Traveling With An iPhone: My Experience in Cambodia

By , Mar 17, 2010

helloAfter spending about a month on the beautiful beaches of Thailand we decided to go to Cambodia for a couple of weeks. Before flying there, I had done a little bit of research and from what I had read it would be very hard for me to get a SIM card. Well, that was not the case.

We landed in Phnom Penh, the capital. The airport was so small that while I was walking and looking around inside the airport to find a Mobile Store, I realized that I was actually out of the airport. Does that make sense? Anyways.

Local SIM Cards

So right in front of the airport exit, I see a handwritten sign saying “Local SIM cards”, provided by the local carrier Hello. Nice! I head over there and ask the woman if I can get Internet access with this SIM. She says “yes” but I can tell she’s not really convinced by her own answer.

The Hello SIM card is $5 and I get another $5 of credit so we can make a few calls while in the country. After making the mandatory copy of my passport, she gives me the SIM, I put it in my phone, reboot, and bingo, it’s working.

First things first, I check if the Internet works. It doesn’t because I need to know the Cellular Data APN for this particular carrier, which is hello. Before leaving, I ask her about APN info and she has absolutely no idea what I’m talking about. Finally she says to me “for Internet, call this number”, which is the Customer Service Department for Hello in Cambodia.

Getting Internet to Work

While on our way to our hotel, I deciced to call Hello and figure out how to get Internet on my iPhone. The rep I talked to spoke very good English and after asking me about what device I use, he gave me all the info I needed to get 3G and Edge going, namely the APN hellowww.

He also told me more about pricing. It charges 1 cent per 100KB of data used. For $2/day, you can get unlimited data, which is the option I chose. So everyday, I had to send a text message to a specific number to activate my 24 hours of unlimited Internet. Not very practical but not inconvenient either.

Coverage in Cambodia

I was so stoked at first to be on 3G. After a few months in Thailand, Bali, Australia and New Zealand, this Cambodian network was without a doubt the fastest.

As soon as you leave the borders of major cities though, you’re on your own, no 3G, no Edge, just the uber slow GPRS. While in Phnom Penh, I was on the fast 3G pretty much all the time. When in Siem Reap, I was mostly on Edge, although there was 3G coverage.

All in all, my experience getting a SIM card and a data plan for my iPhone in Cambodia wasn’t too bad. Now that I’m in Laos, I actually regret how easy Cambodia was…

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  • luvmyiph

    this is wonderful information since i go to Cambodia every year and i stay in phnom penh. can’t wait to go back and have internet access in the palm of my hand this time! thanks!

  • Allan

    Looking forward to info about Laos

    • daniel

      i just came back from laos… and i would say that unitel provide a pretty fast 3g…. i chose the MI40 package that gave me free 500mb… the price was 40,000 kip/month… that is like 5usd per month…. it’s actually pretty fast… i used it for my ipad 2…

      • vuthy.K

        woow i staying in laos now, but i didn’t really using any internet package yet, what Sim did you use? it seem cheap. In laos it is expensive for oversea call and internet

  • Paul

    Very usefull informations, thanks!

    BTW, how many sim cards do you own? :D

    BTW (2), I can tell you, if ever you’ll will come in Italy, that Vodafone wants 5 euros for a rechargaable sim and DO NOT forget to ask for the “Mobile Internet Pack”: 3 euros per week (500 MB). Otherwise they’ll charge 1.50 euro per hour!!! :S

    Bye!

  • http://www.iphonedownloadblog.com Sebastien

    @Allan Laos was a mess. I’ll write about it soon.

    @Paul Thanks for the tip. I’ll be in Europe in May and a visit in Italy is not out of question.

  • http://www.freeiphone3gsgiveaway.co.uk got my free iphone 3gs

    This is great…. very useful practical information that I’m sure others will find useful. Its noce to know how easy it can be to go to foreign places and use items that make us feel that little bit more at home and secure.

  • Dimand

    hey,,, what do you think about Cambodia? and how about Thailand?

  • http://www.iphonedownloadblog.com Sebastien

    @Dimand Cambodia was very very cool. We went visit the S-21 prison and the killing fields in Phnom Penh, which was pretty intense. Then we went to Siem Reap to visit all the temples. That was absolutely fabulous. Siem Reap is a beautiful city with plenty to do and to see.

    Thailand was my favorite country so far. I’m a beach boy and there is more than enough to satisfy me, beachwise.

  • http://johnnyvagabond.com/ Johnny Vagabond

    Thanks for the great info. I’m in Phnom Penh now and searching for a SIM option — tired of slogging back to the internet cafes…

  • http://www.camo-club.com Cambodia IT Club

    Cambodia IT Club is an IT club established in 2009 in Cambodia by Mr Ma Chan Vathanak Lecturer of Khmer University of Technology and Management to give more opportunities to students who are studying this field to do research as group study.

  • joel

    hi, is your iphone jailbroken ?
    thanks

  • cesar

    hello i will go to cambodia with my iphone 3gs and i would like to know apn info of hello

    thanks

  • Dimand

    APN of Hello is wwwhello if you need more detail http://www.hello.com.kh/

    Cheer have a good trip in Cambodia. cause I’m Cambodian welcome!

    • http://www.iphonedownloadblog.com Sebastien

      Thanks for the comment. I loved Cambodia when I was there. I loved Siem Reap so much that I returned for one more week.

      • Dimand

        Good to hear that…! Have a nice stay in Cambodia.

  • KhmerGirl

    This is wonderful information, I will be traveling to Camboida in November 2010.

    Thanks!

    • KhmerGirl

      Ooops! I mean Cambodia…LOL spelling error.

  • Kevin

    I have an IPhone 4 – There is no option to change the APN?

  • http://www.facebook.com/Segner.Franhorle C-So Pheak

    I live in Cambodia

  • http://twitter.com/bigbuddie53 Bob Rouse

    Great stuff, going to Cambodia in March so the information is reallu useful

  • Traveler

    Can you share your APN settings so we can learn from you and not have to call.customer support?

    Thanks