Use Cell Phone In the Philippines for Travelers 2024: How To Do It?

When traveling to the Philippines, understanding how to use cell phone in the Philippines is crucial to staying connected, navigating, and capturing memories.

how to use my cell phone in the philippines

This article is specifically designed for travelers who find it overwhelming to determine the best approach to use cell phone in the Philippines. By reading this guide, you’ll gain a comprehensive understanding of your options, from international plans to alternative solutions like eSIMs, and be able to stay connected with ease during your trip.

I. Highlights of Phone Compatibility, Frequencies, and Networks in the Philippines

The Philippines has an easy setup for phone compatibility, frequencies, and networks. With just a few major carriers and standard frequencies, making your device work well is usually hassle-free.

Phone Compatibility: Foreign phones work in the Philippines due to GSM tech.


  • 2G: 900 MHz, 1800 MHz (largely phased out)
  • 3G: 850 MHz, 2100 MHz (being phased out)
  • 4G LTE: Primarily 700 MHz (Band 28), 1800 MHz (Band 3), 2600 MHz (Band 7), with some carriers utilizing 850 MHz (Band 5) and 2300 MHz (Band 40)


  • Main carriers: Globe Telecom, Smart Communications, DITO Telecommunity.
  • Coverage: Good in cities, worse in rural areas.

II. Will My Cell Phone Work In the Philippines?

YES, your cell phone will definitely work in the Philippines, but its compatibility depends on the bands and frequencies your device supports. According to Kimovil, the Philippines uses the following frequency bands for 4G and 5G networks:

Carrier2G Bands3G Bands4G Bands5G Bands
Globe Telecom3, 81, 83, 8, 28a, 38, 40, 41n78
Smart Communications3, 81, 5, 81, 3, 5, 28a, 40, 41, 42n28a, n41, n78
DITO Telecommunity1, 28a, 34, 41n78

Recommendation: For the best coverage, your phone should support many bands, especially those your carrier uses. If it doesn’t support the bands, you might get less coverage or slower data speeds in places.

III. Do I Need An International Plan In the Philippines?

do i need an international plan in the philippines

YES, you must get an international plan when heading to the Philippines to avoid high roaming costs. Why it’s smart?

  • It cuts down roaming fees big time.
  • Enjoy cheaper rates for calls and texts, keeping you connected affordably.
  • Access data without paying a fortune, perfect for maps and emails on the go.
  • Keep your usual phone number, no hassle of changing numbers.
  • Choose from flexible plans to find one that fits your trip.

Free WiFi in the Philippines can be tricky because:

  • It’s not everywhere
  • Public WiFi can be risky
  • You might not be able to call or text
  • Hard to get internet when moving or in far places

By subscribing to an international plan, you gain the convenience and peace of mind of being able to use your phone smoothly for calls, texts, and data without worrying about excessive charges or connectivity issues.

IV. What Are Options To Use Cellphones In the Philippines For Tourists?

When traveling to the Philippines as a tourist, you have several options to stay connected with your cellphone. Here’s an overview:

  • eSIM Plan
  • International SIM Card
  • Pocket WiFi Hotspot

To help you visualize these methods thoroughly, take a look at the table below.

OptioneSIMSIM cardPocket Wifi
Good forPeople with eSIM phones want easy usePeople want cheap calls/internet and don’t mind card changesGroups sharing the internet on different devices
Where to buyOnline from companies like  GigagoAt airports and stores from networks like Globe and SmartRent at the airport or online before arriving from Rocket Internet
ProsEasy setup. No SIM card. Can change plansVery low call/internet costs. Works with most phonesCovers non-local phones. No SIM card changes.
ConsOnly works on modern phones. Need to insert a card. May need detailsCosts more than SIM. Extra thing to carry/charge

V. Will My Local Network Work In the Philippines?

do my local network work in the philippines

Most likely possible for your local mobile network to work in Philippines as they use the GSM network, common worldwide. However, check international roaming costs with your provider before traveling. Roaming can be costly for data and calls.

The Philippines has good 4G coverage with major providers like Smart, Globe, and DITO, so you are able to find a network that works with your phone. But keep in mind that network quality can vary, especially between cities and rural areas. It might not be as good as what you’re used to at home.

Tip: For better deals and connectivity, get an international SIM card. Local data packages are usually affordable.

VI. Gigago eSIM – An Alternative To Get Internet In the Philippines With Your Cell Phone

esim the philippines plans

Gigago is a leading eSIM service provider that offers global connectivity to travelers in 200+ countries through virtual SIM cards. A tons of benefits you will get if buying here such as:

  • Buy and set up online easily. Get your eSIM by email in minutes.
  • Choose from different data plans to fit what you need.
  • Works on the Globe network for great coverage.
  • 24/7 customer help if you need it.

Which Philippines eSIM plan should you choose for your trip?

For the Philippines, Gigago offers multiple data plan options, starting from 1GB/day for 5 days with $10.50 . What is great about Gigago’s Philippines eSIM is that its plans’ costs are diversifying, varying between $10.50$141.50 . Thus, it does not matter how many Internet users you are and how long your trip is in the Philippines, there is always an option for you with Gigago

VII. Extra Tips To Use Cell Phone in Philippines

Here’s how to use cell phone in the Philippines:

  • Be careful who you share your number with. You might get added to groups.
  • Get a VPN like ExpressVPN for full internet access.
  • Learn basic Tagalog phrases. Words like “Help!” are useful.
  • Check your SIM’s validity and top-up before it expires.
  • Carry a power bank for charging on long trips.
  • Use Translate apps like Google Translate for easy communication.
  • Know emergency numbers. Use 117 for police in PH.

Hope this helps!

VIII. FAQs about Use Cell Phone in the Philippines

How can I buy a SIM card when I arrive?

You can purchase SIM cards at airports or convenience stores. Make sure to bring your passport as ID. Purchase load credits as needed to use data/call/text.

Can I use my US/European cell phone in the Philippines?

Yes but check with your provider first if using just a cell phone. For data, get a local SIM for the strongest/most reliable connection throughout PH.

Is it cheaper to use WiFi or mobile data in the Philippines?

Generally, mobile data is more affordable than public WiFi in PH. Buy promo data bundles suitable for your usage to save money over pay-as-you-go rates.

IX. Conclusion

In short, knowing how to use cell phone in the Philippines will help you a lot while traveling there. Get a SIM card/ eSIM, search for the plans, and watch out for scams. This way, you can enjoy your trip and stay connected without any trouble. Just follow these tips to make the most of your phone in the Philippines, and you’ll be all set to explore with your phone worry-free.