All about Vietnam eSIM, pros and cons, cost, service providers, best prepaid eSIM data plans in Vietnam for tourists, step-by-step guide on how to install, etc.
Vietnam has it all as a holiday destination, from beautiful landscapes, unique culture, great signature food, friendly locals, and sunny weather to free Internet connection almost everywhere.
Choosing Vietnam as a destination, while most people want high-speed data for their phone during a trip in the country, they have traditionally bought a physical SIM card. Nonetheless, today, many newer phones are equipped with an embedded electronic SIM (aka eSIM) that allows you to connect to Vietnam mobile carriers without having to install a traditional SIM Card. In reality, these new eSIM data plans give tourists lots of convenience but there are a number of drawbacks as well.
This is why in this post, we are going to cover everything you should know about eSIM (data plans) in Vietnam – including what is an eSIM (in Vietnam), how it works, international operators, local eSIM, features, rates, requirements, and tips on finding the best eSIM for Vietnam travel.
Table of Contents
Do I even need mobile data in Vietnam?
Honestly, YES. Vietnam is one of the countries with the most accessible free WiFi system in the world. You can find Wi-Fi in hotels, coffee shops, food and beverage stores, restaurants, and some public places in Vietnam. However, if you are in places without Wi-Fi or with weak signals of Wi-Fi like parks, tourists attractions, or on the roads, then you cannot remain your connection. Even worse, free Wi-Fi also implies many security risks.
That is a reason why you need mobile data on your phone upon traveling to Vietnam.
Is eSIM available in Vietnam?
YES, the major mobile network operators Viettel, Mobilefone and Vinaphone currently offer eSIM service for compatible devices. You can download eSIM only to a esim- supported smartphone device.
Apple, Samsung, Oppo, Google, Huawei and Motorola support eSIM functionality within Vietnam for now.
eSIM works everywhere in Vietnam.
Popular Vietnam eSIM data plans are:
Vietnam eSIM data plans
What is an eSIM in Vietnam? Types and Features
In short terms, an eSIM in Vietnam is no different from every eSIM in the world. It is an embedded/digital version of the physical SIM card and is physically embedded in the motherboard of your device.
When you want to change mobile network provider, there will be no physical changing of SIM cards because there are no physical SIM cards involved with an eSIM.
Using an eSIM, you can stay connected by downloading an eSIM profile directly to your handset.
Once you buy a profile for an eSIM for Vietnam, you will obtain a QR code within seconds. You just need to download the QR code, scan it, and join the mobile network. Easy!
👉 Good to know:
- eSIM is called virtual SIM or eUICC (Embedded Universal Circuit Card).
- An eSIM can hold up many profiles, but you should maintain a maximum of 3 eSIM profiles within an eSIM for the best use.
- Because the chip is physically connected inside the handset’s motherboard, we cannot do anything with the eSIM chip, but the eSIM profile. In most eSIM-related documents, people often mention an eSIM in the meaning of an eSIM profile. So here we apply the same to help you follow easily.
Types of Vietnam eSIM
There are 02 types of eSIM, which are:
- Data eSIM, and
- Voice, SMS, data eSIM
👉 Good to know: Data eSIM is preferred and used by tourists to Vietnam.
Features of eSIM for Vietnam travel
Some major features of eSIMs for travel to Vietnam:
- Most eSIM cards do not offer analog calls, only data. If you want voice communication, use apps like WhatsApp or Skype.
- They could be installed only once (some can still be reinstalled to another device (of course within data validity of the esim), only if the eSIM profile is removed out from the old device before installing to the new one)
- Some eSIMs set up automatically APNs
- You can have multiple data plans on your iPhone, this depends on your mobile phone’s available memory, although it is only possible to use one at any given time.
- You can buy plans with unlimited data, so no need to worry about running out of data.
- You can keep your local primary SIM when traveling to Vietnam, but remember to configure your phone (turn off your primary sim’s mobile data) to avoid any unexpected bills.
This post is for travelers to Vietnam, so the following content focuses on DATA eSIM plans for Vietnam. Now, let’s start!
Traveling to Vietnam? Stay connected by buying an eSIM online!
Why buy eSIM for Vietnam travel?
International roaming could be expensive, which is why using travel and local eSIMs is recommended to not only save money and time but also reap many other benefits.
