Internet and cellular communication in the Philippines

This article has been translated from Russian language using an artificial intelligence-based translation algorithm. We apologize for any inconvenience caused by the quality of the translation. You can read the original of this article in Russian here, and ask questions on the topic of our travel forum in English here.

Boracay Sunset, Philippines

Today it is difficult to imagine traveling without access to the Internet and without cellular communication, especially in such a difficult country as the Philippines. There are many islands and countless resorts, very confusing transportation and frequently changing weather conditions, which it is better to always be aware of. Therefore, we highly recommend that you be always in touch during any trip to the Philippines. We will tell you about all the possibilities:

Wi-Fi in public areas, airports and hotels

All hotels, guest houses, hostels, with rare exceptions, provide free Wi-Fi access. The network may not be very lame and not catch on the entire territory, but in general, in order to contact loved ones or find some important information, this is enough. But you can watch videos and movies only in rare Philippine hotels.

Cebu and Manila International airports have free Wi-Fi, which can be used to order a taxi to the hotel or to pass the time while waiting for a flight. But the signal quality is very poor, reception is limited only to individual zones inside the terminal. In other non-international airports in the Philippines, Wi-Fi is also found, but you may need a local SIM card to connect it.

Free Wi-Fi in public places, transport, cafes and restaurants is rare. More often there you can catch a paid Wi-Fi network from mobile operators, but for this, again, you will need a local SIM card, and even with a paid option connected. For example, GoWiFi Access is a network of more than 10,000 public access points from the Globe cellular company, but to connect to it you must have one of the paid packages that includes access to GoWiFi Access. Moreover, the amount of data received via Wi-Fi is also taken into account in the package, i.e. this is not an unlimited connection.

Roaming of a home operator

Roaming of a home operator is very expensive, so we advise you to consider this option with great caution, unless you are a dollar millionaire. As a maximum, roaming communication can be used in emergency cases, when you urgently need the Internet for one or two days or if you need to make an urgent call. Therefore, we will not dwell on this issue in detail, and if you are interested in this, then you can find all the information on the website of your mobile operator. But if you decide to deal with this issue, we advise you to look towards the Tele2 operator, they have the cheapest tariffs - from 350 rubles per day for 250 MB of traffic.

Nevertheless, in any case, we advise you to sort out the tariffs and special options of the home mobile operator at home and record commands to connect a packet of traffic or minutes via USSD requests, i.e. so that you can turn them on without Internet access if necessary. If this is not done, the billing will be in kilobytes and seconds, and very expensive. And do not forget to turn off the data transfer on your phone before you arrive in the Philippines, otherwise you may get into big unforeseen expenses.

Tourist SIM cards

The tourist SIM card DrimSim can be ordered at home. In terms of cost, it will be significantly more expensive than buying a local SIM card, but cheaper than roaming. But what is convenient is that you can use it on all your subsequent trips, and not just in the Philippines. The fee is charged based on the used traffic, there is no subscription fee. See the DrimSim tariffs for the Philippines here.

Choosing and buying a local SIM card

The cheapest option is to buy a Philippine SIM card. Then you can use the Internet at the same rates as the locals, and it's almost as cheap as at home. If necessary, you can make calls to local phones from a local card, which is convenient if you need to book hotels, transport, socializing with friends, etc., you can also make a call home. We will tell you about all the details, how and where to buy a local SIM card in the Philippines.

Buying a SIM card at an airport in the Philippines

There are two global operators operating in the country:

  • Globe cellular Operator logo
  • Smart Cellular Operator Logo

Also, these operators have branded Talk 'N Text (TnT), Touch Mobile and SUN Cellular operators, which operate under their own names, but in fact do not differ in any way from the parent operator except for the name and logo, and even their tariffs are the same in terms of prices and characteristics.

Which operator to choose depends solely on your preferences and the tariff suitable for you, which we will discuss below. And in terms of coverage area and quality of communication, they differ little.

To connect to the Philippine mobile operator, you have two options: buy a ready-made travel kit with a SIM card; or buy a local card yourself, replenish it and activate the services. The latter option costs at least two times cheaper than the finished package.

