Internet and mobile communication in Maldives
Not every tourist who goes on a trip to the Maldives will want to be completely isolated from civilization. Someone will want to tell their friends about their success in sports and outdoor activities by dropping photos on social networks. In addition, many vacationers continue to work during their vacation and deal with important household issues. In short, internet and mobile communication in the Maldives are critical factors in the organization of leisure and everyday life on the islands. It’s best to find out all the information about these details before you travel in advance to buy a SIM card, get a modem or find out your hotel’s wi-fi password upon arrival.
The table of contents
Two major operators, Dhiraagu and Ooredoo, formerly known as Wataniya Telecom, offer their mobile services on the islands. In both companies you can choose between prepaid rates (they are very easy to arrange for tourists and sometimes even without a passport) or subscription rates (they are bought only by locals and are designed to pay the bill monthly).
Dhiraagu, according to users, has a higher quality and more stable connection. There are various prepaid rates. Initially sell SIM for 30 rufiyaa, 20 of which get to your account (tariff plan Standard). A minute of conversation will cost you 0.55-0.99 rufiyaa on-net and 0.55-1.5 rufiyaa when calling the numbers of other operators. Exact prices are determined by the time of day. You can send an SMS at the price of 0.2-0.5 rufiyaa. You can also activate 5 numbers (two of which can be international) and communicate with your relatives at a discount of 10-15%. Separate Dhiraagu tariffs will help you get discounts on specific services, whether it’s SMS within the Republic or access to Facebook. A minute of conversation with Russia, by the way, will cost this operator a little less than 5 rufiyaa.
Ooredoo works better on residential islands as it is targeted to the local population. A SIM card will cost 30 rufiyaa, and there will also be 20 on the account. Calls will cost according to different times of day: 0.49-0.89 rufiyaa per minute of conversation with another Ooredoo subscriber and 0.69-0.99 rufiyaa per minute of call to any Maldivian number. It is noteworthy that if it is cheaper to talk at Dhiraagu after 1 am, then at Ooredoo discounts after 23:00 and on Fridays. Messages from this operator can be sent for 0.2-1 rufiyaa. At additional payment of 10 rufiyaa you can connect unlimited calls and SMS within the country for a day. There is a package of five hundred SMS for 19 rufiyaa and discounts on international calls, but the last offer does not apply to calls to Russia.
Where to buy a sim card of these operators? First of all, you should visit the sales office at the airport of the Republican capital. To be more precise, you should go to the business center on Male. SIM cards are also sold on large islands and in hotels. However, the sale of sim cards in the latter case is not quite legal, but you still practically do not overpay. At all these points, you can also buy recharge vouchers and cards for phone booths. With the help of vouchers, you can replenish your phone balance in the offices of operators, in official salons and ATMs.
Currently, there is only one mobile communication standard in operation on the islands GSM-900. It is supported by all Russian mobile operators quite stably. However, the quality of international communication will have to be spent a lot.
In MTS incoming call from Russia for travelers in the Maldives will cost about 250 rubles. Outgoing calls for those who call Russians will also cost 250 rubles per minute. Sending a message to a domestic number is cheaper – about 20 rubles. One should give 30 rubles for 40 KB for using the Internet.
Beeline offers tourists to answer incoming calls from Russia at 200 rubles per minute. Outgoing calls are priced at the same price, while SMS will cost the same 30 rubles per message. Every 20 KB will cost 15 rubles.
Megaphone provides the most favorable conditions for communication in roaming. Thus, incoming and outgoing calls cost 350 rubles. Price by text is 45 rubles, and 100 KB of Internet will cost a little more than 90 rubles.
It should be kept in mind that the offers of mobile operators may differ depending on the specific region of Russia (above prices are for Moscow). But in general, the Maldives is not considered a very popular destination for these companies, so the islands are not listed as countries with cheap roaming. In many cases, it makes sense to connect additional options that will allow you to communicate abroad on preferential terms. After all, when vacationing or doing business in the Maldives, you should always stay in touch.
