If you’re visiting the Philippines for the first time (tourist or retiree) or coming back to the Philippines after a very long time away (OFW or Balikbayan), one of the first things you’ll want to know is which telco to go for.
There are just 2 main players at the moment:
- PLDT/Smart. Also includes Sun Cellular & Talk n’ Text mobile brands. PLDT provides internet & landline services.
- Globe (which includes Touchmobile). Globe also provides internet & landline services.
These telcos don’t play nice with each other so You will be able to save more if the people you contact the most are on the same network.
We’re partial to Smart because of their coverage & speed. Smart is the fastest mobile network according to this article.
Grab a free SIM card.
If you are a tourist, OFW, or Balikbayan, free SIMs are available at the airport the moment you exit Immigration. The SIM is free but you will need to buy at least Php500 worth of load credits. If you buy a SIM outside, it will cost you P45.
Take note these are prepaid SIMs. I haven’t gone through the postpaid mobile plans yet but have heard enough horror stories of overbilling on postpaid plans to avoid them completely.
Get a combo
You’ll save money by subscribing to a combo instead of paying as you go. Each telco has a truckload of combos that going through them all is dizzying. Just go through each telco’s website & see what they have to offer.
Right now, I’m using Smart prepaid and subscribing to the Giga+ combo that gives you 2GB of data, unlimited texts to all networks, unlimited calls to Smart/Sun/Tnt, and 1GB of video every day for 7 days. This is the best value for us so far especially the 1GB of Youtube to stream Baby BM’s favorite kids videos in the event of a meltdown when out & about.
So that’s it, the basics of Philippine mobile networks to get you started. Comment below if you have anything more to add!