We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

buy cell phone there or US?

San Diego...
7 posts
1 review
Save Topic
buy cell phone there or US?

My family and I will be traveling to Manila, day trips in Luzon and then to Palawan for a few days. Do I buy an unlocked phone here (Walmart has them for about $15-25; smart phone) OR do I just purchase on there? We will only be there for 2 weeks. I understand from reading other posts about a SIM card once we are there. Thank you in advance.

Panay Island...
Level Contributor
79 posts
119 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: buy cell phone there or US?

If you want a basic cellphone, just buy a P1,000 ($23) Nokia in the Philippines. I feel the low end Nokias are better made than the low end Samsung phones. Get a Smart SIM (better coverage than Globe in most places) and a load card. If you want a higher end smart phone, prices are better in the U.S.. Just make sure it is not carrier locked. You can get a cheap Nokia smart phone (a Lumia 630) in the Philippine for about $200.

Manila, Philippines
Level Contributor
27 posts
14 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: buy cell phone there or US?

I say just get it there. It makes for easier traveling. For you to buy an unlocked phone in the Phils, you can go to Greenhills or an SM Mall that has a Cyberzone.

SIM cards on the other hand are available in 7/11 shops anywhere. Go for Smart as they have a wider coverage in the Phils.

I hope this helps! :)

San Diego...
7 posts
1 review
Save Reply
3. Re: buy cell phone there or US?

Thank you. I want to be able to use the internet on the phone, use text both to US and locally and mostly local calls only.

Manila
Destination Expert
for Manila
Level Contributor
3,505 posts
133 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: buy cell phone there or US?

There are cps from P400 in CD-R King or Chery Mobile are excellent value from P499. Why pay twice as much as a Nokia?

You will find CD-R King and Cherry Mobile in almost all malls. Both companies only sell unlocked phones.

Smart is the most popular network but they frequently steal your load and they do not have greater coverage than Globe or Sun.

I gave up on Smart years ago and get excellent service from the other 2 networks.

I am sure Cherry Mobile will satisfy your needs for P599. Just discuss your needs with the dealer. You may need to by a memory card and the cheapest available are also in CD-R King.

Edited: 09 June 2014, 04:52
Manila, Philippines
Level Contributor
27 posts
14 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: buy cell phone there or US?

What I do when I travel is that I bring a pocket wifi with me. This takes care of my data services and I don't have to carry around another phone. What's more, your pocket wifi is good for all of your other gadgets. Mine can accommodate up to 10 gadgets.

But if you intend to make local calls, I guess getting a phone is best. I still recommend you get it there. It will save you a lot of time and your option there is not expensive anyway.

Cheers!

San Diego...
7 posts
1 review
Save Reply
6. Re: buy cell phone there or US?

Thank you so much!!! I'm so excited about our trip!

Philippines
Destination Expert
for Philippines
Level Contributor
5,858 posts
263 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: buy cell phone there or US?

@ Sharon

It would be most convenient to just buy a phone locally after you arrive in the Philippines. If you are looking at using it only in the Phils, Myphone and Cherry mobile have excellent durable models available for local use and are easily available in cell phone shops all around Philippines.

Buying a SIM card locally is easy - pre paid cards are sold over the counter in convenience stores. Top ups (we call them loads) are also available at all street corners.

Australia
Destination Expert
for Cebu City, Cebu Island
Level Contributor
9,237 posts
51 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: buy cell phone there or US?

If you can buy unlocked in walmart for usd $15. then that is where you should buy it in my opinion.

If it breaks down, I presume you can take it back to walmart for refund or replacement.

You will not have the same luxury in the Philippines.

Cebu Island...
Level Contributor
3 posts
16 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: buy cell phone there or US?

Buy the phone in US and buy the SIM card in Phil.

You can buy simcard in any convenience store or any malls.

Buy a prepaid simcard from Globe or Smart. These are the 2 big networks in Phil. Local calls cost 8pesos per minute. Local SMS is 1 peso per 160characters. International call (like calling to US) is ofcourse higher. International SMS is approximately 10pesos per 160characters.

Enjoy our country!

Mount Holly, North...
Level Contributor
2 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: buy cell phone there or US?

Rather than start a new thread, I was hoping to ask a few follow up questions on this topic. We will be traveling to Hinunangan, Letye (Visayas), Palawan, and San Antonio, Zambales (Luzon). From previous research and talking to hotel owners we're staying with, they recommended Smart in terms of coverage.

I have an iPhone 6 in the US which is unlocked and am planning to purchase a nano-SIM upon arrival in the PI... onto the questions:

- Can these SIM cards be easily purchased at the Manila airport, or will I need to venture out prior to our domestic flight to Tachloban?

- Is there any recommendation on plan/load to use for medium data usage, a few texts, and likely a daily call back to the US? We will be in the PI for 3 weeks.

Thanks for any advice!