Above mentioned GSM900 standard, which more often implies the use of 3G mobile network. Perhaps 4G, which was launched on the islands in 2013, can be picked up at the airport and in the capital Male in general. To use the mobile Internet, you must accept one of the packets of previously designated operators.
Ooredoo offers everyone to connect whole packages that are valid for a month. The lightest version of the traffic is 500 megabytes for 99 rufiyaa. In turn, the maximum is 12 gigabytes for 900 rufiyaa. There are also average variants on 2 gigabytes for 200 rufiyaa. To activate the selected Internet package, you should call the corresponding number (*929#) or use a recharge voucher.
The Dhiraagu operator has two online prepaid rates. Conditionally speaking, this data transfer is for smartphone and tablet. In the first case, you can get an hour package (25 megabytes estimated at 10 rufiyaa) and daily (125 megabytes will cost 25 rufiyaa). If you have an extra 300 rufiyaa, you can connect for a month unlimited Internet, which in practice ends after 2 gigabytes. The big advantage of Dhiraagu is that the operator does not take money for extra megabytes after the exhaustion of the package, although the data rate still falls.
It is noteworthy that the Internet for your tablet can not be connected to an already existing SIM card. It is necessary to buy a card plus 100 rufiyaa voucher for the account, which will cost 200 rufiyaa. Then you choose the right amount of traffic. The maximum is six gigabytes for 500 rufiyaa.
Today, Wi-Fi can be found in more than two hundred hotels in the Republic of Maldives. First of all, wi-fi is available in South and North Male, Baa and Kaafu, Maafushi, Thoddoo, Himmafushi, Hulhumale and so on. In short, almost all inhabited and tourist-oriented atolls, as well as resort-islands, are aware of the Internet opportunities in their territory in advance. The wi-fi transmission at the main airport and even at the ferry terminal works well.
Unfortunately, hotels in the Maldives do not yet boast the great availability of wi-fi routers. For this reason, the Internet can only be found near the reception, in the bar and restaurant at the hotel. In many cases, the use of wi-fi is paid for by the day (an average of 300 rufiyaa). Sometimes it can be offered in the hotel and wired internet, but you must have your own wires.
Most islands have separate Hotspots from the Dhiraagu operator. These can be accessed when purchasing prepaid vouchers. Using unlimited wi-fi will cost you 95 rufiyaa per day, which is cheaper than going to the hotel. However, you will have to look for specific points on the Internet and sit near them.
If the latter option does not embarrass you, you can also look for Internet cafes, which are found not only in the capital, but also on ordinary residential atolls. In this case, an hour of Internet will cost you $3. It is noteworthy that some Internet cafes are often owned by the hotels themselves. To do this, they equip the area near reception or open a business center. However, hotels are forced to pay as much as $10 per hour to use a computer.
When you go to small islands for a secluded holiday or a day trip, the probability of finding a wi-fi point is not too high. So you should consider buying a 3G modem from one of two mobile companies.
Analyzing mobile and data communications over the internet in the Maldives, it is possible to note low cost of services and good quality. You should choose a specific communication option in accordance with your travel objectives. Say, if you do not plan to call or receive calls during your vacation, you can limit yourself to roaming from a Russian operator. With constant use of mobile communications, Maldivian providers will offer more advantageous services. If you don’t want to buy a local SIM card, then when choosing a hotel in the Maldives when planning your trip, make sure the hotel has internet access.
In the case of the Internet, those who like to immediately post photos from the beach and talk about the trip, it is better to arm a SIM card with the cherished gigabytes or even buy a modem. And for emergency communication and rare trips to the World Wide Web is quite suitable paid wi-fi in a hotel or restaurant. In any case, remember that in Maldives you need to go on vacation and enjoy the unity with the nature paradise, so do not get stuck on a permanent seat on the Internet.