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Egypt is one of the oldest Arab nations, close to Sudan and Libya, with some of the most spectacular tourist attractions in the world. Using your home phone there can be expensive, so consider switching over to a local SIM card to take advantage of better deals and plans. Egypt has some of the best prepaid SIM cards available, with offers that can reduce your bills. You can buy 1GB of data from Egypt’s leading telco provider for as little as EGP25 (less than US$1.40). So, whether you’re planning a short trip, longer stay or tour of the Arab nations, check out the best SIM card deals on finder.com.
There are three main operators in Egypt: Vodafone, Orange and Etisalat. All three providers have been through a strict approval process before being allowed to operate, and each one competes with the others to offer the best deals. Their services have all been tried and tested by both locals and tourists, and can be trusted.According to OpenSignal’s connectivity report, Egypt has below average network coverage with 72.40% 4G wireless availability, but still doing better than countries such as the Ukraine, Iraq and Iran.
Egypt’s operators offer good roaming rates and sell prepaid credit, which allows users to take advantage of cheap local offers and deals. All three providers offer customers 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE wireless services. Locals call their SIM cards “SIMs” or “Chips” and they can be purchased by showing your passport and visa stamp. The store might also take a record of your unique IMEI phone identification number to ensure there are no issues with your handset while you are in the country. Below, we have broken down each telco provider to highlight exactly what’s being offered during your visit to Egypt.
Vodafone Egypt is the largest operator with a 44% market share. It offers users a good 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE network with broad coverage and great rates. Vodafone offers four different prepaid SIM cards under their el-kart plan: Worry free, 14 Piasters, Maret 10 pt and per Second.
SIM cards can be purchased for EGP20-EGP25 which comes with standard voice and SMS plans. Check stores at the time of purchase for exactly what’s available, because the deals change from time to time. Data is not included with the starter packs so add-ons must be purchased to surf the net and to use social media.
Scratch card top-ups are sold almost anywhere and they can be purchased from most stores or retailers across the country. Top-ups can also be done online.
In addition, there is a tourist SIM on offer called the “Holiday SIM” which can be purchased for EGP20 and comes with EGP5 credit, valid for 40 days. The standard default data rate outside of a plan is EGP0.25 per MB, but check this with the retailer because rates can change.
The following data packs can also be added:
|EGP0.75||10MB||Valid for 1 hour||Dial *2000*01# to activate|
|EGP1.50||30MB||Valid for 3 hours||Dial *2000*03# to activate|
|EGP2.50||60MB||Valid for 6 hours||Dial *2000*06# to activate|
|EGP2||50MB||Valid for 7 days||Dial *2000*72# to activate|
|EGP3||100MB||Valid for 7 days||Dial *2000*73# to activate|
|EGP7||350MB||Valid for 7 days||Dial *2000*77# to activate|
|EGP5||150MB||Valid for 30 days||Dial *2000*5# to activate|
|EGP10||500MB||Valid for 30 days||Dial *2000*10# to activate|
|EGP20||1.1GB||Valid for 30 days||Dial *2000*25# to activate|
|EGP30||1.8GB||Valid for 30 days||Dial *2000*25# to activate|
|EGP40||2.5GB||Valid for 30 days||Dial *2000*25# to activate|
|EGP60||4GB||Valid for 30 days||Dial *2000*60# to activate|
|EGP80||6GB||Valid for 30 days||Dial *2000*60# to activate|
|EGP100||8GB||Valid for 30 days||Dial *2000*100# to activate|
|EGP150||12GB||Valid for 30 days||Dial *2000*150# to activate|
|EGP250||20GB||Valid for 30 days||Dial *2000*200# to activate||EGP400||40GB||Valid for 30 days||Dial *2000*200# to activate|
The following data add-ons are available:
Vodafone’s APN: internet.vodafone.net (Password and Username: internet)
Orange is the second largest provider in Egypt with a 33% market share. It offers customers a reliable 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE service with good rates. Prepaid SIM cards can be purchased for EGP30, valid for 30 days. There are two different prepaid options: “per second” is a standard SIM with no frills, whereas the “Netwawy” SIM comes with 50MB data per day for an extra EGP1.50, or 400MB for 7 days for EGP7.
