Reduce your roaming rates by using a local SIM.
If you’re planning a trip to Indonesia, a top tip for keeping down costs is to switch to a local SIM card. Take advantage of better tariffs, plans and deals to dramatically reduce your roaming rates. You can get 1GB of data from Indonesia’s top telco providers for about IDR40,000 ($3.80). So, whether you’re a short or long-term traveller, you can save money by comparing your SIM card options on finder.com.au.
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Telco providers in Indonesia
There are four main telco providers in Indonesia: Telkomsel, IM3 Ooredoo, 3 (Tri) and XL Axiata. Both locals and travelers use SIM cards from all four networks, and they can be trusted whatever plan you choose. According to OpenSignal’s coverage map, Indonesia has a strong or above-average network coverage along the shoreline and around the main cities. The signal can become weaker the further you head toward the unpopulated areas but this will happen on any SIM provider you use there.
About Indonesia’s operators
All four networks offer prepaid SIM cards and you can buy them from supermarkets, kiosks, drug stores and official stores as well as at the airport. 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE services are available on all networks for GSM phones. Locals call their SIM cards “SIM Kaa” and they must be registered before you can use them. Although passports don’t have to be shown for proof of identity, we advise you to take it along to be sure. Below, we have broken down each telco provider and exactly what they can offer you during your stay in Indonesia.
Telkomsel is Indonesia’s largest operator and is active in all provinces. It offers customers 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE services and Internet speeds are fast. Prepaid SIM cards can be purchased from official stores and approved resellers, plus SIM card vending machines, corner stores and supermarkets. Credit can also be purchased from the same retailers or you can upload credit online. SIM cards can be picked up for free but credit or plans must be added in order to use them.
They offer the following prepaid SIM card options: “SimPATI”, “Kartu As” or “Loop”. The base SIM cards can be purchased for IDR2,000 and top-ups can be added in the following denominations: IDR10,000, IDR20,000 and IDR50,000.
The following plans can be added to all prepaid SIM cards:
- Pulsa 777 national credit. Works in all provinces and the same amount of credit can be used anywhere in Indonesia.
- Pulsa 369 local credit. Credit topped up in certain provinces will only work within those provinces.
- Pulsa is a mixture of the above and sold in most supermarkets.
The following data add-ons can be added to the Pulsa 777 SIM cards:
There are also “Flash” SIM cards available for data-only options. Check the deals at time of purchase because SIM plans change from time-to-time.
Telekomsel’s APN: telkomsel, and website: http://www.telkomsel.com/
IM3 Ooredoo is Indonesia’s second largest provider and has great offers. It has some very good voice and data packages and is popular with Indonesians. 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE services are available and both network coverage and Internet speeds are good. Prepaid SIM cards can be purchased from official stores and approved resellers, corner stores and supermarkets Credit can also be purchased from the same retailers or online by using a credit card.
Prepaid SIM cards are called “Freedom Max.” and can be purchased for around IDR4,000. They come with 25MB of data but the following data packs can be added:
|30 days||1GB||2GB bonus||IDR40,000||Internet40k|
|30 days||2GB||3GB bonus||IDR60,000||Internet60k|
|30 days||3GB||5GB bonus||IDR80,000||Internet80k|
|30 days||5GB||8GB bonus||IDR130,000||Internet130k|
|30 days||8GB||10GB bonus||IDR160,000||Internet160k|
Text the activation code in the right-hand column to 363, or dial *123# to activate. Text “USAGE” to 363 to check data allowance.
Dial *123# and select your preferred plan to activate.
IM3’s APN: indosatgprs, and website: https://indosatooredoo.com
3 (Tri) is the third largest operator in Indonesia and offers some great promotions and deals. Signals are now much better and 3(Tri) offers customers 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE services. Prepaid SIM cards can be purchased from official stores or approved resellers and credit can be purchased from the same retailers, most corner stores, supermarkets and gas stations.
Prepaid SIM cards can be purchased for IDR2,000 which comes with the same amount of credit. Top-ups can be purchased in several denominations between IDR1,000 and IDR100,000.
The Bali prepaid SIM card costs IDR40,000, which triples your credit as a bonus and comes with 3GB data. The following data packs can also be added:
The following sumo data packs can also be added if you use the Internet a lot. Dial *123#: to activate these packs
- IDR150,000: 1GB daily for 14 days
- IDR250,000: 1GB daily for 30 days
Tri’s APN: 3gprs, and website: http://tri.co.id/en/
XL Axiata is the smallest provider in Indonesia but offers some of the best deals. It provides 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE services and speeds are relatively fast. Prepaid SIM cards can be picked up for varying amounts from official stores or approved resellers and credit can be purchased from the same retailers, most newsagents, supermarkets and gas stations.
The basic prepaid SIM card can be purchased for IDR5,000 which comes with 2MB of data. Credit can be added in the following denominations: IDR5,000, IDR10,000, IDR20,000 and IDR50,000. Enter *123*<voucher PIN># <call> to add credit amounts. The following data packs can also be added:
The following voice and data combo packs are also available:
XL’s APN: internet, and website: http://www.xl.co.id/en/home
Some top tips from finder.com.au staff:
- The official language is Indonesian but English is taught in most schools.
- Locals call a SIM card a “SIM Kaa” or “SIM”.
- Ask the sellers to set up the SIM cards for you because they will know how to do it. If not, follow the instructions we have highlighted above or go to the official operator website to get advice.
- We advise you to purchase your SIM card from official stores rather than through a street vendor.
- Get to the shops early to receive better assistance and to avoid the crowds.
TripAdvisor tips for the best SIM cards and where to buy them
While it’s well known for reviews, booking hotels, flights and holidays, TripAdvisor also has many user comments that can help guide you through what SIM cards have been tried and tested in Indonesia.
“You can get a Simpati card then once you have it you can buy data with the credit you have. It is very easy as you do it yourself on the phone and the rates are extremely cheap.”
“You can buy SIM cards at the airport. Should cost you around IDR2,000 including the data. Look for the telkomsel booth after customs and ask the seller to set everything up for you.”
“It doesn't matter what your phone is, there are only 3 types of SIMs, regular, nano and micro. Whoever is selling you the SIM will have some kind of clipper to cut it to fit your phone.”
Pros and cons of Indonesia’s top telco providers
- Good value for money
- Prepaid credit when required
- No in-store contract needed
- Could be compatible with your current phone
- Some areas can suffer from bad coverage
- No phone devices offered with the SIM card packages
- Can only be used on SIM-unlocked GSM phones
- Double check whether there are roaming charges when traveling to different provinces
Had more questions about Indonesia?
Q: What if I lose my phone?
A: Your phone is your lifeline, especially when traveling around Indonesia. Make sure you keep it safe and always make a note of where it is. The importance of having a direct link to family and friends via social media or through phone services can never be underestimated. If you do lose your phone, then retrace your steps and ask around. If you still have no luck then report it missing. Finally, find a cheap replacement to keep in touch with the outside world, and don’t let this one out of your sight!
Q: What about other providers in Indonesia?
A: There are two other MVNOs called Smarfren and Bolt, which are on 4G/LTE only. Check the latest options before purchasing your SIM card.