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A guide to finding the best prepaid SIM card when traveling to Algeria
Switch to a local SIM card so you can take advantage of better plans, deals and tariffs.
Algeria has some of the best SIM card deals in Africa, offers that could cut your phone bill in half. You can buy 2GB of data from Algeria’s leading telco provider for as little as DZD1,000 (about CAD$12.40). So, whether you’re planning a holiday, an extended trip or trek around Africa, check out the best SIM card options available at finder.com.Prices last updated 28 Apr 2017
The Arabic, Berber and French speaking nation has three main cell phone operators: Djezzy by Optimum Télécom Algeria, Mobilis by Algérie Télécom Mobile and Ooredoo.
All three providers have been tried, tested and trusted by both locals and international travelers. So, you won’t go wrong by purchasing SIM cards from any of the above-mentioned operators.
According to OpenSignal, Algeria has a below-average 3G or better availability with 64.56% coverage. The cell phone networks are currently going through a period of change after recently incorporating 4G/LTE services.
Algeria’s operators offer some of the best deals in Africa, with 2G, 3G and 4G services. Djezzy is the largest provider, followed by Mobilis and Ooredoo.
Prepaid SIM cards are only available from official stores and outlets and are extremely complicated to obtain; the same goes for most Arab nations. The Algerian law states that SIM card registration for both prepaid and contract options, for both locals and visitors, must be registered using an official ID card, a notarized copy of your passport and proof of visa and address.
The address part is quite simple because if you are staying in a hotel then that is acceptable, but for the notarized passport you will need to find your local town hall, get your passport verified, stamped and notarized then take the paperwork with you when picking up your SIM card.
Another top tip: if you’re planning on staying for more than three months, make sure you top-up your credit within that time, because if you don’t the provider must cancel your number by law.
Djezzy is the brand name Optimum Télécom uses for its mobile phone services. It’s the leading operator in Algeria with a 45% market share. Djezzy operates a 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE service – the latter was launched in September 2016 and is available in most areas.
The prepaid SIM plan is called Djezzy Carte. This SIM starter pack is available from official stores and costs DZD300, including DZD100 of credit and 100MB of data. The flat rates are relatively low at DZD4.99 for 30 minutes of calls, each text message and per 1MB of data. Dial *777# to check your balance.
Djezzy’s default rate is DZD4.99 per MB. Dialing *720# will secure your intended plan.
The following “Liberty” plans are available for one day only:
- DZD50 – 10MB of data, 50 minutes and unlimited texts to Djezzy users and 5 minutes to other networks
- DZD100 – 50MB of data, unlimited calls and texts to Djezzy users and 10 minutes to other networks
- DZD150 – 200MB of data, unlimited calls and texts to Djezzy users and 20 minutes to other networks
The following “Millennium” plans are available for 30 days and all contain unlimited text messages to Djezzy users:
- DZD1,150 – 2.5GB of data, 1,500 minutes to Djezzy, 150 minutes to other networks
- DZD2,300 – 4.5GB of data, unlimited calls to Djezzy, 300 minutes to other networks
- DZD3,450 – 10GB of data, unlimited calls to Djezzy, 600 minutes to other networks
The following “Amigo” data plans include unlimited Facebook and WhatsApp usage on 3G and 4G:
- DZD30 – 50MB of data and unlimited social networks – valid for 1 day
- DZD150 – 200MB of data and unlimited social networks – valid for 7 days
Mobilis is Algeria’s state-owned brand operated under Algérie Télécom and is the second largest provider in the country. Mobilis offers 3G in most major towns and cities. 4G is a relatively new addition to the Algerian market so expect a few teething problems and restricted service areas. Once you lock onto a strong signal then the service should be fine.
Mobilis has a 3G and 4G SIM card called a “Mobtasim carte” which costs DZD100, including DZD200 of credit. Although this SIM card is a good deal, 4G is currently only available in Wilayahs. However, this will soon change as the service expands. SIM cards are available in Mobilis shops and approved resellers.
Topping up credit:
Mobilis offers a selection of recharge options, with a bonus scheme. The below mentioned plans can be uploaded by dialing *600#.
Top-ups of DZD2,000–4999: DZD3,000 credit as bonus + 5GB of data and free Facebook and WhatsApp use
Top-ups of DZD500–999: DZD1,000 credit as bonus + 1GB of data and free Facebook and WhatsApp use
Other plan options include:
Top-ups of DZD2,000–4,999: DZD5,000 credit as bonus + 4GB of data and free Facebook and WhatsApp use
Top-ups of DZD1,000–1,999: 200% of the recharge value as bonus + 3GB of data and free Facebook and WhatsApp use
You can add data options by dialing *600# with your requested amount or by using the Mobilis website.
Mobilis offers a 7-day plan with 400MB of data for DZD300 and daily Facebook and WhatsApp access for DZD60.
The following data plans are valid for 30 days and are on 4G only:
The following 3G plans are also available:
Ooredoo is the smallest operator in Algeria, but is a big international Arabic brand offering deals which could come in handy if you’re travelling to other territories with its service. Qatar is the main headquarters and it operates around the central Middle East region. It operates 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE services, and with its advanced technological capabilities its services have been rated well.
SIM cards are available from official stores and authorized sellers. The below starter packs are available with either a bonus or calls and data. To activate a plan dial *321#
La Star: DZD200 with DZD100 of credit. Top ups of DZD500 get you DZD500 on top
La Plus: DZD300 with DZD200 of credit. Top ups of DZD2,000 get you DZD3,990 on top
“MAXI Reloads” are available for La Plus users:
DZD1,000: DZD2,000 credit bonus and 1.5GB of data – valid for 30 days
DZD2,000: DZD4,000 credit bonus and 4GB of data – valid for 30 days
DZD4,000: DZD4,000 credit bonus, unlimited calls between 6pm and 6am to Ooredoo users and 10GB of data – valid for 30 days
La 1,000: DZD1,000: DZD1,000 credit bonus and 5 hours of calls to Ooredoo users – valid for 30 days
Data-only SIM cards can be purchased for DZD250 before credit is added.
Dial *113# or upload credit on the official Ooredoo website.
- The official languages in Algeria are Arabic, Berber and French, so if you don’t know any then download Google Translate onto your phone before you travel.
- Algerians call a SIM card a “Carte” or “SIM”.
- Ask the retailer to help set up the SIM card for you. They are all official sellers in Algeria and it’s part of their job description.
All networks require you to have a SIM-unlocked GSM compatible international cell phone. To double check you have this phone, or if it’s possible to unlock your device, contact your provider before you set off on your travels.
- Good value for money
- Prepaid credit when required
- No in-store contract needed
- Could be compatible with your current cell phone
- Cheap handsets are sold in-store
- Can be used in other African countries
- No cell phone devices offered with the SIM card packages
- Can only be used on SIM-unblocked GSM phones
- Official stores are only allowed to sell the SIM cards which means limited locations and large crowds
- Algeria has many rules and regulations which means you must get notarized papers and visa stamps for proof of ID before purchasing a SIM card
Q: What happens if I get my phone stolen in Algeria?
A: Make sure you report it to the local police department; you will need the crime number to claim back on your insurance. Algeria is a relatively safe country but you can never be too careful. Make sure you keep an eye on your belongings and keep note of where your device is at all times. There’s nothing worse than being without a phone abroad.
Algeria is one of the nicest locations in North Africa and is popular with tourists taking the “triangle trip” of Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria. Using your cell phone there can be very expensive, so to keep costs down why not buy a local SIM card to reduce your phone roaming bills?