[Malaysia] How To Maintain a Malaysian Number for RM12/year

Disclaimer: This post contains a referral (nwrac3579). For each person that signs up to a Yoodo service using my code, I will receive RM20. You will receive an additional 7GB data – which is valid for your first billing cycle (30 days). This code can be entered at the time of ordering the SIM via the app.

Last Updated:

9 May 2020: Updated links, wording and references

[Malaysia] How To Maintain a Malaysian Number for RM12/year

This deal is probably more relevant to Malaysians living abroad rather than Malaysian residents, given that a Malaysian resident will need a “regular” phone plan. This RM12/year plan is purely for maintaining a number and probably won’t give you the required data/calls etc.

In my previous post, I wrote a review on Yoodo. This post is a little different, and is particularly relevant to Malaysians living overseas who still have a need to maintain a Malaysian phone number. Think of your internet banking – which might require a local Malaysian number. Or maybe you just want to maintain your Malaysian number that you’ve had for your whole life!

Yoodo allows you to customise your plans. That means you can pick the amount of data, calls and SMS you have access to every month. The cheapest one is 50 SMS for RM3 for 30 days.

RM3 multiplied by 12 (months) is RM36 – that seems like it would cost you RM36/year to maintain your number?

Well, your phone number is valid for 60 days after the expiry of your last lot of data/calls/SMS. This means you actually have a 60 day period where you can just have no data/calls/SMS purchased, but still, crucially, receive SMS (even overseas)!

Basically, you can “get away” with purchasing a 50 SMS pack for RM3 every quarter.

However, a word of warning. If you forget to purchase a pack before the 60 day grace period is over, you will lose your phone number. As stated in the link I shared:

After 60 days, your account will be terminated and you will no longer be able to use your line.

Please note that once your number has been terminated after the grace period, your number can not be reactivated.

And believe me – I have personal experience with having my Yoodo number expire. Luckily for me, it wasn’t an important number, but I still tried to rescue it by speaking to customer support who told me that it could not be recovered, so if I were you, I would absolutely not leave it last minute to purchase your 50 SMS pack for RM3 for the sake of saving money.

My tips? Set an alarm of some sort (e.g. Google Calendar). The Yoodo app tells you the exact date when the SIM will be terminated. If you wait until the actual day itself, the app will then tell you the exact time that the SIM is set to expire.

As I alluded to above, Yoodo has roaming. This is crucial – in a positive way. Before you freak out and think, “but roaming is super expensive!” – that’s only if you use it for anything other than receiving SMS, which is free. Making a phone call, receiving a phone call, sending a SMS or using data are all activities that cost money – and yes – this is typically not cheap.

So in terms of a cheap to maintain Malaysian SIM card with roaming? Give Yoodo a try!

Of course, the prices are subject to change, and I can tell you from my own observations that the cost of data certainly does fluctuate. However, the cost of the minutes and SMS has not fluctuated since I’ve started following Yoodo in late 2018. But what that means is there is absolutely no guarantee that prices will remain stagnant.

Having said that, I’d be thoroughly surprised if Yoodo choose to increase the cost of providing SMS, given that (I would assume) it is by far, the least used of the 3 buckets of inclusions.

Other Useful Aspects of Using Yoodo

  • Top-ups can all be done via the app – no need to buy paper top up receipts from 7-Eleven
  • Yoodo accept Boost (the eWallet) as a top up method – that means you get (a small amount of) cashback for top ups
  • Boost sometimes has Yoodo-specific promotions for topping up via Boost
    • From 1 February 2020 to 31 March 2020, they ran this mission. RM5 back for every RM30 top up.
    • I’ve included a screenshot of the Boost mission below, just above the summary section – sorry I couldn’t insert it here, right below this text. I’m having some technical issues.
  • You can just top up and actually purchase data/calls for when/if you return to Malaysia for a short period of time, so you’ll have data ready immediately when you return to Malaysia. Just make sure you don’t lose your SIM!
    • If you do lose your SIM, you can order a replacement through the app
  • Yoodo support eSIM. I haven’t seen many telcos in Malaysia support eSIM, let alone one of the more obscure MVNOs in Yoodo! It’s certainly not a negative, but there are very few devices that support eSIM technology at present
  • Yoodo is not limited to Malaysian citizens. However, foreigners are subject to an additional 6% SST charge on all purchases of inclusions.
    • So if you’re a foreigner who has a need/desire to maintain a Malaysian number, there is absolutely no reason you can’t use the same concept – just budget an additional 6%!


Concluding Thoughts/Summary

Yoodo will cost ~RM12/year to maintain a Malaysian number, and it includes the ability to receive SMS while you are overseas (for free). The cost of data and quality of service is also very reasonable, so it’s certainly absolutely useable as your “main” Malaysian SIM, even if you don’t primarily live in Malaysia.

There is indeed an (effectively) free way of maintaing a Malaysian number by using Unifi Mobile, but there are certainly some caveats. You see, there’s a reason I posted about Yoodo first before Unifi, and no – it’s not because of the referral! Seriously 🙂

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