I have been in Lao PDR for a week and I don’t have my high-speed Internet connection. All I have is a cool smartphone without a SIM card for this country. Though, it doesn’t seem to be a problem to find a SIM card: just before the immigration point in airport, the application form already mentions an ad for one of the main telecoms company saying that to really communicate like a local, I should subscribe to that company.
Get an unlimited data plan
Anyway, I have to work for my french company (that kindly grants me some holidays, just in time to empty my french flat and have some time to find electricity and Internet connection in Lao PDR), just before getting back to work.
Finding a SIM card is not a problem (you can literally find credit sellers for mobile phones at each street corner), and you don’t even need to give an address or have a bank account. The main problem is you don’t speak Lao, and Lao people don’t speak English that much. So maybe they will not understand you need this killer-unlimited-data-plan and give you some cheap re-loadable cards. Anyway, you don’t speak Lao either…
You will understand very soon that unlimited data plan, including phone calls and SMS like the one I previously used with Free in France is not that easy to find. 5 x 50 000 kips (5€) cards later and two days of shurfing has been enough to empty my cards :( , that was supposed to allow 2.5G of data.
Once I asked to the couple who sold me the cards where I can get bigger or unlimited ones, they redirected me to the nearest Lao Telecoms office where people were able to advice me a decent unlimited data-plan (still in alpha-test for me). Some impressions about it :
- SSH is available through the phone hotspot but pretty slow
- band-switch is pretty good
- no outgoing SMTP (or don’t find it for my current ISP)
- some obtained IPs seems to be considered as potentially dangerous (open proxies, low reputation for spam, e.g. blacklisted on Wikipedia)
- band-switch speed is bipolar
- Some websites are hardly accessible, I don’t know if they are locked or censored, or only hosted on too far away servers (?)
- network and / or electricity can be down