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Best Tourist Sim Cards in Nigeria in 2024

Choosing a sim card is hard. We've analysed the best tourist sim cards in Nigeria across pricing, coverage and data. Find out the best pick!

If you plan on visiting Nigeria, having a SIM card is essential for staying connected. Access to the internet while traveling allows for easy navigation in new cities. You can discover the finest restaurants, find directions to your accommodation, book a taxi, and share photos with your family while on the move.

Although roaming is an option, the international fees can quickly accumulate. Therefore, we highly recommend either an eSIM or a local SIM card to take advantage of local phone rates. Luckily, obtaining an eSIM or local SIM card in Nigeria is incredibly convenient. To help you make the best choice, this guide provides all the information you need, including current pricing and the optimal SIM card to purchase.

Table of Contents

Best Sim Card in Nigeria for Tourists

The best sim card in Nigeria is the MTN sim card combined with one of their data plans. Which data plan is right for you depends on your data requirements and the duration of your stay, but you can see all the plans here.

If you are staying for less than one week I recommend the weekly 6GB plan for 1,500 NGN, plus you will also need to purchase the sim card which costs 400 NGN, so 1,900 NGN, or about $2.5 USD, in total.

If you are staying longer then pick up the 30 day plan with 10GB of data for 3,000 NGN + the 400 NGN sim card. Or if you require more, you can basically buy as much data as you require up to 200GB for 30,000 NGN.

MTN has the best network in NIgeria, however, the other networks, Airtel and Glo also have fantastic coverage so if you can’t easily reach an MTN store the other two will be absolutely fine and have fairly similar plans.

The Airalo Nigeria eSim is also an option for travellers who prefer the convenience of an eSim. It costs quite a lot more than the comparable local sim cards so it’s not a great option for budget-conscious travellers, but eSims are always better and more convenient so I would still recommend it if you don’t feel like going through the hassle of visiting a store.

Nigeria Sim Card Prices

A Tourist Sim Card in Nigeria costs 1,500 to 3,000 NGN in June 2024, however, the exact price will often depend on the store you visit and the plan you choose.

Alternatively, an eSim in Nigeria will cost between $8.50 USD and $34 USD. This, again, depends on how much data you require and which eSim provider you choose.

I generally recommend this Airalo plan for most tourists visiting Nigeria which includes 3GB of data which is valid for 30 days and costs $22 USD.

Nigeria Sim Card Providers

In Nigeria, the main SIM card providers are Airtel, Glo, and MTN. Airtel Nigeria is a subsidiary of Bharti Airtel, a leading global telecommunications company. It offers a wide range of mobile network services, including voice, data, and digital service solutions. Glo, also known as Globacom, is a Nigerian multinational telecommunications company owned by Mike Adenuga. It is the second-largest telecommunications company in Nigeria, providing affordable voice and data services. MTN Nigeria is a subsidiary of MTN Group, a South African-based multinational mobile telecommunications company. It is the biggest telecommunications operator in Nigeria, offering robust and innovative mobile services to meet the needs of its customers. These three providers dominate the Nigerian telecommunications industry, providing reliable connectivity to millions of users across the country.

Airtel Tourist Sim

Airtel is a prominent telecommunications company in Nigeria, known for its reliable services. They offer tourist sim cards that cater to the needs of international visitors. These sim cards provide affordable call and data packages, ensuring seamless connectivity during their stay. Airtel’s extensive coverage and customer-friendly approach make it a convenient choice for tourists exploring Nigeria’s vibrant attractions.

Airtel Nigeria Tourist Sim Price

The price of a Airtel tourist sim card in Nigeria is 1,500 NGN.

The plan offered by Airtel stores includes 6GB data valid for 7 days.

Glo Tourist Sim

Glo, a leading telecommunications company in Nigeria, offers tourist SIM cards that cater specifically to travelers visiting the country. With affordable data and call rates, Glo SIM cards provide seamless connectivity and ensure travelers stay connected with their loved ones. This convenient solution allows tourists to navigate Nigeria’s vibrant cities, explore its cultural landmarks, and share their experiences with ease. Glo’s tourist SIM cards are a reliable companion for an unforgettable travel experience in Nigeria.

Glo Nigeria Tourist Sim Price

The price of a Glo tourist sim card in Nigeria is 2,000 NGN.

The plan offered by Glo stores offers 9.2GB data valid for 30 days.

MTN Tourist Sim

MTN, one of the leading telecommunication companies in Nigeria, offers tourist SIM cards tailored for travelers. These SIM cards provide seamless connectivity, allowing tourists to stay connected with family and friends, access the internet, and make local calls during their visit. With extensive network coverage nationwide, MTN ensures uninterrupted service for tourists exploring Nigeria’s vibrant cities, natural wonders, and cultural sites. Stay connected and navigate effortlessly with MTN’s tourist SIM cards, making your trip to Nigeria truly memorable.

