In this blog post, we will dive into the world of Smart, one of the leading telecommunication companies in Philippines, and explore their eSIM and SIM card offerings specifically tailored for tourists. From coverage and speed to cost and activation process, we will cover everything you need to know to stay connected during your travel adventures in the Philippines.

Smart SIM Card feature picture

I. Quick Facts about Smart

Smart Communications was established in 1991 as part of the PLDT family. Today they operate under the full company name of Smart Communications, Inc.

  • Types of services provided: Smart provides mobile communications services, high-speed internet connectivity, and access to digital services and content.
  • Number of subscribers: As of end-2021, Smart serves approximately 71.2 million Filipinos .
  • Coverage: Smart serves approximately 96% of the country’s cities and municipalities with its combined 3G, 4G LTE, and 5G network.
  • Estimated number of network of stores, and agents: The number of Smart stores and agents is not mentioned in the source.
  • Customer support (on-call, language, time): The source does not provide information about customer support on-call, language, or time.

Smart is known for affordable call and data plans, especially their prepaid packages. Their promos allow many Filipinos to stay connected at prices that fit different budgets.

Smart SIM Card
Smart Communications

II. Why Smart When You’re Exploring Philippines – Coverage and Speed

When it comes to choosing a telecom provider for your travel needs, two factors that are of utmost importance are coverage and speed. Let’s take a closer look at how Smart performs in these areas.

1. Smart Coverage in Philippines

Smart has the widest LTE coverage in the Philippines, covering approximately 96% of the country’s cities and municipalities with its combined 3G, 4G LTE, and 5G network.  The map below shows the coverage of Smart’s 3G, 4G, and 5G mobile network as of October 2023.

Mobile operator coverage in Philippines
Mobile operator coverage in Philippines. Source

2. Smart Speed

Smart is the fastest mobile network in the Philippines for both 4G and 5G technologies. Smart’s Speed Score for mobile networks in July 2023 was 44.70, which is significantly higher than the country’s median speed of 25.88 Mbps.

Compared to other countries in the Asia Pacific region, the Philippines ranked 89th for mobile speeds and 49th for fixed broadband speeds in July 2023. However, the Philippines showed the biggest improvement in download speeds globally for both mobile and fixed broadband networks from Q2-Q3 to Q3-Q4 in 2020. 

Smart SIM Card illustration
Smart SIM Card

III. Smart Connectivity Options for Travelers to Philippines

Travelers who want to stay connected to the internet while visiting the Philippines have three main options: buying a Smart Philippines SIM card, using a pocket WiFi device to connect to Smart network, or roaming with Smart. Each option has its own advantages and disadvantages, depending on the traveler’s needs and preferences. Here is a summary of the main ideas in the table:

Smart Connectivity Options

Option Cost Convenience
Buy Smart SIM Low. Affordable SIM cards with various data packages and freebies. High.Easy and hassle-free activation and subscription via online platforms or partner retailers.
Use pocket WiFi Moderate to high. More expensive than SIM cards and require charging. Moderate.Convenient for sharing internet connection with multiple devices or people, but need to carry an extra device.
Roam with Smart High. Expensive roaming charges and data packages. Low.Need to activate roaming service before leaving the Philippines and manually select a roaming partner network at the destination country. 

Beside, eSIM is a virtual SIM card that is embedded in your device and can be activated remotely. It is a more convenient alternative to physical SIM cards, which require you to visit a store to purchase and install them.

IV. Best Smart Philippines SIM Cards for Tourists & Cost

Smart offers various SIM cards for tourists who want to enjoy high-speed internet access in the Philippines. Depending on the duration and data needs of the travelers, they can choose from the following options:

SMART SIM card plans

Smart Traveller SIMFree Smart Traveller SIM Standard
Cost Free $5
Data 100MB 25GB
On-Net Calls 10 min 250 min
On-Net SMS 10 SMS 250 SMS
Off-Net Calls and Calls to Selected Countries* N/A 25 min
Validity 3 days 15 days

The Smart Traveller SIM Standard tariff provides a generous 25GB data allowance, meaning those watching their budget or staying in Thailand long-term can easily keep in contact with loved ones, social networks, and everything happening globally. For only 5 US dollars, the Standard plan delivers 250 minutes of domestic calls and 250 text messages. This ensures affordable communication during your travels within the country.

