Got Laos on your travel itinerary this year, you’re still unsure about the best connectivity option to get an ETL SIM Card & eSIM?

Stay here with us, we will help you decide.

ETL SIM card and eSIM
ETL SIM card and eSIM – Detailed guide for tourists

I. Quick facts about ETL

ETL - on top mobile operators in Laos

ETL operates as the third largest telecom with a growing mobile division focused in major urban centers of Laos for now.

Here are some interesting facts about this brand

  • Established: 1996
  • Ownership: ETL is fully owned and operated by the Laos government
  • Roaming: Partnership with other operators enable international incoming calls and limited data roaming in select country
  • Number of Subcribers: Over 3 millions mobile subscribers in 2022
  • Service: Beyond mobile, ETL provides fixed line telephony, FTTH broadband internet, business solutions and education programs nationwide
  • Competition: ETL competes with Lao Telecom and Unitel as the third national operator expanding mobile infrastructure

II. ETL Coverage and Speed in Laos

ETL has grown rapidly since 2010 to become one of the 4 mobile operators providing affordable mobile services in Laos. Its coverage is stronger in major urban areas, estimated at over 80% of Lao’s population.

1. ETL Coverage in Laos

You can check out their coverage map below: 

ETL coverage maps
Coverage map ETL- Source:
Lao's population - ETL
Laos population density

According to this maps, ETL provide nationwide 4G/LTE network covers almost all major cities and towns in Laos, including Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Savannakhet, and Pakse. However, 5G is currently not available for now, and its network coverage in rural areas may not be as comprehensive compared to other mobile operators in Laos.

2. ETL Speed in Laos

ETL Company Limited is an internet service provider which operates in Lao people’s Democratic Republic. Currently it ranks on the place 3 from 8 providers in Laos

You can check the average result for ETL below:

Speedtest ETL
Average result – Source: BroadbandSpeedchecker

With Download Speed is 15.1 Mb/s and Upload Speed is 0.21 Mb/s, so common browsing, email and social activities are well- supported on ETL’s average speeds. However, heavier streaming may encounter delays away from major city coverage zone. Speed and responsiveness also depends on the specific site/app.

👉In short: If you are traveling only major cities in Laos, using ETL services might be a cost-saving option. But in case you want to discover the remote or rural areas in Laos, this mobile operator is not highly recommended.

III. ETL Connectivity Options for Tourists

ETL  has got you covered with some awesome ways to stay connected like SIM card, Pocket Wifi and Roaming. Check out these options:

So you can see, in case you decides to connect to ETL network for your travel, SIM cards are the cheapest and most convenient option.

Option Description Unitel Advantage Potential Limitation
SIM Card Pay-as-you-go data packages Fastest 4G speeds for streaming/downloads Cellular connection limits speeds
From $3 for 1GB
Pocket WiFi Rental WiFi hotspot Sharable internet for all devices Dependent on cellular signal quality
Plans from $25/month
Roaming Travelers can stay in touch easily abroad No need to insert/add any new SIM, but your primary SIM only Crazy expensive
Unable to control your usage if your primary SIM is post-paid

IV. Best ETL SIM card and eSIM for Tourists

Luckily that ETL Laos offers both physical SIM and eSIMs for tourists. You can find the best plans below.

1. Best ETL SIM cards for tourists

ETL offers various SIM card options for tourists, ranging from short-term to long-term plans. Here are some of the best ETL SIM cards for tourists and their costs:

Package Name Price (kip) Price (USD) Data Day
ET 7 1,000 $0.12 25 MB 1
ET 8 5,000 $0.60 250 MB 1
ET 9 10,000 $1.20 500 MB 30
ET 10 50,000 $6.00 2.5 GB 30
ET 11 100,000 $12.00 5 GB 30
ET 12 150,000 $18.00 8 GB 30
Topping 3 10,000 $1.20 6GB 3

Based on intended usage, budget and trip length, we would recommend either ET 8 or Topping 3 package as suitable options for most tourists visiting Laos. They provide enough data for common activities without breaking the bank. ET 7 could also be used for very brief/budget trips, but the other two options would offer a better experience.