MTN Nigeria Tourist Sim Price

The price of a MTN tourist sim card in Nigeria is 1,500 NGN.

The plan offered by MTN stores includes 6GB data valid for 7 days.

How to Get a Sim Card in Nigeria

Identify mobile providers: Airtel, Glo and MTN are your best options in Nigeria.

Find your nearest store: Locate a store or retailer by searching on Google Maps for your nearest store or asking at your hotel reception. I’ve never had issues finding a store as they can usually be found in major cities, shopping centers, or tourist areas. If possible, I always recommend to to avoid airports and head in to an official store in the city.

Bring the necessary documents: It is always a good idea to carry your passport or identification documents for sim card registration purposes. We’ve found most providers will need to confirm your identity to provide a sim card and it can be a major hassle to head to a store only to have to come back again later with your passport.

Choose your plan: Either request the plan you are after or consult with the staff in the store to select the right plan for you. My recommendations at the beginning of this guide are a good starting point, but the staff will usually be able to suggest the best option.

Pay and activate your card: Pay for the SIM card and plan, and the staff will activate it for you.

Test: It’s always a good idea to check that you can access the internet before you leave the store. I always search for something on Google then refresh my Instagram feed to check it’s working fine.

Where to Get a Sim Card in Nigeria

At the Airport

Buying a prepaid sim card for Nigeria at the airport is usually considered the most convenient option for travellers arriving by plane.

However, airport stores selling sim cards are almost guaranteed to charge inflated prices, so if you are a cost-conscious traveller then you should definitely buy your sim card from a store in the city center.

In addition to this, we would argue that buying physical sim cards at all aren’t particularly convenient now that most people use esim compatible phones. If you are looking for the most convenient option, then buying an esim before you arrive or with the airport wifi is much easier and will save you having to queue up or communicate with staff.

If you must purchase a sim card at the airport in Nigeria then you will be in luck. All major international airports in Nigeria have stores selling sim cards. Despite the prices being higher than normal, the staff are knowledgable and will be able to get you set up with the correct sim card relatively quickly.

In Stores

If you want to avoid the inflated sim card prices you’ll find at the airport and your phone isn’t esim compatible, then you’re going to need to head in to a store to buy your sim card.

I recommend visiting one of the official retail stores of the mobile internet operators such as Airtel, Glo and MTN. Your best option is to enter their names into Google Maps and find the branch closest to your hotel or accommodation. Typically the staff in the official stores in Nigeria are knowledgable and helpful which means you can ensure you’ll walk away with a functioning sim card.

Despite this, it’s always a good idea to check your internet is working before you leave the store by loading a Google search results page and your preferred social media app. You should also ensure you always bring your passport with you when purchasing a sim card in case they need to register it.

Online

If you like to be prepared and would prefer to arrive in Nigeria with your sim card all sorted and your phone ready to connect to the internet immediately then you should look into purchasing a sim card online.

The first option is to buy your sim card in advance via SimOptions, which is a company that will prepare and ship a sim card directly to your door. It’s a reliable and effective service, but with the invention of eSims it’s becoming obsolete.

The better option is to purchase an eSim online. We’ve written more on that below!

Nigeria eSim

An eSim is a digital version of a traditional sim card and is most likely the future of connectivity for mobile devices. The convenience of no longer visiting a store, handing over your passport and purchasing a physical sim card is quickly making physical sim cards obsolete in favour of eSims.

We recommend Airalo’s eSim when travelling to Nigeria. The Airalo Nigeria eSim offers fast internet speeds, wide coverage and extremely competitive prices making it a far more compelling option than purchasing a physical sim card from any of the local sim card providers.

In order to get set up with an Airalo eSim, all you need to do is visit Airalo here and purchase the eSim online (the $22 USD plan is suitable for most travellers). Once you’ve purchased the sim card Airalo will email you instructions and a QR code. Following these instructions should take just a couple of minutes, then you’ll have a sim card in Nigeria without having to venture outside.

Airalo Nigeria

Our preferred eSim provider in Nigeria is Airalo. We used them, alongside a local sim card on another device, for our most recent trip to Nigeria and found the service to be equal to the local sim card but without the hassle of acquiring a sim card in a store.

Airalo’s Nigeria eSim uses the MTN network to provide data and connect users to the internet. You can expect very good coverage and reliability with the MTN networknetwork as they are amongst the best mobile internet operators in Nigeria.

Here are the plans and prices for Airalo’s Nigeria eSim:

1GB data valid for 7 days – Price: $8.50 USD
2GB data valid for 15 days – Price: $15.50 USD
3GB data valid for 30 days – Price: $22 USD
5GB data valid for 30 days – Price: $34 USD

For most travellers we recommend the 3GB data plan for $22 USD which is valid for 30 days. Some travellers may prefer a larger plan, whilst travellers visiting for just a couple of days may be fine with a smaller plan.

Holafly Nigeria

An alternative eSim provider we can recommend is Holafly.

