Unitel SIM Cards and eSIM for Tourists: How to Get and Activate 2024

Learn about Unitel network and information about Unitel’s SIM card and eSIM including how to activate, speed, coverage and cost to make the right choice for your trip in Laos.

Have you heard about Unitel SIM cards in Laos? They’re a fantastic choice for your mobile communication needs when you visit this beautiful country!


I. Quick Facts about Unitel

  • Founded year: Unitel was officially established in October 2009.
  • Full company name: Unitel consisting of Uni in “United” and Tel in “Telecommunication”. So, its name means a telecom network to connect the Laotians and bring them a better life.
  • Service launched: in November 2009, 4G service in 2015.
  • Types of services provided: Unitel provides telecommunication services, including mobile telephony, internet access, data services, mobile banking, and digital entertainment.
  • Number of subscribers: 3.5 million, comprising 58% of market share in the telecommunications sector (Updated in 2022).
  • Coverage:  Both urban and rural areas.
  • Estimated number of the network of stores, and agents: 143 shops, 174 agents and sales points, 400 salespeople.
  • Awards received: Laos’ speed test award ™ Winner for mobile network speed in 2020 and Innovation in Public Administration Services and Innovation in Consumer Products and Services at 2020 Asia Pacific Stevie Awards.

II. Laos Unitel Coverage and Speed in Laos

Unitel offers extensive coverage across the country, whether you’re in bustling cities or exploring the beautiful countryside. You can stay connected and enjoy trusted mobile service wherever your adventures take you.

Unitel provides fast and reliable internet access, allowing you to browse the web, and stay connected on social media without any lag or interruptions.  Here’s an overview of Laos Unitel coverage and speeds below:

1. Unitel Coverage in Laos

Here is an analysis of Unitel’s coverage based on Unitel Mobile cellular data network:

  • Coverage Experience: Unitel offers widespread coverage across various regions in Laos. Whether you are in urban areas or rural regions, Unitel strives to provide a consistent network experience. Users can expect a reliable mobile network connection in many areas of the country.
  • 5G Coverage Experience: The deployment of 5G technology demonstrates Unitel’s commitment to staying at the forefront of mobile network advancements. Unitel has also expanded its network to include 5G coverage in certain areas. With 5G, you can enjoy even faster speeds and enhanced connectivity for mobile devices.
  • Availability: As mentioned above, Unitel has 38,000 km of fiber optic cable, reaching 95% coverage throughout Laos. Whether in the capital city of Vientiane or exploring other parts of the country, you can enjoy seamless connectivity for your calls, texts, and data usage in most areas covered by Unitel.
  • 5G Availability: Major urban centers and high-traffic areas are likely to have better access to 5G services. As 5G technology continues to expand, Unitel is working towards increasing its coverage footprint to offer 5G connectivity to more users.

Overall, users often report satisfactory browsing speeds and reliable connectivity for everyday tasks such as social media browsing, online gaming, or watching videos.

2. Unitel Speed in Laos

According to Speedtest.net, the Laos Median Country Speeds January 2024 is as follows:

Laos Media Country Speeds January 2024 – Source: Speedtest.net
  • Download Speed Experience: Unitel shares the Download Speed Experience award with download speeds at 35.43 Mbps. With Unitel’s 4G/LTE network, you can expect fast download speeds, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable internet experience while on the go.
  • Regional Download Speeds: Unitel’s network coverage extends to both urban and rural areas, including popular destinations like Vientiane, Luang Prabang, and Pakse. Users report satisfactory browsing speeds in these regions, ensuring you can stay connected and access online services without any hassle.
  • 5G Download Speed: Unitel has officially conducted a 5G test with a maximum speed of 1.7 Gbps, and is capable of reaching the highest speed of 2.5 Gbps when combined with 4G in Vientiane.
  • Upload Speed Experience: For overall upload speeds, Unitel comes first, with a score of 17.30 Mbps. 
Unitel Speed test by Speedtest

In summary, Unitel Laos offers large coverage and impressive download speeds across the country, allowing you to stay connected and enjoy a seamless online experience during your travel. 

III. Unitel Connectivity Options for Travelers to Laos?

Unitel is known for its high-speed 4G network in major cities and towns in Laos. They have got you covered with some awesome ways to stay connected like SIM card, Pocket Wifi, and Bundle, their options are similarly priced and provide excellent value.

Here are some connectivity options for travelers to Laos through Unitel:

OptionSIM CardRoamingPocket WiFi
ProsWidely available. Affordable options. Easy to use with about $3 for 1GBNo need for additional SIM/eSIM. Familiar interfaceConnects multiple devices. Convenient for groups. Rent or purchase online or in Laos.
ConsMobile connection limits speedsPrice is expensive,unable to control your usage if your primary SIM is post-paidRequires carrying and charging an extra device. Higher upfront cost than prepaid SIM

Additional Notes: 

  • Unitel offers many mobile packages that are suitable for travelers with various plans and durations.
  • Consider your expected data usage, travel time, budget, and phone compatibility when choosing an option.
  • Check with your home carrier for specific roaming charges and limitations.

