It’s said that the biggest fear one has it that of public peaking. For me, my biggest fear is not having cellular service, and not being able to connect while on the go.

So, how does one connect while in Indonesia

Some quick tips to staying connected while on the go:
Keeping in touch with the outside world from Indonesia is rarely a problem, at least if you stay anywhere close to the beaten track. Telephone calls As getting a fixed line remains an unaffordable luxury for many Indonesians, wartel (short for warung telekomunikasi) can be found on most every street in Indonesia. If you have Global System Mobile (GSM) cellular phone, ask your local provider about “roaming agreement/facility” with local GSM operators in Indonesia (ie: PT Indosat , PT Telkomsel , PT XL Axiata ). Making local calls Dial (telephone number) Making long distance calls Dial 0-(area code)-(telephone number) Making international calls Dial 017-(country code)-(area code, if any)-(telephone number) Beside “017” prefix, you can use “001”, “007” or “008”. For example 001-(country code)-(area code, if any)-(telephone number) You can make International calls through operator dial 101 or 102.

Making long distance collect calls Dial 0871-(area code) Connecting to the Internet Dial 080989999 (from your modem), costing you Rp. 165/minute in business days and Rp. 100/min in Saturdays and Sundays Telkom Calling Card access number Dial 168 Mobile phones The Indonesian mobile phone market is heavily competed and prices are low: you can pick up a prepaid SIM card for around Rp 10,000 (US$ 1) or even less; calls generally cost Rp 500-1,000 a minute to other networks and landline, and from that price down to free (with some conditions and restrictions) for on-net calls. SMS service is extremely cheap (and popular), with local SMS at Rp 50-150 (plus you typically get free allowance after sending 5-10 SMS in one day), and international SMS for Rp 400-1,500 (no free allowance).

Indonesia is also the world’s largest market for used phones. New cheap Chinese phones (often having local brands such as Nexian or Ti-Phone) are also abundant, the most basic ones cost as low as Rp.150.000; for 200-250 thousand, you will likely get “extra features” like dual SIM, (VGA) camera, or even Bluetooth. The largest operators are Telkomsel (brand Kartu HALO, simPATI, Kartu As), Indosat (brands Matrix, Mentari, IM3), XL Axiata , 3 , and AXIS . In general, Telkomsel has the best coverage (on remote islands of east Indonesia it can be the only option available) but higher rates. Coverage of 3 and Axis is patchy to non-existent outside of Java, Bali, and major cities elsewhere, but they are somewhat cheaper (3, being an international brand, has one of the lowest rates on international calls and cheap Internet packages as well). Indosat and XL are in the middle both in terms of coverage and prices.

On Java and Bali, any SIM will work just fine. After inserting a new SIM card, you will normally get the registration form (in Indonesian), which you must fill before activating it, the SIM won’t work otherwise. Foreign ID/passport data may or may not be accepted by this form, and if it does not or you just can’t manage it yourself – ask the vendor or a local friend to fill in it using their Indonesian government issued ID. You can also register it on your own passport, if you visit the operator’s office. If you have Global System Mobile (GSM) cellular phone, ask your local GSM operator about “roaming agreement/facility” in Indonesia.

Most GSM operators in Indonesia have roaming agreement with various GSM operators worldwide. Using roaming facility, you can use your own cellular phone and GSM SIM card in Indonesia. But, of course, this means you will pay several times more than if using local SIM. Besides GSM, there are several CDMA operators in Indonesia. For longer-term or regular visitors, these may be interesting for their generous mobile Internet packages (see below). Beware, however, that CDMA modems/phones are generally not usable outside of major cities (much of Bali, as well as Gili Islands are covered). CDMA phones and modems are sold along with GSM ones, and their price can be attractively low, so be sure to double-check when buying!

Other tips on staying connected while in Indonesia? Please add your comments and tips.