Holafly’s eSim is a suitable option for travellers who require large amounts of data, such as digital nomads and people who work online while they travel. All of Holafly’s Nigeria eSims offer unlimited data.

Holafly’s Nigeria eSim uses the Airtel / MTNnetwork to provide data and connect users to the internet. This network will provide reliable speeds and coverage while in Nigeria

Here are the plans and prices for Holafly’s Nigeria eSim:

6GB data valid for 15 days – Price: $47 USD

What is an eSim?

An eSIM, or embedded SIM, is a digital SIM card that is permanently embedded into a device such as a smartphone, tablet, or smartwatch. It eliminates the need for a physical SIM card to be inserted or removed from the device.

Instead of a physical card, the eSIM is integrated into the device’s hardware and can be remotely activated and programmed by a mobile network operator. This allows users to easily switch between different mobile networks or plans without the hassle of physically swapping SIM cards.

eSIM technology offers convenience, flexibility, and ease of use, especially for frequent travelers or individuals who regularly switch between mobile networks or travel internationally. It eliminates the need to purchase and insert physical SIM cards, making it simpler to manage multiple mobile connections on a single device.

To activate an eSIM, users can scan a QR code provided by their mobile network operator or manually enter the activation details. Once activated, the device can connect to the selected mobile network and access voice, data, and messaging services just like with a traditional SIM card.

Why Use an eSim?

Using an eSIM can be beneficial for the following reasons:

– Convenience: No need to physically insert or remove a SIM card when switching networks or plans, which is particularly useful for travelers.
– Dual SIM functionality: Allows for two active mobile numbers on one device, useful for separating personal and work numbers or managing multiple phone lines.
– Space-saving: Eliminates the need for a physical SIM card slot, freeing up space in the device for other components or making devices smaller.
– Remote provisioning: Activation and management of mobile plans can be done remotely, without the need for a physical SIM card or visiting a store.
– Future-proofing: Using an eSIM-compatible device ensures access to new services and offerings as eSIM technology becomes more widely supported.

eSim Supported Phones

eSIM technology is becoming increasingly popular and is supported by a growing number of smartphones and other devices. Here are some examples of eSIM-compatible phones:

Apple iPhone series (iPhone 11, iPhone 12, iPhone 13, etc.): Apple was one of the early adopters of eSIM technology and offers support for eSIM on various iPhone models.

Google Pixel series (Pixel 3, Pixel 4, Pixel 5, etc.): Google’s Pixel smartphones also support eSIM functionality, allowing users to activate and use eSIMs.

Samsung Galaxy series (Galaxy S22, Galaxy Note 20, etc.): Many of Samsung’s flagship devices now come with eSIM support, enabling users to utilize eSIM technology.

OnePlus devices (OnePlus 7, OnePlus 8, etc.): OnePlus has included eSIM support in some of its smartphone models, offering users the flexibility of using eSIMs.

Motorola Razr (2020): The latest iteration of the iconic Motorola Razr features eSIM compatibility, enabling users to use eSIMs for cellular connectivity.

These are just a few examples, and the list of eSIM-compatible phones continues to expand as more manufacturers embrace this technology. There’s a very strong chance your phone supports eSims so if you’re unsure we recommend looking it up on our list of eSim supported phones.

How to Use an eSim

Using an eSim is new for many travellers, however, the good news is it’s surprisingly easy to get set up – even for the technologically challenged!

Here’s a general guide on how to use an eSIM:

Check eSIM Compatibility: Ensure that your device supports eSIM functionality. Many newer smartphones, smartwatches, tablets, and other devices are eSIM compatible including all iPhones produced since 2018.

Obtain an eSIM: There are multiple ways to acquire an eSIM. You can purchase an eSIM online from a provider like Airalo (which we recommend) or directly from a mobile network operator. Some devices also allow you to scan a QR code provided by your carrier to download the eSIM profile.

Activate the eSIM: Your eSim provider will send you instructions to activate the sim. This will usually involve scanning a QR code, entering an activation code, or downloading the eSIM profile directly onto your device.

Set up the eSIM: Once activated, your device will guide you through the eSIM setup process. This typically involves selecting the eSIM as your preferred mobile plan, configuring settings like data roaming, and entering any necessary authentication details.

Enjoy the Connection: Once the eSIM is set up, you can use it as you would with a physical SIM card. Make calls, send messages, browse the internet, and use data services as needed. You can also switch between eSIM profiles if you have multiple eSIMs installed on your device.

Mitchell

Mitchell

Hi, I’m Mitchell. I’m a full-time traveller, explorer and travel blogger. I've travelled all around the world, using and testing countless travel sim cards along the way. I'm the founder of and writer for Travel Sim Expert where I write guides to help travellers stay connected all around the world.

Hi, I’m Mitchell. I’m a full-time traveller, explorer and travel blogger. Travel Sim Expert is a blog dedicated to helping you find the best sim card for you, no matter where you are or what your budget is. 

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