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Malaysia - Telephone

Malaysia uses both fixed line telephone and mobile telephones and there are networks and phone providers to choose from. For a fixed line there is one major provider. Mobile service providers vary and here we look at the various ways to connect to telephone service providers.

Landline/Fixed Line Telephone Service

The major service provider for communications in Malaysia is Telekom Malaysia.

Telekom Malaysia has shops throughout major cities and in shopping malls across the country. To apply for a telephone service in your new home, you can make an application through the various outlets. Most of the staff speak English and you will need the following documentation:

- Address where the landline is to be connected
- Passport of applicant
- Work permit or visa

There is a deposit which has to be paid and this is standard. The amount is 1000 RM. A guarantor can be supplied and the guarantor must be a Malaysian citizen. This is non-negotiable. It has been known that expats do leave the country without paying their telephone bills. The guarantor must provide their identification and proof of their address and sign the contract in person.

A contact number must also be provided for the company to arrange an engineer to come and install and connect the line. Currently, waiting times are between one and two weeks for the line to be connected.

Bills are paid monthly either online, in the store by cash or by direct debit. The cost of a landline or ‘Homeline’ as the service is called is relatively cheap and there are various contracts you can choose from.

If you make international calls regularly, there is a range of calling cards which can be purchased and you can make calls overseas for literally pennies. These are calls to landlines or mobiles overseas. With your purchase you will be given a code to dial from your landline prior to dialling the international number.

Mobile/Cell Phone Providers

There are three main providers for mobile telephones. Customers can choose between a contract and a pay-as-you-go option and simply purchase a handset.




All of these providers have shops throughout the country and in shopping malls. To arrange a mobile phone contract the following information must be provided:

- Passport of the applicant
- Work permit or visa
- Proof of address and a tenancy agreement or proof of ownership of property.

A deposit has to be paid. This can range from 300 RM to 500 RM depending on the term of the contract and the connection fee also has to be paid.

On a contract, it takes only two hours for the line to be connected. Your telephone bill is sent out to you on a monthly basis in English and must be paid within the time set or the line is restricted. You can pay your bill online via your provider’s website, paying directly with a credit or debit card. You can also pay in cash at any of the shops in shopping malls. The most convenient way is to pay by direct debit so you can easily budget for your mobile phone bill.

The three mobile phone providers are all affiliated with each other and you may find your service is displayed with another one, despite your contract being with one provider. Service is good and signal is excellent in the cities, intermittent on trains and less reliable in very rural areas.

If you would prefer a pay-as-you-go mobile phone then there is plenty of choice from all three providers. Proof of identification is required when you purchase a SIM card from any of the providers as all mobile phone numbers have to be registered to a name in Malaysia. The shop will register the phone for you. You can then purchase a starter pack from as little as 10 RM and this increase comes in 10 RM increments. There are a couple of simple steps to take to top up your mobile airtime. In your starter pack you will find instructions:

- Enter the 16-digit number into the keypad followed by the hash (#) key
- Wait for the SMS which tells you your top-up has been successful.

Top-up vouchers can be purchased online or in many shops around the city and shopping malls.

If a mobile phone is lost or stolen in Malaysia, whether a contracted phone or a pay-as-you-go handset, a report must be made to the local police station.

Public Payphones

Public payphones can be found in major cities and shopping malls. They accept coins and credit cards or calling cards which can be purchased at newsagents or Telekom Malaysia shops.

Dialling Codes

The country code for Malaysia for incoming calls overseas is:

+60 then the prefix of the area code which is 0 can be dropped if dialling from overseas.

Kuala Lumpur area dialling code is: 3. Therefore all telephone numbers into Kuala Lumpur would be 03 + the number. If dialling from overseas to a number into Kuala Lumpur you would dial: 0060 + 3 then the telephone number.

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