Buying a SIM Card at Medan Kualanamu Airport (KNO) 2024: Travelers Guide

Visiting Medan, Indonesia in 2024? Then getting a local SIM card is essential for navigation, transport, social media, and chat during your trip. This is a complete guide on buying an Indonesian SIM card at Medan Kualanamu Airport (KNO) for tourists: where to buy, finest plans, and up-to-date prices.

Guide to buy a sim card at Medan airport

I. Why Get a SIM Card in Medan?

Getting an Indonesia SIM card is the most convenient way to stay connected when visiting Medan. You need the Internet to look for directions on Google Maps, find information about traveling, order a taxi via an app, keep up with social media, or use chat apps to inform your family. Having data on your mobile phone when visiting Medan makes life much easier!  

Buy an Indonesia SM card for Medan
Buy an Indonesia SM card for Medan

Another way to get online in Medan is using international roaming. With this option, you may have to rack up large bills and suffer limited usage unwittingly as not every network operator in your home country can connect with network carriers in Indonesia.

Which type of SIM card to buy for Medan?

You can select from two types of SIM cards for Medan:

  • Physical SIM cards: easy to buy at stores, diverse data plans, reasonable price.
  • eSIMs: easy to buy online anywhere, anytime; instant activation right on your phone by scanning a QR code, eSIM-compatible device needed. Check if your phone works with eSIM.

Pro Tip: Many tourists utilize VPN services for extra data protection.

II. Where to buy a SIM card for Medan?

To get a SIM Card for Medan, there are 03 main ways as follows:

1. Buy Online Before Departure (Medan SIM & eSIM)

Order Medan SIM card online before departure
Order Medan SIM card online before departure

The first way is to order Medan SIM cards online and have them delivered to your house before your visit. You can also get eSIM from trusted eSIM providers. It is best to buy an eSIM and activate it before boarding so that you will have the Internet right when you land. 

Where to buy: websites of reliable providers

What to prepare: delivery address, email, payment methods, additional shipping fees

2. Buy SIM Card at Medan Kualanamu Airport (KNO)

Medan Kualanamu International Airport (KNO) map
Medan Kualanamu International Airport (KNO) map

Getting SIM card at Medan Kualanamu International Airport upon arrival is the most convenient for international tourists who want immediate Internet connectivity instead of commuting to the city center. But for that convenience, you will have to pay more as buying SIM card at Medan airport is more pricey than at stores in the city center.

From the plane, you walk directly into the building through the bridge. On some occasions, you may be able to walk down the plane’s stairway and onto the sidewalk to reach the arrival hall. 

Two stores are selling Indonesian SIM cards, inside and outside the airport arrival hall:

Telkomsel store (GraPARI):

  • Location: near the building entrance inside the arrival hall
  • Payment method: IDR cash
  • Languages: Indonesian and English
  • What to prepare (important): passport, IDR cash
Telkomsel GraPARI at Medan Kualanamu airport
Telkomsel GraPARI at Medan Kualanamu airport

Smaller kiosk:

  • Location: Walk outside of the arrival hall, turn right
  • Payment method: IDR cash
  • Languages: Indonesian and English
  • What to prepare (important): passport, IDR cash
You can purchase a local SIM at the kiosk outside the arrival hall
You can purchase a local SIM at the kiosk outside the arrival hall

3. In Medan center

The official store of Indosat in Medan center
The official store of Indosat in Medan center

If you want to buy Medan SIM cards at the finest prices, you may go to the official stores of major network carriers or convenience stores in the Medan city center. You may have to negotiate for the best deals and deal with language barriers as not everyone can speak English.

Where to get: official stores of Indosat, Telkomsel, XL Axiata across Medan, convenience stores like Indomaret and Alfamart

What to prepare: passport, hotel address for SIM registration, IDR cash

III. What to Prepare for Getting a SIM Card at Medan Kualanamu Airport – Registration Process

You need to know the registration process to get a SIM card at Medan Airport. Here is how:

Registration process:

  • Go to the SIM card kiosks inside or outside the airport arrival hall. 
  • Present your passport for identity verification
  • Choose the SIM card plan you want (data, call minutes, etc.)
  • Provide your basic information like name, date of birth,…
  • Pay for the SIM card using cash in Indonesian Rupiah (IDR cash)

Document required: passport, IDR cash

SIM card activation: Your SIM card will be activated immediately upon purchase. After that, you need to insert the SIM into your mobile phone to start using data and calls. Do not be worried as English-speaking staff will support you wholeheartedly.

▶ Our recommendations:

  • If you prioritize convenience and want immediate activation, you may choose to buy a SIM card at Medan Airport. Normally, airport SIM card prices might be higher with limited options. Moreover, not every SIM card store at the airport is open 24/7.
  • For better prices and a wider selection of plans, you may consider buying in Medan city center.
  • If you want the best value and flexibility, you may consider eSIM.