Ready-made travel kit with a local SIM card

  • There is no need to study confusing tariffs and activation methods, sellers will do everything for you.
  • You can buy without knowledge of a foreign language.
  • At least twice as expensive as self-purchase and activation.
  • There is a small selection of suggested options, and there are no cheap tariffs at all.
  • If you do not buy it at the airport, then it will not be easy to find such a tourist package in cities.
  • The validity period is short, so for long trips you may have to replenish it and activate the new package yourself.

You can buy a ready-made travel kit from Globe or Smart at international airports at the counters in the arrivals hall, and sometimes they are sold at hotels and points of sale in resorts. There is no difference in price, so if you decide to buy just such an option, you can safely do it at the airport of arrival, especially since it will not always be possible to find it in cities. The seller, upon request, will install a SIM card in your phone and set everything up, so that at the exit in 5 minutes you will receive a ready-made working device with Internet and a package of minutes. Your only concern will be to choose the operator and the appropriate package. Here are their characteristics and cost as of 2023:

Tourist SIM Cards in the Philippines
Name The cost of pesos /rub Tariff duration Volume of Internet traffic Calls and SMS
SMART Travel Sim Cards
7 days / 4 GB 349 / 6.25 USD 7 days 4 Gb Unlimited calls and SMS to local phones
15 days / 8 GB 699 / 12.52 USD 15 days 8 Gb Unlimited calls and SMS to local phones
30 days / 12 GB 999 / 17.9 USD 30 days 12 Gb Unlimited calls and SMS to local phones
30 days / 24 GB 1499 / 26.85 USD 30 days 24 Gb Unlimited calls and SMS to local phones
30 days / 36 GB 1999 / 35.81 USD 30 days 36 Gb Unlimited calls and SMS to local phones
GLOBE Traveler SIM Cards
7 days / 10 GB 300 / 5.37 USD 7 days 10 Gb Unlimited calls and SMS to local phones
15 days / 20 GB 500 / 8.96 USD 15 days 20 Gb Unlimited calls and SMS to local phones
30 days / 40 GB 1000 / 17.91 USD 30 days 40 GB Unlimited calls and SMS to local phones

As you can see, both operators almost do not differ in cost for the same duration of the package, and there is plenty of traffic both there and there, but still GLOBE tariffs are a little more profitable. All packages include unlimited calls and SMS to local operators, but there are no international calls, because they can easily be replaced by calls or video calls via instant messengers or social networks. If you certainly want to make a voice call home, then for this you will have to replenish the balance by a small amount and make calls with a minute-by-minute payment, the cost of a minute will be from $ 0.4

The cost of tariffs may change over time, you can check it yourself on the operator's websites:

Purchase of a prepaid (prepaid) SIM card

  • The price is significantly lower than when buying a tourist SIM card or a ready-made travel package.
  • A huge list of tariffs and options from which you can choose for any needs.
  • The card can be purchased and replenished anywhere, not just at the airport.
  • The validity period of the package is long and there is even an unlimited validity period.
  • There are free gift bonuses for promotions, they are called Freebies.
  • To deal with the purchase, activation and configuration, it takes time and knowledge of English.

A prepaid SIM card is a regular SIM card with a paid balance, which is used, among other things, by local residents. There are no restrictions on their sale to foreigners and tourists, so you can safely buy them at any local store or mobile phone stores, and use them at your discretion. Here's the most important thing you need to know about it:

