Traveling With An iPhone: My Experience in Cambodia

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…