Overall, Pocket Wifi is better for sharing internet in groups, packages provide the most flexibility and convenience for any group trip but the price is the highest. So, the affordability, flexibility, and portability make a SIM card a simple and good choice for travelers to Laos. Once you’ve got that, just pop a SIM card into your device. 

IV. Best Unitel SIM Cards for Tourists and Cost

As a tourist, the best Unitel SIM Card should be a prepaid SIM Card. Fortunately, Unitel in Laos offers various prepaid SIM card options for tourists, so you can easily choose a suitable plan throughout your trip. Here are a few options to consider:

Unitel NetworkPrice (USD)DataValidity
Data-Only SIM Card~$1.5500MB30 days
~$31GBNo expiration
~$85GBNo expiration
Voice and Data Unitel SIM Card~$11GB Data/Unl Calls/SMS1 days
~$3.52GB Data/Unl Calls/SMS7 days
~$6.12GB Data/Unl Calls/SMS15 days
~$10.23GB Data/Unl Calls/SMS30 days

These prepaid Unitel SIMs offer short-term 4G LTE connectivity in Laos at reasonable prices. Costs may vary slightly by retailer. You can check details on the Unitel website and choose packages that suit your needs such as map viewing, calling, and social media surfing. 

V. Does Unitel Laos Support eSIM?

Yes, Unitel just came out with this cool new eSIM service. Unitel was the first mobile operator in Laos to launch eSIM support. They begin rolling out eSIM capabilities in late 2021 on a limited basis and full commercial availability profiles were announced in early 2022.

So if your phone can only use eSIM like the iPhone 15 USA version or you don’t want to waste time inserting a SIM into your phone, you will also have convenient options like Unitel eSIM

Comparing to the physical SIM, the eSIM carries various advantages as follows:

FeatureSIM CardeSIM
ProsCompatible with all mobile operatorsCan be purchased easily locallyNo active feesNo physical card neededCan load multiple profiles on one deviceCan manage profiles remotely
ConsRequires insertion in deviceCan be lost and damagedOnly one or two SIM per deviceLimited to newer flagship devicesRequires cloud connection for installationNot universally adopted yet

eSIMs are more handy because you don’t need to bring a physical SIM card with you when going to Laos or going to a store to swap cards. You can buy and activate an eSIM from Unitel’s website completely online before your trip. You can check the Unitel Laos eSIM plans below:

Plan TypeData AllowanceValidityPrice (USD)
Monthly Data Plan500MB30 days$1.53
Monthly Data Plan500MB30 days$2.55
Monthly Data Plan1GB30 days$5.10
Monthly Data Plan3GB30 days$7.66
Daily Data Pass5GB1 day$0.77
Daily Data Pass1GB1 day$1.53
Weekly Data Pass2GB7 days$1.53
Weekly Data Pass1GB7 days$2.55
Unlimited Calls/SMS Plan1GB/day30 days$2.55
Unlimited Calls/SMS Plan2GB/day30 days$4.08
Unlimited Calls/SMS Plan3GB/day30 days$5.10

There are a lot of online stores that provide prepaid Unitel Laos eSIM for tourists by GIGAGO. You can also check some highly-rated eSIM plan options of Gigago.

Gigago’s eSIM makes getting online seamless for travelers. The low-cost plans, reliable network, and buyer-friendly website minimize issues with international connect access. It’s the top choice for hassle-free connectivity in Laos.

VI. Where Can You Buy a Unitel SIM Card and eSIM?

If you travel to Laos and need a SIM card to get mobile data, there are some options for where you can buy a Unitel SIM card or eSIM.

1. Where to Buy Unitel SIM Cards for Laos

Hey there! If you want to get a SIM card when you are in Laos, no worries! Here are some places where you can easily buy one:

  • Airports: When you go to international airports like Wattay International Airport in Vientiane or Luang Prabang International Airport, you will find little shops or kiosks where you can buy SIM cards. Just look for the booths or stores of telecom providers inside the airport to be safe and reliable for you. 
  • Unitel Stores: Unitel has stores and kiosks in major cities, towns, and touristy areas. You can go to one of their stores to buy a SIM card and ask any questions you want. Just check Google Maps Unitel store nearby, and you will get the list to go.
  • Local Mobile Shops: Besides the official stores of Unitel, you can find their SIM cards at local mobile shops that sell them. These shops might have SIM cards from different providers, so you can choose the one that is suitable for you best.

Don’t forget to bring your passport when you want to buy a SIM card in Laos. They might ask for your ID during the registration process. 


