Need DATA coverage in Sri Lanka? A guide for tourists on getting the right SIM card and what it costs in Ceylon

Need DATA coverage in Sri Lanka? A guide for tourists on  getting the right SIM card and what it costs in Ceylon

When coming to a foreign country especially for longer period of time to explore, we used to miss out on sharing the moments on social media because of the lack of the internet. Roaming would cost a fortune, we could only rely on the wi-fi of the places we rented, and just until recent years we started exploring other options. That is where we found eSIM (to keep our current number and receive important notices if needed and our phones support only one physical SIM card) and local SIM cards that became vastly available for tourists. We did it in Mexico, Guatemala, Lithuania and currently doing it in Sri Lanka, and I have to say – very successfully.

How to use eSIM and SIM card at the same time?

If you have a phone that only has a slot for one SIM card- you can arrange with your provider to make it an eSIM so you would always have the ~slot available for a physical SIM card to use together. In Europe, there are a lot of phones on the market that have slots for 2 SIM cards, for this reason- so you may not even need to get an eSIM. Once you have 2 physical SIM cards or an eSIM and a physical card in your phone, you have to adjust the data usage settings- adjust it so the phone would be using the data from the foreign country’s network. Enable wi-fi calling on your primary number. This way you will not be using roaming at any point and will not incur any astronomical charges from the primary provider.

What is the best network to use in Sri Lanka?

There are three major cellular providers in Sri Lanka- Hutch, Airtel and Dialog. I did a lot of research what to get, asked locals once we landed – and all of them said to get Dialog. So we did. Dialog is so far the biggest and most reliable network and GSM provider in Sri Lanka.

Where to get a SIM card in Sri Lanka?

Do NOT get it at the airport. It seems that they are scamming tourists with this one: they charge just for a physical SIM card in between 2000-6000 rupees while it is free everywhere else, you just need to pay for your DATA plan you choose. SIM cards, especially Dialog ones, are widely available even in a small shops, but it is best to get at the Dialog network store or service agent store, that are also widely spread. It is best to do so in Colombo, after landing, you will only need your passport to get the SIM card and get it activated. It starts working within 30- 60 minutes after activation.

How much DATA plans cost for 30 days?

There are various plans to choose from, but the most popular ones are:

10 GB- 695 Rs (a little over 2$ US)

15 GB- 995 Rs ( ~3.11$ US )

20 GB – 1195 Rs (~3.68 $ US)

30 GB – 1595 Rs (~ 4.92 $ US)

50 GB – 1995 Rs (~ 6.15$ US)

100 GB – 2995 Rs (~9.24 $ US)

We chose 50 GB plan for our work requirements and it is more than enough.

Here is a link to their official website and their rates for the Data plans: DIALOG

While traveling in Sri Lanka, this network has a great coverage- even in the mountain region, beach, and everywhere on the roads. We heavily rely on the GPS to get off of the beaten path and it worked out for us brilliantly.

Hope this guide is of value for your travels in Sri Lanka!

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