SIM CARDS & INTERNET
How to stay connected in Bali
Whether you come to Bali for pleasure or business. Staying connected to the Internet and being able to use all the excellent communication tools that accompany it is a basic necessity for many travelers. Keeping in touch with friends, booking a flight, villa, hotel, rental car, activity, visiting the restaurants around you, browsing maps, everything can be done online with your smartphone or laptop, and makes your Life is a Traveler in Bali much easier.
Although you can’t expect a super-fast Internet connection everywhere, the infrastructure, coverage, and service have vastly improved over the years. A 3G network is available in most areas if it is not too remote.
However, since April 2018, the regulations have changed and you must register with your passport if you want to buy a SIMCARD.
Local sim cards with an internet connection
Unless you are planning to move to Bali, getting a prepaid local SIM card will be your best option. SIM cards in Bali are very affordable. It is no longer necessary to pay a crazy amount of money for roaming. For US$ 20 you can be online for 30 days with a 4GB package. Local SIM cards can be used as long as you have an unlocked phone. The seller needs to take the details and the name of your passport and then usually register the new SIM card online for you. This will take time between 2 – 24 hours.
Where to buy prepaid SIM cards in Bali
You will usually find a booth at the airport as soon as you leave the airport building. If you don’t need an internet connection quickly, you may want to wait as prices can be significantly higher here. Mobile phone shops that sell SIM cards are located in the main tourist streets. However, if you are ready to walk on a less touristy street, you can find the best prices in small open shops, which are easily recognizable by the logo and the large sign of the provider.
If you are traveling to more remote areas or to the smaller islands around Bali, we recommend ordering your SIM card before you go there.
Prepaid cards & internet package – how it works
You must register with your ID or passport when buying a prepaid SIM card. The process is very simple. Many Balinese people only use prepaid cards, so the entire prepaid SIM card infrastructure, availability, affordability, top-up services, and pricing are great.
How it works:
You buy a SIM card from a retailer or a SIM card booth (see below) that comes with your new local phone number. He/she helps you to cut the SIM card into the right size for your phone and to activate the card online. Depending on the provider, they offer you a package or simply ask how much money you would like to deposit. The deposit is called PULSA
Which package to get
There are so many Internet packages and special offers, depending on the season and provider. Because WhatsApp, Facetime, and Skype are mainly used for communication instead of normal phone calls, they use a lot more internet quota than email and text messages. It might make more sense to buy 1-month “Flash” packages with internet access for around $ 10, which gives you enough GB to do whatever you need.
You buy a card for Rp. 50,000-70,000
You add Rp. 130,000 PULSA
You buy a 30-day package with 4 to 12 GB for Rp. 70-120,000
Main provider of SIM cards
Indonesia has an incredible number of providers to choose from. Each offers prepaid packages at different prices and features (which can be confusing even for Indonesians). As in your home country, the prices for these packages change frequently, and understanding the pricing policies of telecommunications companies is as difficult as building a space rocket.
Below we have listed the two most popular providers:
The most popular SIM card from Telkomsel is called simPATI and is a little more expensive than SIM cards from other providers, but is currently said to offer the highest Internet speed. Other SIM cards from Telkomsel are Kartu As and Kartu Halo and Loop. SsimPati Flash is the name for the prepaid internet packages. A 4 GB quota package starts at $ 7, an 8 GB package costs $ 12. Telkomsel can provide 4G LTE and 3G connections, but of course not everywhere.
The most popular XL SIM card is called “XL Baru”. It offers cheap domestic calls in combination with internet access. The prepaid internet package called Kartu Perdana Super Hot Rod 4G is the newest and most popular package and starts at $ 8 for a 4 GB quota. XL also offers an 8 GB quota for around $ 16.
Telkomsel is considered the most stable and widest signal coverage provider. XL is somewhat limited in areas such as Ubud, etc., but more severe in Denpasar and Badung areas.
Internet coverage is not the same as your old-fashioned call coverage. 3G Internet is available in the more populous areas but may fall on the slower GPRS or even Edge in remote areas
How To Top-up The Pulsa
As soon as your deposit is used up or you have used up your entire GB from your internet package, you have to buy more PULSA. You will usually receive a text message before going out so you are not too surprised.
Most 24-hour shops in the streets of Bali (Indomaret, Alphamart, Circle-K, M-Mart, etc.) offer this service. Some of them don’t even charge for it. You can also buy Pulsa in the same shops and kiosks where you can get the SIM cards. The convenience stores do not sell SIM cards.
Just give the seller your number and the amount you want to load. Remember that there is a small fee of 1,000 to 3,000 rupiah for this service.
After the seller has charged the Pulsa, you should immediately receive an SMS on your phone confirming the purchase. Make sure the amount shown is what you pay for. Do not leave the place until you have received the confirmation SMS.
You may not need to buy a prepaid SIM card as most hotels, restaurants, and cafes offer free Wi-Fi access. Don’t expect superfast internet as you share access with all other customers, but it’s good enough to keep family and friends up to date.
Some mini markets offer their customers free WiFi. They are easily recognized by the table and chairs that are outside and filled with people glued to their cell phones.
When booking your accommodation, make sure your hotel offers free WiFi in your room, as some only have access to public areas such as the lobby or restaurant.
Do not expect large files to be processed or streaming services to be used. Even YouTube can be very slow at times. The quality of Wi-Fi in hotels and restaurants is not standardized. Some 5-star hotels offer a worse connection than a 3-star hotel next door.