  • The SIM card is not issued for free, you need to buy it for about 40 pesos / 0.72 USD
  • When buying, do not expect the seller to tell you everything and set it up. If you are not ready to figure out the choice and activation of the tariff yourself, it is better to buy a tourist SIM card (see above).
  • After the purchase, there is no money on the card, it needs to be replenished, which can be done in the same communication salons or in a store, or online from a bank card (but not from the Mir card, of course). However, it is not always possible to replenish the account with the amount you need in the salons, usually the replenishment amount is a multiple of 100 pesos. Therefore, it is better to select the desired tariff (package) in advance and calculate the amount of replenishment. We tell you more about tariffs (packages) below.
  • After purchasing the card, you will be able to take advantage of free welcome promotions, they are called Freebies. It can be a small free Internet package or minutes, free access to social networks, etc. Freebies change often, because these are promotions, so find out about them on the website or in the operator's application. To use them, they will first have to be activated.
  • Immediately after replenishment, the card will start working, but the cost of calls and the Internet will be debited minute by minute and by megabytes, which is very expensive. Therefore, it is better to first activate the package of Internet and minutes you need, and only then start using it.
  • You can activate the tariff (package), including Freebies, through USSD requests, but for this you need to study them in advance on the operator's website or in the instructions for the card. But it is easier and more convenient to do this through the operator's applications. You can pre-install the Globe or Smart app at home, buy a map on the spot, install it in your phone, and then select and enable everything you need in the application menu. We advise you to at least briefly familiarize yourself with the description and cost of the packages in order to determine how much to initially top up the card.
  • Some packages include minutes, SMS and the Internet, and some only the Internet. In the latter case, calls and SMS will be charged per minute/piece. It's not very expensive, from 7 pesos per minute, but for this, after activating the package and debiting the cost, there should be at least some money left on the card account. Keep this in mind when adding funds and choosing a tariff.
  • You can connect several packages or options at once if you are missing something in one package.
  • Some Globe packages also include megabytes of Wi-Fi. These are megabytes in the GoWiFi Access network from Wi-Fi access points in public places. This access is not unlimited, and, to be honest, it is not particularly useful for travelers, since it is present mainly in large cities and transport.
  • It doesn't matter which of the two global operators you choose. Since their tariffs are very diverse and the choice is huge, you will find something suitable for your needs and price from anyone.
  • In addition to Globe and Smart, there are also Talk 'N Text (TnT), Touch Mobile and SUN Cellular SIM cards. But in fact, these are Globe and Smart subsidiaries absorbed or created under an additional brand, and not independent operators. You can also buy their SIM cards, their tariffs fully correspond to the "parent" ones. But it will be more difficult to deal with them, since they are more focused on local residents, and not all of them even have English-language websites.

And now as for directly prepaid (prepaid) tariffs. There are a huge number of them, but, unfortunately, operators on their websites present their descriptions in a colorful advertising format with pictures and even videos, and there are no simple convenient tables for comparison. It will take a lot of climbing through the sections of these sites to figure everything out. It is more convenient to do this on a desktop (personal computer), and not on a mobile, since the sites are adapted, but it is extremely inconvenient to find all the necessary information when viewing on a smartphone.

We have collected the most popular tariffs in the table below as of 2023, so that you can first compare and decide at least with the operator and the starting amount on the account. But once again, the most convenient way is to install applications of one or both operators at home, buy a SIM card on the spot, and connect everything you need in the application in a convenient format.