All SIM cards are automatically activated on the “pay as you consume” plan which allocates 12MB for EGP1.5 per day; overuse is charged at EGP0.50 per MB. The following data packs can also be added:
|Online 1||Valid for 24 hrs||25MB Data||EGP1|
|Online 7.5||Valid for 30 days||200MB Data||EGP7.5|
|Online 15||Valid for 30 days||500MB Data||EGP15|
|Online 30||Valid for 30 days||1.5GB Data||EGP30|
|Online 45||Valid for 30 days||2.5GB Data||EGP45|
|Online 60||Valid for 30 days||3.5GB Data||EGP60|
|Online 75||Valid for 30 days||5GB Data||EGP75|
|Online 100||Valid for 30 days||8GB Data||EGP100|
|Online 150||Valid for 30 days||12GB Data||EGP150|
|Online 250||Valid for 30 days||20GB Data||EGP250|
|Online 400||Valid for 30 days||40GB Data||EGP400|
To activate, dial *#100# and select the relevant plan. An SMS will be sent to your phone for you to confirm your purchase. As an alternative, you can call 110 to speak with a customer service agent.
Data packs can be added: 1.25GB for EGP25, 3GB for EGP50, 7GB for EGP100 or 15GB for EGP200. You can also make the packages “unlimited” for an extra EGP10. Pay EGP5 and you will receive 500MB data on top of your current package for social media use.
Orange APN: mobinilweb
Although Etisalat is the smallest of the three providers in Egypt, it’s one of the largest operators in the Arab region, especially in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. It offers customers 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE wireless and has some fantastic prices and good network coverage. However, there can be problems with speed when you go out into the more remote regions. Etisalat allows customers the use of their hotspots with all plans. Prepaid SIM cards can be purchased from official stores or approved resellers for EGP20 and each comes with EGP10 credit.
The standard default data rate is EGP0.50 per MB on all prepaid plans. The following data packs can be added to all SIM cards:
|Connect 7.5||250MB Data||–||EGP7.50||Dial *566*75# to activate|
|Connect 15||750MB Data||750MB WiFi||EGP15||Dial *566*15# to activate|
|Connect 30||1.8GB Data||1.8GB WiFi||EGP30||Dial *566*30# to activate|
|Connect 45||2.8GB Data||1.5GB WiFi||EGP45||Dial *566*45# to activate|
|Connect 60||4.25GB Data||4GB WiFi||EGP60||Dial *566*60# to activate|
|Connect 100||9GB Data||7GB WiFi||EGP100||Dial *566*100# to activate|
|Connect 150||12GB Data||7GB WiFi||EGP150||Dial *566*150# to activate|
The standard default data rate is EGP0.15 per MB, and overuse is also charged at this rate. A Super Social Unlimited pack for social media use can be purchased for EGP15 which allows 1GB data use on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp and Snapchat, plus 100MB for Internet use. Dial *566*15# to activate this social media plan.
Etisalat also has the Mongez Prepaid data pack for modems, tablets and routers:
|EGP30||1.8GB Data||0.5GB WiFi||Valid for 1 month||Dial *131# to activate|
|EGP45||2.5GB Data||0.5GB WiFi||Valid for 1 month||Dial *131# to activate|
|EGP60||3.5GB Data||1.5GB WiFi||Valid for 3 months||Dial *132# to activate|
|EGP100||8GB Data||4GB WiFi||Valid for 3 months||Dial *133# to activate|
|EGP150||14GB Data||4GB WiFi||Valid for 3 months||Dial *134# to activate|
|EGP250||25GB Data||7GB WiFi||Valid for 3 months||Dial *137# to activate|
|EGP400||45GB Data||7GB WiFi||Valid for 3 months||Dial *137# to activate|
|EGP600||72GB Data||7GB WiFi||Valid for 6 months||Dial *137# to activate|
Dial *130# to speak with customer services.
Etisalat’s APN: Etisalat
Website in English:http://www.etisalat.eg
While it’s well known for reviews, booking hotels, flights and holidays, TripAdvisor also has many user comments that can help guide you through what SIM cards have been tried and tested in Egypt.
Here are some top tips from TripAdvisor users:
“You can get a SIM card from virtually anywhere. Every major street in Cairo will have a distributor or a dealer for one or more of the three operators, so just ask your hotel for the nearest place to buy a SIM card.”
“Price is not an issue at all. Prices at an operator’s shop will be between EGP20-EGP25 for a local Prepaid SIM (and this is what you should get, so avoid the Tourist line). Etisalat’s prepaid card is called “Ahlan”.
“You will have to provide your passport so that a copy will be attached to the contract for documentation.”
All networks require you to have a SIM-unlocked GSM compatible international phone. To double check you have this phone, or if it’s possible to unlock your device, contact your provider before you start your travels.
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