SIM Cards

When you enter Vietnam unless you have a specific contract that gives you roaming at a discount you can end up paying 5Euro/USD per minute on receiving AND making phone calls to home.
The solution is easy, buy a local card, but you need an unlocked phone GSM compatible and swapping  SIM Cards nobody can call you for an emergency.
So unless it is for a very short stay, taking with you a second old and cheap phone seems the most practical solution.

Nearly every shop in Vietnam sellsl preactivated GSM SIM Card, the most popular are the standard Mobifone card, the biggest wireless provider and the one not spamming you with SMS every hour.
The normal voice and SMS SIM Card from Mobifone costs around 80.000 VND and is valid for 2 month. After your first call you will see the actual expiration date, and a bonus of 50.000+50.000 VND for making calls. The card is sold naked, no instructions, the web site has more info and there is a number 9393 for English help. Pressing the sequence *101# the phone will receive info on credit and expiration date. International calls to USA and Europe are cheap, around 4.000 VND per minute, direct dial.

To extend the expiration date for 1 month you need to put 100.000 VND on the card usually buying a scratch card at any shops. If you just use the number for receiving calls and at expiration time there is still money on the phone it may be cheaper to just dump the card and buy another one. You have to decide if keeping the number has any value for you or not. Every month all phone companies have a discount 50% week for adding money.

Using a second phone, Internet connection is most likely a non issue, every place has free wifi anyway, but there is also an Internet enabled Mobifone card with calls capability, see the web site for the limits.  

In Vietnam when calling from your mobile you always have to dial the city code (08 for HCMC) and the telephone number.

More info on smartphone here.

If you have to make a lot of calls abroad and you stay some months you can get a monthly subscription, just read the next info. 

 - Registration for using cheap international calls to some certain countries:

                                                                                    $1= VND 21,000

For Mobifone:

Fee for registering/canceling/checking information on package duration though SMS: VND 500/SMS (including VAT)

Global Saving Package: charged by monthly subscription. When a call is made through access code 1714, it will be charged VND 0 because its fee has been included in monthly subscription of the Global Saving Package.

 

Package name

Package code

Package fee
(VND/month)

Call direction

Call duration

Excluding VAT

Including VAT

Package 1
(5 countries)

QT1

180.909

199.000

Call both mobile and fixed subscribers in the following countries and territories: USA, Canada, China, Thailand, Singapore

272

minutes/month

Package 2
(25 countries and territories)

QT2

271.818

299.000

Call both mobile and fixed subscribers

Call fixed subscribers

414

minutes/month

USA, Canada, China, Hongkong, Singapore

Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Colombia, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, New Zealand, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Russia,
Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Kingdom

Note: List of called numbers listed in Global Saving Package are specified in Mobifone website.

For pre-paid subscribers

           Customers can register/cancel the package through SMS (Refer to instruction in the later part)

                           How to register: Compose "DK_Package code" send to 9252

                           How to cancel: Compose "HUY_Package code" send to 9252

DESCRIPTION OF CALL PROCESS
For calls to countries or territories whose code numbers are included in the Global Saving Package: customers should add the international access code 1714 at the beginning of the old number in order to distinguish it from normal IDD/VoIP calls:

To dial subscribers in other countries within the package for subscribers that use the low-price Global Saving Package:
                                                1714 + (00) CC + AC + NC + SN
In which:

                                                 1714: a prefix used to distinguish subscribers that use the low-price Package from others that use normal international call packages.

                                                 CC: National code of called subscriber.

                                                 AC: National area code of called subscriber.

                                                 NC: Network code of the exploiter whose service is used by the called subscriber.

                                                SN: Called subscriber number.

Mobifone website: http://www.mobifone.com.vn/portal/en/...

For Vinaphone:

List of countries that VinaPhone provides IDD1714 package


Package name

Rate (Vnd/month)

List of calling countries

Call duration

VAT excluded

VAT included

Calling to both fixed and mobile numbers

Calling to fixed numbers only

QT1 package

     180.909

        199.000

USA, Canada, China, Thailand, Singapore

199 minutes/month

QT2 package

271.818

299.000

USA, Canada, China, HongKong, Singapore

Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, UK, Puerto Rico, Russia, ThaiLand

299 minutes/month

Note:
- Quality of international call is similar to IDD or VoIP services
- International charge: is calculated in format of monthly subscription fee. When making calls via code 1714, charge of the calls shall be = 0 because the subscriber has paid monthly subscription fee for the international package

List of called numbers listed in Global Saving Package are specified in Vinaphone website.

* Methods of using the package:
* Registration/cancellation: Registration/cancellation via SMS:
- Registration: compose "DK" and send to 1714 and follow instructions of the system.
- Cancellation: Compose "HUY" and send to 1714
- Check package duration: Compose "TL" and send to 1714
Customer using the IDD1714 package:
- For incoming calls to countries registered in the package: customer must dial with international access code 1714 before dialing phone number to differentiate with normal IDD/VoIP calls
- Procedure for dialing subscription numbers of IDD 1714 package when calling to countries in the package:
1714  + 00 +  CC +  N(S)N
            - In which:
                    1714 is the international package access code with unlimited duration.
                    00 is international prefix.
                    CC code of calling country
                    N(S)N subscription number

 Vinaphone wesite: http://vinaphone.com.vn/locale.do?lan...

For Viettel:

No

Package code

Rate (VAT included)

Call direction

Call duration

1

QT60

60.000

Call both mobile and fixed subscribers in the following countries and territories: USA, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, Laos, Cambodia, South Korea

40 mins/07 days

2

QT199

199.000

Call both mobile and fixed subscribers

USA, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, South Korea

250 mins/30 days

Call fixed subscribers

Taiwan

3

QT299

299.000

Call both mobile and fixed subscribers:

USA, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, South Korea

380 mis/30 days

Call fixed subscribers

Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Demark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Israel, New Zealand, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Russia


Note: List of called numbers listed in Global Saving Package are specified in Viettel website.

  • Registration:

Compose “package code” gửi tới đầu số133.

  • Customers can register/cancel the package through SMS (Refer to instruction in the later part)
    • How to register: Compose "Package code" send to 133
    • How to cancel: Compose "HUYPackage code" send to 133

Example for cancel: HUYQT199 send to 133

  • Check for time duration:

Compose “TL+package code” send to 133.

Example: TLQT60 send to 133

  • Check calling direction:

Compose: “DS+package code” send to 133.

                        Example:  DSQT299 send to 133

 Note: package code QT60; QT199, QT299.

How to dial:

                        1788 + [00] + [CC] + [AC] + [SN]

In which:

      • 1788: a prefix used to distinguish subscribers that use the low-price Package from others that use normal international call packages.
      • CC: National code of called subscriber.
      • AC: National area code of called subscriber.
      • SN: Called subscriber number.

Example: call to Thailand with number: 0852 345 678:

 1788 00 66 852 345 678

Viettel wesite: http://vietteltelecom.vn

You can also have the option to buy Vietnam SIM card before you go and have it shipped to your address. Available online and here which people highly recommend with their fast and reliable service (www.vietsimcard.com)