Traveling to Egypt soon? The land of the mysterious Pharaohs, the Sahara Desert, the Red Sea and the majestic Nile River. Stay connected and get yourself a local prepaid sim card for Egypt. In this guide I will break down everything you need to know about buying a prepaid sim card in Egypt: prices, where to buy one, best network and my recommendation.
This article is based on my own experiences traveling in Egypt and updated with the latest info and prices as per October 2021.
Traveling the world is my biggest passion and inspiring and helping other travelers doing the same is what keeps me going. On my journey to visit every country in the world, I made it to a long list of countries and wrote uncountable prepaid sim card guides: USA, Canada, Dubai, Turkey, Ethiopia, South Africa, Kenya, Israel and of course also Cairo Airport.
Why buying a sim card in Egypt
First of all a local prepaid sim card is the number 1 way to stay connected when traveling! There are many other options, like overseas data plans, portable WiFi devices and international sim cards, but nothing beats a local sim card.
It guarantees you the most affordable rates and the best mobile internet network connection. Keep in mind that overseas data plans limit the internet speed.
Buying a sim card in Egypt is pretty damn easy, done fast and cheap!
Having a working data connection makes traveling so much easier. Think about ordering an Uber or finding a nearby restaurant with good ratings, killing time on long bus and train rides or getting directions from Google Maps.
Don’t rely on public WiFi, first off WiFi in Egypt is not good. Mostly it is either super slow or not working at all. Second I would like to remind you that public WiFi is though an UNSECURED network connection. The use of a VPN is recommended.
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Traveltomtom recommends using a Vodafone sim card for Egypt. They have the best mobile internet network coverage in Egypt. They are slightly more expensive than other providers but it is worth the extra buck.
We do not recommend international sim cards for travelers. These prepaid sim cards with global coverage are much more expensive than local sim cards. We reviewed and compared all the international sim cards available and found out that only very few are worth considering. More info in the link.
Egypt sim card vlog
Although this Egypt sim card blog is much more detailed I also created a vlog in where I show you the benefits, the prices, my experiences and more about using a sim card in Egypt.
Mobile internet operators Egypt
There are 4 main mobile internet providers in Egypt:
All the mobile operators sell prepaid sim cards for tourists.
Where to buy a prepaid sim card
The best and easiest way to get a prepaid sim card for Egypt is on arrival at the airport. All the international airports in Egypt have kiosks that sell prepaid sim cards for tourists. You can’t miss them. In Cairo Airport they are already located next to the luggage belts.
Flying to Cairo? Check out my complete guide for buying a sim card for Egypt at Cairo International Airport.
If for some reason you couldn’t buy a sim card at the airport on arrival there are mobile phone shops in every tourist destination in Egypt. Sometimes you can even find a mobile shop on the side of the road, like the one below on the main square in Alexandria.
Traveltomtom advices you to buy an Egypt sim card from an official retail store rather than any random mobile phone shop. They have the best deals, best advice and in case something goes wrong the problem can be fixed instantly.
Registration Egypt sim cards
Unlike many other African countries you only need your passport when buying a prepaid sim card in Egypt. In the store they will take a copy of your passport and register the sim card on your passport number and your name.
That is also why Traveltomtom recommends you to buy a sim card from an official retail store.
You will receive the sim card with your new Egypt phone number. Always put the sim card in your phone immediately and make sure the purchased data and voice packages are working before you leave the store.
The whole registration process should not take more than 5 minutes.
Prices prepaid sim cards in Egypt
Data packages in Egypt are a little complicated as they work with units and so called super apps. Basically 1 unit is like 1 MB. However, when using the super apps you only use 0.5 unit per 1 MB. All is explained below per mobile internet operator. When buying a prepaid sim card in Egypt we advice you to always ask your provider what is the exact deal.
WE is the smallest mobile internet provider in Egypt. A WE sim card costs 77 EGP ($5) and comes with 0 credit. They offer a wide range of mobile data packages and are called Nitro Prime.
- 10 EGP = 625 MB up to 1,250 GB
- 20 EGP = 1,375 MB up to 2,750 MB
- 40 EGP = 3,250 MB up to 6,500 MB
- 70 EGP = 6,250 MB up to 12,500 MB
- 100 EGP = 10,000 MB up to 20,000 MB
- 200 EGP = 23,500 MB up to 47,000 MB
- 450 EGP = 50,000 MB up to 100,000 MB
All the above packages are valid for 1 month. The use 1 MB of social media apps like Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp are counted as 0.5 MB. Which means if you would only use social media apps you get the maximum amount of MB’s to use from your data package.
Normal browsing and streaming is 1 MB = 1 MB. Therefore in the above packages they speak from X up to X MB’s
WE Egypt has very competitive data package prices compared to other mobile internet operators, but are they the best sim card for Egypt? Wait till you see their network strength!
For the latest WE Egypt data packages deals see their website in the link.
An Etisalat prepaid sim card costs 30 EGP for the activation and then you will have to add one of the following data packages:
- 20 EGP = 1,000 up to 2,000 MB
- 35 EGP = 2,100 up to 4,200 MB
- 50 EGP = 3,400 up to 6,800 MB
- 75 EGP = 5,400 up to 10,800 MB
- 100 EGP = 9,000 up to 18,000 MB
- 150 EGP = 12,000 up to 24,000 MB
- 250 EGP = 20,000 up to 40,000 MB
- 400 EGP = 40,000 up to 80,000 MB
Etisalat also works with social media apps that are quoted differently than browsing or streaming. In case you use only social media apps you would get double the data then if you would only browse the Internet.
