How to buy a SIM Card at Katunayake Airport (Bandaranaike) 2024: Best Plans + Updated Price

If you are planning to visit Sri Lanka and arrive at Bandaranaike International Airport, it is a wise idea to consider purchasing a SIM card. Buying a SIM Card at Katunayake Airport (Bandaranaike) (CMB) is a convenient process.

In this guide, we will explore where and how to purchase a SIM card for Sri Lanka at this airport, provide information on the best plans and current prices, and present the optimal option for a smooth and cost-effective trip.

I. Can I Buy a SIM Card at Katunayake Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB)?

Definitely! Many international visitors to Sri Lanka opt to obtain a Sri Lanka SIM card at Bandaranaike International Airport for immediate internet access upon arrival. 

When buying a Sri Lanka SIM Card in this airport, travelers can have the convenience of instantly having internet access. It means that they can save much time for searching mobile stores outside Bandaranaike International airport. 

However, you need to know that prices of Sri Lanka SIM Cards may be higher than those sold at city centers. Besides, many operators provide limited plan options in Sri Lanka Airports. 

► Our Recommendations:

  • For immediate internet access upon landing at Bandaranaike Airport, purchase a SIM card at the airport.
  • For the best value and rates, travel to the city center to buy a Sri Lanka SIM Card.

II. Where to Buy a SIM Card at Bandaranaike International Airport?

Purchasing a SIM card at  Bandaranaike International Airport is a straightforward process, offering you two options:

  • Online Purchase 
  •  Buying at Bandaranaike International Airport

1. Online Purchase 

Several operators allow you to buy a SIM card through their official websites prior to your departure for Sri Lanka. Upon arrival in Katunayake, you can conveniently collect your pre-purchased SIM card, ensuring immediate internet access.

Make sure to check if your chosen carrier offers this pickup service. The collection point is typically situated in the duty-free area or the arrival area immediately after retrieving your luggage.

What to prepare: Your passport, order confirmation for collection

Cost: Generally reasonable

Pros: Time-saving, SIM card ready upon arrival, no need to wait in queues

Cons: Requires advance purchase before your flight, limited flexibility for comparing carriers

If, like most visitors, you arrive into the country at Bandaranaike International Airport near Colombo, buying a SIM card will be extremely simple.

2. At Bandaranaike International Airport Upon Arrivals

Arrival map of Bandaranaike International Airport
Departure Map
Departure Map

Upon exiting the baggage reclaim area at Bandaranaike International Airport, you will notice a row of money changers followed by cell company vendors and several ATMs that accept international cards.

If the offered packages meet your requirements, the price difference is usually worth it for the convenience. If not, you may need to wait until you reach the city or consider using a travel eSIM, as mentioned earlier.

The process itself was quick and straightforward, taking only a couple of minutes. You just need to provide the passport, confirm the type of SIM, and the staff member configured the APN settings for cellular data. They activated the SIM using their own phone, and that was it.

Note: if you don't have a physical passport photo, expect to have your photo taken.

III. Do SIM card shops at CMB airport open after midnight?

Yes, SIM card shops at CMB airport are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This means that no matter when your flight lands in Sri Lanka, you will be able to easily find a shop selling SIM cards right there in the airport. This 24/7 availability provides a great deal of convenience for travelers arriving at any time, day or night.

IV. How Much Does a SIM Card at Bandaranaike International Airport Cost?

SIM Cards at Bandaranaike International Airport are quite affordable
SIM Cards at Bandaranaike International Airport are quite affordable

Ready-made packages at the airport are available starting approximately from 7.3 USD 

Upon arriving at Colombo airport, tourists are immediately offered the option to purchase SIM card packages that include a specific number of domestic calls and a limited amount of internet data (unlimited internet access is not yet common in Sri Lanka). Buying such a package at the airport is highly convenient, as you can quickly establish a connection and have mobile internet access within minutes.

There are several operators in Sri Lanka, including the two largest ones: Dialog and Mobitel.

Dialog offers a wider coverage area and better communication quality at slightly higher prices. Mobitel, on the other hand, is gradually catching up with Dialog and offers slightly lower prices. Both operators have already implemented and are expanding their 4G networks.

A SLTMobitel SIM Card
A SLTMobitel SIM Card

The most convenient travel packages to consider are:

  • Dialog Tourist Plan: This package includes a Dialog SIM card with a 10GB internet package. The cost is 15 USD for the package and an additional 1,5 USD for the SIM card. 
  • Mobitel Tourist Special Data Pack: This package includes a Mobitel SIM card with a 40GB internet package. The cost for this package is approximately 24 USD. 

