Buy ETL SIM Cards and eSIM for tourists in 2024

Let’s learn about information about ETL SIM cards and eSIM and great options for your trip to Laos.


Are you wondering which is better to use ETL SIM card or eSIM during your trip to Laos? Let us point out the benefits and their costs here.

I. Quick facts about ETL

ETL operates as the third largest telecom with a growing mobile division focused in major urban centers of Laos for now.


Here are some interesting information about this network operator:

  • Full Name: ETL Company Limited
  • Established: 1996
  • Ownership: ETL is fully owned and operated by the Laos government
  • Roaming: Partnership with other operators enables international incoming calls and limited data roaming in select country
  • Mobile phone: 2G, 3G, and 4G networks
  • Number of Subscribers: Over 3 million mobile subscribers in 2022
  • Customer Service: Beyond mobile, ETL provides fixed line telephony, FTTH broadband internet, business solutions, and education programs nationwide

II. Laos ETL Coverage and Speed in Laos

ETL has grown rapidly since 2010 to become one of the 4 mobile operators providing affordable mobile services in Laos. Its coverage is stronger in major cities, estimated at over 80% of Lao’s population with the third operator’s speed in this country.

1. ETL coverage in Laos

You can check out their coverage map below: 


According to this map, ETL provides nationwide 4G/LTE network that covers almost all major cities and towns in Laos, including Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Savannakhet, and Pakse. However, 5G network is currently unavailable now, and network coverage in rural areas may lack coverage compared to other mobile operators in Laos.

2. ETL speed in Laos

ETL Company Limited is an internet service provider that operates in Laos people’s Democratic Republic. Now it ranks in place 3 from 8 providers in Laos.

You can check the average result for ETL below:   


With download speed is 39.81 Mb/s and upload speed is 29.59 Mb/s, so common browsing, email, and social activities are well-supported on ETL’s average speeds. However, heavier streaming may encounter delays when leaving major city coverage zones. Speed and responsiveness also depend on the specific site or app.

Overall, ETL is a reliable option for staying connected in Laos, especially in populated areas.  While internet speeds might not be the fastest everywhere, you’ll be able to stay in touch and access information during your trip.

Tip: Download maps and essential apps like ride-hailing services or translation tools before your trip, especially if you're venturing outside the big cities. This way, you will have them even when your internet connection is limited.

III. What are the Best Connectivity Options of ETL for Travelers to Laos?

ETL  has got you covered with some nice ways to stay connected like SIM card, Pocket WiFi, and Roaming. You can check out these options:

SIM Card Budget-friendly (from $3 for 1GB)Weaker in remote areas
Allows local callsInternet speeds might not be fast
Pocket WiFiCan be shared with multiple devicesHigher rental cost than SIM
($25 in 30 days)
No SIM neededDevice needs to be returned
RoamingNo need to add a new SIM, but only your primary SIM onlyExpensive, data usage gets costly quickly

So you can see, in case you decide to connect to ETL network for your travel, SIM cards are the cheapest and most convenient option. It’s worth noting that the availability and pricing of these options may change over time.

Therefore, you should check directly with ETL or visit ETL’s official website for the most up-to-date information on SIM cards, pocket WiFi, and roaming services for tourists in Laos.

Note: You should check the SIM card validity to make sure the validity period of the chosen plan aligns with your trip duration.

IV. Best ETL SIM cards for Tourists and Cost

Nowadays, ETL offers several prepaid plans, providing tourist data-only SIM options like Eco, Happy Weekend, Enjoy Try Prepaid 4G, and Night Package. 

PackagesDataValidationPrice (KIP)Price ($)
Eco 1300 MB7 days3000$0.36
Eco 21.5 GB7 days5000$0.6
Enjoy Try Prepaid 4G1 GB + 100 Call Mins7 days10000$1.2
Night PackageUnlimited Data (1 AM – 5 AM)30 days5000$0.6
Happy Weekend1 GB7 days2000$0.24

Based on intended use, budget, and trip length, we recommend the Eco 2 or Happy Weekend packages as suitable options for most travelers to Laos. They provide enough data for most activities like looking up directions, translating languages, or watching videos without spending too much money. ETL also offers a Night Package suitable for travelers who need to use data at night.

V. Does ETL Laos support eSIM?

ETL also offers eSIMs for tourists who prefer a digital SIM card instead of a physical one. ETL’s eSIM plans are similar to its traditional SIM cards, but they require an eSIM-compatible device. You can check some of the best ETL eSIM packages: 

ETL eSIM 3 GB – 7 days3 GB7 days$16
ETL eSIM 5 GB – 14 days5 GB14 days$19
ETL eSIM 10 GB – 30 days10 GB30 days$26

Overall, the ETL network expanding but these plans offer flexibility for your choice. The ETL eSIM plans are tailored to different travel durations and budget needs. The 10 GB, valid for 30 days package offers the best value for long trips to Laos around 10 days.

VI. Where can you buy an ETL SIM card and eSIM?

Staying connected during your Laos adventure is essential. ETL, a leading mobile service provider, offers reliable SIM cards to help you stay in touch. Here’s a guide on where to find and buy ETL SIM cards.