Some highlights of eSIM for Vietnam:
- Stay connected and keep in touch with family and friends over WhatsApp
- Easily select the data plan and validity option that suits your needs
- Setup and activate your connectivity within less than 5 minutes, no matter where you are
- Buy or top up your eSIM account anywhere, anytime
- Enjoy the service that is zero-waste and unlimited when you travel in Vietnam
How do eSIMs in Vietnam work?
Similar to eSIM in any other countries in the world, the way an eSIM in Vietnam works is that when you buy one from a mobile network provider, you will receive a QR code via email, which you can scan to install a connection onto your handset.
Pros and Cons of Vietnam eSIM for tourists
|Advantages of Vietnam eSIM||Disadvantages of Vietnam eSIM|
Forget about searching public WiFi networks: you will not have to search for free WiFi or ask for a password for internet access.
Unable to share data: most unlimited data eSIM will not allow you to share data with other devices
No queue at physical stores, no show of passport for registration: get the QR code via email to set up and activate your eSIM after payment.
More difficult to transfer: need to retrieve and download your eSIM profile from the cloud - more time-consuming than transferring into a new phone.
Get a Vietnamese phone number (for specific carriers - namely Gigago): to receive SMSs and calls during your trip in Vietnam
Phone must be compatible with the eSIM: eSIM is only available in recent phone models and some selected carriers.
Cost-saving: no need to pay for expensive international roaming fees.
No shipping fees - instant delivery: eSIM is digital so you do not need to pay shipping fee for a Vietnam prepaid data plan before arriving in Vietnam.
Use two data plans at once: easily switch between domestic plan (via the traditional SIM) and the tourist plan (via the eSIM).
Not having to remove your SIM card: no need for an ejector tool and no need to keep track of your original SIM card anymore.
Easy to top up: simply add credit to your account online with a click
Get covered by Vinaphone - one of the biggest mobile network operators in Vietnam.
Be rest assured before departure and get instant connection after arrival: right after landing in Vietnam, you get connected immediately.
24/7 support: eSIM carrier like Gigago is always available on Whatsapp, email, Viber,... for support
Keep your original SIM for calls: the eSIM is digital, so your traditional SIM will still work as usual if you need it.
List of eSIM compatible devices in Vietnam
Which devices support eSIM Vietnam?
Broadly speaking, the eSIM can be used in any IoT project where cellular connectivity is required. For travelers, it seems that mobile phones, tablets, and smartwatches are popularly used as connecting devices.
iOS and Android devices that are eSIM-supported and unlocked could be used with eSIM Vietnam. If your device is listed below and unlocked, then you just need to buy an eSIM and plan your trip to Vietnam!
1. iOS devices (iPhone and iPad)
- iPhone 12 Pro Max,
- iPhone 12 Pro,
- iPhone 12 mini,
- iPhone 12,
- iPhone 11 Pro Max,
- iPhone 11 Pro (model A2215, from 2019),
- iPhone 11 (model A2221, from 2019),
- iPhone XS,
- iPhone XS Max,
- iPhone XR,
- iPhone SE 2 (2020),
- iPhone 13 (dual eSIM), iPhone 13 mini (dual eSIM), iPhone 13 Pro (dual eSIM), iPhone 13 Pro Max (dual eSIM),
- iPad Pro 11″ (1st and 2nd Gen),
- iPad Pro 12.9″ (model A2069, from 2020)
- iPad Air (3rd and 4th Gen),
- iPad (7th and 8th Gen),
- iPad mini (5th Gen)
Note: iPhones purchased from China or Hong Kong are dual sim, with no eSIM.
2. Android Services (Samsung, Google Pixel, Oppo, Huawei, Motorola,…)
- Google Pixel 5,
- Google Pixel 4,
- Google Pixel 4a,
- Google Pixel 4 XL,
- Google Pixel 3,
- Google Pixel 3 XL,
- Google Pixel 3a (purchased in South East Asia),
- Google Pixel 3a XL,
- Google Pixel 2 (only phones bought with Google Fi service), Google Pixel 2 XL
- Huawei P40,
- Huawei P40 Pro,
- Huawei Mate 40 Pro*,
- Huawei P50 Pro,
- Motorola Razr 2019,
- Samsung Galaxy Fold,
- Samsung Galaxy Note 20,
- Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra,
- Samsung Galaxy S20,
- Samsung Galaxy S20+,
- Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra,
- Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2,
- Samsung Galaxy Z Flip*,
- Surface Duo,
- Gemini PDA
- Oppo Find X3 Pro
- Oppo Reno 5A
- Oppo Reno6 Pro 5G
- Rakuten Mini
- Nuu Mobile
- The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 4G or 5G is not compatible with eSIM.
