Traveling to Niger any time soon and looking to get a prepaid sim card? Good idea! This is your complete guide for buying a sim card in Niger with everything you need to know. Where to buy one, the prices, best network, my experiences, my recommendations and even info about buying a sim card at Niamey International Airport.
This article is based on my own trip to Niger and updated with the latest info as per October 2021. I visited the Gerewol Festival, Agadez and Niamey and had an incredible time.
As part of visiting every country in the world I also traveled to Niger. Providing travelers with info about the best prepaid local sim card is something I am passionated about and so did I write more than 150 local prepaid sim card guides around the world: USA, Burkina Faso, Hong Kong, Egypt, Cairo, South Africa, Europe and many more.
Why buying a sim card in Niger
Did you know that overseas data plans limit their speed? Let’s not even talk about the price of these plans. Local prepaid sim cards are the cheapest and best way to stay connected. Getting a sim card in Niger takes only a couple minutes and you are guaranteed with the fastest data connection possible.
Having a data connection on your phone makes traveling so much easier. Think about using GPS for directions, make travel arrangements on the go, order an Uber (well just kidding, there is no Uber in Niger), find nearby restaurants, etc. I can come up with a long list why being connected to the internet makes your trip to Niger much easier.
Also don’t rely on public WiFi, this is Central Africa and with all do respect but facilities are not like back home. Public WiFi is non existing in most places. Hotels do provide WiFi, but connection is very shaky and slow. Plus be aware that roaming the internet on public WiFi is through an UNSECURED connection, the use of a VPN is recommended.
Traveltomtom recommends an Airtel sim card for Niger. They have by far the best network and I did not have any problems using the 4G and 3G. Data is cheap in Niger!
Traveltomtom does NOT recommend the use of international sim cards. These global sim cards for travelers are simply overpriced in most cases. Especially for traveling in Africa there are no good international sim cards available. Check out my article in the link above comparing and reviewing all international sim cards.
Vlog about buying a sim card in Niger
While traveling in Niger I also recorded a vlog about my experiences getting a local prepaid sim card in Niger. Check it out below.
E-sim card for Niger
Unfortunately they don’t yet provide e-sim cards in Niger, which means you will have to take your existing sim card out of your phone and put in a local prepaid Niger sim card. That automatically means you are changing phone numbers.
If you don’t want to swap sim cards and change phone numbers you might want to look into a portable WiFi device. Read my article about how to get WiFi when traveling and decide for yourself is this is something you rather like. I am NOT a fan!
This also applies when your phone is not unlocked, which is often the case for Americans. Before buying a local prepaid sim card always first check if your phone is unlocked. All phones from Europe are automatically unlocked!
However, there still is the opportunity to get an e-sim card for Niger through Airalo. They offer an e-sim card called Letecom with 1 GB data for 7 days for $9.5 USD.
Sim card registration in Niger
Officially when buying a sim card in Niger you will have to register with your passport, just like in almost any other country. However, when buying a sim card in Niger from a random kiosk or seller on the streets, you don’t have to register with your passport.
This could be a quick easy solution as these sim cards are pre registered for you on someone else’s name.
Where to buy a sim card in Niger
Traveltomtom does NOT recommend buying a Niger sim card from any random kiosk and advices you to go to an official retail store where your Niger sim card gets registered with your passport on your name.
Why? Sim cards from the streets might suddenly stop working and then fixing it is impossible because they are not registered on your name.
Also at the official retail stores they will give you double data offers and other promotions. In my case I bought 4 GB data for 3,000 XOF and was granted 100% data bonus, so I got 8 GB data for the same price ($5 USD).
Buying a sim card at Niamey Airport
Unfortunately as you might have seen in my vlog there are NO sim card kiosks at Niamey Airport. You can however buy a local sim card off the book. There are local people roaming the airport selling pre registered sim cards for Niger at crazy prices!
Some guy tried selling me a sim card for $10 USD, see the vlog. Some asked $3. The price for a prepaid sim card in Niger is officially only $1.
If you want to get connected straight away on arrival then then make sure you negotiate the price first and make sure your data connection is working before you walk away from these guys. They accept dollars, euros and local money.
Mobile internet providers in Niger
There are 3 main mobile internet providers in Niger that sell prepaid sim cards for tourists:
- Zamani / Orange
You will see their signs everywhere on the streets, although you will mostly see Airtel signs when traveling in Niger.
Prices prepaid sim cards in Niger
Prices below are stated in 1,000 XOF = $1.75 USD.
An Airtel prepaid sim card costs 500 XOF which is $0.9 USD. You will have to add one of the daily, weekly or monthly data bundles. When buying a data bundle you get a little bonus credit which can be used for calls, but it is very little.
