Getting a sim card in Tanzania and accessing internet for Kilimanjaro and Safari
Sim card registration Tanzania

To use the internet, to make calls or message on your phone, you have the option to utilize your own provider’s international roaming service, however, it is quite costly and may incur expensive charges. As such, if you plan on making frequent calls back home, we highly recommend considering an alternative solution. We suggest purchasing a SIM card from a local operator such as Vodacom, Tigo, Airtel, or Halotel. By doing so, you can enjoy affordable rates and stay connected with ease. Additionally, for your convenience, the public areas of the accommodations also offer Wi-Fi connectivity, allowing you to stay connected to the online world during your stay. This ensures that you have a variety of options to choose from when it comes to staying connected while abroad.

The introduction of the Internet in Tanzania in 1995 has led to a significant increase in the number of people using the Internet in the country. As of 2017, 40% of Tanzania’s population had access to the Internet, mainly due to the availability of smartphones. The accessibility of Wi-Fi varies depending on the location within the country. Major hotels and lodges typically provide Wi-Fi or an internet connection, but some areas, such as mountain regions like Kilimanjaro, safari trips, or snorkelling spots, may have very limited or no Wi-Fi access. In some lodges, clients may be provided with a computer for internet access in the absence of Wi-Fi facilities. Internet cafes can be found in all major towns, and Wi-Fi hotspots are also available in most places.

Are you thinking about going to Tanzania and want to know how to best stay in touch? Don’t get stuck with high roaming fees or a slow data roaming plan when you’re travelling abroad. This is a full guide on how to get the best SIM card for your trip to Tanzania.

Find out where to buy a sim card, the best 4G/5G network, our advice, the most up-to-date prices, the best e-sim cards for Tanzania, shopping for a sim card while in Tanzania, getting a prepaid sim card, and more.

Tanzania is home to Zanzibar, Kilimanjaro, and the Serengeti. The people there are also very nice and welcoming.

It is important to stay connected while traveling. When I get to a new place, that’s the first thing I do. If you know how long your trip is, you can either get a local prepaid sim card or quickly order an e-sim card. The internet is very helpful for travelers; it makes things so much easier while you’re away.

Related: Tanzania Installs High Speed internet on Mount Kilimanjaro

Getting a sim card in Tanzania

Obtaining a Tanzanian SIM card is a convenient and inexpensive process. Upon arrival at an international airport, tourists can easily locate a Vodacom store near the departure area. Setting up a SIM card takes just a few minutes. Alternatively, there are various outlets throughout the country where SIM cards can be purchased. Another option is to purchase a SIM card from street vendors, who operate under company-branded umbrellas.

How to register a sim card in Tanzania

It is important for travellers to provide their passports when obtaining a SIM card from any network provider. In Tanzania, SIM cards and data packages are generally affordable, as long as one avoids scams.

In Tanzania, each prepaid SIM card has to be linked to a passport. They will scan your passport and store the picture in their system. In addition, the cell phone company will need your fingerprint and will take a picture of you right then. If you want to buy a sim card in Tanzania, you will have to go through this process.

In most African countries, you have to go through this registering process when you buy a prepaid sim card. It’s just how things work there. To prevent this, buy your Tanzanian e-sim card online. You will only need your email address to get an e-sim card for Tanzania or a foreign prepaid sim card for Tanzania.

Not every shop or phone booth on the side of the road can sell tourists prepaid sim cards because they have to be registered first. Most of these tools can’t help you because they don’t have fingerprint screens.

Prepaid sim cards in Tanzania don’t cost more than 1500 Tanzania shillings, which is less than $1 USD.

Which is the recommended provider?

We recommend choosing Vodacom as at the time of writing this article, is the only provider that allows foreigners to register using their passports, most or all of these other providers ONLY allow registration for sim cards through Tanzanian, national identification cards (NIDA) as recommended by the government.

Their cell phone data network service is the best. Airtel is a close second. There are cheap internet SIM cards in Tanzania, but it takes a long time to get a prepaid SIM card.

We also recommend arriving prepared in Tanzania with an e-sim card or an international prepaid sim card. E-sim cards for Tanzania already start from $4.5 USD only and for $26 USD you get 10 GB of data for 30 days. More info below.

Another great way of staying connected when travelling to Tanzania is a global sim card with data. Especially for those who do not have an e-sim-compatible phone. There are some great sim card deals for Africa.

Will my phone from the USA like AT&T or Orange from Europe work in Tanzania?

There is no need to buy a cell phone locally in Tanzania unless you need to. Instead, you can use a local sim card in an unlocked cell phone of your choosing from your home country. If your phone is locked on foreign providers like At&T, make sure you unlock it before using a sim card purchased in Tanzania. Additionally, upon arriving at your destination, it is advisable to visit the Vodacom store or Vodacom vendors with your phone. They will provide you with a sim card, register it, inform you of your phone number, ensure compatibility with your device, and assist in setting up your initial airtime and talk time. Depending on the duration of your stay, this may be the only setup you will if you take your phone to a Vodacom store when you get there, they can give you a sim card, register it, tell you what your number is, make sure your phone is working with the sim, and set up your first (and maybe only, depending on how long you’re there) set of airtime and talk time for you.