V. What to Prepare for Getting a SIM Card at Katunayake Bandaranaike International Airport – Registration Process

To quickly obtain a Sri Lanka SIM card at Bandaranaike International Airport, ensure you have the following essential items:

  • Passport: Bring your passport as proof of identification when purchasing a Sri Lanka SIM card.
  • Payment Method: Be prepared with both cash and a credit card to buy the SIM card at Bandaranaike International Airport.
  • Unlocked Mobile Device: Make sure your cell phone is unlocked and compatible with the frequencies used inSri Lanka to access the local networks.

Pro Tip: There is no need to carry a SIM card removal tool, as the staff at the SIM card stores will assist you in setting up and activating your Sri Lanka SIM card.

Some items to buy SIM Cards at Bandaranaike International Airport.
Some items to buy SIM Cards at Bandaranaike International Airport.

VI. Sri Lanka eSIM for Katunayake – an Alternative to Prepaid SIM Card at Katunayake Bandaranaike International Airport 

If you desire reliable internet access in Sri Lanka, opting for an eSIM is highly recommended. Compared to physical SIM cards available at Bandaranaike International Airport, eSIMs offer a more cost-effective solution.

Gigago Sri Lanka plans
Gigago Sri Lanka plans

GIGAGO is a reputable eSIM provider that offers competitive services for over 200 countries worldwide, including Sri Lanka. Here are some notable features that distinguish GIGAGO’s eSIM service:

  • Easy Online Download and Activation: GIGAGO provides a seamless online process for downloading and activating the eSIM.
  • No Identity Check: There is no need for an identity check, streaming the setup process.
  • 24/7 Customer Support: GIGAGO offers round-the-clock customer support in multiple languages, including French, English, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, and more.
  • Wide Range of eSIM Plans: For Sri Lanka, Gigago offers multiple data plan options, starting from 1 GB for 7 days with $7.90 . What is great about Gigago’s Sri Lanka eSIM is that its plans’ costs are diversifying, varying between $7.90$16.50 . Thus, it does not matter how Internet users you are and how long your trip is in Sri Lanka, there is always an option for you with Gigago.

VII. Where to Buy a SIM card Outside Katunayake Bandaranaike International Airport ?

To obtain a SIM card for Sri Lanka, it is advisable to explore carrier stores and convenience stores in Katunayake city. This approach provides a broader range of plan options and allows you to secure a SIM card at the most competitive rates.

a SLTMobitel booth in Sri Lanka
a SLTMobitel booth in Sri Lanka

Where to buy: Look for stores such as Keells Super, Cargill’s food city, 7-elevens, officials operators’ stores and others.

What to prepare: Make sure to bring your passport and have cash or credit cards available.

Cost: The prices are generally affordable, often 5-10% cheaper compared to airport purchases. However, keep in mind that you will need to commute to the Katunayake city center.


Do I need to provide a local address to buy a SIM card at Bandaranaike International Airport?

No, you typically do not need to provide a local address to purchase a SIM card at the airport. However, you may be required to provide your passport details for registration purposes.

How long does it take to activate a SIM card purchased at Bandaranaike International Airport?

Activation times can vary, but typically it takes just a few minutes to activate a SIM card purchased at the airport.

Can I use my Sri Lankan SIM card in other countries?

In most cases, Sri Lankan SIM cards are not usable outside of Sri Lanka

Can I purchase additional data packages or upgrade my plan after buying a SIM card at Bandaranaike InternationalAirport?

Yes, you can usually purchase additional data packages or upgrade your plan after buying a SIM card at Bandaranaike International Airport. Operators often provide a range of data package options to suit different needs

Can I recharge my SIM card online or through mobile banking?

Yes, many operators in Sri Lanka offer online recharge options and support mobile banking services for topping up your SIM card

IX. Conclusion

In conclusion, obtaining a SIM Card at Katunayake Airport (Bandaranaike) is a straightforward process. The major carriers have stores conveniently located in the arrival hall, offering a variety of data plans. Having a local SIM card enables easy access to transportation information, map services, and the ability to stay connected with loved ones back home through communication apps. Additionally, considering an eSIM plan is an excellent choice for reliable internet access and added flexibility.