Traveling to Malaysia is an exhilarating experience, filled with vibrant cultures, delicious cuisine, and breathtaking natural wonders. However, one aspect that can quickly put a damper on your trip is the dreaded roaming charges. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know about data roaming in Malaysia, from understanding how it works to finding the best strategies to avoid those pesky fees.

roaming in malaysia

I. Understanding Data Roaming in Malaysia

If you’re planning to travel to Malaysia as a tourist, it’s important to understand how roaming charges work when using your mobile phone abroad. Here is a quick overview of roaming charges that tourists need to be aware of in Malaysia.

What are Roaming Charges?

Roaming charges refer to any additional fees you may accrue when using your mobile device outside of your home network coverage area. When you roam internationally, your phone will automatically connect to another carrier’s network in that local country to allow you to make calls, send texts, and use data. However, this usage is subject to roaming fees set by your home carrier.

Why are Roaming Charges So High?

The primary reason for high roaming charges is the interconnection agreements between your home network provider and the local Malaysian networks. Your home provider has to pay fees to the Malaysian networks for facilitating your data usage while roaming. These fees, combined with the added costs of maintaining roaming services, are then passed on to you, the consumer.

II. Roaming Charges in Malaysia

1. How to Check Roaming Charges Before Your Travel to Malaysia

Source: M1 Mobile Roaming Rate Checker

Before embarking on your Malaysian adventure, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the roaming charges that may apply to your specific mobile plan. Here are some steps you can take:

Contact Your Mobile Provider

The first step is to reach out to your mobile service provider and inquire about their roaming rates for Malaysia. Most providers have dedicated sections on their websites or mobile apps that provide detailed information about roaming charges and packages specific to different countries.

Research Applicable Roaming Fees

Once you have the information from your provider, take the time to thoroughly review and understand the roaming fees for voice calls, text messages, and data usage in Malaysia. Pay close attention to the rates for data, as this is often the most significant expense for many travelers.

Call Customer Service

If you have any questions or need clarification about the roaming charges or available packages, don’t hesitate to call your provider’s customer service hotline. They can provide personalized advice and help you navigate the various roaming options to find the most suitable solution for your needs.

2. Roaming Charges in Malaysia by Mobile Operators from the UK

For travelers from the UK visiting Malaysia, the roaming charges can vary significantly depending on the mobile operator you’re subscribed to. Here’s a comparison table of the roaming charges for data usage in Malaysia from major UK mobile operators:

NetworkRoaming RateUSD Price
Vodafone UKFree roaming in 83 destinations if included in plan. £6.85/day fee if not included.~$8.25/day
O2Free roaming in 27 non-Europe destinations with Travel Inclusive Bolt On. £6/day fee for selected destinations without Bolt On.~$7/day
EE£2.34/min for calls, 76p/text. Must purchase data add-on when roaming.~$2.70/min for calls, $0.88/text
Three UK£2/day for Go Roam in Europe, £5/day for Go Roam Around the World for 24 hours usage.~$2.35/day for Europe, ~$5.85/day for worldwide
*USD price estimated based on current exchange rate and may vary

As you can see, EE has the highest per minute/text costs when roaming without a data package. In general, checking roaming coverage and costs included with your existing plan before international travel can help you avoid unexpected fees. Purchasing daily or multi-day roaming passes is another way to budget roaming expenses.

III. Best Ways to Avoid Roaming Charges in Malaysia

While roaming charges can be a significant expense, there are several strategies you can employ to avoid or minimize these fees during your stay in Malaysia.

1. Buy an eSIM from

One of the most convenient and cost-effective ways to stay connected in Malaysia is by purchasing an eSIM from An eSIM (embedded SIM) is a digital SIM card that can be downloaded and activated directly on your compatible smartphone or tablet.

An eSIM (embedded SIM) is a digital SIM card that can be downloaded and activated directly on your compatible smartphone or tablet.

What is an eSIM?

An eSIM is a small chip embedded in your device that allows you to activate a mobile data plan without the need for a physical SIM card. This innovative technology eliminates the hassle of swapping SIM cards and provides a seamless experience for travelers.

Benefits of Using an eSIM in Malaysia

  • Affordable Data Plans: eSIMs offer a range of affordable data plans tailored for travelers, allowing you to stay connected without breaking the bank.
  • Convenience: No need to hunt for a physical SIM card or visit a local store. Simply purchase and activate the eSIM directly on your device.
  • Compatibility: Many modern smartphones and tablets are eSIM-compatible, making it easy to use this technology.
  • Avoid Roaming Charges: By using a local Malaysian eSIM, you completely bypass roaming charges from your home network provider.

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How to Get an eSIM from

  1. Visit the website and browse their available data plans for Malaysia.
  2. Select the plan that best suits your needs and complete the purchase process.
  3. Follow the provided instructions to download and activate the eSIM on your compatible device.
  4. Once activated, you’ll have access to a local Malaysian mobile data plan without any roaming fees.

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2. Buy a Local SIM Card

Another popular option for avoiding roaming charges is to purchase a local Malaysian SIM card upon arrival. This method allows you to take advantage of local data rates, which are typically much more affordable than roaming charges.

Benefits of Using a Local SIM Card in Malaysia

  • Cost Savings: Local SIM cards offer significantly lower data rates compared to roaming charges from your home network provider.
  • Flexibility: You can choose from a variety of data plans and top-up options to match your specific usage needs.
  • Local Phone Number: With a local SIM card, you’ll have a Malaysian phone number, making it easier to communicate with locals or receive calls and texts during your stay.

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3. Enable WiFi Calling

If you prefer to keep your existing mobile number and plan, enabling WiFi calling can be a practical solution to avoid roaming charges while in Malaysia. WiFi calling allows you to make and receive calls and texts over a WiFi connection, effectively bypassing the cellular network and its associated roaming fees.

Benefits of Using WiFi Calling in Malaysia

  • Avoid Roaming Charges: By using WiFi calling, you can make and receive calls and texts without incurring any roaming charges.
  • Seamless Transition: Most modern smartphones can seamlessly switch between WiFi calling and cellular networks, ensuring uninterrupted communication.
  • Use Your Existing Number: You can continue using your regular mobile number, eliminating the need for a temporary or local number.

IV. FAQs about Roaming in Malaysia

What is international roaming?

International roaming refers to using your mobile phone or device in another country other than where it was intended for use with your regular SIM card. Most telcos charge high rates for data usage and calls/texts when roaming internationally.

Will I get charged for roaming in Malaysia with my regular SIM?

Yes, if you use your regular home network SIM card to make calls, send texts or use mobile data while in Malaysia, you will be charged international roaming rates by your home network operator. These rates can be significantly more expensive than local rates in Malaysia.

How can I avoid roaming charges in Malaysia?

One of the best ways to avoid expensive roaming charges is to get a Malaysia local SIM card. However, another great option now is to purchase an eSIM data plan from which allows you to stay connected in Malaysia without roaming charges.

What devices are compatible with eSIM from

Most recent iPhone, Samsung, Google and other branded smartphones sold internationally support eSIM. Check the compatibility list on our website to confirm if your device supports eSIM.

V. Conclusion

Navigating the world of data roaming in Malaysia can be a daunting task, but with the right strategies in place, you can stay connected without breaking the bank. By understanding roaming charges, researching your options, and exploring alternatives like eSIMs, local SIM cards, and WiFi calling, you can enjoy a seamless and cost-effective mobile experience during your travels.