Sunday, January 22, 2012

How to Stay Connected with Mobile Internet Using iPhone in Nepal

Updated: Jun 2, 2013.  If you want to travel in Nepal and you want to stay connected at the same time with your family and friends then you can easily get prepaid mobile Internet access on your unlocked iPhone or any other smartphone.

However, if you are planning to stay only in Kathmandu then you might not really need mobile Internet since you can find free wifi in almost every restaurant, bar and guesthouse.

The main mobile company that offers mobile internet access in Nepal is Ncell and to get a sim card from any local shop all you need is a passport copy. Normally the price for the sim card should be around 120 rupees (that's what they told me when I called customer service) but if you are in Thamel, Kathmandu all shop owners will charge you the tourist price, about 500 rupees.

Cutting the SIM card to fit it in an iPhone

If you have an iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S you'll need to cut the Ncell SIM card to fit into the phone. That's not so difficult to do, I've done it several times with regular scissors and with different SIM cards from India and Nepal with no problem at all. You just need to be a bit careful. Take your time.

However, if you have the iPhone 5 cutting the SIM card it's a bit more difficult since this iPhone uses even a smaller SIM card than the iPhone 4/4S called nano-SIM card. It is way too small to do it by hand and you will have to cut through the edges of the chip so what I would strongly recommend is to get a SIM card cutter. Believe me, it will make your life easier. I bought one from Amazon and so far it has worked pretty well for me, I've only used it for two SIM cards though.

There are tons of SIM card cutters in Amazon but they all look the same, cheap and of poor quality but you probably won't use it that frequently. The one that I bought is the QQ-Tech Nano Sim Card Cutter Mini. By the way, never use the SIM card adapters included in the package to fit a nano-SIM card in an iPhone. It can get stuck inside and that would be the end of your phone.

Mobile internet using iPhone 4S or iPhone 5

The connection works excellent, even for YouTube videos, and at least in Thamel, you get 3G signal everywhere. You can easily check your mails, your Facebook or even do a Skype video call.

However, the service is quite expensive if you compare it to India. In India you can get a sim card for 45 Indian rupees and a one month unlimited (2GB or 1GB) Internet plan for 98 Indian rupees, but in Nepal with NCELL you have to pay 500 Nepalese rupees for the sim card and for the internet you have to an amount per Megabytes which seems to consumes quite quickly even if you only check emails and do light surfing.

I got 250 MB and it last me for about two days but in India, from the 2 GB that I get, I always have plenty to use (about 70%) by the end of the month. Ncell data services prepaid tariff

But anyway if you really want to stay connected with mobile internet using your iPhone 4S or iPhone 5 in Nepal 24/7 then I guess you won't mind the price.

And remember that you can always share your mobile Internet connection (Internet tethering) via USB cable or Bluetooth with your laptop or Netbook. With the iPhone, this is really easy to do and I'm sure it works with any other smartphone.

Related blog posts


  1. This article really helps me. thank you.

  2. Thanks Gray, good to know that you found this post useful. Enjoy your trip to Nepal :-)

  3. Note that you'll need to update some network settings on your iPhone to be able to use the mobile internet. Just go to Settings/General/Cellular/Cellular_Data_Network and in the Cellular Data section in APN type web. That's all. Don't forget to turn "Cellular Data" on. You can find more information in this link: