A. Local SIM Card
Local SIM cards are very affordable and can be used as long as you have an unlocked phone.
Mobile phone shops that sell SIM cards can be found in most of the main touristic areas, however, they should not charge more than IDR 200,000, and even then it would be a good deal for them see “Real Price” below. To find the one nearest to you, best ask the staff at the reception or in your villa. They usually know. Shops are easily recognized by the logo and big banner of the provider. From the 100,000 you purchase 30days 5GB package for IDR 70,000-90,000, leaves you with IDR 10,000 for calling and sms (most likely no need, if you use WhatsApp and Skype) If a street vendor asks IDR 450,000 for an internet package, he is overcharging you heavily.
Indonesia has a mindboggling amount of providers you can choose from; each offers prepaid packages at different prices and features (which can be confusing even for Indonesians themselves).
Below we have listed the two most popular providers:
Telkomsel’s most popular SIM card is called simPATI and although slightly more expensive than SIM cards from other providers, it is currently said to offer the fastest internet speed. Other SIM cards from Telkomsel are called Kartu As and Kartu Halo. simPATI Flash is the name for the prepaid internet packages. A 4 GB quota package starts at 7 USD, a 8 GB package is about 15-20 USD and there is even a 14 GB package.
- XL Axiata
XL’s most popular SIM card is called ‘XL Baru’. It provides cheap domestic calls combined with internet access. The prepaid internet package called Kartu Perdana Super Hot Rod 4G is the latest and most popular package and starts at 8 USD for a quota at 4 GB. XL also offers a 8 GB quota for around 16 USD. Coverage Telkomsel is considered the most stable and widest signal coverage provider. XL is a bit limited in areas such as Ubud. It is stronger in the Denpasar and Badung area. Internet coverage is not the same as your old-fashioned phone coverage. 3G internet is available in the more populated areas but can drop to the slower GPRS or even Edge in remote areas
B. Prepaid data packages
As a visitor, getting a prepaid local SIM Card will be your best option to stay connected. The credits are called “Pulsa”. The money you put on the card will be used for for Calling and Text messaging. And, for buying internet packages. The card will need to be topped up when you run out. Pulsa is easily bought (topped up) at all the small and big supermarkets and the small phone shops that can regularly be found in the tourism areas.
C. Free Wi-Fi
Free WiFi You may not feel the need to buy a SIM card as most hotels, restaurants and cafés offer free WiFi access. Do not expect a superfast internet connection, as you will be sharing access with all the other customers, however it will be good enough to keep family and friends updated. Some mini markets offer free WiFi to their customers. They are easy to recognize by the table and chairs placed outside and filled with mostly local people glued to their mobile phones. When booking your accommodation you might want to make sure your hotel provides free WiFi in your room, as some only provide access in common areas like the lobby or the restaurant.