- Samsung Galaxy S20 Hybrid Dual SIM – Samsung produces both eSIM and no eSIM versions.
- Huawei P40 Pro+ has no eSIM support.
3. Windows devices
- Acer Swift 3, 7,
- ASUS NovaGo,
- Asus VivoBook Flip 14
- Asus Mini Transformer
- HP Envy x2,
- Dell Latitude 7210 2-in-1,
- Latitude 9410,
- Latitude 7310,
- Latitude 7410,
- Latitude 9510,
- Lenovo IdeaPad Miix 630,
- Lenovo Yoga 630,
- Lenovo Yoga 520
- Lenovo Flex 5G
- Microsoft Surface Pro X/Go 2/Pro LTE Advanced
- Samsung Galaxy Book 2
Note: Phone locked normally cannot use eSIM. If your phone is locked then you will get an error message when setting up an eSIM service.
How much does a Vietnam eSIM cost?
You can get an eSIM for Vietnam for as little as USD 9, with a data coverage of 4GB for 30 days and up to USD 99, with unlimited data for 90 days, from VinaPhone, MobiFone, Viettel Mobile, Airralo (Cu Chi), Gigago, Holafly and Nomad.
And you can even get unlimited data if you want.
Let’s take a look at your options for an eSIM in Vietnam!
eSIM coverage for Vietnam travel by local mobile network operator
The three most popular mobile carriers in Vietnam are respectively Viettel, MobiFone, and VinaPhone. All of them are state-owned enterprises with huge mobile phone coverage as well as comparable pricing power.
Here we show you coverage maps of 3 main operators of eSIM service in Vietnam:
1. Viettel – 3G coverage map in Vietnam
Viettel is own by the Ministry of Defense and therefore the Vietnamese army. Currently, it is the market leader in Vietnam, supplying network services to approximately 40% of the population.
Some highlights of Viettel’s network:
- Viettel has the largest coverage in Vietnam in compared with Vinaphone and Mobifone.
- It provides the best coverage in remote areas and rural areas, even on 3G
- Price is reasonable
This carrier supports the use of an eSim in Vietnam.
👉 Pro tip: As the prices have no big difference between the 3 main operators, if you travel to rural or remote areas of Vietnam, Viettel should be the first choice.
2. VinaPhone – 3G network coverage in Vietnam
VinaPhone, the 2nd largest operator in Vietnam, is owned by the government through Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group. This network hold 30% of the market share, and is the local partner of Vodafone.
Some highlights of Vinaphone’s network:
- It supplies great coverage and speed countrywide.
- 4G/LTE from VinaPhone is currently rolled out throughout the country.
- Price is reasonable (but seems still more expensive than Viettel’s (just a little)
- Vinaphone and Itel are cooperating to provide eSIM for tourists to Vietnam from all over the world, which is now supplied exclusively by GIGAGO.
This carrier supports the use of an eSim in Vietnam, too.
👉 Pro tip: If you want to use data while traveling in Vietnam with the best speed, at reasonable price, then buy the Vietnam eSIM online sold on Gigago.com.
3. MobiFone – 3G coverage map in Vietnam
The 3rd largest provider in Vietnam is Mobifone, which holds 18% of the market share and is on the process of privatization. Coverage and speed might be good in most city centers as well as around the coast, but probably patchy in the highlands or mountains.
4G of Mobifone is now available as a prepaid plan without any surcharge and reaching 95% of the population.
Some highlights of Mobifone’s network:
- Good coverage and speed in centers of Vietnam and around the coast
- Patchy coverage in the mountains
This carrier supports the use of an eSim in Vietnam.
👉So what is the best mobile network in Vietnam?
- In terms of excellent consistent quality and core consistent quality: Vinaphone and MobiFone shares the winner positions.
- In terms of 4G availability and coverage experience: Viettel Mobile leads.
- In terms of Voice App and Games experience: Viettel Mobile leads
- In term of download and upload speed: Vinaphone gets top.
Best mobile eSIM card carriers for travel to Vietnam
The next thing is to know the esim suppliers available on the market. By this way, you can compare their rates and purchase the esim matching your needs to connect to the Internet in Vietnam.
