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Indonesian SIM Card, Guide to Buy, Register & Top Up

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Indonesian SIM Card
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Staying connected is an important thing when traveling in Indonesia. Buying the Indonesian SIM Card should become an option. It’s no longer enough relying on the hotel’s WiFi only. Especially since people can’t wait too long to post something on Instagram right away.

Social media aside. Having a reliable internet connection is also helpful to take advantage of the growing Indonesian online service. The transportation apps such as the uber-like Grab and Gojek. Will provide great help getting around the big cities, like Jakarta, Yogyakarta, and Bali.

How the Indonesian SIM Card Works

It might take some time to understand how it works in the telecommunication business in Indonesia. There are loads of providers offering a plethora of mobile products. The government regulation can be confusing too as 2018 marks several changes when it comes to SIM card registration.

Most Indonesian use prepaid SIM cards. Customers buy a certain amount of balance called “pulsa”. Which later can be used to call, send SMS, and browse the internet. Users can also use the balance to buy packages. A package can be a data package, a call package, and SMS packages. There are also packages with a combination of all three.

Indonesian SIM Card Price & Coverage

Buying a prepaid SIM card is very cheap in Indonesia. An empty Indonesian SIM card without any credits or data packages usually costs as cheap as IDR 10k. Many kiosks sell SIM cards with a pre-loaded data package. Prices vary depending on how much GB of data customers will get.

But in general, it’s super cheap by western standard. Tourists can get Indonesian SIM card with 10GB of data for less than IDR 100k. Coverage has been improving significantly in the past few years. Customers in big cities can enjoy the fast 4G LTE network. For the rest of the country, unless it’s a remote place, there’s always almost at least a 3G coverage.

Top 3 Indonesian SIM Card Provider To Choose

Telkomsel, the biggest mobile operator in Indonesia has the best coverage, especially in the outer islands. Telkomsel is the safe bet for tourists planning to go into remote destinations. Telkomsel’s most popular SIM Card is called SimPATI. Their price is the most expensive compared to other operators. The starter pack cost Rp10,000 and also available at Grapari, the official Telkomsel store.

Telkomsel Stater Pack
Telkomsel starter pack, Simpati sim card cost Rp10,000 available at the official kiosk Grapari.
Telkomsel Prepaid

SimPATI internet package 5 GB for 7 days is perfect for a short stay in Indonesia. Best value-for-money Telkomsel data packages.

Indonesian SIM Card Telkomsel Prepaid Package
SimPATI Best Deal Combo 12GB /30 days Rp99.000
SimPATI Internet 6,5 GB / 30 days Rp58.000
SimPATI Internet 5 GB / 7 days Rp49.000

Indosat Oreedo

Indosat is the second largest mobile operator in Indonesia. Their most popular SIM cards IM3 is cheaper than Telkomsel and the coverage is pretty good. Their LTE network is fast in big cities. Sometimes they also have good network strength in remote villages.

IM3 Ooredo
IM3 Ooredo starter pack offer free call credit to all operator.

Best value-for-money IM3 Ooredo data packages:

Indonesian SIM Card Indosat IM3 Internet Package
Freedom Internet 5 GB Rp65.000
Internet 9 GB Rp75.000
Unlimited L (4 GB 2G/3G/4G + 8 GB in 4G + 10GB night data + free data for popular apps + unlimited phone call) Rp110.000

XL

XL mobile providers offer decent coverage. Although their 4G network is often faster than Telkomsel in some cities, XL struggle in remote places, sometimes the signal is non-existing. XL price range is similar to Indosat. Tourists can pick this provider if planning to stay mainly in big cities.

XL Stater Pack
XL starter pack, internet data package also available for a day, week or monthly plan.

Best value-for-money XL data packages.

Indonesian SIM Card XL Internet Package
Xtra Combo 10 GB (10 GB+ 10 GB YouTube + 30 minutes calls) Rp89.000
Hotrod 3 GB Rp60.000
Hotrod 6 GB Rp100.000
Hotrod 8 GB Rp130.000

Where To Buy & Register Indonesian SIM Card

Some companies have official stores at airports. They usually offer tourists traveler packages instead of regular ones. Buying at airports is convenient if tourists don’t mind paying a more expensive price. However, avoid unofficial sellers at all cost. Selling tourists shady SIM cards a common airport scam.

Going to kiosks is the most popular way to buy the Indonesian SIM Card here. These small shops are scattered all over the corner in any of Indonesian city. They have plenty of options for Indonesian SIM cards and data packages. Prices are definitely cheaper than buying at airports.

Tourists can easily spot a kiosk by noticing a signboard. Usually located in front of the shop, with a list of data packages in GB and their respective prices. Getting an Indonesian SIM card here will require tourists to register.

Indomaret convenience store
Indomaret convenience store. Ask the cashier to top up the credit. It’s easy and cheap. Img; Wikicommons

Registration can be done at the kiosks when buying. After choosing which SIM card to buy. Hand the passport to the seller for registration purpose. Ask them to register it and the whole process takes only several minutes. Sometimes they even register it with their own ID to make it super fast.

Checking Balance & Buy Credit

Nowadays it’s easy to check how much balance a SIM card has. Almost every major operators have an app to help customers track balance and data usage.

Tourists can download the app on App Store or Google Play Store. Telkomsel has MyTelkomsel app, Indosat has MyIM3, and XL has myXL.

Customers can also buy packages from these apps. To make everything more convenient, most apps have an option for an English menu. The “traditional” non-app way to check the balance and buy packages is by dialing *888# for Telkomsel’s SimPATI, *123# for XL, and *363# for Indosat’s IM3. However, the dial menu comes only in Bahasa Indonesia.

Checking Credit Balance in Indonesian SIM Card
Telkomsel *888#
XL *123#
Indosat IM3 *363#

Top Up Credit

Buying credit for an Indonesian prepaid SIM card can be done in many ways. Apart from kiosks, popular minimarket chains such as Indomaret and Alfamart also selling phone credits. Denominations usually come in IDR 10k, 25k, 50k, and 100k value.

Alfamart convenience store
Another convenience store, Alfamart also accept customer top up their sim card credit. Img: wikicommons

Prepare to pay IDR 2k-3k more in addition to the balance value, this is how sellers make a profit. After buying, make sure to get a notification message from the operator informing that the credit has been successfully added.

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