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Compare prepaid SIM cards for Gambia

A local SIM could reduce your roaming bills.

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Editor's choice: SimCorner

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Using your home phone in Gambia can be expensive, so consider switching to a local SIM card to take advantage of cheaper local tariffs. Gambia has some good prepaid SIM card offers and deals that could reduce your bills. You can buy 1GB of data for GMD275 (US$6), which could work out cheaper than your current roaming rates abroad. So, whether you’re planning a vacation or an African tour, check out the best SIM card options available on finder.com.

Compare international SIM cards

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Number of countries Data range Shipment time
Flexiroam X
150+
1GB-7GB
3-7 business days
Attach the Flexiroam X ultra-thin microchip sticker to your current SIM card to access data roaming in over 140 countries.
SimCorner
80+
1GB-Unlimited
1-12 business days
SimCorner's prepaid SIM cards offer local call, text and data rates in dozens of countries around the world. Choose from a range of data packages, including unlimited data in the USA.
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Telco providers in Gambia

There are three main operators in Gambia: Africell, QCell and Gamtel. All three can be trusted, and have been tested by locals, travellers and leading testing sites. According to OpenSignal’s coverage map, Gambia has fairly strong phone coverage around the borders and shore, but it can become weaker the more inland you head. Large areas of the country are still not covered by any network at all, but signals in the main towns and cities and along the highways is above average.

About Gambia’s operators

Gambia’s operators sell prepaid credit, which allow users to take advantage of local offers and deals. Roaming rates are among the best in the African nations, and will work out better than your home phone rates. All networks offer 2G and 3G services. Locals call their SIM cards “SIM SIMs” and they must be registered before using them as part of a new government directive. Take your passport along with you for proof of ID. Tourists can buy SIM cards from almost anywhere in Gambia, at supermarkets, street sellers, stalls, but we recommend purchasing them from official stores and approved resellers. We advise you to avoid street sellers at all costs.

Africell

Africell is the market leader in Gambia, with a 57% market share. It offers the fastest 2G and 3G networks, but speeds can become slow due to overcrowding. SIM cards are given out for free but credit or plans must be purchased to activate. SIM cards must now be registered as part of a government crackdown on stolen SIM cards, so make sure the store assistant registers the SIM properly. Prepaid SIM cards can be purchased for GMD10, and can be picked up from official stores or approved resellers. Top-up scratch cards can also be purchased from the same retail outlets in the following denominations: GMD25, GMD45, GMD100 and GMD250. eVouchers can also be purchased for GMD5 upwards.

The following data add-ons can be purchased:

Valid for 30 days

RateData
GMD820MB
GMD1740MB
GMD2650MB
GMD45100MB
GMD56150MB
GMD90200MB
GMD109300MB
GMD145500MB
GMD179750MB

Valid for 45 days

RateData
GMD2501GB
GMD2591.5GB
GMD4952GB
GMD5753GB

Valid for 60 days

RateData
GMD7504GB
GMD7705GB
GMD9708GB
GMD1,30010GB
GMD1,61512GB
GMD1,62013GB

Dial 120 or *120# <call> to select a package. Africell’s APN: africellnet, and website:http://www.africell.gm

QCell

QCell is the second largest provider in the country, offering 2G and 3G services. It recently added a 3G+ service which is faster than Africell. This is also the first network to test out a 4G/LTE service in the Greater Banjul area, and have it set to be rolled out to the rest of the country by the end of 2018. Prepaid SIM Cards are called “Sunu SIM” and can be purchased for GMD10 and comes with the same amount of credit uploaded. SIMs can be purchased from official QCell stores, approved resellers and Samsung stores. QCell recharge cards can be purchased to top-up credit, from anywhere between GMD50 to 100. Electronic recharges can also be added by giving your number to the store assistant. The following “Sunu Bundles” can also be purchased:

RateDataActivation
20MBGMD9*313*20# to activate
40MBGMD18*313*40# to activate
80MBGMD31*313*80# to activate
150MBGMD58*313*150# to activate
300MBGMD112*313*300# to activate
750MBGMD182*313*750# to activate
1.5GBGMD262*313*1500# to activate
3GBGMD580*313*3000# to activate
5GBGMD775*313*5000# to activate
8GBGMD975*313*8000# to activate
10GBGMD1,310*313*10000# to activate
13GBGMD1,630*313*13000# to activate

Gamtel/Gamcel

Gamtel/Gamcel is the third largest provider in the country and is state run. It has the slowest and most unreliable network coverage out of all the providers in the country, so we advise you to steer clear of this one. It offers 2G and 3G services but it’s very rare that the 3G network can be picked up. It’s extremely slow and even the locals avoid this network. There are some good international call promotions on sometimes, so look out for those. We highly recommend that you chose one of the other providers if you plan to use a SIM card in the Gambia.

Some top tips from finder.com staff:

  • The local language in Gambia is Mandingo so if you don’t speak it you may want to download Google Translate before you leave home. Note that English is used for official purposes and in the education system, so it is spoken by many people in Gambia.
  • Locals call a SIM card a “SIM SIM”.
  • Ask the official sellers to set up the SIM card for you because they will know how to do it. If not, follow the instructions above or go to the official website for advice
  • Make sure you purchase your SIM card from the official stores. Top-up vouchers are trusted from chain supermarkets, and approved resellers. Avoid street sellers

TripAdvisor tips for the best SIM cards and where to buy them

While it’s well known for hotels, flights and holiday bookings, TripAdvisor also has many user comments that can help guide you through what SIM cards have been tried and tested in Gambia. Here are some top tips from TripAdvisor users: “Any of the local shops, everywhere sells them. Africell will cost you GMD10 with a small amount of credit on it, buy a top up card when you buy the SIM card. GMD25/50/100 or 250 top ups can be purchased.“”If you want 3G then Qcell’s SIM card costs GMD50 and has GMD50 credit widely available.”

Pros and cons of Gambia’s top telco providers

All networks require you to have a SIM-unlocked, GSM-compatible phone. To double check you have this phone, or to find out whether you can have it unlocked, contact your provider before you leave.

Pros:

  • Prepaid credit when required
  • No in-store contract needed
  • Could be compatible with your current mobile phone

Cons:

  • Coverage can be bad in some areas
  • No devices offered with the SIM card packages
  • Can only be used on SIM-unlocked GSM phones
  • Avoid street sellers

Another important question

Switch to a cell phone plan with international calling

Name Product Data Minutes Texts Can I bring my own phone? Cell phone plans starting at:
Sprint
Starting at 2 GB
Unlimited
Unlimited
Yes
$25
Get unlimited data, calls and text or a customized plan on a 5G network. Eligible plans come with Hulu, Amazon Prime or Tidal subscriptions.
SIMPLE Mobile
Starting at 2 GB
Unlimited
Unlimited
Yes
$30
30-day phone plans that allow you to cancel your service at anytime. Choose from five different talk, text and data options with the choice to add international calling for $10/month.
FreedomPop
Starting at 500 MB
Starting at 200 minutes
Starting at 500 texts
Yes
$0
Bring your own phone for a free plan with 500MB of data, 200 minutes and 500 texts per month using Sprint's CDMA Network. Prepaid plans with more data, talk and text start at $9.99/month.
NET10 Wireless
Starting at 1 GB
Unlimited
Unlimited
Yes
$20
30-day plans with unlimited talk and text and the option to choose how much data is right for you. Add-on rollover data is available starting at $5/500MB.
Straight Talk Wireless
Starting at 3 GB
Unlimited
Unlimited
Yes
$35
Choose from several different plan options with no contracts, no fees and coverage on the same networks as AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon.
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