V. Does Smart Support eSIM in Philippines?

Yes, Smart supports eSIM for both prepaid and postpaid customers. An eSIM is a digital SIM card embedded directly into a mobile device. It allows you to activate a Smart cellular plan without using a physical SIM. The eSIM has some advantages compared to the physical SIM, such as:

  • It is more convenient and flexible to switch networks and plans without changing the SIM card.
  • It is more secure and durable as it cannot be lost, damaged, or stolen.
  • It is smaller and saves space for other components in the device.

However, not all devices are compatible with eSIM. You need to have an eSIM-capable device, such as the latest flagship handsets of Apple, Google, Huawei, and Samsung. You also need to activate your eSIM online or via the GIGAGO.

VI. Where Can You Buy a Smart Philippines SIM Card and eSIM?

If you want to use Smart as your mobile network provider in the Philippines, you have two options: buying a physical SIM card or an eSIM.

1. Where to Buy Smart Philippines SIM Card

Buy Smart SIM Card at store
Buy Smart SIM Card at store

There are different ways to buy a Smart Philippines SIM card or eSIM, depending on your preference and convenience. Here are some of the most common ways:

Airport kiosks

There are Smart booths and kiosks at the arrival exit of major airports, such as Manila, Cebu, Davao, Clark, and Kalibo. You can choose from various data packages and freebies that suit your needs and budget. The staff can also help you install and activate your SIM card or eSIM on your phone. 

Smart store

You can buy a Smart SIM card or eSIM at any Smart store nationwide. There are over 200 Smart stores across the country, where you can find different types of SIM cards and eSIMs for prepaid and postpaid customers.

Other authorized retail stores

You can buy a Smart SIM card or eSIM at other authorized retail stores, such as:

  • Convenience stores
  • Newsstands
  • Post offices
  • Grocery stores
  • Online platforms

2. Where to Buy Smart eSIM in Philippines

If you want to use Smart eSIM in the Philippines, here are some options:

  • Online on Smart’s official website
  • Smart Stores located in major cities and malls nationwide
  • Partner platforms like Philipines eSIM that sell Smart eSIM packages for travel. There’s no need to go to physical store.

Partner platforms like Philipines eSIM that sell Smart eSIM packages for travel. There’s no need to go to physical store.

Plan that may interest you

Philippines eSIM 10 Days Plan
Philippines eSIM 10 Days Plan
From $11.00
Philippines eSIM 15 Days Plan
Philippines eSIM 15 Days Plan
From $11.50
Philippines eSIM 30 Days Plan
Philippines eSIM 30 Days Plan
From $12.00

VII. How to Activate Smart Philippines SIM Cards/eSIM?

Once you have your Smart SIM card or eSIM, it’s time to activate it and start using the services. Let’s explore the activation process for both options:

  • Browse eSIM plans and pick one that suits your needs
  • Complete checkout with payment online
  • Activation is delivered instantly to your email
  • Scan QR code or download eSIM profile to activate

1. How to Use Smart Philippines SIM Card?

To activate your Smart SIM card, follow these steps:

  1. Insert the SIM card into your unlocked mobile device.
  2. Power on the device and wait for the network signal to appear.
  3. You will receive an SMS from Smart containing instructions to complete the activation process.
  4. Follow the instructions provided in the SMS and enter the necessary details.
  5. Once activated, you can start using the services according to the selected plan or package.

