There are now 9!!?! different mobile phone companies in Cambodia and a great summary of them all is on khmerbird.com. They all offer different pay-as-you-go SIM cards, and of course, there are lots of different Android phones, but here what I used in my recent trip back to Cambodia, in case others find this helpful:
- In the US, buying a cellphone “out-of-contract” is not the same as buying a cellphone “unlocked”. All of the following only works for an unlocked phone. Make sure your phone is unlocked before you get on the plane.
- Different cellphone companies have different policies on this. AT&T declared that, despite my being a multi-year customer, with no contract, they would not unlock my phone per policy. T-Mobile said upfront that they would need ~40days from date-of-purchase of “out-of-contact” phone before I could ask to have it unlocked. On the 40th day, when I asked T-Mobile to unlock my phone, they sent me the phone unlock codes within 48hours.
- Make sure your phone supports GSM. Sounds obvious, but still needs to be said, as most countries use GSM.
- Buy a “Smart Mobile” pay-as-you-go SIM card, with the “Fresh Internet+” plan. I bought mine at the airport in Phnom Penh, but they were also for sale in any of the countless green “Smart Mobile” stores across the country. While each of the 9 cell phone companies in Cambodia have different voice prices, this company seemed to have the best data plan, which is what I cared about most. Oh, and the staff at their booth were great fun and their ad for “Fresh Internet+” data-plan looked fun!
- Disassemble your phone to swap out sim card, insert new SmartMobile sim card and power up the phone.
- On the phone, enter “*888#” and press dial (typically, the green handset button). This should send you a text message within a few seconds containing:
* your mobile number
* remaining balance on your SIM card
* expiry date of the credits on your SIM card
* whether or not you have a data plan set up (the default is “not”).
- At this point you should be able to make/receive calls, and check your account balance.
- Dont bother setting up the voicemail. Like in Hong Kong, no-one seems to use voicemail; if you dont answer the phone, callers simply try again later or send you a txt msg.
- To enable your phone for pre-paid data, you need to setup “Fresh Internet+” plan, as follows:
* To verify data plan status, enter “*093*0#” and press dial. It should tell you that you have no data plan.
* On the phone, enter “*093*3#” and press dial (typically, the green handset button). This cost me USD$5, and gave me 2GB data limit for 30days. (Click here for list of codes for different prices and different data limits.). All the SmartMobile plans are 30day duration, the only difference is how much money you want to prepay, and what data limit that gives you.
* You should receive an SMS confirming the amount paid, and the data plan.
* To verify data plan status, enter “*093*0#” and press dial. It should tell you that you have a data plan, days to expiry, and how much of your data plan allowance remains.
- The following APN settings were enabled automatically on my Android 2.2 phone, so I did not set these manually. However, I’m listing them below in case it helps others debug problems transmitting/receiving on their data plan:
* on home screen, go into “settings”
* go into “wireless & network settings”
* go into “mobile networks”
* go into “access point names”
* if there is not already a “smart” APN, then create one as follows:
** Name = smart
** APN == smart
** Proxy == Not set
** Port == Not set
** Username == Not set
** Password == Not set
** Server == Not set
** MMSC == Not set
** MMS proxy == Not set
** MMS port == Not set
** MCC == Not set
** MNC == Not set
** Authentication Type == None
** APN Type == default
…hit save, and go back to “access point names”.
- verify that this new “smart” APK is present, and is selected.
- Reboot the phone to see if that helps.
- When you need additional credits, buy a one-time use scratch-refill card at almost any roadside stand (they are literally everywhere, and all have the distinctive green “Smart Mobile” logo or beach umbrella!).