Here are top carriers that provide eSIM cards, both for Vietnam and global:
Let’s see a brief review and comparison of different plans and rates from each one!
1. Gigago plans and prices in Vietnam:
What you need to know about Gigago and its plan:
- The first and only eSIM provider in Vietnam
- Have local Vietnam phone number – allow to receive phone calls and SMS
- Fast speed and large coverage
Suitable for: those who want fast connectivity with affordable price and being able to receive phone calls and SMS in Vietnam
- 4GB for 30 days at $9
- 12GB for 30 days at $15
2. Holafly plans and prices in Vietnam:
What you need to know about Holafly and its plans:
- The only esim provider provides unlimited data plans for Vietnam (but more expensive than the eSIM sold by other providers like Nomad or Airalo)
- The most expensive travel eSIM provider
- 20-30-60 day plans are popular
- No 5G NR access
- No local phone number – cannot call or text or receive them
Suitable for: those who do not want to worry about data allowances
- Unlimited data for 5 days at $19
- Unlimited data for 10 days at $34
- Unlimited data for 15 days at $47
- Unlimited data for 20 days at $54
- Unlimited data for 30 days at $64
- Unlimited data for 60 days at $84
- Unlimited data for 90 days at $99
3. Airalo rates and prices in Vietnam (Cu Chi eSIM)
What you need to know about Airalo and its plan:
- Affordable price (in compared with roaming) and good service (even in remote areas)
- Use the VinaPhone network – the fastest network in Vietnam
- Best reception at all times
- Unlimited top-ups
- Only one plan of maximal 1GB – multiple top-ups if you need more data than just 1 GB (e.g: to get 5GB of data, you need to buy 1 GB eSIM and get 4 1GB top-ups)
- Data-only, no Vietnam phone number, cannot call or text
- No 5G NR access
- Connectivity not as fast as with VinaPhone itself (as roaming on their networks)
Suitable for: those who want to have fast speeds, affordable price (but not for those who want to buy one big data plan at one time)
- 1GB for 7 days for $4.5
4. Nomad rates and prices in Vietnam
Network: Truphone (a combination of local networks (Vinaphone, MobiFone, Viettel Mobile))
What you need to know about Nomad and its plan:
- Activate your Nomad Vietnam eSIM as soon as you land in Vietnam
- Get full (up to 4G/LTE) access on 03 Vietnamese networks, allowing to have the best reception automatically and always being connected
- The cheapest eSIM in Vietnam offered in this comparison
- Easily top up online (on website)
- No 5G NR access with the Nomad Vietnam eSIM
- Connectivity not as fast as with Vietnamese mobile operators themselves (as roaming on their networks)
- No Vietnam phone number – cannot call or SMS
- Only get up to 5GB
- 1GB for 7 days at $5
- 2GB for 30 days at $10
- 3GB for 30 days at $13
- 5GB for 30 days at $15
Best eSIM for Vietnam compared
Below is our recommendation order for Vietnam eSIM plans:
- Gigago (flexible plans, 24/7 support, best value for money)
- Airalo’s Vietnam Cu Chi eSIM (affodable price with good service)
- Nomad Vietnam eSIM (cheapest and excellent performance)
- Holafly Vietnam eSIM (truly unlimited data plans at premium prices)
- Holafly Asia eSIM (to be used in 13 countries)
👉 So how much data does a tourist need when travelling in Vietnam?
Popular data packages provided by Vietnam mobile operators are: 1GB, 2GB, 3GB, 4GB, 12 GB and 15GB. With a typical short trip in Vietnam, the data package of 3G to 5G is generally enough for common usage. For those staying in Vietnam in longer trips or for those who want to use more data, 12GB – 15GB will be the best choice.
👉 Pro tip: You are advised to make use of free Wi-Fi in public places in Vietnam like restaurants, coffee shops, super markets, hotels as much as possible.
How to install Vietnam eSIM for your trip?
1. When to install a Vietnam eSIM?
You can install your esim right after purchase. It is recommended to set up the esim before departure, so after landing in Vietnam, your Vietnam esim will automatically connect to the local network.
👉 Good to know: The validity of esim will start when you start to connect to the specified network for the first time, so do not turn it on until you arrive in Vietnam.
