once ticket prices to Malaysia drop.
Book Your Accommodation for Malaysia
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 Malaysia. At least, that is how I see it. Moreover, Airbnb can often be much cheaper than staying in a Malaysian hotel.
Get Your Travel Insurance for Malaysia
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 Malaysia, 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 Malaysian Ringgit 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.
Enjoy your trip!