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I will be traveling all over Vietnam and I would like to be as often connected as possible.

So having a sim card with the mobile network having the best 3G coverage is key to this aim.

  • Doing a search, I found this site enables you to choose the various companies and compare their coverage. Truthfully, it looks like you'll have no problem in the cities, but the country-side will be spotty, which is true anywhere. – CGCampbell Aug 24 '15 at 18:00
  • @CGCampbell too true. Just wondering which network is the less spotty. I believe this can most probably only be answered by someone who actually was in Vietnam not long ago. – Adrien Be Aug 25 '15 at 1:46
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There are mainly 3 mobile network operators in Vietnam. Viettel is currently the biggest one and also the only one that invests in other countries (Cambodia, Laos, Haiti, Peru...). It has very good coverage in rural areas. In remote islands or highland areas the only operator is Viettel. Reason for those? It's operated by the Ministry of Defence so they must increase coverage as much as possible even if there's no profit in those areas to improve national security and defense. In urban areas most operators will be fine.

The next 2 big network operators are Mobifone and Vinaphone. They allow voice roaming to each other when the main one has no signal, so the coverage is also good, but I'm not sure about data roaming.

There are 2 more small operators: Gmobile and Vietnamobile but the coverage is generally not good even in urban areas. Gmobile is 2G only and Vietnamobile only supports 3G in a few large cities.

  • 1
    I ended up using Viettel when traveling in Vietnam in 2015. Coverage was fine, even in very remote places: I did a motorcycle road trip in the north of Vietnam & was in very rural areas, coverage was still fine usually. I also used it to share my mobile connection with my laptop, it was working just fine. – Adrien Be Dec 25 '15 at 6:09
  • Incorrect you can share data with a Mobifone card as I've been on it for a year and half now and share it from my iPhone all the time. You have to manually go in and input the personal hotspot settings. – user40255 Feb 17 '16 at 10:23
  • @scott what do you mean by "share data"? If it's wifi tethering then every smartphone now has the ability to share data. Where in my post do you find I stated about "sharing data"? I'm afraid you don't understand what "roaming" is – phuclv Feb 17 '16 at 16:02
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    I just came across OpenSignal.com, it provides info on mobile network coverage (2G, 3G & 4G) on many countries for all the networks available. – Adrien Be Feb 27 '16 at 14:40
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There are 4 major network operators in Vietnam.

The three largest - Viettel, Mobifone and Vinaphone are all government owned, and right now all have very similar prices. You're looking at about 120,000VND (about $6) for 1.5GB of data which will expire after 30 days.

Vietnamobile is a smaller operator, part owned by Hutchison (who own the various 3 networks across Europe and Asia). They're cheaper, at about 40,000 VND ($2) for 2GB of data, which also lasts 30 days.

So why would you pick one of the other operators? Vietnamobile's coverage can be patchier, although it improved significantly in early 2017 to the extent that on a recent trip from Hoi An to Phong Nha Ke Bang (a small but slightly touristy town) I had 3G signal virtually all the way. Still, off the major highways and outside towns, the other operators do have better coverage.

It can also be a pain to find a Vietnamobile scratch card for topups - I wasn't able to find one in the international airport in Hanoi last time I looked, although about half of street vendors in Hanoi seem to have one hiding somewhere. SIM cards are harder to come across. So it depends on whether you think the cheap data is worth the short term hassle.

FWIW - I use Vietnamobile, but I'm going to be here a while.

  • Vietnamobile is just a tiny network operator, along with Gmobile. Only the other 3 are majors/dominators and therefore must apply to the ministry of information and communications when they want to change the price. Vietnamobile and Gmobile is so small so they have the ability to fix the price on their own, so it's very cheap. But those two have very bad coverage outside main cities – phuclv Feb 17 '16 at 16:15
  • Vietnamobile only has 3G in Ho Chi Minh city, Hanoi and a few other large cities. Outside those it's always 2G. – phuclv Feb 17 '16 at 16:19
4

Just arrived in Hanoi. Bought a Mobiphone card. Was unable to data share towards a second phone with an USA number.

A Vietnamese local advised that her phone with Vinaphone network does share data.

Went back to the company at the airport that sold the Mobiphone card. Correct... You can not share data with a Mobiphone card. Bought a second card from Vinaphone within 30 min after the first purchase. Problem solved.

If you want to share data from a vietnamese sim card. Then do not buy Mobiphone! Buy vinaphone.

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    Viettel also works fine for sharing the data (hotspot). – Adrien Be Dec 25 '15 at 6:10
  • What do you mean by "share data"? Just enable wifi tethering from any smartphones and use the connection in other devices. How do the network operator knows and prevent that? – phuclv Feb 17 '16 at 16:06

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