Today Vietnamese mobile operator Viettel Telecom announced a SIM card that is targeted directly at tourists. A fairly common piece of advice for keeping roaming charges down is to buy a local SIM card, and Viettel are trying to directly cash in on that trend. The pre-paid Tourist Sim service combines decent prices with a heavy focus on information search services.
Apparently being a visitor to Vietnam is extremely challenging (I wouldn’t know, I’ve never been). Tourist information isn’t exactly in abundant supply, and if you don’t speak the language it can be hard to even find out bus times. The aim of this service is to provide tourists with all the information they need via SMS. All the information is available via texting to shortcode, as per this chart:
The Tourist Sim comes in $10 and $5 varieties, and can be charged via top-up cards. The charges are extremely low – about 18 US cents per minute for an outgoing international call, and 12 cents for an international SMS.
From the release:
Viettel’s Deputy Director Nguyen Viet Dung said: “Around 4 million foreign visitors go to Vietnam a year and telecom service is one of essential services for them during their stay in Vietnam. So Viettel launches this service for this group of clients. By providing the service, with supportive information and convenient distribution system, we believe that foreign visitors will be very pleased when they come to Vietnam. This is also a factor contributing to the development of the country’s tourism industry.”
What we think?
This is a great idea – utility SIMs are the travelers best friend. This kind of service can be an absolute life-line if you’re feeling a bit adrift in a foreign country. It also shows up just how much we get charged in Europe for roaming voice and text. At todays conversion rates, that SIM offers international calls at 13 euro cent per minute. THIRTEEN CENT. Even the more reasonable rates we’ve seen from operators this week pale in comparison.