Buy an international SIM card that works in Senegal
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With popular resorts and a growing national park system, Senegal’s tourism industry is on the rise in West Africa. If you are visiting Senegal and wish to cut down on your travel expenses, investing in a prepaid SIM card can reduce your roaming costs.
finder UK offers the following guide to the nation’s telco operators.Prices last updated: October 2017
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Mobile network operators in Senegal
Prepaid SIM cards are the best choice in Senegal, where 99% of all users are on a prepaid plan. There are three network operators in use:
All three have been licensed for 4G networks as of 2017, but Orange is the first to go live. You can get a prepaid SIM card for 7 days with 500MB of data for XOF3,000 (about £4).
Orange is the country’s leader in coverage, but as of 2015 that meant being the only country with 3G in every sector of the country. In the capital city of Dakar, its 3G reached 73% of the population. Orange’s website lists the 4G service but has no information about its coverage area.
In Senegal, a prepaid SIM card is called “puce” and is sold at Orange’s retail outlets as well as by smaller marketplaces and street vendors for XOF1,000 with XOF1,000 credit preloaded.
Orange’s prepaid line is called “Diamono” and comes with a bonus of 100% on your first top-up, so if you’re going to be in Senegal a while, make your top-up a big one for maximum return.
Top-ups are available at all Orange Money outlets, at various other outlets and kiosks, at Sontal stores or online at the International Orange top-up site.
Orange has two types of data bundles – those sorted by volume and those sorted by time. They are all available under a package called “Pass Internet” and come with free access to Facebook, which is not charged as part of your data volume.
The introduction of the 4G network has added two new volume-based packages which are also available on the 3G network.
To activate any package, dial #1234# and follow the prompts or go online to http://www.passorange.sn
Orange’s volume-based packages
Orange’s time-based packages
Website (in French): http://www.passorange.sn
Tigo has moved up in the world, overtaking Expresso for second place in 2014 and never looking back. At last check, it owned 23% of the national market. Its 3G market is limited to Dakar and six other large cities in Senegal. It has a 4G network in development.
Tigo’s starter pack is called “TIGO classique” and costs XOF1,000 with the same amount in credit preloaded for seven days. The packs are available at Tigo outlets and are sold by many street vendors as well. You’ll need to show your passport to register the card if you’re from out of the country, so it makes sense to go to an outlet the first time you buy one.
Topping up is only available at physical locations. You can buy vouchers in denominations from XOF250 to XOF10,000.
Tigo’s data packages
To activate any plan, dial #100# and select your package.
|XOF750||Unlimited||1 night (12am-8am)|
APN: web.tigo.sn OR web.sentel.com
Website (in French): http://www.tigo.sn
Founded in 2007, Expresso is third among the three providers in terms of number of customers. It only has 3G in Dakar and a few other locations. A 4G network is still in the planning stages. Its prepaid SIM card costs XOF2,000 and comes with a credit of the same amount. Both mini-SIMs and micro-SIMs are available in Expresso shops.
Its data bundles are called “forfaits” and each has a separate activation code listed below.
Expresso data packages
|Price||Data Volume||Validity||Activation Code|
Website (in French): http://www.expressotelecom.sn/fr
Advice from TripAdvisor about SIM cards in Senegal
In addition to being an online review platform for hotels and attractions, TripAdvisor has an impressive online community of members. Here’s some advice from a recent visitor to Senegal:
“A sim for the Orange network costs XOF1,000. Coverage was very good throughout the country.”
Pros and cons of Senegal’s top SIM card operators
Senegal has three major SIM card providers. Here are some of the positives and negatives about these companies.
- Orange has activated its 4G network, the only one in the country to date.
- Dakar has strong coverage from all three providers, so if you stay in the capital you can pick and choose the best rate for your needs.
- Tigo and Expresso have poor coverage outside the major towns.
- “Unlimited” data plans only last between 4 and 8 hours.