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Arriving in the Philippines: The Best Prepaid Tourist Sim Card for 2024

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Imagine exploring the beautiful beaches, vibrant cities, and picturesque landscapes of the Philippines without the ability to stay connected with your loved ones or access essential travel information. Sounds quite challenging, right? That’s where a local SIM card comes to the rescue, saving you from exorbitant roaming charges and providing you with a cost-effective solution for staying connected.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through arriving in the Philippines the best prepaid tourist SIM card options for 2023, ensuring that you have a hassle-free and well-informed travel experience in the Philippines.

Short Summary

  • Choose the right prepaid SIM card for your trip to the Philippines from Smart Communications, Globe Telecom and Dito Telecommunity.
  • Buy a tourist SIM outside of airports for more cost-effective options with wider data packages.
  • Manage data usage and connectivity easily through network operator’s app or smartphone settings while enjoying free WiFi wherever possible.

Table of Contents

Choosing the Right SIM Card for Your Trip to the Philippines

Selecting the right Philippines SIM card for your trip to the is crucial for a hassle-free travel experience. Using a Philippines sim card is not only cost-effective compared to data roaming charges from your local provider, but it also allows you to enjoy internet access through GSM technology employed for mobile internet communications in the country. To use a tourist sim cards in the Philippines, ensure that your phone is unlock and the phone supports the frequencies used in the Philippines.

Upon arrival, you can acquire a sim card at the arrival areas of the airport like Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), Clark International Airport, Iloilo International Airport, Caticlan Airport (Godofredo Ramos Airport) or Kalibo International Airport. Alternatively, you can purchase a Philippines SIM card upon landing at your destination through various outlets like convenience stores or network provider stores.

Let’s dive deeper into the top Philippines sim card available for tourists in the Philippines, including options with a tourist sim card free of charge.

Top Prepaid SIM Cards for Tourists Arriving in the Philippines

When it comes to the top SIM card providers in the Philippines, Smart Telecommunity, Globe Telecom, and Dito Telecommunity lead the pack. Each provider offers different pricing and benefits, catering to a wide range of traveler needs emphasizing the wide LTE connection.

In the following subsections, we will compare the offerings of these top three providers, helping you make an informed decision on which Philippines sim card best suits your travel needs. Keep in mind that you can find these sim cards and providers in several international airports. Philippines’ travel sim cards are available at airports like Iloilo International Airport or Caticlan Airport (Godofredo Ramos Airport), you might want to consider to check convenient stores outside the airport selling traveler sims for cost-saving reasons.

With that said, let’s explore each provider in more detail.

Unlimited Data Plan in the Philippines

The Unlimited Data Plan in the Philippines is an excellent choice for those who require constant internet connectivity. This plan allows you to browse the internet, use GPS, share your experiences on social media, and stay connected with your loved ones without worrying about data exhaustion. Several local providers, such as Globe Telecom with their “GoSURF” plans and Smart Communications with their “Giga Surf” packages, offer these unlimited data plans. These plans provide high-speed internet coverage across the country, making them an excellent choice for tourists. However, it’s important to read the terms and conditions as some plans may have a fair usage policy.

Smart Communications

Smart Communications Promo

Smart Communications is a top choice for tourists seeking prepaid SIM card offerings, coverage, and data plans tailored to their travel requirements. As the highest-ranking network in the country, Smart ensures that you have access to the fastest mobile network in the Philippines.

A Smart Philippines SIM card costs 500 PHP ($9 USD). It offers 1 GB of data per day plus additional social media data for apps like YouTube, valid for 30 days. You can purchase a Smart SIM card at various airports, including Mactan–Cebu International Airport, and Manila Airport. You may also purchase Smart SIM card at any convenience store, mall, and pop store. Alternatively, for 100 PHP ($2), you can enjoy 1 GB of data per day plus additional data for social media, valid for 7 days. You may check your data usage and promos using their Gigalife app.

Smarts’ extensive coverage and attractive data plans make it a competitive choice for travelers looking to stay connected during their trip to the Philippines. However, it’s always a good idea to compare your options before making a decision.

Globe Telecommunity

As the leading provider of telephone services in the Philippines, Globe Telecom boasts a total of 97,4 million subscribers. Their globe prepaid sims, such as the Traveler SIM, provide up to 8 GB of data, unlimited calls and texts, unlimited all net texts and calls, and complimentary GInsure, making it an attractive option for travelers. Globe prepaid sim card offers two data packages for tourists: 8 GB data valid for 7 days for 100 PHP ($2) and 25 GB data valid for 14 days for 400 PHP ($7).

