Be sure to secure your iPhone or Android Smartphone whenever you travel. Precautions will help prevent disaster.
The iPhone or any Android Smartphone is an essential tool when traveling to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for tourists of any country. Google maps, travel guides, language translation, and many other apps are extremely useful. We used them all the time. Using our American AT&T iPhone in Kuala Lumpur was tricky. Most Verizon iPhones from the USA do not work internationally, since they use CDMA technology. Verizon does carry several “World Phones” which work with SIM Cards. We have done the research on our last trip and are sharing the findings with you.
We also have articles on using prepaid SIM cards in other countries:
- Using iPhones in Hong Kong
- Using iPhones in China
- Using iPhones in France
- Using iPhones in the UK
- Using iPhones in Japan
Here are some tips on using your iPhone in Kuala Lumpur
You can only use foreign SIM cards in an unlocked iPhone or Android Smartphone. A locked smartphone only works on the original cell phone carrier. Most cell phone carriers in the US, including AT&T, allow you to unlock Smartphones after your 2 year contract has been fulfilled. T-Mobile requires 18 months of payments before they will unlock a cell phone under contract. You can alternately purchase an unlocked Smartphone from Amazon, eBay, etc.
If you prefer to unlock your iPhone, you can try jailbreaking it. Jailbreaking and unlocking iPhones are not easy tasks. One slip and you may have bricked your expensive smartphone. You can buy a pre-jailbroken/unlocked used iPhone from eBay or Craigslist. iPhone 4’s typically cost around $150.
This article also applies to using prepaid SIM Cards in the iPhone 5s, 5c, 5, 4s, 4, 3gs, and iPad with 3G or LTE. Android Smartphones utilizing GSM technology are also supported.
Different Smartphones use different sized SIM cards. Most foreign cell phone carriers sell smaller micro-SIM (iPhone 4, 4S, iPad) and nano-SIM (iPhone 5, 5s, 5c, iPad mini) for use in a variety of Smartphones. You should remove the SIM card from your phone before you attempt to purchase a prepaid SIM card in another country.
DiGi SIM card package
Main cellphone carriers in Kuala Lumpur
DiGi, Celcom, U Mobile. Some of these carriers support GSM900/1800/2100 network frequencies.
Suggested Wireless Carrier
We chose to go with DiGi Best Prepaid Sim Card due to its lower cost and GSM Compatibility. As of 2013, no provider in Kuala Lumpur sold prepaid LTE SIM Cards.
Where to Buy
Convenience stores are located throughout Malaysia. Find a 7-11 or other store and purchase it there.
Prepaid SIM card plan
When we purchased the DiGi Prepaid SIM Card from a convenience store, they took a picture of our passport.
- SIM Card costs 8.50 RM – with 5 RM talk time
- Also buy an extra 30 RM when you purchase the card
- Standard or Micro SIM Card or Nano SIM Card are available
- Data cost 5 RM a day for 500MB, then it is free for the rest of the day. It is then throttled.
- Local Voice calls cost 0.06 RM/10 sec – 0.20 RM/next two minutes
- Text messages cost 0.08 RM, MMS costs 0.25 RM
- The SIM Card lasts 60 days and can be added onto (topped up) and extended to one year if you pay 30 RM
Prepaid SIM card Activation
This is how we set up our iPhone on this prepaid SIM Card.
- Turn off your smartphone
- Insert the Prepaid SIM Card
- Turn on your smartphone
- Carrier settings were configured automatically
Prepaid SIM card Top Up
Here is how you can add money to your account
- Visit a convenience store and purchase a top up
- You will receive a receipt with a PIN number
- Call xx
- Enter PIN number
- You should receive a text message or SMS confirmation with new balance
These instructions should work for other smartphones including Android smartphones that support American GSM networks from AT&T and T-Mobile.