Staying connected to the internet has become more of a need rather than just a facility, specially for international travelers. It could be much more helpful to know what to expect while you are travelling in Sri Lanka.
Thanks to growing competition among businesses, free WiFi zones are provided at almost all major business locations. But due to service providers monopoly and government taxes, and this and that, the service is at best, enough to get by. In a way, its the ideal excuse for a true getaway from you busy life back home, but for some travelers this could turn out to be a nightmare. Having experienced the burden a few times myself, here are a few options you should consider if you rely heavily on internet connectivity.
Complaining about a free service is just rude….. well pretty much any where. But getting connected to internet on your own is not difficult or expensive.
Roaming is using your home mobile connection while abroad. Obviously the charges are higher for voice calls and internet while roaming. You may have no choice if you rely heavily on phone calls to your personal number. But for internet connectivity the best option is connecting with a local mobile service provider.
In Sri Lanka we use SIM cards with GSM enabled phones. You just have to obtain a said sim card and slide it into the phone and you are connected with the local network.
Step 1 is to have an Unlocked GSM enabled Smart Phone.
Step 2 would be obtaining the SIM card with proper subscription. All the major network companies have stalls right inside the airport and you can get started with a traveler connection right on the spot. In case you missed your chance at the airport, no worries, selected local stores can also set up your subscription.
Step 3 is maintaining your connection for the duration of your stay. Since you are not permanent residents, you won’t be eligible for Post-Paid connections, where you settle the bill for usage at the end of the month. You will be eligible only for Pre-Paid connections, where you have to buy credits before use of the services, in form of Recharge Cards.
Survey all the major mobile network providers, select the payment plan that suits your needs. Here are a few good-to-know facts.
- 4G network is new to Sri Lanka. Internet speeds are truly impressive, yet the coverage is only for few major cities. With 4G I’ve personally witnessed download speeds of 20 Mbps as given by speedtest.net.
- 3G network is available island wide. I’ve seen 4 Mbps download speed in speedtest.net while using 3G.
- Top ups, Reloads, Recharge cards, Data cards, available everywhere. When in doubt, go to the biggest store at the closest junction. Pricing can be found on the service providers web site.
- If you are using your connection only for Internet, different recharge cards are available only with internet data, which is a much better deal than the regular recharge card. Ask for “Data cards” or “Data packages”.
I’ve dropped out deep technical information and instructions to make the post as brief yet clear as possible. If in need of further assistance please send me a message from contact page.