Their Go5G plans and Go plans are also attractive, providing combo bundles with data, minutes, and SMS. However, it’s important to note that Globe’s 5G NR coverage is not as extensive as Smart Philippines’. You can purchase a Globe sim card from Globe stores, resellers, and select airports, including Mactan–Cebu International Airport, Francisco Bangoy International Airport, and Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

Globe Philippines has a wide range of offerings and competitive pricing making it an appealing choice for tourists seeking reliable mobile connectivity during their visit to the Philippines.

Dito Telecommunity

DITO Telecom Promo

Dito Telecommunity is the latest telecommunications provider in the Philippines. Their SIM card is available for 49 PHP and includes 3 GB of data, unlimited on-net minutes, 100 off-net minutes, and unlimited local SMS, valid for 15 days.

While Dito Telecommunity has extensive coverage throughout the country, it is comparatively less extensive than that of the other top prepaid SIM card providers. Before opting for Dito Telecommunity, ensure that your device is compatible with their network and capable of supporting VoLTE in order to make calls. By doing so, you can avoid potential connectivity issues and enjoy a seamless mobile experience during your stay in the Philippines.

They has released a list of compatible mobile phone with their network services. You can buy a DITO SIM card for Php40, but ensure your device is compatible first. As a new provider, DITO is working with brands and agencies to expand device compatibility. The initial list includes local and international brands, with more to be added. Note that a DITO SIM only works with select VoLTE phones due to their next-gen technology. Also, check that DITO services are available in your area before purchasing a SIM.

Purchasing a Tourist SIM Card at Philippine Airports

simcard booth at the airport

If you prefer to purchase your SIM card immediately upon arrival, you can find prepaid SIM cards from providers like Globe and Smart at airports like Mactan International Airport. However, it’s important to note that buying a SIM card at the airport may come with higher costs and limited data promos compared to purchasing one outside the airport.

For a more cost-effective option, consider buying a local SIM card outside of the airport, at their retail partners nationwide locations such as malls, convenient stores, or street vendors. This way, you can save money and have more options for data packages to suit your specific needs.

Buying a Philippines SIM Card Outside the Airport

Purchasing a sim card outside the airport can be done at various outlets, such as convenience stores like 7-11, Family Mart, and Mini Stop, as well as network provider stores. By buying a SIM card outside the airport, you can enjoy more cost-effective options and a wider range of data bundles to choose from.

Before purchasing a SIM card, make sure to have your passport handy, as Filipino mobile operators require identification for eSIMs and physical SIM cards, effective 2023. This ensures a smooth purchasing process and keeps you connected as soon as you step foot in the Philippines.

Activating and Topping Up Your Prepaid SIM Card

Once you have your prepaid SIM card in hand, activating it is usually a straightforward process. Simply insert the SIM card into your phone and follow the instructions provided by the network operator. If you have a dual-sim phone, you can slot the Philippines SIM card next to your existing one and enjoy the benefits of both SIM cards during your travels.

To top up your Philippines prepaid SIM card, you can visit the network operator’s store, grocery stores, or corner shops across the Philippines. Additionally, you can recharge online with international debit and credit cards, making it convenient for travelers from other countries who may not have access to local currency.

When using multiple SIM cards, it’s essential to manage your mobile data usage wisely. Turn off mobile data for your original SIM card to avoid accidental data roaming charges, and rely on Wi-Fi when available.

By properly activating and topping up your prepaid SIM card, you can ensure a smooth mobile experience throughout your trip and stay connected with your loved ones back home.

Take note that when not in use, all Philippines sim cards, regardless of brand, will expire. Only the sim’s inclusions will expire on the specified dates, you’ll have to reload your Philippines prepaid sim card.

Managing Data Usage and Connectivity

While traveling in the Philippines, it’s essential to keep track of your mobile data usage to avoid unexpected charges. You can monitor your data usage by sending a text to a number provided by your network operator or by accessing their dedicated app. Additionally, you can check your data usage through your smartphone’s settings and set up notifications to alert you when you reach a certain data usage threshold.

If you happen to exhaust your current data allowance, don’t worry. You can easily top up your data through the network operator’s app, ensuring that you’re always connected and ready to share your unforgettable travel experiences. You may also view their online store to purchase data plan or bundles on the same price for your own convenience.

eSIM Options for Travelers in the Philippines

For those looking for a more convenient and modern solution, eSIM cards offer a digital alternative to traditional physical SIM cards. eSIM cards can be purchased from numerous international providers and activated upon arrival in the Philippines. Some eSIM providers available in the Philippines include Airalo, Holafly, Ubigi, Nomad, and MTX Connect, offering a variety of data packages to choose from.

