Internet connectivity, Wi-Fi and mobile telephony in Malta
Last updated: July 2016
If you’re visiting the Maltese islands and want to stay connected to the internet (and mobile telephony), don’t worry – it’s both possible and easy. Internet availability in Malta is widespread, with internet service providers offering multiple connectivity options, while both private and public sectors provide free internet access through several Wi-Fi hotspots.
So, whether you’re on a business trip with the need to send a quick email, or if you’re just on vacation and need to say hi to your loved ones back home, you can easily find a way to get online.
Getting Internet connectivity and access to mobile phone networks
Compared to other European countries, Internet connectivity in Malta can be more expensive, even though coverage across the Maltese islands is of high quality and there are no download limits. In recent years, the Maltese government embarked on a drive to grow the IT sector, ensuring high standards of services throughout Malta and Gozo.
Access to the Internet is possible through wide Wi-Fi coverage, fast mobile connectivity and more traditional means such as the odd cyber cafe.
Free Wi-Fi hotspots in Malta
The Malta Communications Authority (MCA) currently manages 192 free Wi-Fi spots across Malta and Gozo. Explore the map below to learn about all the towns and villages that offer free Wi-Fi.
You’ll notice that most public gardens in Malta and Gozo (like the Upper and Lower Barrakka Gardens in Valletta) have free and open Wi-Fi coverage.
Wireless Internet is also widely available throughout Malta and Gozo in many hotels, restaurants and coffee shops. In most places (like Costa Coffee outlets, or Cafe Jubilee chain) it would be polite to order a coffee or a snack and then you would be able to ask for the Wi-Fi password. In other places, you won’t even need a password as the connection is freely available.
Mobile Data and Telephony
- 3 Major providers in Malta, best coverage offered by Vodafone and GO
- Similar rates for telephony, SMS and data, with Melita being cheapest (by far) for international calls
- Heavier data users are likely to prefer Vodafone (fastest 4G/LTE network, better rates for more data)
- SIM cards available from provider’s shops, top up cards and other top-up methods widely available (also via website account or smartphone app with credit/debit card).
Getting connected on your travel is a must nowadays and you’ll find that mobile phone networks are of a high standard in Malta. The service providers all have decent plans for Internet connectivity via mobile on 3G/4G networks.
Although all providers offer contracts, it’s good to know that prepaid options are also available, where you can buy a SIM card at a low rate and top up with credit.
SIM cards are usually only for sale at the below mobile telephony providers’ shops, while top-up cards can be purchased also from local stationery shops and supermarkets. Alternatively, depending on the provider, you can opt to charge credit to your SIM card online by credit/debit card, via SMS or through an ATM. International call rates vary, with Melita offering the best rates.
Mobile data and telephony providers in Malta
- Melita offers 3 prepaid plans for mobile, with the cheapest costing €10. Melita service runs on 3G-only in 2100 MHz and although generally good, reception can be spotty in certain areas.
- SIM card cost: €10
- Standard rates: €0.24/min (local), €0.05/SMS (local).
- Data is offered as part of prepaid plans and data bundles (e.g. 350MB valid for 7 days at €2.50)
- Vodafone Malta is said to offer the best coverage on the island operating its 4G/LTE service on 1800 MHz and with flexible plans and offers it’s a good option to consider.
- SIM card cost: €10
- Standard rates: €0.10/min (local), €0.10/SMS (local) and €0.10/MB data
- Several prepaid plans available and top up options to add on extra data via free SMS (e.g. 1GB of data, valid for 7 days at €5 cost)
- GO are a large provider which also provides excellent coverage around the Maltese islands. The service operates on the GSM 900 MHz and 1800 MHz frequency with nationwide 3G/3.5G coverage.
- SIM card cost: €15 (“SIM starter pack”, includes €5 credit and 1GB data)
- Standard rates: €0.25/min (local), €0.05/SMS (local) and €0.10/MB data
- Prepaid plans and data bundles available. (e.g. 500 MB valid for 4 weeks at €5)
- Redtouch Fone uses the Vodafone 2G and 3G network acting as a virtual operator. You can only buy SIM cards for this network in a few shops around.
Tips and advice
Getting connectivity on a short stay in Malta (7-10 days):
- Hassle-free option: The easiest way is to pick up a Vodafone SIM card in the arrivals hall of the airport, buy some credit and you’re good to go.
- International calls are important to me: Melita offers by far the cheapest call rates at €0.28/min to calls within the EU. Their 3G network for data as well as its coverage aren’t the best but still worthwhile unless you’re staying somewhere in the countryside.
When buying a SIM card, be sure to mention which device you will be using the card with as SIM cards come in different sizes.
USB dongles can be bought for use with laptops, although it might be cheaper to get one with you:
- Vodafone: €49
- Local mobile phone shops (listed below): prices vary.
Where to buy replacement mobile phones
Has your mobile phone stopped working? Or perhaps you lost your smartphone after a day at the beach? It’s easy to get a replacement phone in Malta, with mobile shops practically in every town.
Electronics shops all offer mobile phones from stock as do GO, Vodafone and Melita outlets. You can find these shops in Valletta, Sliema, St. Julians, Birkirkara and in many other locations.
These are a few popular outlets:
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Fixed internet connectivity and internet service providers
Currently, the following Internet Service Providers (ISPs) offer connectivity in Malta and Gozo.
Commercial internet providers:
- Melita offers a fixed Internet service as well as a wireless service called Melita Wi-Fi. It’s a free service available for Melita customers in more than 20 zones covering parts of Valletta, Sliema, St. Julian’s, Gżira, Mosta, Paola and Birżebbuġa amongst others. In addition, the service also includes around 50,000 Wi-Fi hotspots spread across all Malta and Gozo.
- GO offer both fixed as well as 4G connectivity. Their fixed/mobile networks are fully integrated to provide a seamless experience. Mobile internet speeds reach 42Mbps as well as 3.5G coverage throughout the Maltese archipelago. The fibre-powered fixed broadband service reaches speeds of up to 200Mbps.
- Vodafone offers 4G wireless internet connections for home via wireless modem.
Non-commercial internet providers:
- Government of Malta – eGovernment is the way the Government provides public information and services electronically to citizens and businesses. The service is maintained by MITA (Malta Information Technology Agency, a Government agency) together with other public sector entities.
- University of Malta – The IT Services unit within the University manages a number of wireless hotspots in designated areas on campus. The service enables university staff, students and visitors to connect to the campus network using laptops and other devices that support wireless connections, granting access to:
- online information available on the University intranet, including the Library e-journals
- Email and the Internet
- IT Services printing facilities.