Moving to Hanoi (Vietnam) for 2+ years; What should I do for a cell phone?

So I got a job in Hanoi, Vietnam and I plan to live there for a year or two or maybe three. My current cell phone carrier (Verizon) is ridiculously expensive to use there even with their 'discount' global plan.

I need a smartphone that will allow me to use the internet and apps for currency exchange, GPS navigation, translation, calendar, etc. I'm also working in the video-game industry developing for Android, so i require a decent phone on the Android OS for testing purposes. I won't be making an armful of cash at this job and I've got tons of student loans, so I can't afford to pay a bunch.

So what are my best options?

Are Tracfone and similar no-contract phones good enough phones to do everything I require them to do? Do these pay as you go phones even work in Vietnam? Where would I buy the initial phone for cheap? Where would I continue to buy additional minutes? How does internet usage work in terms of 'minutes'?

Should I go with some big-name America carrier (other than Verizon) and hope their rates are cheaper than $1.99/minute?

Should I sign a long-term contract with an international carrier (specifically, one of the Vietnamese brands) and just get a new phone and everything? How do those prices compare? Do they offer phones with the capabilities I require? Can I somehow continue to use the phone I currently have (HTC Merge)?

For all of these options, are there additional hardware I need? What's a SIM card and where do I get one? How much should I pay for one?

Apologies in advance for asking so many questions; I'm just completely lost to this whole process and have to leave in like a week so I don't have much time to research it all so much. Thanks in advance for all of the suggestions.

3 Answers

  • 7 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    You wait until you arrive in Vietnam. You go to any of the cell phone shops in Hanoi and see the best deal you can get on a phone that has the features that you want. Get a pre-paid sim card (most likely Mobiphone or Vinaphone) so that you have phone service. Or ask the shop owner which carrier is best for your purposes - if you travel different carriers have varied presence in different parts of the country. YOu may want a "plan" or pre-paid may suffice. The options in Vietnam are SO MUCH BETTER than anything you can find in the US, you would be wasting your money to do anything related to a phone, before you arrive in Vietnam.

    Source(s): Lived in Hanoi for over 4 years - my pre-paid sim card still has money on it, and is valid until 2015. Find that in the US - HA!
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  • Siri
    Lv 4
    7 years ago

    No, do not purchase a Tracfone or any of these prepaid phones in the US (most of them won't work internationally) and certainly don't use Verizon. You should purchase an unlocked phone here (you can buy an unlocked phone at or anywhere else online, and yes, they have android ones). Then when you're in Vietnam, get a prepaid SIM card, so you can put it in your phone. Most international airports sell sim cards and unlocked phones in kiosks in the airport. I'm not sure about any Vietnamese phone companies, but there is probably some information about it online. This will definitely be the cheapest option for you.

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  • 4 years ago

    No, it's not fair. That's there way of taking your money and trapping you into staying with them, at least for 2 years. They need to understand people travel, a lot or maybe want to go to another company. Then they make you buy your way out! So ridiculous, you give them your money and they expect you to pay them to leave!!

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