New Prepaid GSM phone cards from Myanmar

I have already written about the easy availability of prepaid GSM phone cards in Myanmar in recent weeks. The prepaid phone cards were not available in Myanmar until a few weeks ago, although they are easily and cheaply available in other South East Asian countries. GSM subscriber lines in Myanmar are quite expensive and difficult to get one. Officially priced at around US$ 1,500, they are not only extremely expensive but also very difficult to get one with a long waiting list. Not surprisingly, the black market price for an official GSM SIM card is around US$ 3,000, twice the official price. As a result, GSM mobile phones are not for the ordinary Myanmar citizens.

Now comes the cheaper prepaid GSM mobile SIM cards. Priced at US$ 20 per card, and easily available through major supermarkets, stores and mobile phone shops, mobile phones have become the thing of the ordinary citizens of Myanmar. With US$ 20 per card, many people in Myanmar can now afford to a mobile phone.

But wait! Here comes the problem of the newly available prepaid SIM cards. The life of a prepaid SIM card is one month. Normally, this can be extended using a refill card. Unfortunately, the Myanmar Telecoms does not provide a way to refill the SIM card. That means after a month of usage, your SIM card is no longer usable, and you have to buy a new card, with a new phone number. That is really frustrating. Imagine you have to update your phone number to all your contact every month. And your contact will have to update their phone numbers once a month too. Everybody will be busy trying to update their current phone number to everyone. This is quite ridiculous!

However, for a foreign visitor to Myanmar, it is not a problem. At the end of one month, he will be out of Myanmar. But for average Myanmar citizens, this is a real problem. Unless the Myanmar Telecoms stars selling refill cards, the new prepaid SIM card will still be not fully usable.

A note about the rate of the prepaid SIM card: for out going call – US$ 0.30 per minute (yes, that is really expensive); for incoming call US$ 0.05 per minute (that is not so bad), and one SIM card cost US$ 20, with the life of one month from activation.

24 comments for “New Prepaid GSM phone cards from Myanmar

  1. Tun_BKK
    February 19, 2009 at 11:45 pm

    Hmm..

    It means this kind of SIM card won’t work even for one month. From the activation date, one will have to be very careful about all of his outgoing and incoming minutes. It is locked to appr. 66 minutes outgoing call provided you should not picked up any incoming call. Or receive 400 minutes incoming calls but must not make any outgoing call.

    Even if you balance making and receiving your calls, it is unlikely $20 that comes with SIM will last for a month. Am I right?

  2. July 4, 2009 at 1:00 am

    Currently, the only prepaid GSM Sim card available in Myanmae is a US$ 50 card. It can be bought in any mobile shop. The life of this sim card is also one month, with no option for top up. Both incoming and out going calls are charged. And there is also no option for connecting to the internet. (Myanmar GSM does not have service to connect to internet through EDGE or GPRS. There is no mobile internet service in Myanmar.)

  3. Patrick
    August 6, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    Hello,
    So calling with these cards abroad is no problem? Or are outgoing and incoming calls restricted??? And the only prepaid cards are now 50$ ?
    Can I use my own ??? We leave for Myanmar on 10 nov.2009.
    greetz,
    Patrick

    • August 6, 2009 at 8:05 pm

      There is no problem calling abroad (making foreign calls) from these mobile phone prepaid cards. However, calling rate from Burma is quite high and expensive. You can call out cheaply from one of the internet cafes using skype. Just put some money into your skype account before coming to Myanmar. Internet cafes are everywhere in Yangon and Mandalay, but difficult to find outside Rangoon and Mandalay. In such case, your hand phone will be quite valuable.

      Currently, the only card available in the market is US$ 50 cards, although you might be able to find old cheaper cards in some shops.

      For your third question, you have to bring your own GSM mobile phone that is not locked. However, you cannot use your own sim card as Burma currently does not have roaming agreement with any of the foreign mobile phone companies. So, the only way is to buy one of these expensive prepaid cards.

  4. zayar
    January 3, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    can i ask you one thing?if we use sim card and calling to abroad how much wil be charge for one min?

  5. aa
    January 3, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    i am having problem

    i can not use mpt gsm 20$.

    my outgoing call ..19 minute

    incoming call……3 hour

    exp: date feb:20

    now my mpt gsm 20$ is not use 1st jan 2010.

    please help me !

  6. Ashley
    January 12, 2010 at 6:37 am

    ok , so the price of the sim card is 50$ but are you allowed to use the burmese sim card in an australian or american phone . Because i have a long line of friends and family and i really want to show off but i can’t do that if i can ‘t call with the phone .

    HELP

    • January 12, 2010 at 2:10 pm

      You can call to other countries. For you to use in a phone from another country, you have to make sure they are GSM phone (phones from US are CDMA), and are not locked. Currently, there are new CDMA prepaid cards but they are quite expensive and not readily available and not very popular.