Prepaid (prepaid) SIM card rates in the Philippines
Name The cost of pesos /rub Tariff duration Volume of Internet traffic Calls and SMS Features
SMART operator rates
PowerAll99 99 / 1.77 USD 7 days 8 Gb Only unlimited SMS to local phones Unlimited access to TikTok
PowerAll149 149 / 2.67 USD 7 days 12 Gb Unlimited calls and SMS to local phones Unlimited access to TikTok
PowerAll149 149 / 2.67 USD 7 days 12 Gb Unlimited calls and SMS to local phones Unlimited access to TikTok
AllData50 50 / 0.9 USD 3 days 2 Gb - -
AllData99 99 / 1.77 USD 7 days 6 Gb - -
AllData299 299 / 5.36 USD 30 days 24 Gb - -
AllData399 399 / 7.15 USD 30 days 36 Gb - -
AllData499 499 / 8.94 USD 30 days 40 GB - -
AllData+75 75 / 1.34 USD 3 days 2 Gb Unlimited calls and SMS to local phones -
AllData+149 149 / 2.67 USD 7 days 6 Gb Unlimited calls and SMS to local phones -
AllData+499 499 / 8.94 USD 30 days 24 Gb Unlimited calls and SMS to local phones -
AllData+599 599 / 10.73 USD 30 days 36 Gb Unlimited calls and SMS to local phones -
AllData+699 699 / 12.52 USD 30 days 48 GB Unlimited calls and SMS to local phones -
MagicData99 99 / 1.77 USD Unlimited 2 Gb - -
MagicData 199 / 3.56 USD Unlimited 6 Gb - -
MagicData399 399 / 7.15 USD Unlimited 24 Gb - -
MagicData499 499 / 8.94 USD Unlimited 36 Gb - -
MagicData599 599 / 10.73 USD Unlimited 48 GB - -
AllNet30 30 / 0.54 USD 1 day 100 Mb Unlimited calls and SMS to local phones -
AllNet50 50 / 0.9 USD 3 days 500 Mb Unlimited calls and SMS to local phones -
AllNet99 99 / 1.77 USD 7 days 1 Gb Unlimited calls and SMS to local phones -
AllNet299 299 / 5.36 USD 30 days 2 Gb Unlimited calls and SMS to local phones -
AllNet499 499 / 8.94 USD 60 days 4 Gb Unlimited calls and SMS to local phones -
AllNet599 599 / 10.73 USD 90 days 6 Gb Unlimited calls and SMS to local phones -
GigaPower75 75 / 1.34 USD 3 days 8 Gb - The volume is distributed in 2 GB for each day + 2 GB above that for all the time
GigaPower149 149 / 2.67 USD 7 days 20 Gb - The volume is distributed in 2 GB for each day + 6 GB above that for all the time
GigaPower499 499 / 8.94 USD 30 days 84 Gb - The volume is distributed in 2 GB for each day + 24 GB above that for all the time
GigaPower+99 99 / 1.77 USD 3 days 8 Gb Unlimited calls and SMS to local phones The volume is distributed in 2 GB for each day + 2 GB above that for all the time
GigaPower+199 199 / 3.56 USD 7 days 20 Gb Unlimited calls and SMS to local phones The volume is distributed in 2 GB for each day + 6 GB above that for all the time
GigaPower+699 699 / 12.52 USD 30 days 84 Gb Unlimited calls and SMS to local phones The volume is distributed in 2 GB for each day + 24 GB above that for all the time
GLOBE operator rates
Go50 50 / 0.9 USD 3 days 5 Gb Only unlimited SMS to local phones Additionally, 1GB is included in the GoWiFi network
Go75 75 / 1.34 USD 3 days 5 Gb Unlimited calls and SMS to local phones -
Go90 90 / 1.61 USD 7 days 8 Gb Only unlimited SMS to local phones Additionally, 1GB is included in the GoWiFi network
Go120 120 / 2.15 USD 7 days 10 Gb Unlimited calls only to Globe and TM, and SMS to local phones Additionally, 2GB is included in the GoWiFi network
Go140 140 / 2.51 USD 7 days 11 Gb Unlimited calls and SMS to local phones Additionally, 2GB is included in the GoWiFi network
Go250 250 / 4.48 USD 15 days 15 Gb - -
Go400 400 / 7.17 USD 15 days 25 Gb - -
GoPlus99 99 / 1.77 USD 7 days 8 Gb Only unlimited SMS to local phones Free 8Gb daily traffic to Go series applications* for shopping, delivery, etc.
GoPlus129 129 / 2.31 USD 7 days 10 Gb Unlimited calls only to Globe and TM, and SMS to local phones Free 8Gb daily traffic to Go series applications* for shopping, delivery, etc.
GoPlus149 149 / 2.31 USD 7 days 12 Gb Unlimited calls and SMS to local phones Free 8Gb daily traffic to Go series applications* for shopping, delivery, etc.
GoPlus250 250 / 4.48 USD 15 days 15 Gb - Free 8GB traffic to Go series applications* for shopping, delivery, etc.
GoPlus400 400 / 7.17 USD 15 days 25 Gb - Free 8Gb daily traffic to Go series applications* for shopping, delivery, etc.
GoSakto70 70 / 1.25 USD 7 days 1 Gb Only unlimited SMS to local phones Free 1Gb traffic daily to the Go* series applications and 1GB on the GoWiFi network.
GoSakto90 90 / 1.61 USD 7 days 2 Gb Only unlimited SMS to local phones Free 1Gb traffic daily to the Go* series applications and 1GB on the GoWiFi network.
GoSakto120 120 / 2.15 USD 7 days 3 Gb Unlimited calls only to Globe and TM, and SMS to local phones Free 1Gb traffic daily to the Go* series applications and 2GB on the GoWiFi network.
GoSakto140 140 / 2.51 USD 7 days 4 Gb Unlimited calls only to Globe and TM, and SMS to local phones Free 1Gb traffic daily to the Go* series applications and 2GB on the GoWiFi network.
GoSurf15 15 / 0.27 USD 3 days 100 Mb - -
GoSurf50 50 / 0.9 USD 3 days 2 Gb Only unlimited SMS to local phones Free 1Gb traffic daily to the Go* series applications and 1GB on the GoWiFi network.
GoSurf299 299 / 5.36 USD 30 days 2 Gb - Free 10Gb traffic daily to the Go* series applications and 1GB on the GoWiFi network.
GoSurf599 599 / 10.73 USD 30 days 5 Gb - Free 10Gb traffic daily to the Go* series applications and 1GB on the GoWiFi network.
GoSurf999 999 / 17.9 USD 30 days 10 Gb - Free 10Gb traffic daily to the Go* series applications and 1GB on the GoWiFi network.
GoSurf1299 1299 / 23.27 USD 30 days 15 Gb - Free 10Gb traffic daily to the Go* series applications and 1GB on the GoWiFi network.
GoUnli20 20 / 0.36 USD 1 day 50 Mb Unlimited calls and SMS to local phones -
GoUnli30 30 / 0.54 USD 2 days 100 Mb Unlimited calls and SMS to local phones -
GoUnli50 50 / 0.9 USD 2 days 500 Mb Unlimited calls and SMS to local phones -
GoUnli95 95 / 1.7 USD 7 days 1 Gb Unlimited calls and SMS to local phones -
GoUnli180 180 / 3.22 USD 15 days 2 Gb Unlimited calls and SMS to local phones -
GoUnli350 350 / 6.27 USD 30 days 3 Gb Unlimited calls and SMS to local phones -
Surf4All99 99 / 1.77 USD 7 days 9 Gb - A special tariff for sharing the Internet with other users, allows you to save up to 4 subscribers when traveling in a group
Surf4Al249 249 / 4.46 USD 7 days 20 Gb - A special tariff for sharing the Internet with other users, allows you to save up to 4 subscribers when traveling in a group

