If you are visiting the Philippines for business or pleasure, the cost of phone usage is an important consideration. If you’re not careful, you can pay a fortune! Let’s take a look now at some of the mobile phone options and plans available to you.
Mobile Phones In Philippines
Depending on which country you’re from, if you have your home phone number on roaming, chances are making calls, data charges etc will cost you a fortune. If you are only visiting the Philippines, then getting a prepaid local SIM card is cheap and easy. You can buy a prepaid SIM from just about anywhere from the 7-Eleven through to street vendors. Most pre-paid SIM cards only allow talking and texting. However, you can also buy SIM cards that have data inclusions for internet, streaming etc.
There are two main providers in the Philippines – Smart and Globe. As a quick rule of thumb, Smart tend to have better coverage around the urban areas. Globe tends to have better coverage in more remote areas. Of course, this is just a rule of thumb and isn’t an exact science. This will depend on where you’re planning to spend most of your time. The choice of provider is something you really should consider. Some people even buy a SIM card from both providers.
There is one thing that you might need to consider – is your phone a locked or an open line? There are a lot of stores and people here that know how to unlock your phone. You just need to be mindful that this doesn’t void the warranty of your phone in any way or impact the contract you have with your service provider. So before you tinker with your phone, it’s best just to check this, if you don’t already know.
Another thing to consider is that mobile phones here are very cheap, so you could even buy a second phone. Of course, the super cheap phones are not genuine phones. However, as a second phone, and to save money, it might be worthwhile making the purchase depending on your usage.
At the time of writing, if you fly with PAL (Philippine Airlines), Globe was handing out free Traveler SIM cards which provides you with calls and texts at local rates. You can also pick SIM cards at the airport upon arrival.
Cost Of Living In The Philippines
While we are on the topic of mobile phones and consumables, we might as well touch on the cost of living. The Philippines is ranked at the bottom end of a cost of living index in Southeast Asia, ranking below countries such as Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia as of November 2017. It is a fairly cheap place in which to get around with things like food, transport and entertainment costs all very reasonable. Hotels are also cheap unless of course, you are staying at a 5-star hotel. Even then, the costs are better than some neighbouring Asian countries.
Most of your consumable products such as phones and computers, clothing, furniture are all reasonably cheap. However, there are certain services that a very expensive such as electricity and the internet, which is compounded by the fact the internet speed is among the slowest in Asia. Understanding how to prepare yourself with your mobile phone service, and the costs associated with day to day living, you can help enhance the chances of survival in the Philippines.
For the next survival tip on Healthcare In The Philippines, please click Survival Tip #12 to read more. If you missed the previous survival tip on Cash In The Philippines, click Survival Tip #10 to read more. If you have any comments about the use of cash or money issues, mobile phone usage and coverage, or thrifty ways to spend money in common consumables in the Philippines, please feel free to leave your comments below. I would love to hear from you.
Philippines Fun Fact:
The Philippines is considered the text capital of the world. Every day, 35 million Filipinos send about 450 million SMS messages. This is more than the total number of daily text messages sent in the U.S. and Europe combined (courtesy of https://www.factretriever.com/philippines-facts).