Using an eSIM card not only saves you the hassle of physically swapping SIM cards, but also allows you to keep your existing mobile number active while enjoying the benefits of a local data plan. However, keep in mind that starting from 2023, Filipino mobile operators also require identification (passport) for eSIMs.

Exploring eSIM options can provide you with a seamless, hassle-free mobile experience during your trip to the Philippines, allowing you to focus on what truly matters – creating unforgettable memories in this beautiful archipelago.

Network Coverage and Internet Speeds

When choosing a prepaid SIM card, it’s important to consider network coverage and internet speeds. Globe has more extensive coverage than Smart in a larger number of locations in Luzon and Mindanao. However, Smart boasts the fastest mobile network in the Philippines, with a median mobile download speed of 24.07 Mbps.

Both Smart and Globe, as well as Dito, GOMO, TM, and TNT, offer 5G NR access, providing you with the latest in mobile internet technology. The Philippines’ median mobile download speed is estimated to be around 22 Mbps, ensuring smooth connectivity during your travels.

To make an informed decision, it’s advisable to consult with local people for guidance on which provider offers the best coverage and internet speeds in the areas you plan to visit. This way, you can stay connected and share your experiences with ease.

Tips for a Smooth Mobile Experience in the Philippines

To ensure a seamless mobile experience while traveling in the Philippines, it’s crucial to make the right choices when it comes to your SIM card and mobile data usage. Opting for a local SIM card from providers like Smart, Globe, or Dito can save you from high roaming charges and give you access to cost-effective data packages.

Switch off mobile data when not in use and rely on free wifi whenever available, as many public places like malls, cafes, and hotels offer access. This will help you save on mobile data costs and ensure a smooth internet experience throughout your trip.

By following these tips and selecting the right prepaid SIM card for your needs, you can stay connected to your loved ones and share your amazing travel experiences with ease, making your trip to the Philippines an unforgettable adventure.


In conclusion, staying connected while traveling in the Philippines is essential for a hassle-free and enjoyable trip. By choosing the right Philippines SIM cards from providers like Smart Telecom, Globe Telecom, or Dito Telecommunity, you can enjoy reliable mobile data and stay in touch with your loved ones. Additionally, exploring eSIM options and managing your mobile data usage wisely can further enhance your mobile experience during your visit to this stunning archipelago.

With the knowledge and tips shared in this guide, you’re now well-prepared to make an informed decision and embark on your unforgettable journey to the Philippines, capturing memories and sharing them with the world. Happy travels!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Yes, foreigners are able to buy a SIM card in the Philippines. This can be done at the arrival exit in Philippine airports, where there are vendors providing prepaid loads that come with the SIM card. Loads typically cost 500-1000 pesos.


If you are looking for a SIM card with unlimited data in the Philippines, Smart has an excellent plan that meets your needs. They offer their GigaSurf 999 Plan which provides 7GB of data, unlimited texts to all networks, and unlimited calls to Smart, TNT, and Sun. You may check your data usage and promos using their Gigalife app.

A prepaid SIM card in the Philippines is a great option for budget-minded travelers, as it offers more cost effective data plans than those available from local providers. Moreover, it provides access to all the features of GSM technology that are widely used in the country.

These features include access to the internet, text messaging, and voice calls. Additionally, prepaid SIM cards are easy to purchase and activate, making them a convenient option for travelers.

Overall, a prepaid SIM card in the Philippines is an investment.


With Smart Telecom, Globe Telecom and Dito Telecommunity leading the way, Filipinos have access to some of the best prepaid SIM card providers in the country.

These providers offer a variety of plans and services that can meet the needs of any user. From unlimited data plans to low-cost options, there is something for everyone.

The convenience of prepaid SIM cards makes them a great choice.

If you’re in the Philippines, you can easily purchase and activate a prepaid SIM card at airports, malls, grocery stores, or street vendors. All you need to do is insert your SIM card into your phone and follow the on-screen instructions from your network operator. In the end, you just need to insert the card in your unlocked phone and enjoy the services!


Free SIM card are often available at international airports in the arrivals area. Please be sure to look for booths or kiosks of local telecom providers. You may need to show your passport and give some basic information so you can register the SIM card.

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One Comment on Arriving in the Philippines: The Best Prepaid Tourist Sim Card for 2024

    July 3, 2024

    Very informative


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