This is a summary article that tested multiple travel eSIMs that can be used when traveling to Vietnam.
October 30, 2022 •11 min read
Among popular travel destinations in Southeast Asia, Vietnam is one of the countries relatively close to Japan. Not only major airlines in Japan, but also Vietnam Airlines and LCC called VietJet are flying.
This article aims to be a verification-type review that actually uses, compares and considers various prepaid eSIMs for Vietnamese travelers .
This article is currently
- July 2022: Using eSIM of " Soracom Mobile " and " SimOptions " in Ho Chi Minh City (former Saigon)
- October 2022: Using “ Nomad eSIM ” in Ho Chi Minh City & Da Nang
based on the content.
Also, although it didn't work at all, I also tried overseas roaming with Rakuten Mobile (used with eSIM).
In addition to the above eSIMs that can be used in Vietnam , there are multiple eSIMs with good cost performance such as Airalo, Airhub, UPeSIM, etc., and it is quite possible that the fee will change, so please search on before traveling to get the latest . Please check the information.
In addition, Soracom Mobile just became available in Asia with the July 2022 update, SimOptions' eSIM can be used in Japan, so travelers living in Japan can test it before traveling, and Nomad used to be in Singapore The reason for my choice was that it was very easy to use when I used it and the cost performance was also good.
I will continue to try new eSIMs every time I go to Vietnam and update this article.
*Soracom Mobile is currently only available for iPhone/iPad, but SimOptions and Nomad eSIMs are also available for Android.
In addition, since I am an iPhone user, the contents will be on the iPhone.
May 2023 postscript: .com posted a site called
GIGAGO that deals with local eSIM in Vietnam. An eSIM for travelers that comes with a Vietnamese phone number that can receive calls/SMS and is fairly cheap . I would like to test this again when I travel to Vietnam next time.
table of contents
- soracom mobile
- SimOptions - Smart Traveler eSIM
- Nomad eSIM
- (Extra) Rakuten Mobile International Roaming
Soracom Mobile is an eSIM service for overseas travelers provided by Soracom, a Japanese company famous for IT (especially in the IoT area).
With the July 2022 update, it is now available in Japan, Asia, etc.
*The following is written based on the basic iPhone, but it can be used on the iPad as well.
Features of SORACOM MOBILE
Of course, there is a sense of security in being able to use the service in Japanese because it is a service provided by a Japanese company, but I think that the feature of SORACOM MOBILE is the ease of use of the service as a whole. Everything from purchasing an eSIM to using it can be completed with just one iPhone .
Global eSIM data communication service | Soracom Mobile
With Soracom Mobile's eSIM, you can easily and smartly use the Internet while traveling abroad. Experience new data communication abroad with eSIM technology!
SORACOM MOBILE official website
(*The website is only an introduction to the service content and cannot be used to purchase an eSIM.)
Everything is based on mobile apps, and as a flow, first download the app from the App Store, select a country and data plan, and purchase with Apple Pay or credit card.
Flow of eSIM purchase with SORACOM mobile app
You will need to register an account or log in on the way, but you can also sign in with your Apple ID (Sign in with Apple) in no time.
You can browse the store and select a data plan without an account or login.
After completing the purchase, you can install the eSIM on your iPhone with one tap . No QR code scanning required.
This will probably take a few minutes.
Data plans and charges
Currently, Soracom Mobile can use data communication in Asian countries such as Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, as well as in the United States, Australia, and Europe (33 countries).
For detailed data plans and fees, please check the eSIM pricing page on the official website . I have the impression that there are many countries and regions where it can be used relatively cheaply.
At the time of writing, there are four data plans for Vietnam.
- 1GB / 30 days : $5.89
- 3GB / 30 days : $16.49
- 5GB / 30 days : $26.99
- 10GB / 30 days : $52.99
If I was going with Soracom Mobile alone, I would have definitely chosen the 5GB plan (about 3,500 yen), but since it was planned to be used in conjunction with SimOptions' eSIM (6GB), which will be described later, I chose the 1GB plan this time. I bought it.
After purchase, you can install eSIM directly from the app without a QR code, but I always install this eSIM in a WiFi environment just in case. Make sure you have a stable internet environment.
You can install an eSIM anytime, anywhere as long as you have an internet environment, but I think it's better to install it in Japan before traveling.
Of course, you can't use it (you can't connect) while you're in Japan, so it's safe to turn off this mobile communication plan (eSIM) itself until you get there.
*In addition, SORACOM MOBILE cannot be used for data communication services and calls/SMS.
Actual data communication in Vietnam
In the case of Soracom Mobile, there is no need to set data roaming or APN, just assign it to "mobile data communication" from the settings and you can use it.
After arriving at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City, they managed to find a local network. In Vietnam it connects to Vietnammobile .
Sometimes it was 3G, but I think it was basically 4G.
Actual communication speed and quality
Here are the results of the speed test in Ho Chi Minh City.
