For travelers traveling in Nepal, obtaining a local new SIM card in Nepal is a very important step to stay connected throughout the journey. Nepal offers a range of telecommunications providers, such as NTC (Nepal Telecom), Ncell, and Smart Cell, each catering to diverse preferences and requirements.

With a local SIM card in hand, tourists can immerse themselves in the rich tapestry of Nepal’s experiences while staying connected with friends, family, and the digital world. This enables visitors to not only enjoy seamless communication but also take advantage of local data services for navigation, social media updates, and other travel-related needs.

It is a smart idea to pick up a local SIM card when you are in Nepal so that you remain connected with your family and friends back home. You will require an unlocked phone set, tablet or iPad and of course, a pre-paid SIM to make calls or connect to the internet. NTC and Ncell are the two main carriers that provide telephone as well as mobile internet services. NTC is considered to be a bit slower in specific areas but has greater coverage in the mountains. Likewise, Ncell is faster and easier to set up for foreign travelers.

Why Get a New SIM Card in Nepal?

If you are traveling to Nepal, you might need to get a new SIM card to stay connected to your loved ones, access the internet, and make local calls. A new SIM card can help you save money on international roaming charges and allow you to communicate with the locals in Nepal. Moreover, having a local number can also be beneficial for both short and extended stays in Nepal, obtaining a local SIM card can prove to be an excellent way to save money. As a prudent traveler, one of the first things you should do after obtaining a tourist visa is to purchase a Nepalese SIM card.

We suggest you to choose an operator with the most coverage all over the country especially if you are visiting Nepal for trekking.

Mobile service providers in Nepal

Nepal has the top three mobile service providers currently. They are NTC, Ncell, and Smartcell. All of them are huge mobile service providers in Nepal with thousands of subscribers.

Nepal Telecom SIM (NTC)

Nepal Telecom (NTC) is the largest and oldest telecommunications company in Nepal, providing a wide range of services including voice, data, and internet services. NTC SIM came into effect 17 years ago, and since then, the services it provides have transformed a lot with time.

The voice call quality of NTC is quite commendable as it works fine at high altitudes too. The same goes for the 4G network service. NT provides various 4G data packages at incredible prices.

Nepal Telecom Prepaid SIM Card for Tourists

NTC prepaid SIM cards for tourists are cost-effective and have several benefits. To purchase an NTC SIM, visit the NTC counter at TIA and fill out the registration form.

Below is the price range of data of NTC SIM cards that includes the following services.

Rs. 500 ($4.5)7 GB (1 GB Daily)607 Days
Rs. 700 ($6.5)4.5 GB6028 Days
Rs. 1200 ($11)28 GB (1 GB Daily)10028 Days
Rs. 1200 ($11)12 GB6042 Days

Moreover, you can buy other voice and data packages by dialing *1415#.

Ncell SIM

Ncell is a privately owned company that offers a range of services including voice calls, SMS, 3G, 4G, and 5G internet. They have good network coverage and offer some unique features like Ncell Connect, which is a portable Wi-Fi hotspot. If you are looking for a telecom company with good internet services, Ncell may be a good choice.

A regular Ncell SIM costs only Rs. 100 (inclusive of taxes). On the purchase of Ncell SIM, you get the main balance of Rs. 30 and 1GB of data valid for 3 days.

Smartcell SIM

Smart Cell is a newer telecom company that offers voice calls, SMS, and 4G internet services. They have a smaller network coverage compared to NTC and Ncell, but they offer more affordable prices. If you are looking for an affordable telecom company with good internet services, Smart Cell may be a good choice.

Smartcell SIM, unfortunately, does not have large coverage in Nepal like NTC. It has extended service to around 45 districts, but its mobile internet service is remarkably fast.

Smartcell has a great range of data packages to offer its customers.

Smartcell Data PackVolume w/ Cost (incl. Taxes)ValidityUSSD
200 MB200 MB @ Rs 11.491 Day*141*3*1*6#
500 MB500 MB Data + Extra 500 MB @ Rs 37.031 Day*141*3*1*1#
1 GB1 GB Data + Extra 1 GB @ Rs 88.117 Days*141*3*1*2#
1 GB1 GB Data + Extra 1 GB @ Rs 113.6415 Days*141*3*1*3#
2 GB2 GB Data + Extra 2 GB @ Rs 254.1030 Days*141*3*1*4#
5 GB5 GB Data + Extra 5 GB @ Rs 407.3330 Days*141*3*1*5#

Where do you buy a new SIM card in Nepal?

In Nepal, you can purchase a new SIM card from various locations, including authorized service centers, official retail outlets, and sometimes even at the airport in Kathmandu. You can also buy a SIM card at any local shops or the major stations like Bus Park and beside the malls. Most probably, you can get it in the stationery and the photo stores in the city.

Things Needed for a Tourist to Buy a New SIM Card in Nepal

If you are a Nepalese, your citizenship and a clear photograph will work while you go to get a New SIM Card. But, for foreigners, you need to provide a photocopy of your passport and a visa. If you don’t have a copy of your passport, you can ask them to do it themselves. They might charge you around Rs 5 for the service.

Some SIM card provider does not need your visa detail, However, it’s better to take it with you while you are going to buy a new Nepalese SIM card.

Further, you need to fill out the provided form with your details. You can either ask the person over there to fill it themselves or you can do it on your own, as it’s easy to fill in the details. The form requires your signature and both hand thumb fingerprints on it. After filling in the form and paying out the required fee, you get the new SIM.

After you get your SIM, the responsible person in the stall or the shop sends a notification to the telecom to provide for its activation. This way, they will activate your new SIM card in a few hours.

How much does a new Nepalese SIM Card Cost?

You can buy a new prepaid SIM card in Nepal for just around 100 rupees. The cost of the SIM also includes the recharge of Rs 50, which you get for free in the SIM. You will also receive some voice and data offers according to the provider you choose. In the case of foreigners, you can ask to get a tourist pack-enabled SIM Card before you buy it. It’s mostly available in airports, major hotels, and resorts.

How to recharge your new SIM?

To recharge your phone, you can find paper recharge cards of Rs 50, 100, 500, and Rs 1000 in nearby local shops. The paper recharge card comes with a 16-digit PIN which you dial on your mobile phone. For NTC, you dial *412*16-digit code# and then make a call. For Ncell, you dial *912*16-digit code# and then make a call. Then, for Smart Cell, dial *122*16 digit code# and make a call.

How do you check your mobile balance?

To check the main balance in your SIM card, dial *400# for NTC, *901# or *101# for Ncell, and *123# for Smart Cell.

Buying Mobile Data packs

You can buy data packs in just a few clicks on any SIM card in Nepal. You can choose from various day, night, daily, and monthly offers of data and voice dialing the below numbers. Here is how you can buy a data pack in Nepal.

  • NTC (Nepal Telecom): Dial *1415# and select your required data packages
  • Ncell: Dial *123# or *17123# and select required data packages
  • Smart Cell: Dial *141# and select the required package inside.

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