  7. nyx
    January 13, 2010 at 6:59 am

    how good is the reception of this prepaid card at yangon, mandalay, bagan?

  8. Deborah
    February 10, 2010 at 11:14 am

    1). Here stated that it’s easy to buy. So can be able to buy anyhow or need to register with the passport like other country?
    2). How about the Top-up(Refill) matter? Now can available?
    3). Can be able to check the location who hold that SIM card?

    Kindly help. Thanks.

    • February 15, 2010 at 12:01 am

      1. Official rule is that you have to show your id or passport when you buy.
      2. No top up available.
      3. It depends on how advanced the technology is. At least the authority can track up to a certain point.

  9. Rita
    March 24, 2010 at 7:15 pm

    Hi,
    I am a Burmese and I live in Virginia. I am trying to buy a cell phone for my mom so that she can buy a SIM card there. Someone told me that I can only use Nokia GSM, is that true? Also, can I just get any unlocked GSM that is unlocked? I found a Nokia GSM (unlocked) but has AT & T on it. I am afraid my mother might not be able to use it if I bought it.
    Here’s the link,

    http://cgi.ebay.com/Touch-Screen-Unlocked-GSM-Cell-Mobile-Phone-AT-T-Mobile_W0QQitemZ150426299350QQcmdZViewItemQQptZCell_Phones?hash=item23061b2bd6

    Thanks so much in advance.

  10. Rita
    March 24, 2010 at 7:56 pm

    I forgot to ask if I can buy a phone for those prepaid SIM cards in Yangon. If yes, how much do they usually cost? I feel like it would just be easier if I can find a phone here that’s good for Burma and bring it there with me.

    Thanks again!

    • March 25, 2010 at 3:13 am

      In Myanmar, the government GSM service provider only sells card, not phone. Any unlocked phone can be used. Nokia is favorate among Myanmar users but other brands can also be used. You have to make sure your phone can accept any GSM card.

  11. aung
    November 4, 2010 at 10:25 am

    How can I make a phone call to my phone 017308XXXX phone from US. Every time I make a call from here, the line say incorrect number?

    I dial 9517308XXXXX

  12. March 11, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    ေက်းဇူးၿပဳ၍ GSM ဖုန္းမ်ားရဲ႕ နံပါတ္မ်ား။ ဥပမာ 09200…./09680…../စသည္ၿဖင့္ CDMA 470/ CDMA 800 / တုိ႕ ၏ နံပါတ္ကေလးမ်ားကုိ သိခ်င္လုိ႕ပါခင္ဗ်ာ။ ေက်းဇဴးၿပဳ၍ ပုိ႕ေပးေစလုိပါတယ္။ ေစာင့္ေမွ်ာ္ေနလွ်က္

    • March 11, 2012 at 6:59 pm

      ေက်းဇူးၿပဳ၍ GSM ဖုန္းမ်ားရဲ႕ နံပါတ္မ်ား။ ဥပမာ 09200…./09680…../စသည္ၿဖင့္ CDMA 450/ CDMA 800 / တုိ႕ ၏ နံပါတ္ကေလးမ်ားကုိ သိခ်င္လုိ႕ပါခင္ဗ်ာ။ ေက်းဇဴးၿပဳ၍ ပုိ႕ေပးေစလုိပါတယ္။ ေစာင့္ေမွ်ာ္ေနလွ်က္………………

  13. March 11, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    ေက်းဇူးၿပဳ၍ GSM ဖုန္းမ်ားရဲ႕ နံပါတ္မ်ား။ ဥပမာ 09200…./09680…../စသည္ၿဖင့္ CDMA 450/ CDMA 800 / တုိ႕ ၏ နံပါတ္ကေလးမ်ားကုိ သိခ်င္လုိ႕ပါခင္ဗ်ာ။ ေက်းဇဴးၿပဳ၍ ပုိ႕ေပးေစလုိပါတယ္။ ေစာင့္ေမွ်ာ္ေနလွ်က္

  14. chitthwe
    April 3, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    i want to know about gsm

  15. zaw aung
    October 21, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    in gsm phone, how to top up a phone by using another phone. pls give instruction to my email. sixtynine1@gmail.com. thank u very much.

  16. July 1, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    I wanna to know about the GSM and CDMA 800 MHz for phone bills in one minutes.

  17. mahar
    September 26, 2013 at 11:00 pm

    GSM or CDMA အခ်ိဳ႔ ေသာေငြျဖည့္ကပ္မ်ားတြင္ up date ျဖစ္ျပီး ေငြျဖည့္သြင္းလို႔မရပါသျဖင့္ ေက်းဇူးျပဳ႔ျပီး ဘယ္လိုျဖည့္သြင္းရမည္ကို reply ေပးပါရန္

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