Internet access in Laos has improved a lot in the last couple of years. There are internet cafes in Vientiane and all the other major towns popular with tourists. While the internet speed in cafes even in Vientiane is still quite slow, it should be possible to check email, surf the web and possibly make VOIP calls if not too many other people are using the connection. Internet access usually costs around 100 Kip per minute with the cheapest offering 5000 Kip per hour. Most shops have 256K – 768K ADSL connections.
While the internet is still lacking in Laos the mobile phone network is surprisingly good with mobile phone coverage in all provincial capitals, and often many district towns with mobile phone coverage.
There are four mobile phone carriers in Laos, TIGO, LaoTel, ETL, LAT Mobile. Laotel has the widest coverage, with the most popular network TIGO rapidly catching up. Depending on your provider it may be possible to using roaming on the Tigo or Laotel networks while in Laos. Otherwise pre paid SIM cards can be purchased for around 30,000 Kip (US$3) which includes 10,000 Kip credit. Local calls are very cheap at around 700 Kip per minute and international calls can be made at very reasonable rates of around 2,000 Kip per minute (using the company’s special best rate voip service). Sending SMS messages is very cheap and usually includes a certain amount of free international sms messages.