I wasn’t planning to get 3G when I was in Sri Lanka. I assumed that wireless connection in my guest house would be enough for me.
However, it turned out that having Internet on my phone was very important as I kept getting lost in Anuradhapura.
If you are thinking about getting 3G in Sri Lanka while travelling, I don’t recommend buying the tourist prepaid SIM packages. For example, Dialog has prepaid SIM for tourists and the premium package is 1,300 rupees.
That’s rather expensive compared with getting a package targeted at locals. For example, Mobitel’s 1024MB data package is only 279 rupees and includes some free minutes and text messages for numbers on the same network.
I bought a normal SIM card at the airport but had to change it to a micro-SIM later. I was really kiasu and bought a back up 1024MB internet package which I didn’t need at all in the end.
I paid about 1,200 rupees in total for the normal SIM, changed micro-SIM and two internet packages.
I did a lot of Google Maps and Whatsapp with my plan. I was using data up fast at my first guesthouse where the Wi-Fi was wonky. I posted blog updates by tethering my phone’s 3G connection. Surfing on a hotspot was much faster than I expected.
When I switched to the hostel in Kandy, my data consumption dropped because I had stable Wi-Fi.
It might be worthwhile getting the tourist package for the IDD rates. But you don’t really need to make IDD calls if you are contacting others with VoIP apps or services.
I checked out a branch of HUTCH and they told me they didn’t have micro-SIM. I’m not sure if that’s the case for the whole country or just that branch in Anuradhapura.