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SIM card buying help

New York, NY
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15 posts
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SIM card buying help

Hi,

I've picked up an unlocked dualband GSM mobile (900/1800 bands), the Motorola Motofone F3, and am looking for a SIM card for it, since my parents are traveling to VietNam this fall for a couple weeks to see relatives.

It looks like the Vinaphone SIM cards are recommended, but is there a way for me to order them online to be shipped to me in the US? I know that they are everywhere in HCMC, but:

1) My parents aren't very good with this sort of thing, so I want to be able to set up and top up the mobile with the SIM card before they leave so they don't have to worry about it for the duration of the trip

2) I understand that vendors will put the SIM card in for them, but even though I bought the mobile for their convenience, I don't think that they will want to buy a SIM card at all, preferring to seek out payphones (a rarity it seems) instead...because they'd feel that it's "more trouble than it's worth" =(

I don't expect to find a Vinaphone SIM card online for $5 USD, but I feel that the prices I see of around $35-70 USD might be too much for the SIM card.

Please let me know if there's some place I can go to for a reasonably priced Vinafone SIM card (or Mobifone... I shouldn't be picky =P)

Thanks for your time!

noosa australia
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769 posts
19 reviews
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1. Re: SIM card buying help

I had a local vendor place sim card in for me when I arrived in hanoi and found my international roaming did nt work with optus ( it switched OK to vn network but...................long story)

I understand your concern but it was easy and cheap to let the lcoals do it ---I asked and found one of the employeees spoke good english and he did all the setting up for me. It was also very cheap!

Melbourne, Australia
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353 posts
10 reviews
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2. Re: SIM card buying help

Noosa what happens with the phone when you get back to Australia? Do you take out the 'Vietnamese' sim and replace it with your old 'Australian' sim card??

You can probably tell I'm not really up with the technology know how!!! I just use the phone.

What did it cost to buy the sim and have it all working in Vietnam? And, last question, where in Hanoi did you do all this?

Canada
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33 posts
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3. Re: SIM card buying help

I don't know of any places online that you could find a SIM phone but..

I think it would be much easier and cheaper for you to just have your parents get a sim put in once they are in VN. There are cell phone shops everywhere so they will have no problem at all looking for one and getting a sim put in. I was in VN for two months and I had a sim card put in and loaded for 200,000VND and I still had money left over after two months.

Hope that helps.

melbourne
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608 posts
6 reviews
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4. Re: SIM card buying help

Thanks family traveller for asking those questions. I imagine you'd need to take along a phone that doesn't have a lock on it. I believe some phones that you buy on a telstra deal etc are set up only to work for that network. Is that right? My son (14) tells me he should be able to use his prepaid with a new sim card. I don't know if this is right.

How much would you need to pay to use one for 3 weeks. We were planning on taking 2 phones so that we could keep in touch with each other when we go shopping etc Just like we do here.

Marian

brisbane australia
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358 posts
18 reviews
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5. Re: SIM card buying help

Ok I'm lost. Can't I use my optus phone over there.?

I will mainly only need it for texting home but I DO want to text home. You've lost me with all your dualbanded whatnots Xiao Tong:)

Is this just an American problem?\Thanks Heath

melbourne
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608 posts
6 reviews
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6. Re: SIM card buying help

Heather

We had a tri band ( means it works in America as well as everywhere else) mobile which we took on our trip around the world 3 years ago. We were on an optus plan, you know $30 a month one. We just had to let optus know we were going and get them to activate roaming. We were then able to text back to Australia with no trouble at all. In fact I would text my sister from the hotels and she would then call me back on the hotel's number. She used one of those phone cards you can buy in the supermarket.

If you are taking your own phone and using your current phone account you just have to make sure no one calls you on your phone from Australia as you will have to pay for that call at overseas rates. They can text you for the same price as you pay in Australia but not phone you. . Does this make sense?

What we want to do is take phones with us and just use them for contacting each other in Vietnam.

Cheers Marian

Ballarat, Australia
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110 posts
4 reviews
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7. Re: SIM card buying help

Hi All

Just back from VN and had a mobile where ever we went. I had my VN travel agent organise it for me to pick up on arrival.

Last year I had one of the hotel receptionists get two for me and they cost me abour 700,000 dong or 45 USD or 55 AUD. This year the agent got two for me for a whopping 9 USD each. about 150,000 dong. I still had about 100,000 dong left on one phone and about 50,000 on the other. The one with the least on it I used to call back to Australia a few times. Also it was the one we used to ring the other phone most of the time. I could not get the text messaging to work from phone to phone or from Australia to phone.

Most call between 1500 dong to 3000 dong.

To see how much credit you have left dial *101# send.

Our were through Viettel. There are other companies including Vinaphone. Have a look at …wikipedia.org/wiki/…Vietnam

for a full list.

Our Australian Telstra had international roaming as well but tried not to use it.

Enjoy your trip

regards

TF

melbourne
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608 posts
6 reviews
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8. Re: SIM card buying help

hi touring family.

Do you mean the agent got you sim cards or did they get you phones as well.

Cheers Marian

rural West Aussie
Destination Expert
for Perth
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21,229 posts
69 reviews
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9. Re: SIM card buying help

Depends on what kind of phone you have as well. My husband has CDMA and (OK, so I'm a dinosaur :-) ) I have a GSM phone. In VN I'll be able to use my phone but DH won't as VN doesn't have a CDMA network.

Telstra has a link to a page listing what kinds of phones work in VN and I'd be surprised if Optus doesn't as well.

Ballarat, Australia
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110 posts
4 reviews
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10. Re: SIM card buying help

Hi 3 Melb

They bought the sim cards for me. I had 3 phone over there. All Nokia's 7250, 6230i and 8210 and all worked with Telstra and Viettel. You need a dual band or tri band phone and unless yours is as old as a Nokia 5110 they should work.

TF