Mobile Phones in Bali

by Nick on August 18, 2006

by Nick | August 18th, 2006  

Cell phones are a major part of life here in Bali. Tourists, long -term visitors also get into the act, and figuring out cell phones in Bali is useful. Here’s the deal.

Type of service:
Cellular service in Indonesia is GSM.

SIM cards:
All mobile phones have SIM cards.

Types of phone:
Types of phone include Siemen, Nokia, Motorola etc. many brands.

Server types:
Pro Excel, Telkomsel (Simpati), Indosat, Telkom.

Buying a new phone:
Denpasar has the cheapest phones, check all the shops along Jl. Tueku Umar. You can pick up a new Nokia for 360,000rp. Obviously there are many brands of mobile phone, making many models. The older looking Nokia styles are very cheap. When you buy a phone you get the battery with it, but no SIM card. With any mobile phone, it can use any SIM card.

Kuta: Jl Mataram behind Jl. Legian is a local’s paradise of cheapness. You can find old and new cell phones for low prices.

Seminyak: There’s not much price difference in pulsa, so it doesn’t matter where you buy it. Bintang supermarket is the easiest place to find. The phone stall is out front. There’s not much price difference in pulsa, so it doesn’t matter where you buy it. Bintang supermarket is the easiest place to find. The phone stall is out front. There’s not much price difference in pulsa, so it doesn’t matter where you buy it. Bintang supermarket is the easiest place to find. The phone stall is out front.

SIM cards:
Best to go to the provider’s office as the prices for SIM cards will be less. The price of a new Pro Excel card with 20,000rp of pulsa (credit), will be 27,000rp. A card bought at Bintang supermarket in Seminyak with be 50,000rp, with 15,000rp of credit. For a rupiah savvy shopper like my wife, every rp counts. For a cash happy touro, maybe you don’t care, so just head to your nearest phones shop for SIM cards.

Pulsa / credit:
Pulsa, 5,000, 10,000, 15,000, 20,000, 50,000, 100,000rp. If you go to the main office you can get even higher value. Mostly the same denominations with all prividers, with some small variations. There is not a huge difference in puls prices, so any phone shop do.

The average price of an SMS is 299rp.

Phone safety: Like anywhere else in the world, cell phones are one of the things thieves most prefer. Very easy to turn over and carry a decent value. A theif in Bali will overlook a laptop, TV, DVD player, camera, in favour of a cell phone. Since living in Bali I have lost one phone, which was found by someone else (I know because I called the number). He turned the phone off, switched the SIM card and that was the last I heard from my phone. Leaving your phone laying around. Many of the cafes, bars, restaurants in Bali have a row of plants or bushes separating the tables and the street. If your cell phone is on the table, it could prove too much temptation for some people, such as newspaper / DVD vendors, who peer through.

Leaving your phone laying around. Many of the cafes, bars, restaurants in Bali have a row of plants or bushes separating the tables and the street. If your cell phone is on the table, it could prove too much temptation for some people, such as newspaper / DVD vendors, who peer through. Having an expensive phone out here doesn’t make any sense at all. Water, dust, exhaust fumes etc. will slowly work on your phone and getting a plastic covers, available at many phone shops, is a good idea. My second phone, a cheap Nokia, was so worn out, that the numbers were illegible. Not only that, the power kept failing in the middle of calls. I changed the battery (85,000rp) and replaced the case (20,000rp) and now have what feels like a new phone. Ika told me I could of got the new battery for 20,000rp on Jl. Mataram, with a ‘fake’ battery.

Local mishaps: It has been known for SMS messages to go to the wrong places. Happened to me once time too, when I sent one message, then fired off another to the next person. Person #1 SMS’d back and asked who person #2 was. It can get complicated, and to avoid sensitive data getting sent to the wrong place, you might want to send the message and close out of your Messages category, before opening back up.

Phones care: Phones bought in Bali will have and English and Indonesian Dictionary, so if your predictive text seems like its got a mind of its own, it has, an Indonesian mind! You can change this easily, no worries.

I find that living in Bali, people tend to SMS about 30 times as often as they call. Getting used to this means predictive text, and templates come in handy. Bali is not a place I would buy electronic goods if I had the choice. Better to buy a phone in Singapore or KL, as the choice and prices will be better.

Coverage: With a SIM card bought in Bali, you can recieve calls / SMS’s from all over the world and make calls anywhere in Indonesia, with Telkomsel / Pro Excel . Other providers differ.

Here’s a newsflash about Erikson’s new contract in Indonesia.

{ 2 comments }

Adrian August 18, 2006 at 7:30 pm
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A couple of things you might care to mention to none-expats, about to arrive in Indonesia:

1.What we in Oz call mobile phones, are called Hand Phones (HP) in Indonesia, and Cell phones in the USA and other places. I think in Europe they’re referred to as “Handies”.

2. A trap for beginners is that mobile phone SIM cards in Indonesia are sold for the city you buy them in. Calls within this city are local rates. Call someone outside that city, and you pay more, according to distance. Same applies if you move to another city. Even if you call the person standing next to you, you pay a long distance rate. The moral is, if you move for a long term stay to another city, get another SIM card. just change them around as you move back to base or whatever, as the locals do.

3. You’ve made a good point about buying at the HQ for the various phone companies, as it’s heaps cheaper. When I did this, there was quite a hassle, requiring ID cards, KITAS, etc. Can visitors/tourists buy a SIM card easily?

4. Some SIM card numbers can be quite expensive, as numbers are sorted into ‘sweetness’. An easy number to remember costs more.

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Hobosinlove October 15, 2007 at 5:59 am
Corner

Hey!

Thanks for the great advice! We just got to Bali and didn’t quite understand how the Sims worked here. Off to get our mobile up and running!

Cheers, Hobosinlove

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