2. How to Activate Smart eSIM?

Activating a Smart eSIM involves the following steps:

  1. Ensure that your device supports eSIM technology.
  2. Contact your device manufacturer or check their website for specific instructions on setting up an eSIM.
  3. Follow the instructions provided to scan the QR code or enter the activation code for your Smart eSIM.
  4. Once the eSIM is activated, you can switch to Smart as your preferred telecom provider.

Read also: Philippines eSIM Compatible Devices List

VIII. Philippines Smart SIM Card Call & SMS Rates

When it comes to making calls or sending SMS messages with your Smart SIM card or eSIM, it’s important to understand the rates and charges involved. Here are some handy details:

Smart Call & SMS Rates

Call Type Local Rate (USD)
Standard Call Rate (per minute) $0.03
Standard SMS Rate (per SMS) $0.02
Calls to Other Networks (per minute) $0.05
SMS to Other Networks (per SMS) $0.02

👉Tips for saving money:

  • Use WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Skype for cheap calls & messages
  • Get a data-only SIM if you won’t call or text much
  • Buy a bolt-on add-on for cheaper bundles

IX. Useful USSD Codes for Smart Philippines SIM Cards/eSIM

To make the most of your Smart SIM card or eSIM, here are some useful USSD codes that can help you manage your account and access certain services:

USSD Codes for Smart SIM

Code Purpose
*123# Displays promos and services.
*121# Checks and avails existing prepaid services.

X. How to Top-up Smart Philippines SIM Card/eSIM

Via the GigaLife App

  • From the quick/home view screen, tap the “+” sign button beside the load balance.
  • Select your preferred amount.
  • Select your Payment Method: Maya or Credit/Debit Card.
  • If Maya is selected, enter your Maya account and password. If Debit/Credit is selected, enter your bank details then click save and continue.
  • Enter the One Time PIN then click proceed.
  • Your payment amount will show then click Confirm Payment to complete the transaction.

Via eLoad

  • Reload your Smart Prepaid or send load to your friends now!
  • Buy $0.90, $1.80, $3.60, $5.40, $9.00 or $18.00 eLoad (Smart Load) denominations anytime, anywhere through the Smart Online Store.
  • Smart Load is also available via eLoad retailers and sari-sari stores nationwide.

Via Online Reloading

  • Head on to on your browser.
  • Log in to your My Smart account.
  • Under Prepaid Balance, select Reload.
  • Click your desired load denomination from the Smart Load catalog and click Select.

    XI. FAQ About Smart Philippines SIM Cards

    What are Signature Plans+? 

    Signature Plans+ are the latest postpaid plans offered by Smart Communications, Inc. These plans come with a variety of inclusions such as data, calls, and texts, and are available in different sizes: Plan Lite S+, M+, L+, and XL+. The monthly service fee ranges from $12.50 to $104.17.

    What is the difference between the new plans vs. the previous line-only Signature Plans?

    The new Signature Plans+ come with more inclusions such as data, calls, and texts compared to the previous line-only Signature Plans.

    Is the old Smart Signature Plans with Netflix still available? 

    No, the old Smart Signature Plans with Netflix are no longer available.

    How do Signature Plans+ compare to the other Signature Plans that are available?

    Signature Plans+ offers more inclusions such as data, calls, and texts compared to other Signature Plans that are available.

    How is the data consumed between Unlimited 5G data and the Bucket data for Plans S+, M+, and L+? 

    If you have both Unlimited 5G data and Bucket data for your plan, your device will consume data from your Bucket first before using your Unlimited 5G data allocation.

    XII. Final Words

    We hope that this article has provided you with useful information and tips on how to use Smart Philippines SIM card and eSIM for your travels. Smart is one of the leading mobile network operators in the Philippines, offering high-speed internet access, wide coverage, and affordable rates. 

    If you are looking for a convenient and reliable way to buy a Smart eSIM online, you may want to check out, reliable international provider that offers various eSIM packages for tourists who want to enjoy high-speed internet access in the Philippines with a Smart network.