How much does it cost?

For instance, a Vodacom SIM card and package valid for one week can be purchased for TZS15,000. This includes TZS 1000 for the card itself, TZS4000 for cutting the card to nano-SIM size, and TZS 10,000 for 4.5 GB of data, 200 minutes of domestic calls, and 100 domestic text messages. Topping up the SIM card is a straightforward process. Look for a store that advertises your network and ask to purchase the desired amount of credit. You will receive a scratch card with a code, which you need to enter into your phone following the provided instructions for the top-up process. If you have previously unlocked your phone, it should work in Tanzania, assuming you bring the same phone you use at home.

For more accurate internet and call bundle charges, visit.

What phone band GSM does Tanzania use?

However, it’s important to note that Tanzania uses GSM 900 and 1800 frequencies, whereas the USA uses GSM 850 and 1900. Therefore, it is possible that your phone may not be compatible with the correct frequency bands to function properly in Tanzania. Before you travel, don’t forget to check the specifications of your phone. Alternatively, if your phone does not work properly, you have the option to purchase an affordable smartphone from operators like Vodacom and Airtel.

To ensure the best coverage, it is recommended that your smartphone is compatible with all the networks used in Tanzania. However, even if your smartphone is missing certain frequency bands, it may still work on the network, but coverage might be limited to specific areas.

Best e-sim cards for Tanzania

An e-sim card is the best way to get internet on your phone when you go to Tanzania in 2024. Tanzanian e-sim cards are very cheap, and you can get them before your trip. No more going to a store to exchange real prepaid sim cards.

When you buy an e-sim card for Tanzania online, you’ll get a QR code. Scan it and follow the easy steps, and in less than two minutes, you’ll have the card installed on your phone.

It automatically connects you to a network when you get to Tanzania, so you can use data on your phone as soon as the plane stops.

Before you buy an e-sim card for Tanzania, make sure that your phone can use them.

Keep in mind that tourists can only get physical prepaid sim cards in Tanzania. There are no e-sims for tourists.


Airalo is a reliable e-sim provider, and offers the following e-sim card plans for Tanzania:

  • 1 GB data for 7 days = $4.5 USD
  • 2 GB data for 15 days = $8 USD
  • 3 GB data for 30 days = $11 USD
  • 5 GB data for 30 days = $15.5 USD
  • 10 GB data for 30 days = $26 USD

The above Tanzacomm e-sim cards can only send and receive data; they can’t make or receive phone calls. Vodacom’s 4G/LTE network is used by Tanzacom, which is the best mobile data network in Tanzania. Data is only usable in Tanzania.


You can trust SimOptions as well. SimOptions sells foreign e-sim cards that can be used in up to 141 countries, such as Tanzania:

  • 3 GB data for 30 days = $24.90 USD
  • 5 GB data for 30 days = $34.90 USD
  • 6 GB data for 15 days = $39.90 USD
  • 10 GB data for 14 days = $39.90 USD


The following e-sim card plans are available for travel to Tanzania from Nomad, another reliable e-sim card provider:

  • 1 GB data for 7 days = $10 USD
  • 3 GB data for 30 days = $17 USD
  • 5 GB data for 30 days = $23 USD
  • 10 GB data for 30 days = $37 USD

They work on the Airtel network in Tanzania, and the Nomad e-sim cards are made by eSIM Go. This Tanzania e-sim card can only be used for data; it can’t be used to make or receive calls. There is no need to show an ID or visa. Make sure your phone works with e-sim cards before you order one for Tanzania. You can still buy a sim card for Tanzania online if your phone doesn’t work with e-sim. Just look for international physical prepaid sim cards for Tanzania. For $49.90 USD, SimOptions lets you order an international SIM card with 10 GB of internet for 14 days.

Why buy a SIM card in Tanzania

As a very easy example, the friendly people of Tanzania don’t speak English very well, so an app that can translate is useful, but it won’t work if you’re not online. Or how about getting around, like finding places to stay, ways to get around, food, etc. Google Maps is your best friend when you’re going in Tanzania, even though it’s wrong a lot of the time. If you want to stay connected in Tanzania for reasons other than those listed above, I strongly advise you not to count on free public WiFi. You can stay in touch with family or check your email in the evening, even if all you want to do is post something on social media. There is a chance that the WiFi in your hotel will not work. I’m sure you’ll be pleased with your Tanzania sim card.

