When traveling, we always love to stay in touch with family and friends. But these days roaming charges are expensive. So why not get a local number?
In Sri Lanka, SIM cards can be obtained if you have an unlocked GSM phone. This allows you to make calls outside of your home country and swap out your SIM card for another. Alternatively, you can bring or buy another phone to put your new SIM card into.
You can purchase a SIM card at the phone shop counters in the arrivals lounge of Bandaranaike International Airport or at mobile company branches throughout the island. The main networks offering pre-paid SIM cards (you buy credit and top up when you run out) are Dialog, Mobitel, and Etisalat.
Buying Your SIM
It is relatively simple to purchase a SIM Card. All you need to do is present your passport at the mobile office (they will take a photocopy of it); they may take a digital photograph for their records (you can provide a passport size one if you would like) and make the payment. You will soon be able to use the SIM card to make overseas calls and local calls with a local number.
Buying a Dialog SIM at the airport (without credit): Rs. 150
Buying a Mobitel SIM at the airport: Rs. 1,500 with Rs.850 credit
Buying an Etisalat SIM at the airport (without credit): Rs. 250
Run out of credit? Depending on which network you bought, just go to any Dialog, Mobitel, or Etisalat branch. You can also add credit at some street shops – it should be indicated on their window.
To help, we have included links to the network rates if you would like to do some research before visiting. However, it is best verifying the rates when you buy your SIM in case anything has changed or they have a special promotion.