Beeline Laos 3G now in service, but no 4G yet

Posted originally on January 11, 2012; update June 2013.

Update July 5, 2013 – Lao Telecom expects 4G services to be launched in Vientiane within one month. 60 base stations will cover the urban area.

Beeline, formerly Tigo Lao recently became the last mobile operator in Laos to upgrade from GPRS and EDGE, by launching a “3G+4G” service from January 2012 in Vientiane and Luang Prabang and Savannakhet in March. Other 3G providers are Lao Telecom, ETL and Unitel.

Depending on user location and traffic, Beeline 3G service is faster than the others if using a high-speed capable phone or USB modem. A typical 3.6 Mbps phone or 7.2 Mbps modem will probably produce similar results to the 1-2 Mbps download speeds from LaoTel or ETL. Unitel performance should be better than those, although throttling is imposed on some plans.

Beeline sells a badged locked ZTE MF 656A (14.4 Mbps) and MF 668A (21 Mbps) USB dongle for 300,000 and 350,000 kips respectively. Data plans are suited to mobile phones with low daily, weekly or monthly internet requirements; plan prices are comparable with the others. See more below.

A Tigo or Beeline SIM (with phone number, so not data only) should automatically switch to 3G on a capable phone or device where service is available, so there’s no need to upgrade or change any settings. APN is beelinenet.

Beeline is testing a 4G/LTE network for Laos – not WiMax as employed by Lao Telecom and Planet. This is still in development and service is not yet available (as of October 19). LTE requires compatible phones and modems such as used for LTE systems deployed in the USA, Korea and Singapore. See related post.

Get more Lao mobile and internet information on the R-A Lao communications and Lao data plans pages.

April 2012 update

The Beeline AD1 and AM1 ‘unlimited’ data plans now have restrictions due to what the operator feels was excessive downloading by some subscribers. Limits are currently 1GB per day with a monthly maximum of 10GB. Connection is not affected, bandwidth reduces to 256Kbps if the limits are exceeded, sufficient for email and web browsing.

June 2013 update

There is still no 4G LTE service in Laos, either from Beeline or Lao Telecom.

  1. ek, 04 January, 2012

    HI webmaster…

    I found a lot of useful info. in your blog. Very useful.
    By the way, i would like to know more about the portion of 3G users in Laos.
    How many total subscribers in Laos and how many are 3G users.

    Thanks in advance for your support.

  2. admin, 05 January, 2012

    Ek, thanks, but sorry I don’t know for 3G specifically. I doubt anyone other than the operators themselves have that information. A paid report service, BuddeComm, recently published these figures for 2011: internet subscribers estimated at 22,500 (less than 2% of households) with annual growth of 18%. Mobile phones (many of which can access the internet too) are used by 5 million subscribers, 80% of the Lao population (annual growth 20%). Hope that helps.

  3. axl, 10 January, 2012

    Hi !

    Thanks for your Information !

    I buy for my Lao GF in Vientianne a Iphone 4. for Voip Call and maybe Video Chat with Tango, she should have what for a Company ? Lao Telecom, ETL or Unitel ? which company we can have the fastet Speed with 3G ?

    Thanks Axl

  4. axl, 10 January, 2012

    we tryed allready Unitel 3G, if she stay home 5km outside from vientiane is the speed slowly with this company.

  5. admin, 10 January, 2012

    Speed is affected by distance from the company’s closest transmitter and the number of users online in that cell at one time. Even a few km outside Vientiane performance will vary. For me, Unitel is much faster for downloads than the others. Tigo (now Beeline), Lao Telecom and ETL are all about 1-2 Mbps max. SIMs are cheap. Buy and try them all to see which works best near her home.

  6. Souhani, 11 January, 2012

    I can get 4.5mbps with my Beeline 3g sim card on my phone (I tested with speedtest). Beeline is much faster than the competition for now because the mobile network is empty. It is really nice to enjoy youtube HD on the street…

  7. admin, 11 January, 2012

    That’s good to hear. Where are you located? Best I’ve managed is 1.5 using a 7.2 USB, but outside the city centre.

  8. Souhani, 11 January, 2012

    Coverage seems to be concentrated downtown. I was close to the new japanese restaurant (Fuji).

  9. admin, 11 January, 2012

    Reception and performance is likely to be best in the city centre, although I tested it late evening today about 8km outside the city, using the MF 668A 21 Mbps modem they supply. Over 7 Mbps is pretty impressive, and better than Unitel whose performance has deteriorated recently.

  10. Steven Tor, 11 February, 2012

    Beeline launched 3G unlimited packages:

  11. admin, 11 February, 2012

    Good technical info here. Thanks, Steven.

  12. oom, 29 March, 2012

    I got the “bee’s knees” 21 Mbps modem from Beeline with the unlimited download package. I checked in store and got around 1.5Mbps and to be honest I would’ve been very happy with that. However after a couple of hours my bandwidth tanked. Now all I can get is around 0.3Mbps. I have a full five bars on my signal and right now I’m thinking “typical SE Asia bullshit”. In other words, too good to be true.

    21Mbps! More like 21Kbps 🙂

  13. admin, 31 March, 2012

    Don’t expect anything like 21Mbps but you should get some, until you reach 2GB per day (10GB for month). See previous comments.

    As my Beeline plan expired a couple of days ago I have been using up some Unitel refills on the 5000 kips daily LT5. It’s throttled to around 512Kbps. Data limit unknown, but at least 600MB (so far) for one day – not 50MB as I was informed a while back.

  14. oom, 31 March, 2012

    Ah so they cap the speed if you go over a certain download limit? If that’s the case why call the package I got “unlimited”? My speed right now is ~30Kbps.

  15. admin, 01 April, 2012

    Because they can and no Lao would question it.

  16. khairuddin, 21 June, 2013

    I want to know how to subsribe mobile internet 3g using beeline and how much the rate..tq

  17. admin, 21 June, 2013

    Buy a Beeline SIM from a phone shop or visit the Vientiane main office on Lane Xang Avenue opposite the Morning Market (where they will set it up for you if necessary). Otherwise you can get the settings sent to your phone. If you want to use a dongle you can buy one from Beeline or use any unlocked one.

    Choose the service you want from our Lao 3G Data Plans page.

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