2. How to install Vietnam eSIM
Installing time: less than 5 minutes
What to prepare:
- An esim-support device (check the list above)
- The image of QR code to scan (use another phone to take photo of the QR code or get the QR code printed and bring it along to Vietnam)
Things to note before installing:
- Your device need to get connected so as to install the eSIM
- Your primary sim data should be turned off when you use data eSIM.
Get esim installed:
It is up to your device that the installation steps will vary.
It takes 02 steps to fully install and use an esim in Vietnam, including:
- Install the esim
- Activate the esim
Follow these steps to install Vietnam data esims by different devices based on the operating system or check more details at this full eSIM installation guides.
2.1. How to install and use esim on iPhone (iOS)
►Install the esim on your iPhone
- Go to Settings > Cellular Data
- Select Add Cellular Plan
- Scan the QR code
- Add the data plan to your phone
- Rename your eSIM, and turn your eSIM off.
► Activate your eSIM
- Go to Vietnam eSIM, enable this “Turn on this line”
- Turn on Data Roaming of your eSIM
- Make a call to *101# from your eSIM number
- Go to Settings >> Cellular Data >> Select your Vietnam eSIM. Remember to turn off the Allow Cellular Data Switching to avoid being paid the roaming fee from your primary phone number.
- Turn the Airplane Mode ON and then OFF, and turn on the Mobile data to enjoy the internet connection in Vietnam.
2.2. How to install and use Vietnam esim on Android devices
►Install the esim on your Android phones
- Go to Settings >> Network & internet
- Tap “+” next to Mobile Network
- Tap Don’t have a SIM Card? in case your phone has no other SIM card or Download a SIM instead? In case one SIM card is available on your phone.
- Scan the QR code
- Tap Continue to add this data plan to your phone.
- Turn off your eSIM
► Activate your eSIM
- Go to Settings > Network & internet
- Select your eSIM and turn it on
- Make a phone call to *101# from your eSIM number to activate it.
- Turn on Data roaming of your eSIM 2.4 Turn the Airplane Mode ON and then OFF, and enable the Mobile data to enjoy the internet in Vietnam
👉 Note: It is up to your smartphone models and carrier that the steps may differ slightly. In case you have any trouble setting up and activating your eSIM, contact the carrier for support.
How to buy eSIM for Vietnam? When and where?
When to buy esim for Vietnam: Before departure to Vietnam.
Where to buy for Vietnam: Buy online. You can buy your prepaid eSIM with Unlimited Data for Vietnam from many providers as mentioned earlier, namely Gigago, Holafly, Airalo,…
How to buy esim for Vietnam: Buying a Vietnam eSIM is as easy as 1, 2, 3. It can be done online with some simple steps:
- Choose your suitable data plan, make and order and pay
- Check your email with QR Code
- Scan the QR code
- Activate and ready for your trip to Vietnam
👉 Note: Before buying an eSIM Vietnam, please make sure that your mobile device is eSIM compatible.
Frequently asked questions
Does eSIM have the best connection in Vietnam?
No. It is not necessary to present a passport, some providers do require your address.
When does my plan start?
Your plan will start right at the moment you activate your eSIM simply by scanning the QR code on your phone.
Can I receive/make phone calls or send messages with my Vietnam eSIM?
Yes or no. Honestly, the capabilities of an eSIM will vary by carrier / provider of eSIM. If you buy eSIM on Airalo, Holafly eSIM for Vietnam, you cannot receive any call or message since there is no local phone number associated with the eSIM profile.
But, if you buy eSIM on Gigago, there will be a Vietnam phone number attached to your profile, allowing you to receive phone calls and messages and use a data plan.
Can I share with other devices with eSIM for Vietnam?
No, the eSIM for Vietnam does not allow users to share data.
When will I receive my Vietnam eSIM?
Right after your online purchase, you will receive it instantly to your email address. The carrier will send you QR code and simple instructions. You just need to scan the QR code to activate the SIM. Note that no refunds will be given after your purchase. Read the refund policy of the provider you choose for more details.
When should I set up my Vietnam eSIM?
It is best to set up your eSIM prior to departure. Then, when you arrive at Vietnam airport, just activate your data plan and turn on data roaming. You should print the QR code or take a photo of the QR code and have it go with you on your trip just in case. Internet connection is required to be able to activate the eSIM. Within a few minutes of setup, you can enjoy your data plan.
What is the best mobile network in Vietnam?
VinaPhone is the biggest network operator in Vietnam. It held fast its 4G availability award and remains the clear leader with an average scored of 89.7%