It's not particularly fast (or rather, it's slow compared to Japan's 5G/4G), but honestly, even this was quite usable.
Or rather, I think that it is much more comfortable to use than the SimOptions eSIM, which will be described later, because it has a sense of stability.
Regarding the local communication speed, it seems that there was an improvement in August 2022, and it seems that the speed can be expected to be about double the above speed. (Soracom Inc.)
Since it is roaming via Japan, the Ping value is slightly larger. Personally, I didn't care much, but it may not be suitable for applications where real-time performance is important, such as calls with video.
Checking remaining data, additional purchases, Internet sharing, etc.
You can check the remaining amount of data and purchase additional data (charge) at any time from the SORACOM mobile app.
I didn't purchase additional data this time because my stay was short for 2 nights and 3 days.
In addition, Internet sharing (tethering) was also usable without problems .
Although it is not the lowest price in terms of cost performance, the ease of use and the stability of communication are expected .
SimOptions - Smart Traveler eSIM
SimOptions offers a wide variety of tour eSIMs , many of you may not have heard of them in Japan, but they have quite attractive eSIMs.
There are currently 3 eSIMs for sale on the Vietnam eSIM page on the official website .
Choose the "Smart Traveler eSIM" with the best cost performance.
How to purchase an eSIM on the SimOptions site is explained in detail with images in the following separate article 👇
How to buy SimOptions eSIM
We will introduce the eSIM purchase method on the SimOptions site step by step with images.
Blog | Latest eSIM related news
Also, I have actually used this Smart Traveler eSIM in Malaysia before 👇
[Recommended for traveling around Asia] I tried using SimOptions eSIM in Malaysia
This is a review article about trying SimOptions eSIM "Smart Traveler eSIM" in Malaysia, which is cheap and convenient for traveling to Asia.
Blog | Latest eSIM related news
Since it covers multiple countries in Asia, it is a convenient eSIM for traveling around Asia, and it can also be used in Japan and the United States, so for those living in Japan or the United States, there is an advantage that you can test the communication in your own country before traveling .
However, SimOptions' eSIM is an eSIM product packaged like a general SIM card for travelers, so there is no convenience of managing it with a mobile application, and installation is based on a QR code. However, the cost performance is about the same as Nomad, which will be described later, and it is quite good.
Data communication experience in Vietnam
The Smart Traveler eSIM worked perfectly fine when I used it in Malaysia, but in Ho Chi Minh City I had problems from the start.
After arriving at the airport, it was connected in a few minutes and four antenna pictograms were displayed firmly, but soon after that it was out of service. I tried various things, including turning on/off the mobile communication plan itself, turning on/off airplane mode, and even restarting the iPhone itself, but it didn't fix it. For the time being, I had Soracom Mobile, so I was able to secure the internet, but with only Smart Traveler eSIM, it was quite a pinch. (Because there was no problem in Malaysia last time, I was careless.)
After 30 minutes, I tried again and it connected to VinaPhone's 3G.
However, according to the information on the SimOptions site, the local network in Vietnam should be Viettel, so it's a bit strange that it was connected to VinaPhone.
From the next day, it was properly connected to Viettel .
5G or 4G depending on location. I remember that 4G was mostly used except for the center.
However, the variation in communication speed was amazing for the time being, whether it was 5G or 4G .
Below is the speed test result, although the upload is basically stable, the download range is 1 Mbps to 41 Mbps.
As far as I was using it, the Ping was over 300ms and the delay was moderate, so it didn't feel that fast.
I was able to use it without any problems, but sometimes it was so slow that I thought it was packed.
Except for the very first airport, there was no case of being out of service and completely unusable, so it was just a passing score.
It is unknown whether this instability in communication speed is a coincidence or a common occurrence, but Soracom Mobile and Nomad had a higher sense of stability.
Of course, the cost performance is better with this Smart Traveler eSIM, so it's worth trying.
In addition, this eSIM was also available for tethering (Internet sharing).
Nomad is also one of the prepaid eSIM services for overseas travelers, and its design, operability, and usability are top class.
Nomad - the global eSIM marketplace
Data packs at local rates for instant connectivity Popular Countries Download Nomad iOS app to manage and top up your eSIMs anytime, anywhere.
Nomad official website
I have also used it in Singapore and Thailand in the past, and I feel that it is a reliable service without any problems. And the website and apps are also very sophisticated and easy to use.
Data plans and charges
Nomad is not only user-friendly but also reasonably priced . The data plan for Vietnam is
- 1GB / 7 days: $5
- 2GB / 7 days: $10
- 3GB / 7 days: $13
- 5GB / 7 days: $15
There are four (at the time of writing). I think it's pretty cheap at the moment.
From Nomad official website
With 5GB, the price per GB drops to $3.
In addition, use the discount code " 3 " to get $3 off for the first time only. It's about coffee, but please take advantage of it.
Personally, if you can use the coupon code above to purchase the 5GB plan for $12, I think it's not bad for the price, even if it's a weak yen.