IV. Best Tourist Medan Airport SIM Cards Deals and Price

Three major network carriers in Medan, Indonesia (Telkomsel, Indosat, XL)
Three major network carriers in Medan, Indonesia (Telkomsel, Indosat, XL)

Good to know: $1 USD = 15,500 IDR;  10,000 IDR = $0.65 USD (updated in January 2024) 

Telkomsel, Indosat, and XL Axiata are three of the major mobile network providers in Indonesia. You can select the SIM card that best fits your needs. Below are several popular SIM card options available for international tourists at Medan Kualanamu International Airport (KNO). 

OperatorData/ ValidityPrice (IDR/ USD)
Telkomsel15GB data valid for 30 daysIDR 150,000 / USD 9.5
Telkomsel10GB data valid for 7 daysIDR 70,000 / USD 4.5
Indosat10GB data valid for 30 days IDR 150,000 / USD 9.5
Indosat2GB data valid for 7 daysIDR 35,000 / USD 2.2
XL Axiata10GB data valid for 30 daysIDR 150,000 / USD 9.5
XL Axiata5GB data valid for 7 daysIDR 50,000 / USD 3.2

Pro Tips:

  • Remember to check your phone’s compatibility with the SIM card you select.
  • If you want to use your device for voice calls, pick a SIM card that has voice calls.
  • Prices and plans may vary and it is advisable to check the latest offerings at the airport. They may vary depending on the SIM card provider and the retailers.

V. Best Mobile Networks in Medan – Coverage Map

Let us compare the coverage of three major carriers to see which operator offers the best mobile network in Medan.

Telkomsel coverage map in Medan, Indonesia
Telkomsel covers all the main parts of Medan (source: nperf)
Indosat coverage map in Medan
Indosat has the second-largest coverage in Medan (source: nperf)
XL coverage map in Medan
XL runs the third-largest cellular network in Medan (source: nperf)

From the images above, we can see that Telkomsel has the largest 4G/ 5G network coverage in Medan. It covers most of the areas like the city center, residential areas, highways, etc. Indosat has the second-largest coverage and XL Axiata runs the third-largest cellular network in Medan. In general, you can choose SIM cards for Medan from any of them because of their reliable 4G signal coverage. 

VI. Indonesia eSIM for Medan – an Alternative to Prepaid SIM Card Medan

Indonesia eSIM by Gigago -alternative to sim card at Medan airport
Indonesia eSIM by Gigago -alternative to sim card at Medan airport

Using an eSIM for Medan instead of a prepaid physical SIM card will be more convenient for international tourists visiting Indonesia. 

  • Convenient purchase and activation: You do not need to find a physical store to buy it. All you need to do is buy and activate it online before your trip with the support of the provider. Then you can start using eSIM right away upon your arrival in Medan.
  • No physical SIM required: eSIM is embedded into your phone. This makes it more reliable and more secure. 
  • Switch plans easily: With an eSIM, you can upgrade or switch your data plan from your phone’s settings. 
  • Multi-network access: eSIM from trusted providers like Gigago supports networks across Indonesia like Indosat and XL. You always get coverage no matter your location.

Gigago offers multiple data plan options for Indonesia, starting from a 5-day plan with 1GB per day for $5 as their most minimal plan. They also have 7-day, 15-day, and 30-day plans ranging from 1GB to 50GB of total data, or 1GB to 3GB per day, with prices from $5 up to $89.50.

By going with Indonesia eSIM by Gigago, you can be Internet-ready with ease. Gigago offers affordable plans, wide plan options, no hidden fees, and 24/7 English and Indonesian support via hotline, email, and app.

VII. FAQs

What documents do I need to get a SIM card at Medan airport?

You need your passport for ID proof. Have some IDR cash as several stores accept only cash payments.

Can I buy SIM cards with credit cards?

Yes! Many SIM card shops accept both cash and credit card like MasterCard or Visa. However, it is advisable to prepare some IDR cash for smooth payment.

Can I use my local SIM in Medan, Indonesia?

Whether you can use your local SIM card in Medan depends on your home country and network provider. For instance, it is unlikely your SIM from the US or Canada will work in Indonesia since networks operate on different technology and frequencies. You will need a local Indonesian SIM.

Should I buy a Medan SIM card at the KNO airport or in Medan city?

You can buy a SIM card for Medan at the airport if you want immediate Internet connectivity upon arrival. Buy SIM cards in Medan city for the best deals. Consider the eSIM option for the convenience and best value.

VIII. Conclusion

In conclusion, it is convenient to buy a SIM card at Medan Airport. You can choose to buy a SIM card from the stores of major operators once you reach Medan city as you have more choices in plans and better value for money. Consider ordering an eSIM from a trusted provider like Gigago before your trip. Proper research and the right choice will help you stay connected in Medan seamlessly.