Are you planning your trip to Rwanda? I am super excited for you as it is one of my favorite countries in Africa and I am sure you are going to love it too. In this guide I will tell you everything you need to know about Rwanda sim cards and find you the best sim card for your trip to Rwanda.

Find out where to buy a sim card for Rwanda, up to date prices as per June 2024, the best e-sim cards for traveling in Rwanda, the best 4G/5G network, my recommendation, info about international sim cards and more.

Visiting Rwanda was my 126th country on my journey to travel to every country in the world. Everywhere I go I write guides for staying connected to help out fellow travelers not to waste money on roaming charges.

Therefore on Traveltomtom you can already find more than 200 sim card guides from around the world: Amsterdam, Paris, Brussels, Dubai, Douala, Cameroon, New York, USA, Burundi, Uganda, Entebbe, Kenya, Nairobi, Tanzania, Europe, Dubai and many more.

So when planning your next adventure abroad come check out Traveltomtom for the latest prepaid sim card and e-sim card advice for your holiday destination. Bookmark me!

Why buying a sim card for Rwanda

First off all to stay connected when traveling of course. It makes visiting Rwanda so much easier. Ordering a taxi from an app, getting directions from Google Maps, looking up information while on the road, emergencies, translation apps and simply staying in touch with family.

Distances in Rwanda are not far, but travel time in and between the tourist destinations can be long. Killing time on your phone is a pleasant way to get through the long road journeys. 

Buying a local prepaid sim card in Rwanda is cheap and only takes 10 minutes, ordering an e-sim card for Rwanda on the internet goes even faster. The best thing about a Rwanda sim card is that it avoids you getting stuck with extremely high roaming charges. On top of that overseas data plans mostly limit the data speed.

Public WiFi in Rwanda is unfortunately not reliable either as it is not always existing and sometimes too slow, even in nice coffee cafes in Kigali this was an issue! Also another reminder that when using public WiFi this is through an UNSECURED network. The use of a VPN is recommended in these situations to protect your data. 

My recommendation

Traveltomtom recommends an MTN sim card for Rwanda. MTN is slightly more expensive compared to Airtel, but they have the most extensive 4G/LTE network in Rwanda. For about $9 USD you get 10 GB data for 1 month.

E-sim cards for Rwanda are also recommended. They are super convenient, but there is not much choice yet. Local prepaid sim cards that you buy on arrival in Rwanda are cheaper.

You can also look into buying an international travel sim card for traveling abroad in 2024. These physical prepaid sim cards for travelers have global coverage and some of them include Rwanda, like the Orange Holiday World sim card with 10 GB data for $49.90 USD. You can order this international prepaid sim card via SimOptions.

Best e-sim card for Rwanda

When traveling to Rwanda in 2024 an e-sim card is the easiest way to stay connected. More expensive than a local prepaid sim card, but you can arrange it all only in a couple simple steps. No need to visit a sim card store or swap a physical sim card anymore.

You order an e-sim card for Rwanda on the internet, you receive a QR code, scan it, follow the simple steps and within less than 2 minutes you have a Rwanda e-sim card installed on your phone.

Upon arrival in Rwanda it automatically connects you to an available network and you enjoy data on your phone pretty much when the plane lands.

Make sure your phone is e-sim compatible before ordering an e-sim card for Rwanda.


airalo esim card plans for rwanda 2024

Airalo is a recommended e-sim provider and also one of the very few that actually offer e-sim cards for traveling to Rwanda.

These are the Airalo e-sim card plans for Rwanda in 2024:

  • 1 GB data for 7 days = $8 USD
  • 2 GB data for 15 days = $15 USD
  • 3 GB data for 30 days = $21.50 USD
  • 5 GB data for 30 days = $33 USD

Click here for more info or to directly order an e-sim card for Rwanda via Airalo.

Mobile internet providers in Rwanda

Rwanda is a small country and there are only two mobile internet operators: MTN and Airtel. Both providers sell prepaid sim cards for tourists. The difference between the operators are not the prices for prepaid sim cards, but the mobile data network coverage.