We have a separate article about how to purchase Nomad's eSIM and the flow from installation to start of use 👇
How to purchase and install Nomad eSIM
Comprehensive explanation from purchase to installation of Nomad eSIM.
Latest Travel eSIM News | Blog
Although it is only in English, it is intuitive and not difficult at all.
Like Soracom Mobile, Nomad can install eSIM directly from the app without a QR code on iPhone.
Communication quality in Vietnam
The day before the trip, I pressed Activate Data Now on the app to start the plan, and when I arrived in Ho Chi Minh City, I set this Nomad's eSIM to "data communication" from the iPhone settings. You will be able to use it with the above.
I was still on the plane, but there were no problems, and data communication became possible smoothly. This is the most relaxing moment.
Nomad eSIM's connection destination in Vietnam is Viettel , and the display is LTE.
We stayed in Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang for a few nights each, but there was no problem at all in terms of area . I remember that it was only the section to the parking apron immediately after landing at Da Nang airport that was out of range.
And the result of the essential speed test is as shown in the image below. From left to right: Ho Chi Minh City (District 1), Tan Son Nhat International Airport (SGN), and Da Nang City (near Hilton).
Although there is some variation in communication speed, I think that the speed was sufficiently practical for travel. I didn't have many opportunities to use uploading, so it was a download-only experience, but I was able to use it comfortably from beginning to end .
Ping is more than 100 ms for roaming communication via Hong Kong, but it is smaller than Soracom Mobile and SimOptions eSIM, and I didn't feel that much delay.
I was able to use Grab (a dispatch app), which is very convenient for traveling in Vietnam, and I had no problems with Google Maps or YouTube.
Internet sharing (tethering) was also possible .
Plus, I was able to use it more comfortably than I expected, and the overseas roaming of Rakuten Mobile, which I used together (described later), was extremely unstable, so I completely used up the 3GB plan I purchased this time, so I started with the 5GB plan from the beginning. I thought a little on the last day that I should have bought it.
In the case of Nomad, you can easily check the remaining amount of data with the application and purchase additional data as follows.
Nomad's iOS app screen
Nomad eSIM Summary
If you're going to buy it, the 5GB plan or 3GB plan is recommended for cost performance. And don't forget to use the discount coupon code " 3 ".
If the GB unit price is about 3 dollars (about 450 yen) or less, I think it is quite good compared to other travel eSIMs . I felt that it was very stable and usable enough .
In addition, you can check the amount of data used from the app, you can purchase additional data if necessary, and you can use multiple terminals because you can use designing. So I can appreciate the fact that these check boxes are cleared.
(Extra) Rakuten Mobile International Roaming
Rakuten Mobile no longer has a zero yen plan, but I have an eSIM on my iPhone as a backup line. (I may cancel in the future.)
With Rakuten Mobile, you can use overseas roaming without additional charges up to 2GB per month.
I tried using it in Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang in October 2022, but in conclusion, the communication was cut off quite frequently and it was almost unusable .
The radio wave was properly included in Viettel, and it was displayed as 4G or 5G.
Regardless of location, whether in Ho Chi Minh City or Da Nang, the phenomenon of frequent communication interruptions has not changed.
The speed test was also interrupted once every two times .
Grab (a ride-hailing app), where location information is important, requires continuous data communication, so I'm afraid that Rakuten Mobile is too unstable and I can't use it. bottom.
(Nomad, which I used on the same trip, was overwhelmingly more stable and comfortable.)
Is it just me? I thought, and searched on Twitter, and it seems that there are other people who have had the same experience, so at least it seems that the parameter is not 1.
If you are already subscribed to Rakuten Mobile, I think it would be a good idea to try it out, but I think you should consider Plan B carefully.
Choose an eSIM according to your usage and budget
In the case of Soracom Mobile, it is really easy from purchase to start of use, and although it is not insanely fast, the impression is that the local communication is stable. Therefore, it can be said that it is for travelers who seek convenience and stability even if it is a little expensive. It's a service from Japan.
SimOptions' Smart Traveler eSIM is somewhat uneasy about local communication, but it has excellent cost performance and has the advantage of being able to be used in multiple countries including Japan.
Nomad has a good balance of convenience, cost performance, and local communication quality, and it is a service that can be recommended to anyone as an eSIM for traveling in Vietnam.
In my case, the hurdle may be low because I use the Internet to check social media, email, and Slack, but I think I can use a roaming eSIM without any particular problems.
Regarding Vietnam, I would like to try other eSIMs and update the information in the future.
I think I'll buy a local SIM and compare the communication quality, but I'll go to the store, choose, buy, open the SIM tray, replace the SIM, make various settings, and lose the original SIM. I didn't buy it after all because the series of work of storing it so that it was not there was already troublesome. Once you get used to eSIMs, physical SIM cards can seem like a hassle.
However, if you need a Vietnamese phone number, there shouldn't be such an option with prepaid eSIM at the moment, so it seems necessary to purchase a physical SIM locally.