As you can see the Etisalat data packages are a little more expensive than the WE prepaid sim card deals.
Click on the link for more info about the latest Etisalat data package deals.
An Orange Egypt prepaid sim card costs 84 EGP and comes with 2,000 units for calling. Orange offers the following mobile data package deals for 28 days:
- 100 EGP = 9,000 MB
- 150 EGP = 12,000 MB
- 250 EGP = 20,000 MB
- 400 EGP = 40,000 MB
They also offer a data only sim card with 10 GB data for 140 EGP. Check the Orange Egypt website for the latest deals.
Note: Orange Egypt also offers packages for tourists that are valid for just 30 days. For 150 EGP you get 1,000 minutes and 16 GB. It is one of the best prepaid sim card deals for Egypt. Unfortunately not every Orange retail store offers this deal, but you can for example get it at Cairo International Airport.
They offer 2 different types of prepaid sim cards. Tourist sim cards and sim cards with units.
Vodafone Egypt tourist sim card:
- 255 EGP = 10 GB data + 200 local minutes + 20 international minutes
- 505 EGP = 30 GB data + 200 local minutes + 30 international minutes
Vodafone Egypt also has prepaid sim cards with units:
- 280 EGP = 16,000 MB
- 351 EGP = 24,000 MB
- 523 EGP = 44,000 MB
- 637 EGP = 60,000 MB
- 780 EGP = 82,000 MB
Also Vodafone works with super apps although Vodafone calls it Plus Apps, but it is the same. If you use social media there are other tariffs than web browsing.
The prices at Vodafone Cairo Airport and what I found in the stores around the country are the same. For some reason the Vodafone Egypt website offers other tariffs, but they can’t sell these deals in stores. All pretty damn confusing! For more info check the Vodafone Egypt website.
Best mobile internet network in Egypt
We Egypt has by far the smallest network and I have left them out of this comparison. Based on the network only I would NOT recommend a WE prepaid sim card for Egypt.
All the other providers offer a 4G signal in most Egypt tourist destinations, but based on my own experiences there is still a big difference in reality. More about that later.
Is there 5G in Egypt?
No, there is still no 5G network available for prepaid costumers in Egypt as of October 2021. It has been tested by Vodafone and it has been said to be rolled out soon, but so far you can not roam the internet on 5G in Egypt yet.
4G/5G network Etisalat Egypt
4G/5G network Orange Egypt
4G/5G network Vodafone Egypt
From the above mobile internet coverage maps for Egypt you can see that Vodafone has the strongest network in Egypt. Based on the network strength I would recommend you to get a Vodafone sim card for your trip to Egypt.
Best Egypt prepaid sim card
As I mentioned before I would not recommend a WE Egypt prepaid sim card as their network is the weakest. Based on my own experiences (see below) I would not recommend an Etisalat sim card either.
That leaves us 2 options: Orange and Vodafone.
Orange Egypt has a great prepaid sim card deal, but you can only get this at the airport! Prices for data packages with units are pretty much the same, but Vodafone Egypt has a stronger network. Therefore Vodafone is the best Egypt prepaid sim card in my opinion.
My experiences with a prepaid Egypt sim card for tourists
When I arrived in Egypt at Cairo Airport the WiFi wasn’t working and I had not done my research yet. Based on the prices and my feeling I got myself an Etisalat prepaid sim card with 20 GB data. The first week I spent just in Cairo and I was surprised how many times the Etisalat 4G signal was pretty weak. Especially going into buildings, I could often not connect to 4G.
Pretty damn annoying as I rather work on 4G than rely on WiFi. Unfortunately I couldn’t tether my Macbook to my phone as I did not have a signal in my room in the heart of Cairo and in some coffee shops. On the streets it was mostly fine, but even in rush hour, being stuck in a taxi in the middle of Cairo, my 4G Etisalat sim card wasn’t working properly.
When after about 10 days my 20 GB ran out I wanted to top up. After I downloaded the Etisalat Egypt app, I tried to find the right internet bundle, but honestly couldn’t find it. It was very complicated with multiple types of bundles, but couldn’t just find one with a lot of GB’s. I found Etisalat very difficult to use and pretty frustrating. Also their sms service is in Arabic only and you will need to copy paste everything to Google Translate.
Therefore I switched to Vodafone and had a much smoother experience. Yes, Vodafone is much more expensive but at least I didn’t have the connection issues and my data went a long way. I use mostly social media apps and therefore got double the data.
Unfortunately the Vodafone sms service is completely in Arabic as well even though in the Vodafone store they tried changing it to English. Pretty damn annoying. They will tell you to download the Vodafone App, but that is NOT possible for most iPhone users as Vodafone Egypt wouldn't pop up, only my Vodafone Netherlands app. Vodafone Egypt also still has a lot of work to do when it comes to costumer service.
However, my overall experience with Vodafone Egypt was great and based on that I would recommend a Vodafone sim card for traveling in Egypt.
I hope all the above tips and recommendations about buying a Vodafone sim card in Egypt were helpful. May you have any more questions, please leave me a comment and I will try to help you.