Buy SIM Card in Phnom Penh for Travelers 2024: Guide from Locals

This article is for travelers visiting Cambodia, looking to learn how to buy SIM card in Phnom Penh. Getting mobile internet access abroad can be tricky due to unfamiliar carriers and plans. Get advice on top carriers, SIM card plans, prices, and what to prepare to easily purchase a SIM card in Phnom Penh to stay connected on your trip.

how to get sim card in phnom penh

I. Why Buy SIM card in Phnom Penh?

Staying connected while traveling is crucial. This is also true for those visiting Phnom Penh. Buying a SIM card for Cambodia travel in Phnom Penh is a convenient and cost-effective connectivity option. Here’s why:

  • Cost-effective: A local SIM card offers cheaper calls, texts, and data than roaming charges.
  • Accessibility: With a local SIM, you can use calls and data across Cambodia, avoiding limited hotel Wi-Fi.
  • Navigation and Information: A local SIM with data lets you use navigation apps and access the internet for research, aiding exploration in Phnom Penh and beyond.

The only thing you need to know before deciding to buy a SIM card in Phnom Penh is to warrant that your phone is unlocked so it can receive the signals of Cambodia mobile networks.

II. Which mobile internet carrier is the best in Phnom Penh?

There are 04 major mobile network operators in Phnom Penh: Cellcard, Smart, Metfone, and QLC. These operators offer mobile internet services along with voice and text options for tourists.

Here’s a table comparing these network operators based on the suggested criteria:

SpeedFastVery fastFastFast
ReliabilityGoodVery goodGoodModerate
PopularityMost popularPopularPopularLess popular
Tourist plan7-day Happy Tourist SIM: 100GB data, 100 mins call, 100 SMS for $10Smart Tourist SIM: 30GB data, unlimited calls to Smart numbers, 100 SMS for $7Metfone Tourist SIM: 20GB data, 100 mins call, 100 SMS for $8QLC Tourist SIM: 15GB data, 50 mins call, 50 SMS for $5

It’s hard to decide which mobile internet carrier is the best in Cambodia as it depends entirely on your individual needs and priorities.

Here’s a quick summary to help you decide:

  • For the most extensive coverage and generous tourist plan: Cellcard
  • For the absolute fastest speeds: Smart
  • For a good balance of coverage, speed, and affordability: Metfone
  • For the cheapest tourist plan (with limitations): QLC

Consider your priorities (coverage, speed, price, etc.) and research the latest plans offered by each carrier before making your choice.

If you want to know more about each of major mobile network operators in Cambodia, read some useful information about Cellcard, Metfone, and Smart Axiata SIM cards that we have compiled. This will also help you make better decision on choosing which carrier to go for.

III. Best Phnom Penh SIM Card Plans and Price

Choosing the best SIM card for your trip to Phnom Penh depends on your data needs and budget. Here’s a summary of popular tourist plans offered by the major providers:


  • 1GB/day Tourist SIM: $9.90 for 7 days validity.
  • 2GB/day Tourist SIM: $16.50 for 7 days validity.
  • 3GB/day Tourist SIM: $22.00 for 7 days validity.


  • 3GB Tourist SIM: $5.50 for 7 days validity.
  • 5GB Tourist SIM: $8.50 for 7 days validity.
  • 10GB Tourist SIM: $15.00 for 7 days validity.
  • 20GB Tourist SIM: $28.90 for 7 days validity.

Smart: 30-day Tourist SIM: $10, with unlimited calls/texts in Cambodia, 60GB data, and unlimited data for Facebook, WeChat, WhatsApp, and Viber.

Additional options:

  • eSIM: Buy an eSIM online before your trip for easy activation on arrival. Cambodia eSIM offers plans with Smart and Metfone network access and data options from 3GB to 50GB.
  • Seatel Travel SIM: This smaller provider offers basic plans with unlimited data and calls for short stays: 3 days for $3, 5 days for $5, and 10 days for $10.


  • Prices and data allowances may change, so check the official websites of each provider for updates.
  • These plans are for tourists and may not be ideal for long stays. Consider data top-ups or regular SIM card packages for extended use.

IV. Where to Buy SIM Card in Phnom Penh?

Two main ways to get a SIM card in Phnom Penh: at the airport upon arrival or at locations in the city center.