Where to buy a sim card in Rwanda

where to buy a sim card in rwanda

Kigali Airport

Without a doubt the best place to buy a sim card for Rwanda is at Kigali International Airport on arrival. There is an MTN store at Kigali Airport. Read all about it in my complete guide for buying a sim card at Kigali Airport.

Official stores Kigali Center

Although on the streets of Kigali and all around Rwanda you will see MTN and Airtel employees, these friendly people can’t help you as they don’t sell prepaid sim card to foreigners. For buying a Rwanda sim card you will need to go to an official retail store of MTN or Airtel and this is because the sim card needs to be officially registered.

Registration proces

When buying a sim card in Rwanda you will need to bring your passport as your new local sim card will be registered on your name and your passport number. You can only buy 1 prepaid sim card per passport in Rwanda. In the store they will take a copy of your passport for their registration and they will also take a photo of you.

The whole registration process will take around 10 to 15 minutes, but then you are all set and straight away online. In the store they will set your new Rwanda prepaid sim card up for you. Traveltomtom recommends to wait in store until everything works smoothly and you have data on your phone before leaving the sim card shop.

If you are hesitated about all of this then look into buying an international sim card for Rwanda, then there is no registration needed. You just need your email address.

Prices for prepaid Rwanda sim cards in 2024

All info and prices below are updated in June 2024 and prices are in Rwandan Franc: $1 USD = 1,300 RWF and 10,000 RWF = $7.71 USD.


airtel rwanda prepaid sim card

An Airtel sim card costs 200 RWF which is just $0.2 USD It comes with no credit, so for using data you will have to add credit and activate one of the available Airtel Rwanda data packages:

  • 1 GB data for 7 days = 1,600 RWF
  • 5 GB data for 30 days = 3,5000 RWF - $2.8 USD
  • 30 GB data for 30 days = 16,000 RWF - $12.8 USD

If you want some credit for calling to Rwandan phone numbers you will need to add some extra credit. But just $1 USD will give you a bunch of minutes for making calls within Rwanda. For more info check the Airtel Rwanda website.


mtn rwanda prepaid sim card

An MTN prepaid sim card costs 500 RWF ($0.5 USD) for the registration and also needs to be topped up with credit for activating data bundles.

  • 1 GB data for 7 days = 1,000 RWF
  • 4 GB data for 7 days = 3,000 RWF - $2.4 USD
  • 7 GB data for 30 days = 5,000 RWF - $4 USD
  • 16 GB data for 30 days = 10,000 RWF - $8 USD
  • 30 GB data for 30 days = 18,000 RWF

As you can see there is hardly any prices difference when comparing MTN and Airtel for Rwanda prepaid sim cards. For more info check the MTN website.

Best 4G/5G network in Rwanda in 2024

Unfortunately there is not much info online about the 4G/LTE signal strength of the MTN and Airtel mobile data networks. I found the following Rwanda 4G/5G network coverage maps, which as they say are updated for 2024.

Is there 5G in Rwanda?

No, as per 2024 there is no 5G in Rwanda yet. There is no news 5G will be implemented within the next 6 months. But as soon there is news I will of course updated this Rwanda sim card article. 

Airtel 4G/5G network coverage maps

airtel 4g 5g network coverage map rwanda 2024

MTN 4G/5G network coverage maps

mtn 4g 5g network coverage map rwanda 2024

Although the above mobile data network coverage maps are definitely not 100% accurate it is a great reference.

Based on the above mobile data coverage maps it is a very easy conclusion that the 4G/LTE network of MTN is much more extensive compared to Airtel.

From my own experiences I can tell you that there is much more 4G/LTE phone signal available all around Rwanda. I traveled all over the country and had a 4G/LTE signal almost everywhere, that is how I came to the conclusion that these 4G/5G coverage maps for Rwanda are not 100% accurate.