- 2,000 XOF = 2.5 GB for 7 days
- 3,000 XOF = 4 GB for 7 days
- 5,000 XOF = 4 GB for 30 days
- 10,000 XOF = 12 GB for 30 days
- 20,000 XOF = 30 GB for 30 days
As said before when buying my sim card at the Airtel store I was offered double data. For the same price. This 100% bonus applies on 4 days of the week only, see the latest Airtel Niger data bundle offers on their website.
A Zamani prepaid sim card also costs 500 XOF and they also have daily, weekly and monthly data bundles to choose from plus they have separate social media data packages.
- 2,000 XOF = 2 GB for 7 days
- 5,000 XOF = 5 GB for 30 days
- 10,000 XOF = 12 GB for 30 days
- 20,000 XOF = 30 GB for 30 days
As you can see the Zamani prepaid data bundle prices are more or less the same as Airtel.
The social media data packages are rather small and not really worth it when asking me. The best one is:
- 2,000 XOF = 2 GB on YouTube and 1 GB on Whatsapp, Facebook, Instagram
On the Zamani Niger website you can find the latest data bundle offers.
A MOOV sim card also costs 500 XOF and just like Airtel and Zamani you can top up with daily, weekly and monthly data bundles.
- 1,000 XOF = 2 GB for 7 days
- 2,000 XOF = 3 GB for 7 days
- 5,000 XOF = 6 GB for 30 days
- 10,000 XOF = 15 GB for 30 days
- 20,000 XOF = 40 GB for 30 days
As you can see MOOV offers more value for money than Airtel and Zamani. Click here to check out the latest MOOV data bundles on their website.
Best mobile network in Niger
To determine what is the best prepaid sim card in Niger we should not only look at the prices but also take into consideration the mobile network coverage.
These days I normally check if there is a 5G signal available, however in Niger you can already be happy when you can connect to a 4G signal. There is only a 4G signal available in Niamey, Agadez, Zinder and a couple other Niger tourist destinations.
My research showed me that Airtel has the best network in Niger and that is also why I chose to buy an Airtel sim card for Niger. I compared the Niger mobile internet network coverage maps from nperf and Airtel came out the best.
This is the network coverage map based on the available data but my own experiences where even better than indicated. The actual phone signal is stronger than indicated on the map. I traveled southwest from Agadez for about 300 kilometer to the Gerewol Festival and there was often a 3G signal on this road. Nothing to write home about, but at least enough for checking social media.
Best prepaid Niger sim card
As you have been able to read in the above MOOV has the best prices for data bundles and is significantly cheaper than Airtel and Zamani, which offer both pretty much the same value for money.
The reason MOOV is much cheaper is also because they have the smallest network coverage in Niger. Therefore alone I would NOT recommend a MOOV sim card for Niger. However, when just visiting Niamey MOOV is just as good as the other internet providers.
But when traveling around the country and visiting several Niger tourist destinations Airtel is the best prepaid sim card for Niger. They have the best mobile network coverage by far.
Buy a Niger sim card online
If you to save the hassle from buying a sim card on arrival then check out this option. The following Orange sim card will be shipped to your home address before your trip, is already activated and works immediately from its first use. Click on the link below to order it directly online or get more info.
- 10 GB data
- NO calls
- NO text
- valid for 14 days
My experiences buying a sim card in Niger
On arrival at the airport I checked out the options for buying a Niger sim card, but I kindly refused the guys who were trying to sell me a sim card for an outrageous price and waited till I got in to the city. I walked around and gained some info at some random kiosk before I made my way to one of the official Airtel shops.
My recommendation is to go to the Airtel shop next to the Niamey Artisanal Village, a craft market. The lady spoke some English and a friendly English speaking local helped me out even more. The few tourists that visit Niger often come here, so they know a little bit of English.
I was granted 100% bonus and for 3,000 XOF which is about $5 USD I got 4 GB + 4 GB = 8 GB data. A great offer that even came with some bonus credit which I could use for calling, although it was very little.
Overall my experiences using Airtel in Niger were good and so was the experience of the rest of the group I was traveling with. Some handy numbers to know for Airtel Niger are:
- For checking your remaining saldo with Airtel Niger dial: *121#
- For activating a new data bundle dial: *612#
These are the weekly data bundle offers which you can easily choose from the menu.
- For checking your own number: *900#
Also make sure you have the right internet setting for APN, see below.
I hope all the above tips for buying a prepaid sim card in Niger were helpful. If you still have any other questions please leave me a comment below and I will try to help you out.
Enjoy your trip to Niger!