Data Roaming in Laos for Tourists 2024: Rates & How to Avoid it

Data roaming in Laos allows you to use your phone while traveling in the country. You can make calls, send texts, and access the internet by connecting to a local network. However, be aware that using your phone this way can be expensive. So, it’s a good idea to check with your current phone operators about the costs and consider other alternative options, like getting a local SIM card/eSIM, to save money.

Data roaming in Laos for tourists and alternatives

I. Phone Roaming in Laos – Quick Facts for Tourists

Here are some facts about data roaming in Laos:

  • International Roaming Plans: Some mobile providers offer international roaming plans specifically for Laos. These plans may provide a certain amount of data, minutes, and texts for a fixed daily fee. 
  • Limited Coverage: The availability and coverage of data roaming services in Laos can vary depending on your home mobile provider. It’s advisable to check with your provider beforehand to ensure that data roaming is available in the areas you plan to visit.
  • Local SIM Cards: Purchasing a local SIM card in Laos is a popular option for travelers. It allows you to access local mobile networks at more affordable rates compared to data roaming. Local SIM cards can be obtained from various providers, such as Unitel, Lao Telecom, and ETL.
  • Internet Connectivity: Laos has been expanding its internet infrastructure in recent years, and major cities and tourist areas generally have decent internet connectivity. However, in remote or rural areas, the internet may be slower or less reliable.

II. Understand about Roaming in Laos – How It Works

Roaming services are one of the popular choices of travelers when traveling to Laos
Roaming services are one of the popular choices of travelers when traveling to Laos

Data roaming in Laos means using your mobile data while you’re visiting the country. It allows you to access the internet, use apps, browse websites, and do all the things you normally do online. However, it’s important to know that data roaming can be quite expensive.

When you roam with your data in Laos, your mobile provider will charge you extra fees for using their network. These charges can add up quickly, especially if you use a lot of data or stream videos. So, if you’re not careful, you might end up with a surprisingly high bill when you return home.

Read on: Guide to estimate how much data you need while traveling abroad

III. Is the Roaming Rate in Laos Expensive?

Roaming charges are expensive and this should be took into consideration carefully
Roaming charges are expensive and this should be took into consideration carefully

Roaming in Laos may seem convenient as you can use your current mobile plan and phone number. However, it’s important to know that this convenience often comes at a high cost. Roaming charges in Laos can be exorbitant and can quickly drain your wallet, especially when it comes to data usage.

But don’t worry! There’s a money-saving solution: purchasing a local SIM card. By getting a Laos SIM card from popular local providers like Unitel, Lao Telecom, or ETL, you can enjoy significant savings. These SIM cards are available in many stores at an affordable price, allowing you to stay connected without breaking the bank. Not only that, but a local SIM card will also offer you better coverage and faster internet speeds, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable experience during your time in Laos.

IV. How to Activate Roaming Service for Laos in Your Cell Phone?

Roaming activation is easy for all travelers
Roaming activation is easy for all travelers

To activate roaming services, you just need to take 4 steps:

Step 1: Choose your preferred service provider

You need to determine the service provider first. 

You can either keep your home mobile plan or go for a local cellular carrier

If you keep your home cellular plan and assume that your home network carrier is one of the following brands, here is what to expect:

Mobile network carrierRoaming fees
Three5 USD / day 
Vodafone6 USD / day 
Rogers15 USD / 10 MB 
Verizon2.05 USD / MB 
AT&T2.05 USD / MB  
T-Mobile70 USD for 5 days 

If you choose a local mobile carrier, and activate its roaming service, the recommended local providers for roaming services are Unitel, Laos Telecom and ETL.

For example, Korean tourists can consider data packages between Lao Telecom and Korean operators: 

Note: 1 KRW = 15,65 LAK

Data roaming plans between Lao Telecom and Korean mobile operators

 Or, Vietnam travelers may want to check data roaming costs when traveling to Laos. This table below is a data plan between Viettel and Unitel: 

Note: 1 VNĐ = 0,85 LAK

Domestic Calls (within Laos)Calls to VietnamCall back to VietnamInternational callsIncoming callsSMSData
Network ProviderUnitel: 2,000VNĐViettel: 2,000VNĐUnitel 2,000VNĐ0Unitel: 500VNĐ2,2
Others7,500 VNĐ7,500 VNĐ15,00001500VNĐ2,2

Step 2: Activate the roaming function for your service provider

Each mobile network carrier has a different way to activate roaming service. You had better refer to the official website of the chosen operator for more detail.

For example: for Vodafone: download My Vodafone (Vodafone’s app) > get the option named “International roaming” > choose your destination country > Done, you get it.  

Step 3: Buy a mobile package with roaming

Why is the roaming package important? 

Regular roaming rates are usually expensive. Buying roaming packages will warrant that you will not break the bank with roaming charges.