1. Where to buy ETL SIM for Laos

  • Airports: Most major airports in Laos, including Wattay International Airport (Vientiane) and Luang Prabang International Airport, have designated counters selling ETL SIM cards. This is the most convenient option, allowing you to get a SIM card right after landing. 
  • ETL stores: Located in major towns and cities across Laos, these official stores offer a wider selection than airport stalls. You can choose different prepaid data plans, ask about promotions, and your some questions.
  • Convenience shops: Major convenience store chains like Mini Mart and 7-Eleven often stock basic ETL prepaid starter packs. These stores might have limited plan options compared to operator stores.

Note: If you need to change the physical size of your SIM card during your trip, most providers will charge a handling fee for the alteration. The exact fee varies between carriers, so it's important to check individual policies.

2. Where to buy Laos ETL eSIM

The best place to buy an ETL eSIM is to get it online and the best time is before your departure. Once you land, you can connect to the network immediately. ETL offers an online platform, where you can purchase its eSIM plans. You will need to provide your device’s IMEI number and other details to activate your eSIM.

Buying online saves the hassle of visiting stores. Just ensure you prepare your profile in advance. ETL provides 24/7 help to resolve any activation problems faced by international travelers. You can also buy it in ETL Stores, which has several physical stores across Laos so you can purchase its eSIM plans. You can find these stores in major cities like Vientiane and Luang Prabang.

Recommended Approach: For convenience, I recommend using an eSIM from eSIM provider. They allow you to quickly buy and activate the eSIM online just before your trip to Laos. This ensures you have cellular data set up right when you land.

VII. How to Use and Activate ETL Laos SIM/eSIM in Laos?

Once you have purchased your SIM card or eSIM, you will need to set up and activate it before using it. We will help you with how to use and activate them.

1. How to Use and Activate ETL SIM Cards in Laos?

To use your ETL SIM card, you need to follow these steps:

  • Insert your ETL SIM card into your mobile device
  • Turn on your mobile device and wait for the network to connect
  • Your ETL SIM card should now be activated and ready to use
  • You can then top up your ETL account by purchasing top-up cards or via the ETL mobile app.

2. How to Use and Activate ETL eSIM?

To set up and activate your ETL eSIM, follow these steps:

  • Purchase an ETL eSIM plan either online or at an ETL store
  • Follow the instructions provided by ETL to scan the QR code and activate your eSIM
  • Once activated, you can start using your ETL eSIM for calls, SMS, and data.

VIII. How to Top-up ETL Laos SIM/eSIM

To top-up your ETL account, you can buy top-up cards from convenience stores or mobile shops across Laos. Or, you can top-up your account via the ETL mobile app or by dialing *102# and following the instructions. 

Please check some of the top-up options available for ETL SIM cards:

Top-Up AmountPriceData AllowanceValidity
LAK 10,000 $1.101 GB7 Days
LAK 20,000$2.202 GB15 Days
LAK 50,000$5.506 GB30 Days

IX. Alternatives to Laos ETL

As mentioned above, ETL can be a good choice for tourists traveling within major cities or urban areas in Laos. But things are different when you want to learn deeply about rural or remote areas of this country. In this case, Unitel SIM Card and eSIM will be a better choice for you.

As the best network operator in Laos with the highest download and upload speeds, Unitel SIM card and eSIM will give you a better mobile network experience.

If your phone supports eSIM, purchasing an eSIM from Laos Unitel will help you reduce shipping costs and shipping time. Several online providers offer eSIMs that connect to the Unitel Network in Laos now, and Gigago is one of the best thanks to:

  • Diverse mobile packages
  • Price competitiveness
  • Quick support via WhatsApp/Facebook/Email
Laos eSIM for Tourists by Gigago

Gigago offers suitable plans for diverse requirements of tourists, which ensures stable and reliable Internet connection throughout the trip to Laos. It is highly recommended for those who are seeking a cost-effective connection. For Laos, Gigago offers multiple data plan options, starting from 15 GB for 10 days with $6.90 . What is great about Gigago’s Laos eSIM is that its plans’ costs are diversifying, varying between $6.90$12.90 . Thus, it does not matter how Internet users you are and how long your trip is in Laos, there is always an option for you with Gigago.

This is our Unitel Laos eSIM plans as alternatives for ETL SIMs:

Plan NameData AllowanceValidityPrice
Classic 1 Day500MB1 day$1.50
Weekly1.5GB7 days$5
Monthly Classic1.5GB30 days$15
3 Month Basic1.5GB90 days$35
6 Month Standard1.5GB180 days$60

You can also check some highly-rated eSIM plan options of Gigago, these flexible eSIM plans from Gigago provide very good value mobile connectivity options for travelers of all lengths of stay in Laos.

X. FAQs about ETL in Laos

1. Are prepaid mobile plans taxed in Laos?

A 10% VAT tax is applicable on prepaid mobile top-ups. Top-up amounts displayed include this tax amount.

2. Can I use my ETL SIM for tethering/ mobile hotspots?

Yes, ETL SIMs support tethering/hotspots to share your mobile internet connection with other devices. A mobile hotspot package may be required.

3. What should I do if I lose my ETL SIM card/ eSIM?

If you lose your physical SIM card, you will need to purchase a new one. If you lose your eSIM, you can contact ETL customer service to deactivate it and request a replacement.

XI. Conclusion

In conclusion, ETL offers decent coverage and speeds in Laos, making it a reliable option for tourists. Whether you choose an ETL physical SIM card or an eSIM, make sure to consider your data and call needs to find the most suitable option for your trip. Hope you enjoy your trip!