ETL also offers postpaid plans as an alternative to their SIM cards, which called Happy Plus and come with either 1GB, 3GB or 5 GB monthly data allowance. However, prepaid services tend to provide better value for money for casual travelers compared to commitments. Coverage is also more reliable for prepaid users

So, while ETL postpaid is an option, their prepaid plans are still likely the most suitable choice for visiting tourists in Laos.

2. ETL eSIM plans

ETL also offers eSIMs for tourists who prefer a digital SIM card instead of a physical one. ETL’s eSIM plans are similar to its traditional SIM cards, but they require an eSIM-compatible device. You can check some of the best ETL eSIM plans: 

Plan Data Validity Price Best For
ETL eSIM 3GB - 7 days 3GB 7 days $16 Short trips 1 week or less
ETL eSIM 5GB - 14 days 5GB 14 days $19 Trips 1-2 weeks
ETL eSIM 10GB - 30 days 10GB 30 days $26 Long trips 1 month+

In summary, ETL network expanding but these plans offer flexibility. The ETL eSIM plans are tailored to different travel durations and budgets needs. The 10 GB, valid for 30 days package offers the strongest value for longer trips to Laos

V. Where to buy an ETL SIM card and eSIM?

1. Where to buy an ETL SIM card

  • Airport: Only Vientiane International Airport has a reliable ETL SIM purchasing facility. Luang Prabang and other airports require visiting a town, city ETL store after arriving. So, if you want to connect right away, having a SIM delivered before travel is a better option for tourists.
  • ETL stores: You can find it in the capital cities, just google maps and find the nearest for you. ETL stores will have full range of plans, bundles and current promotions available for tourists, it would most suitable for who want to have more options for choosing.
  • Mobile shops: There are also many mobile shops across Laos that sell ETL SIM cards. These shops are usually located in shopping malls or near tourist attractions.

2. Where to buy an ETL eSIM

The best place to buy a ETL eSIM is to get it online and the best time is before your departure. Once you land, you can connect to network. 

ETL offers an online platform, where you can purchase its eSIM plans. You will need to provide your device’s IMEI number and other details to activate your eSIM.

Here are the steps to buy an ETL eSIM online

  • Choose a Plan: Visit ETL’s website or partner sites and select an eSIM plan. Top up options range from 1 day to 1 month usually. 
  • Confirm Purchase: You’ll receive an order confirmation email along with activation instructions. 
  • Download Profile: Before travel, download the generated eSIM profile file (.icd or .esim depending on device brand). 
  • Install on Phone : On arrival, refer to device settings to add the eSIM profile via Bluetooth/WiFi/USB cable. Activate cellular data. 
  • Receive SMS: An SMS confirming SIM activation will be sent. You can now use mobile internet/data right away!

Buying online saves the hassle of visiting stores. Just ensure you download the profile in advance. ETL provides 24/7 help to resolve any activations problems faced by international travelers.

Or you can also buy it in ETL Stores,  they has several physical stores across Laos where you can purchase its eSIM plans. You can find these stores in major cities like Vientiane and Luang Prabang

VI. How to Activate ETL Laos SIM card/ eSIM

Once you have purchased your SIM card or eSIM, you will need to set up and activate it before using it.

Let’s take a look at how to activate it

1. How to Use Tourist ETL Laos SIM

To use your ETL SIM card, follow these steps:

  • Insert your ETL SIM card into your mobile device
  • Turn on your mobile device and wait for the network to connect
  • Your ETL SIM card should now be activated and ready to use

You can then top up your ETL account by purchasing top-up cards or via the ETL mobile app.

2. How to Set Up and Activate ETL Laos eSIM

To set up and activate your ETL eSIM, follow these steps:

  • Purchase an ETL eSIM plan either online or at an ETL store
  • Follow the instructions provided by ETL to scan the QR code and activate your eSIM
  • Once activated, you can start using your ETL eSIM for calls, SMS, and data.