Pro Tip: 

  • It is recommended to buy a roaming package one day before departure because the package often starts right after purchase.
  • Choose the roaming package that suits your needs and budget accordingly. For example, choose an unlimited package (if any) if you are a heavy data user. Alternatively, choose a roaming package with a limited data volume if you only use data when necessary. 

Step 4: Turn on your phone’s roaming

On Android: Settings > Tap on “Data roaming” > Turn “International Roaming” on

On iOS (iPhone): Settings > Cellular > Tap on “Data roaming”

Note: Do not forget to turn off the roaming feature when not in use to prevent any unnecessary expenses once you come back Laos

V. How to Avoid Roaming Charges When Traveling to Laos

Travelers can consider some tips below to avoid data roaming

Some simple tips to avoid roaming charges
Some simple tips to avoid roaming charges
  • Rely on Wi-Fi: Use free Wi-Fi hotspots in hotels, restaurants, and public spaces in Laos to make calls, send texts, and use data without incurring roaming charges. 
  • Purchase a daily roaming plan: Check with your mobile provider for daily roaming plans or add-ons. These typically offer a set allowance of data, minutes, and texts for a fixed price. 
  • Turn off data roaming: Disable data roaming on your phone settings when you don’t need to use it. 
  • Buy a local Laos SIM card: This gives you access to local rates for calls, texts, and data. Ensure your phone is unlocked and compatible with the local network. 

VI. Laos eSIM – Alternative to Data Roaming in Laos to Get Internet

Instead of using data roaming with limited data and high price, why not try considering Laos eSIM. An eSIM, short for embedded SIM, is a digital SIM card that is embedded within a device, such as a smartphone, tablet, or smartwatch.

When choosing Laos eSIM, travelers can: 

  • Enjoy easy activation.
  • Use 2 SIMs at the same time 
  • Still keep the main SIM on the device
  • Install multiple data plans on the same phone
  • The eSIM is attached to the device so there is no risk of losing it
  • Still keep the main sim on the device
  • Buy Laos eSIM online
Gigago's Laos eSIM
Gigago’s Laos eSIM

And Gigago – a reliable Laos provider can provide you with a variety of Laos eSIM packages.

With Gigago, travelers can enjoy: 

  • Cost-effectiveness: Gigago’s Laos eSIM offers competitive pricing compared to traditional data roaming plans. 
  • Convenience: You can buy it online from the comfort of your own home, and the eSIM details will be delivered instantly to your email. 
  • Wide Coverage: Gigago’s Laos eSIM provides coverage across the entire country..
  • High-Speed ​​Internet: With Gigago’s Laos eSIM, you can expect to experience high-speed internet connectivity. 
  • Flexibility: Gigago’s Laos eSIM offers flexibility in terms of data plans and validity periods. 
  • 24/7 Support: Gigago provides 24/7 customer support via chat or email. 

For Laos, Gigago offers multiple data plan options, with prices ranging from $6.90$12.90 . Their minimum 15 GB/ 10 days starts at just $6.90 . With this range of affordable plans, Gigago can accommodate any type of user and trip length in Laos. Whether you only need occasional internet access or plan to stream extensively, Gigago has a Laos eSIM plan to fit your needs and budget. The flexibility of their pricing makes Gigago a great eSIM solution for travel to Laos.

VII. How to Turn Off Data Roaming When Traveling in Laos?

We can help you to turn off data roaming service in both Android and iPhones devices: 

1. Turn off international roaming on Android When Traveling in Laos

  • Open the “Settings” app on your Android device
  • Looking for the “Network & Internet” or “Connections” section
  • Go to “Mobile Networks” or “Cellular Networks” and tap on it
  • Look for the option labeled “Data Roaming” and tap on it.
  • Toggle the switch next to “Data Roaming” to the off position
Data roaming services in smartphones
Data roaming services in smartphones

2. Turn off international roaming on iPhones

  • Open the “Settings” app on your iPhone
  • Scroll down and tap on “Cellular” or “Mobile Data” (depending on your iOS version)
  • Tap on “Data Roaming.”
  • Toggle the switch next to “Data Roaming” to the off position
  • A pop-up message may appear. Tap “Disable” or “Turn Off” to confirm.

VIII. FAQs about Data Roaming in Laos

Can I purchase a local SIM card in Laos for data usage?

Yes, you can purchase a local SIM card in Laos for data usage. Local SIM cards are available at various mobile network provider stores, convenience stores, and at the airport.

How much does data roaming cost in Laos?

The cost of data roaming in Laos varies depending on your mobile service provider and the specific plan you have. It’s recommended to contact your service provider before traveling to Laos.

IX. Conclusion

In summary, if you’re visiting Laos as a tourist, it’s best to steer clear of using Laos roaming services. They can be very expensive and the costs can increase quickly before you know it. Instead, think about getting a local Laos SIM card or a Laos eSIM. These way, you’ll save money and enjoy better coverage and faster internet. Plus, it’ll be much easier to stay in touch with people while you’re in the country.