Mobile phones

How to get a “handphone” in Malaysia

Mobile phones

If you are looking for a cellphone in Malaysia ask for a handphone, as they are called by the locals. There is a wide range of providers you can choose from.

You can also use your foreign mobile in Malaysia as most European countries or the US have roaming contracts with Malaysia. You can call or be called in all GSM networks.

Yet, due to the high number of mobile service providers, and the resulting competition, handphone service in Malaysia is fairly affordable. So shop around and compare the current offers and chose a company that suits your needs. You can choose between pre-paid and post-paid mobile services. They are both easily available and require very few conditions.

The different providers have all different prefix numbers. The major providers and their respective codes are the following:

013 and 019 – Celcom 

012 and 017 – Maxis 

016 – Digi 

Pay as you go

Pre-paid, or pay as you go cards, are widely available in the mobile provider shops. You buy a SIM card and “top-up” your card by buying a reload card from the respective service provider. The cards are available in most convenience stores and mobile shops. Pre-paid cards are a good option to prevent you from racking up high bills while you are becoming familiar with Malaysian telephone costs.

Post-paid services

To purchase post-paid services, meaning signing a contract and paying a monthly bill, the same conditions apply as for a fixed line. This means you have to visit one of the numerous shops of the respective mobile service providers and to make an application. Unfortunately the same deposit of minimum RM 1000 applies. For this reason most expats opt for a pre-paid card at the beginning.

Further reading

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