Where to buy a SIM card in Tanzania

When it comes to purchasing a SIM card in Tanzania, there are several convenient options available:

  1. International Airports: Upon arrival at major international airports like Dar es Salaam, Moshi, and Arusha, you’ll find shops from various mobile operators such as Halotel, Tigo, Airtel, and Vodacom. This is often the most convenient option, providing instant connectivity and English-speaking staff.
  2. Phone Stores: You can also visit official retail stores of mobile internet providers like Tigo, Halotel, Airtel, and Vodacom. These stores ensure proper registration and activation of your SIM card, and you can walk out with a working data connection.
  3. Testing Your Connection: Before leaving the store, it’s essential to test your data connection on your unlocked phone to ensure it’s working properly. If you encounter any issues, address them immediately before leaving the store, as resolving them afterwards may require repeating the registration process.
  4. Time Consideration: Keep in mind that buying and activating a SIM card in Tanzania, as with many things in Africa, may take some time. Plan for at least 20 minutes, as stores can be busy with long waiting lines.

Mobile providers in Tanzania

In Tanzania, the development of the 4G network is still ongoing, especially in rural areas, while 5G is limited to certain urban centres like Dar es Salaam and parts of Zanzibar. While it’s challenging to determine the absolute best network due to limited information, some insights can be gleaned:


  • Weakest network, particularly in terms of coverage and reliability.
  • Smallest mobile internet provider in Tanzania.

Tigo Tanzania:

  • Claims to have the largest and fastest 4G network, although this is debatable.
  • 4G coverage in more than 20 cities, but coverage may not be consistent in remote areas.

Airtel Tanzania:

  • Invested in upgrading its 4G network across the country.
  • Offers good coverage, especially in urban and tourist areas.

Vodacom Tanzania:

  • Claims to have the fastest network and provides a 4G coverage map on its website.
  • Despite outdated maps, their 4G/LTE network is extensive and offers reliable coverage in many parts of the country.
  • From personal experience, Vodacom often provides the best mobile data network in Tanzania, with consistent coverage even in remote areas.

While Tigo may claim superiority, Vodacom and Airtel tend to offer more reliable and widespread 4G coverage across Tanzania, making them the preferred choices for travellers seeking consistent connectivity.

Data prices in Tanzania

Here are the prices for prepaid SIM cards in Tanzania in 2024:


  • 4 GB data + 280 minutes + 50 SMS for 30 days = 10,000 TZS ($4 USD)
  • 8.5 GB data + 400 minutes + 100 SMS for 30 days = 20,000 TZS ($8 USD)
  • 22 GB data + 600 minutes + 200 SMS for 30 days = 50,000 TZS ($12 USD)

Tigo Tanzania:

  • 7 GB data + 650 minutes + 100 SMS for 7 days = 15,000 TZS ($6 USD)
  • 10 GB data + 800 minutes + 500 SMS for 30 days = 20,000 TZS ($8 USD)
  • 1 GB for 1 day = 2,000 TZS
  • 6 GB for 7 days = 10,000 TZS
  • 12 GB for 30 days = 20,000 TZS ($8 USD)
  • 24 GB for 30 days = 50,000 TZS (valid for 60 days)

Airtel Tanzania:

  • 6 GB data for 7 days = 10,000 TZS ($4 USD)
  • 8 GB data for 7 days = 15,000 TZS ($6 USD)
  • 12 GB data for 30 days = 25,000 TZS ($10 USD)

Vodacom Tanzania:

  • 3 GB data + 400 minutes + 100 SMS for 7 days = 10,000 TZS ($4 USD)
  • 10 GB data + 1,200 minutes + 500 SMS for 30 days = 30,000 TZS ($12 USD)
  • 19.9 GB data + 1,200 minutes + 500 SMS for 30 days = 50,000 TZS ($20 USD)

These prices offer a variety of data and voice packages to suit different needs and budgets for travelers in Tanzania.

Internet Service Providers in Tanzania

Obtaining and maintaining a connection with a local SIM card in the country is hassle-free and cost-effective, with surprisingly fast data speeds at times. The most convenient and optimal way to acquire a Tanzanian SIM card is upon arrival at any of the international airports. Presently, five network providers are operating within the country: Vodacom, Airtel, Tigo, TTCL and Halotel. Vodacom offers the widest coverage nationwide, while Tigo provides the best coverage specifically for Zanzibar. For visitors exploring various parts of the country, Vodacom is the most suitable choice due to its extensive coverage. However, if you plan to spend most of your time in the Serengeti and Ngorongoro area, Airtel offers better coverage and is relatively more affordable compared to Vodacom. Consequently, if your primary destination is Zanzibar, Zantel is the superior provider on the island.

These companies offer cable and fiber optic internet services, and Zanlink also offers wireless options like Wi-Fi and WiMax.

  • Blink
  • BNH
  • Maisha Broadband
  • RAHA
  • Zanlink

Regional And Miscellaneous Service Providers

  • Africa Online
  • Afsat Communications
  • Arusha Node Marie
  • Airtel Tanzania
  • Benson Online
  • Green Telecom
  • Alink Telecom
  • Habari Node
  • iWay Africa
  • Kicheko
  • Sasatel
  • Spicenet
  • SatCoNet
  • SimbaNET
  • Tigo
  • Vodacom
  • Tansat
  • Vizocom
  • Zantel


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