Around Bali and the major centres, wi-fi is relatively widespread anywhere frequented by tourists, although it may be slow. Most hotels, guesthouses, tour operators and guides will have some sort of internet presence and in a lot of cases, online booking and payment options. It’s a very different story away from the major centres and is one of the challenges associated with travelling off the beaten track.
Indonesian’s love their mobile phones (or hand phones as the locals call them) and you’ll see them in use everywhere. Most populated areas have either 2G or 3G mobile network coverage although reception can vary widely. 4G roll out commenced in December 2014 but is not yet available nationwide and speeds vary from one provider to the next. Only really remote rural and jungle areas are without any mobile coverage but in our experience, you generally don’t need to travel far to be back in range.
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If you think you’re going to be needing a phone whilst you’re in Indonesia, it’s well worth buying a local pre-paid simcard and loading it into your phone (just make sure it isn’t locked by your current provider). We generally bring an old phone along and use that so if it gets lost or stolen it’s not too catastrophic. Pre-paid simcards start for as little as US$10 and call and data costs are usually very cheap so it goes a long way. Just as you would do at home, check network coverage maps and compare SMS, call and data costs as they can vary widely from one provider to another. Regardless, it’s almost guaranteed to be a heck of a lot cheaper than using international roaming with your standard service provider.
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