2. Where to Buy Laos Unitel eSIM

The best place to buy a Unitel eSIM for Laos is getting it online, and the best time to get it is before your departure for Laos. 

To get a Laos Unitel eSIM, you have quite easy as follows::

  • Step 1: Access to website/app of a Unitel eSIM provider, such as Laosesim.
  • Step 2: Select the eSIM plan that fits your trip,
  • Step 3: Make payment online.
  • Step 4: Install the eSIM and enjoy your tour.

For convenience, I recommend using an eSIM from eSIM provider like GIGAGO. Connect allows you to quickly buy and activate the eSIM online just before your trip to Laos without registering a phone number. This ensures you have phone data set up right when you land.

eSIM tip: Before buying eSIM for your trip, please make sure that your phone is carrier-unlocked and eSIM-compatible. In case you are not sure in this regard, you can check eSIM-compatible device list.

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

It’s not difficult to use a Unitel SIM/eSIM for Laos. If you haven’t used it before, please check the instructions below.

1. How to Use and Activate Unitel SIM Card in Laos?

  • Insert the SIM card: Locate the SIM card slot on your device.
  • Power on your device: Turn on your device and wait for it to recognize the SIM card.
  • Activate the SIM card: In most cases, Unitel Laos SIM cards will be pre-activated.
  • Set up APN settings if you can not use the eSIM.
  • Check your balance and services.

2. How to Use and Activate Unitel eSIM?

  • Install the eSIM
  • Activate the eSIM
  • Set up the eSIM
  • Start using the eSIM: Once the eSIM is activated and set up, you can start using to make calls, send texts, and access mobile data.

VIII. How to top up Unitel Laos SIM/eSIM

To top up your SIM card or sSIM in Laos, you can follow these general steps:

1.  Find a Unitel store or authorized retailer

Go to a Unitel store or an authorized retailer in Laos. Look for the Unitel logo or signage to ensure you are in the right place. You might inform the staff about your top-up: Let the staff know that you want to top up your Unitel SIM/eSIM. They will guide you through the process and assist if needed.

2. Dial the special code

Scratch off the covering on the voucher to see the 16-digit code. Then, you can use your Unitel phone to dial a special code that starts with *123* and ends with the 16-digit code. For example, if your code is 1234567890123456, you just dial *123*1234567890123456#.

3. Check how much credit you have

To see how much credit you have now, you can dial *122# and press the call button. A message will show up on your screen telling you how much prepaid credit you have left. With Unitel, you can buy Unitel top-up almost everywhere. Just keep an eye out for the Unitel sign in front of stores.

Check your carrier’s website or contact support for the exact top-up process, as steps may vary. Top up only the estimated amount needed to avoid waste.

IX. Alternatives to Laos Unitel

While Unitel provides flexible short-term options, you may still want a traditional long-term package if visiting Laos for a long time. Once activated, your Unitel SIM Card lets you make calls and send texts in Laos at the following rates:

OperatorPlanData AllowanceLocal MinutesPrice (KIP)Price (USD)
Lao TelecomBasic Plan1GB100~104000K$5
Standard Plan3GBUnlimited~167000K$8
Premium Plan5GBUnlimited~188000K$9
TPlusBasic Plan1GB100~104000K$5
Premium Plan5GBUnlimited~200000K$10
ETLBasic Plan1GB100~104000K$5
Premium Plan5GBUnlimited~188000K$9

Are you planning a trip to Laos and want to avoid the hassle of swapping SIM cards or paying expensive roaming fees? Look no further than Gigago.

Here are popular prepaid Unitel eSIMs for Laos preferred by Gigago’s customers that you can refer to:


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.

X. FAQs about Unitel in Laos

1. How to top up for Unitel number?

You can top-up by scanning the QR code in the My Unitel app or by pressing *121* followed by the card code # and you can also top-up through the U-money service.

2. Is Unitel’s mobile data fast enough for streaming?

Unitel has this cool 4G network that can give you an average speed of 15mbps. That’s more than enough to stream stuff in High Definition! So, with Unitel SIM cards, you can watch all your favorite videos on YouTube, Facebook, TikTok, and even Netflix without any problems. Just make sure you have good connection, and you’re good to go!

3. Does Unitel block or slow down any internet services?

They don’t slow down any instant messaging apps. And you know what’s even cooler? None of the operators in Laos do that either. So, you can use apps like WhatsApp, Viber, Signal, Telegram, or Line to make calls with awesome quality, as long as your mobile coverage is decent.

XI. Conclusion

So, if you are preparing to visit Laos and want to stay connected with your phone, there’s a very easy way to do it. You can get a prepaid SIM card or an eSIM card. With Unitel Laos SIM/eSIM, you won’t have to worry about online communication on the go.

Enjoy your trip and make beautiful memories throughout travel with Unitel!