1. Buying a SIM card at Phnom Penh Airport

Tourists can purchase a SIM card at Phnom Penh Airport. This option is the most convenient, especially for immediate internet access. Prepare your passport and Cambodian Riel (KHR) for purchase. Cellcard and Smart booths in the arrival hall provide tourist SIM cards with different data packages.

Pros: Convenient, quick

Cons: Limited options, slightly higher prices than in the city center

sim card at phnom penh airport

2. Buying a SIM card in Phnom Penh city center

This option offers more variety and potentially better deals but requires some effort to find a store. Here are your options:

  • Mobile network carriers (Cellcard, Smart, Metfone): Provide SIM cards and plans, need passport registration.
  • Convenience stores (Circle K, 7-Eleven): Offer tourist SIM cards, convenient but may cost more.
sim card in phnom penh center

Recommendation: For convenience, get a SIM card at the airport upon arrival. Or buy an eSIM online from a reputable provider before your trip (avoid direct purchases from carriers due to potential passport registration).

Note: If using an eSIM, check if your phone is named in our list of eSIM compatible devices.

V. Cambodia eSIM card for Phnom Penh – Alternative to SIM Card for travelers

If your phone supports eSIM, there’s no reason not to try it for your trip to Phnom Penh. It eliminates the need for a physical SIM card, saving you the hassle of switching cards and the risk of losing it.

Here are your options for getting an eSIM in Phnom Penh:

  • Buy directly from network carriers
  • Buy from eSIM retailers like Gigago – one of the most reliable eSIM providers in this network market.

For Cambodia, Gigago offers multiple data plan options, starting from 1 GB/day for 5 days with $4.50 . What is great about Gigago’s Cambodia eSIM is that its plans’ costs are diversifying, varying between $4.50$36.00 . 

Thus, it does not matter how many Internet users you are and how long your trip is in Cambodia, there is always an option for you with Gigago. Remember, you still need to provide identification during the purchase process, even for eSIMs.

gigago esim cambodia

VI. What to Prepare to buy SIM card in Phnom Penh?

Key things to prepare before buying a SIM card in Phnom Penh, Cambodia:

  • Bring your passport or ID for registration.
  • Have cash for the card and credit ($1-5 for the card, $5-10 for credit).
  • Decide on your needs (data, calls, etc.).
  • Note the new SIM number if keeping your home number.
  • Ensure phone compatibility with GSM and LTE bands.

VII. Extra Tips when you buy SIM card in Phnom Penh

Here are practical tips for buying a SIM card in Phnom Penh:

  • Compare carriers for deals and coverage in frequented areas.
  • Inquire about waiving activation fees for upfront multiple-month purchases.
  • Data-only SIMs are cost-effective if using mainly Wi-Fi and apps.
  • Activate SIM in-store, ensure credit, and keep receipt for identity verification.
  • Choose prepaid for short stays to avoid contracts and download carrier apps for easy account access.
  • Note nearby assistance for activation issues, keep the shop location for future needs.
  • Opt for nano/micro SIMs for newer devices.

VIII. FAQs about SIM card in Phnom Penh

What happens to my remaining credit when I leave Cambodia?

Unused credit on your SIM card typically expires after a certain period of inactivity (usually 30-90 days). You can check the specific policy of your chosen operator.

How can I dispose of my used SIM card responsibly?

Many mobile network stores in Phnom Penh offer designated bins for used SIM cards. Look for recycling options to avoid electronic waste.

Are there any hidden fees I should know when I buy SIM card in Phnom Penh?

It’s crucial to carefully read the terms and conditions before purchasing any SIM card. Be mindful of potential charges like top-up fees, international call rates, and data roaming outside Cambodia.

Are there operators with SIM cards tailored for tourists?

Yes, many offer tourist SIM card packages with pre-loaded data for short stays (usually 7-30 days). Convenient, but not the most cost-effective for longer trips with heavy data needs.

IX. Conclusion

If you’re heading to or thinking about living in bustling Phnom Penh, it’s important to stay connected. Buy SIM card in Phnom Penh to make sure you’re always in touch locally and internationally. 

This not only helps you get around the city easily but also keeps you linked with family and work contacts. Keep your time in Phnom Penh stress-free by getting a local SIM card as soon as you arrive.