VII. Call & SMS Rates of ETL in Laos

ETL offers affordable call and SMS rates for both domestic and international call. Here’s a quick summary of ETL’s call and SMS rates:

Call/SMS Type Rate (LAK) Rate (USD)
Calls to ETL numbers 15/min $0.01
Calls to other Lao networks 20/min $0.013
SMS to Lao numbers 15/SMS $0.01

With international call and SMS, rates vary depending on the country. 

Here are samples call on ETL’s network when calling popular international destinations from Laos

Country Rate/Minute (LAK) Rate/Minute (USD)
Thailand 100 0.07
Vietnam 150 0.10
China 300 0.20
USA 1000 0.67
UK 1500 1.00
Australia 1500 1.00

Tourists are recommend to buy data only eSIM plans and use apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger for free calling/ messaging over cellular data.

VIII. How to Top-up your ETL SIM card

To top up your ETL account, you can purchase top-up cards from convenience stores or mobile shops across Laos. Alternatively, you can top up your account via the ETL mobile app or by dialing *102# and following the instructions. 

Please check some of the top-up options available for ETL SIM cards:

Top-Up Amount Data Allowance Validity
LAK 10,000 ($1.10) 1 GB 7 Days
LAK 20,000 ($2.20) 2 GB 15 Days
LAK 50,000 ($5.50) 6 GB 30 Days

IX. How to Check ETL Balance

To check your balance, here are a few ways tips for you to check their ETL prepaid balance in Laos:

– By dialling *121# from their ETL number

– By sending an SMS with the text “BAL” to 1250 

– Through the ETL mobile app – Download from app stores and login  

– At physical ETL stores – Representatives can check balance for you

– On the ETL website – – Select “Check Balance”

– By topping up – Entering top up PIN shows current balance

To use the USSD 

USSD Code Description
*121# Check Balance
1234# Data usage status
1231# Call usage status
1232# Call settings
1233# SMS usage status
*101# Call customer service
*100# Network information
1321# Change bundle

💡Good to know: Checking balance regularly helps keep track of remaining credit and data to avoid unwanted charges while on ETL network in Laos.

X. ETL Alternatives for Tourists

As mentioned above, ETL might be a good choice for tourists who travel within major cities or urban areas. But the thing is different when you want to deep yourself in countrysides or remote areas of Laos. In this case, a Unitel SIM Card/esim should be a better choice. 

Ranked as the biggest mobile operator in Laos with the highest download and upload speeds, Untel SIM Card/eSIM will give you a better mobile experience.

If your phone supports eSIM, buying a Laos Unitel eSIM will release you from delivery cost as well as shipping time.

There are several online providers offering eSIM connecting to Unitel Network in Laos, and Laoesim is among the best thanks to:

  • Diversity in plans
  • Competitiveness in prices
  • Quick support via WhatsApp/Facebook/Email

You can also check some highly- rated eSIM plan options of, these flexible eSIM plans from laosesim provide very good value mobile connectivity options for travelers of all lengths of stay in Laos.

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XI. FAQs about ETL Laos

Can I use my ETL SIM for tethering/ mobile hotspot?

Yes, ETL SIMs support tethering/ hotspot to share your mobile internet connection with other devices. A mobile hotspot package may be required.

Can I access to Facebook with ETL’s network

In previous year, Facebook was intermittently banned in Laos by the government. However, since 2019 it has been consistently accessible through ETL but using VPN is advisable to guarantee unrestricted access throughout your trip. Speed will still be sufficient for general use.

Are prepaid mobile plans taxed in Laos

A 10% VAT tax is applicable on prepaid mobile top-ups. Top-up amounts displayed include this tax amount.

XII. Final words

ETL provides reliable and affordable 4G connectivity within Laos through its prepaid SIM cards and newer eSIM functionality. By choosing ETL as your mobile network, you can easily share awesome moments with your friends, find your way around new places without any trouble, and keep in touch with your family and friends who are far away.

Get ready to have an awesome time and create super cool memories in this pretty country with ETL