*Applications of the Go series is a very cool "feature" for tourists. These applications include, among other things: Grab (the local equivalent of Uber), social networks, and the use of Google maps. Learn more about these apps Here.

The cost of tariffs may change over time, you can check them yourself on the operator's websites:

Отзывы и комментарии

5 / 14 голосов

Мы будем очень благодарны, если вы оцените это место или оставите свой отзыв

👍 👎 😄 😁 😞 😠 🌏 💩
   ★★★★★
Куда поехать на Филиппины в первый раз?
Нужны ли права категории «А» для аренды мотобайка?
Можно ли поменять рубли?
У меня просрочен сертификат о прививке, будут ли проблемы?
Заходите по ссылке, все эти вопросы обсуждают здесь - https://t.me/philippines_travel_chat
  
💥 Спасибо, полезная ссылка 😊!
   ★★★★★
Отличная статья! Все доступно и понятно. Обязательно воспользуюсь вашими советами. 👍
  
Спасибо за оценку. Все написано из своего опыта!
   ★★★★★
Подскажите, какую сим-карту лучше выбрать для интернета, у какой прием лучше?
  
Речь, видимо, не про сим-карту, а про оператора. Принципиальной разницы нет, мощности и зона покрытия у двух главных операторов примерно одинаковые. В стране сложный рельеф, горы и острова, так что никогда не угадаешь, какой и где будет лучше ловить, но обычно проблема плохого сигнала решается тем, что нужно просто переместиться немного в другое место, и начинает ловить лучше. Но однозначно можно сказать, что не стоит брать нового оператора Dito. Про него у нас не написано, он относительно новый, и по отзывам работает гораздо хуже Смарта и Глоуб, хотя и тарифы у Dito куда интереснее.
   ★★★★★
То что нужно 👍👍👍
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