To get a more clear answer on which provider has the best mobile internet network in Rwanda I asked locals for advice and out of the many people I asked about 70% of them would say that MTN has the best 4G/LTE network in Rwanda.

More about my own experience buying a sim card in Rwanda below.

Best sim card for Rwanda in 2024

The prices for prepaid sim cards and data bundles are pretty much the same when we compare Airtel and MTN. But based on the above info about the mobile data network coverage and my own experiences is that MTN is the best prepaid sim card for traveling in Rwanda in 2024.

For 10,000 RWF ($8 USD) you will get 10 GB data for 30 days. That is a pretty good sim card deal for tourists looking for a Rwanda sim card and it does not compare to e-sim cards.

Traveltomtom is an advocate for using e-sim cards when traveling abroad. They are very convenient and simple to use. However, fact is that e-sim cards for Rwanda are more expensive than local prepaid sim cards.

That said, e-sim cards are so easy to get that I often happily pay the higher price. Plus you are online as soon as the plane touches the ground and you don't need to buy a sim card on arrival in Rwanda.

You can order an e-sim card for Rwanda via Airalo.

Buying a prepaid sim card for Rwanda online

orange holiday world international prepaid sim card for rwanda

If your phone is not e-sim compatible then you can always order a physical prepaid sim card for traveling to Rwanda on the internet. 

Arrive prepared in Rwanda with an international prepaid sim card. You order them online and a physical prepaid sim card will be delivered to your home address. You put this sim card in your phone and it automatically connects to an available network upon arrival in Rwanda, basically when the plane lands you are instantly online.

Via SimOptions you can order the Orange Holiday World sim card, valid in 124 countries, including Rwanda.

  • 10 GB data for 14 days = $49.90 USD

Click here for more info or to directly order an international prepaid sim card for Rwanda via SimOptions.

Another option to stay connected is an e-sim card for Rwanda. You can order them via Airalo.

My experiences buying a sim card in Rwanda

best prepaid sim card rwanda

As I said the most convenient place to buy a sim card for Rwanda is on arrival at Kigali Airport. As there is no Airtel store I automatically ended up with an MTN prepaid sim card for Rwanda. Before my trip I already did my research and found out that MTN is the biggest internet provider in Rwanda with the most costumers.

I bought 10 GB data for 30 days for 10,000 RWF ($8 USD) plus 500 RWF extra for the sim card. When my registration was completed the friendly girl in the MTN store added another 6 GB data extra as a bonus. So I had 16 GB data for my 15 days trip in Rwanda.

As you have been able to see in my vlog about buying a sim card in Rwanda I also went downtown Kigali to gather information about buying a prepaid sim card. Very helpful people, but the waiting lines are too long, it was a waste of precious time being in Rwanda. Therefore another reminder to buy your prepaid sim card for Rwanda at Kigali airport or order an e-sim card for Rwanda before your trip.

Based on my own experience I can confirm that I had an MTN 4G/LTE signal pretty much all the time while traveling around in Rwanda.

I traveled Northwest from Kigali to Volcanoes National Park, did the Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda and traveled onwards to Gisenyi on Lake Kivu. Then I traveled South along Lake Kivu to Kibuye and my final destination before heading back to Kigali was Nyungwe National Park. 

As I stayed in some amazing luxury hotels in Rwanda: Serena Hotel Kigali, One & Only Gorilla’s Nest, Serena Hotel Lake Kivu, One & Only Nyungwe House and Eagle’s Nest Kigali I enjoyed very good WiFi from the hotels and ended up using only 8 GB data in 15 days.

I hope all the above tips for buying a sim card in Rwanda were helpful. Let me know if you have any more questions in the comments below. I will try to help you out with everything Rwanda sim card related as well as traveling in Rwanda. 

If you are interested what it looks like traveling to every country in the world then check out my Instagram profile @traveltomtom for some serious wanderlust. As of June 2024 I have visited more than 155 countries around the world.

Enjoy your trip to Rwanda!