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Faith Marindich

Travelled to 11 countries / regions

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I visited in late 2019

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Asia > Sri Lanka > Useful Info
Submitted on Nov 29, 2020 Useful Info

Guide on how to find the best prepaid sim cards in Sri Lanka

  • Using your home-country sim card to make international calls can be very expensive in Sri Lanka. To cut on these roaming costs, you’ll need a Sri Lankan prepaid sim card.
  • There are for telco service providers in Sri Lanka
  1. Airtel
  2. Dialog
  3. Hutch
  4. Mobitel
  • All these telco service providers have stalls at Bandaranaike international airport. These stores are arranged in a row as you exit baggage reclaim. It'll be more expensive to buy sim cards at the airport since they sell "tourist plans". Ask for a standard plan, if they don't seem to agree, just buy a sim card in town outlets instead.
  • Always carry your passport when registering for a new sim card in Sri Lanka. In some stores, they'll want to take a digital passport photo. Providing a recent passport photo also works if you're not comfortable with having a photo taken.
  • Coverage is relatively good in most areas, especially on the coast. Most towns are on 4G and 3G. Expect to disconnect severally in the mountains. Coverage is poor with only a slow 2G network available in most mountain areas.

Dialog

  • This is the large largest operator in Sri Lanka. It has the best network with 4G/LTE almost in all of Sri Lanka and 5G in the capital city of Colombo.
  • They offer free sim cards in all Sri Lankan airports.
  • Their standard packages start at Rs 150. Dialog also offers tourist plans but these start at Rs 1299 which is unnecessary for anyone who'll be in Sri Lanka for only a couple of days.

Mobitel

  • This is the second-largest operator in Sri Lanka.
  • It has 5G network with extremely fast internet speeds.
  • Their sim cards are available at Mobitel counters, leading stores, and supermarkets countryside for Rs 200-300.
  • On average Mobitel standard data costs Rs0.30 per Mb. This offers more value for money compared to their prepaid tourist pack sold at the airport for Rs 1999 for 40GB valid for one year.
  • Purchase credit through voucher cards available in outlets countrywide or online on their Mobitel website via Paypal.
  • Dial *100# to check your credit balance.

Hutch

  • Hutch is the third-largest telco service provider in Sri Lanka after Dialog and Mobicel. They have the lowest data rates and relatively good coverage countrywide. It's the best option for anyone who's visiting relatively urban places while in Sri Lanka and had heavy data needs.
  • Hutch gives free sim cards at all their stores

Airtel

  • Airtel is the smallest telco service provider in Sri Lanka and had the lowest data speed.
  • This is a brand of Bharti Airtel Lanka Limited.
  • Airtel prepaid sim cards can be obtained in any of the following stores countrywide:
  1. Airtel Store.
  2. Sewa Centre.
  3. Brand Shop.
  • Alternatively, you can purchase a sim card online.
  • They sell tourist sim cards at the airport with Rs 15 of talk time.