As you plan your trip to Cambodia, you might be wondering whether you should use your cell phone or not, how to stay connected, and what the costs might be. While it’s certainly possible to disconnect completely and immerse yourself in the local culture, having access to your phone can provide a sense of security and convenience. In this blog post, we’ll explore the various options for using your cell phone in Cambodia, including recommendations on the most efficient and cost-effective way to stay connected.

use cell phone in Cambodia

I. Can I Use My Phone in Cambodia?

Can I use my cell phone in Cambodia
Can I use my cell phone in Cambodia?

The short answer is yes, you can use your phone in Cambodia, but there are a few factors to consider:

Unlocked or Locked Phone?

Before your trip, ensure that your phone is unlocked, meaning it can work with any compatible carrier’s SIM card. If your phone is locked to a specific carrier, you’ll need to get it unlocked or consider renting or buying a compatible unlocked phone for your trip.

Phone Compatibility

Check if your phone’s network bands are compatible with the frequencies used by Cambodian mobile networks. Most modern smartphones should work in Cambodia, but it’s always better to confirm compatibility beforehand.

cell phone in Cambodia - Phone Compatibility
cell phone in Cambodia – Phone Compatibility. Source: kimovil

SIM Card

To make local calls or use data in Cambodia, you’ll need a local SIM card from a Cambodian mobile operator. Your current SIM card from your home country will likely incur expensive roaming charges, so getting a Cambodia SIM card is usually the most cost-effective option.


If you prefer to stick with your current SIM card, check if your carrier offers roaming services in Cambodia. However, be aware that roaming charges can be extremely high, so it’s generally recommended to buy a local SIM card or an eSIM (more on that later) to avoid those costs.

In summary, while it’s possible to use your own phone in Cambodia, you may need to make some arrangements, such as unlocking your phone, ensuring compatibility, and obtaining a local SIM card or an eSIM to avoid excessive roaming charges.

II. How to Keep My Cell Phone Connected in Cambodia

There are several ways to stay connected while traveling in Cambodia, each with its own pros and cons. To help you decide which option is best for your needs, let’s compare the pros, cons, and approximate price ranges of each connectivity option:

OptionProsConsPrice Range
Free Local Wi-Fi– Free
– Available in many public places
– Limited availability and quality – Not suitable for activities requiring stable connectionsFree
Pocket Wi-Fi– Convenient personal hotspot
– Connect multiple devices
– Rental or purchase costs
– Limited battery life
$5 – $15 per day
Roaming– Use your existing SIM card
– Familiarity with your home network
– Expensive roaming charges
– Potential for high bills
Varies by carrier, typically high
Local SIM Card– Affordable data plans and local rates
– Use your phone as normal
– Need to purchase a SIM card
– May require unlocking your phone
$5 – $20 for initial setup, plus data/call packages
eSIM– Convenient digital activation – No physical SIM card needed– Limited device compatibility
– May be more expensive than a physical SIM
Varies by provider, typically $10+ for data packages
International Plans– Convenience of using your home carrier
– Discounted roaming rates
– Still more expensive than a local SIM
– Limited plan options and data allowances
Varies by carrier, typically $10+ per day or $50+ per month

Good to know: For a seamless connectivity in Cambodia, discover the best mobile connectivity option for tourists in this country.

From this comparison, it’s clear that using a Cambodia SIM card is often the most efficient and cost-effective solution when traveling to Cambodia. Not only does it provide affordable data plans and local calling rates, but it also allows you to use your phone just as you would at home, without the worry of excessive roaming charges or limited connectivity.

Alternatively, with an eSIM you can enjoy reliable internet access, stay connected with friends and family, access navigation apps, and take advantage of other useful mobile services without breaking the bank. With Cambodia eSIM affordable eSIM plans for Cambodia, starting from as low as $5 for 5 days of service. You won’t find cheaper data prices anywhere else to stay connected during your travels. 

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III. Getting the Most Out of Your Cell Phone During Travel

While having a local SIM card can keep you connected, there are several additional tips and strategies to help you maximize the usefulness of your cell phone while traveling in Cambodia:

Turn Off Cellular Data When Not in Use

When you’re not actively using your phone for data-intensive activities, remember to turn off cellular data to conserve your data allowance and battery life. You can always turn it back on when needed or rely on Wi-Fi connections.

Utilize Free Wi-Fi Whenever Possible

Even with a local SIM card, take advantage of free Wi-Fi hotspots whenever available to further reduce your data usage and potentially save on your data plan.

Turn Off Automatic Features

Automatic app updates, backups, and synchronization can consume a significant amount of data. Disable these features or set them to update only when connected to Wi-Fi to prevent unexpected data usage.

Use Apps Instead of Plans

Rather than subscribing to international calling or messaging plans, consider using apps like WhatsApp, Skype, or FaceTime for voice and video calls over Wi-Fi or data connections. These apps can be more cost-effective than traditional plans.

Phone Charger

When traveling to Cambodia, you’ll need a charger compatible with the local electrical outlets. Cambodia uses a combination of two-prong flat or round plugs and three-prong round plugs. It’s recommended to bring a universal travel adapter or a charger with a detachable cable that can accommodate different plug types.

By following these practical tips and strategies, you can ensure that your cell phone remains a valuable tool throughout your Cambodian adventure, allowing you to stay connected, navigate unfamiliar surroundings, and capture memorable moments without worrying about excessive costs or connectivity issues.


Can I use my existing SIM card in Cambodia?

While it’s possible to use your existing SIM card in Cambodia through roaming services, it’s generally not recommended due to the high costs associated with international roaming. Instead, consider purchasing a local SIM card or an eSIM for a more cost-effective solution.

How much does a local SIM card cost in Cambodia?

The cost of a local SIM card in Cambodia can vary depending on the mobile operator and the data/call package you choose. Typically, you can expect to pay around $5 to $20 for the initial setup, which includes the SIM card and a starter package. Additional data or call packages can be purchased as needed.

Do I need to unlock my phone to use a Cambodia SIM card?

Yes, your phone needs to be unlocked to use a local SIM card from a Cambodian mobile operator. If your phone is locked to a specific carrier, you’ll need to get it unlocked before your trip or consider renting or purchasing an unlocked phone.

Can I use my phone’s GPS and navigation apps without a data plan?

Yes, you can use your phone’s GPS and navigation apps without a data plan by downloading offline maps before your trip or while connected to Wi-Fi. However, some features, such as live traffic updates or turn-by-turn navigation, may require a data connection.

Will my phone work with Cambodian mobile networks?

Most modern smartphones should work with Cambodian mobile networks, but it’s essential to check if your phone’s network bands are compatible with the frequencies used in Cambodia. If your phone is not compatible, you may need to consider renting or purchasing a compatible device for your trip.

V. What’s the Most Efficient Way to Connect My Phone in Cambodia?

Traveling to Cambodia with your cell phone can be a seamless and cost-effective experience with the right preparation and connectivity solutions. By understanding the options available, such as local SIM cards, eSIMs, and international plans, you can make an informed decision that suits your needs and budget.

Regardless of your chosen connectivity solution, remember to implement practical strategies, such as turning off cellular data when not in use, utilizing free Wi-Fi whenever possible, and considering apps for voice and video calls over data connections. These tips will help you maximize the usefulness of your cell phone while minimizing costs and ensuring a seamless and enjoyable travel experience. Stream, snap, share - endless Phnom Penh with no data cap.