Search
Close this search box.

Best Tourist Sim Cards in Tanzania in 2024

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

If you’re planning a trip to Tanzania, having a sim card is essential to stay connected while exploring the country. With internet access, navigating unfamiliar cities becomes a breeze. You can discover the finest dining options, find your way to your accommodation, book a taxi, and share memorable moments with your loved ones through photos, all on the go.

While roaming is a possibility, international fees can quickly accumulate, making it more cost-effective to opt for either an eSIM or a local sim card, which will grant you access to local phone rates.

Fortunately, obtaining either an eSIM or a local sim card in Tanzania is incredibly convenient. This comprehensive guide aims to provide you with all the information you need to know about purchasing a sim card in Tanzania, including up-to-date pricing and the most suitable sim card for your needs.

Table of Contents

Best Sim Card in Tanzania for Tourists

The best sim card in Tanzania is the Vodacom prepaid sim card with an internet bundle loaded for the period of time you are planning to visit. For most travellers, there is a 30 day bundle that comes with 9.8GB of data for 20,000 TZS, plus you will need to buy the sim card for 1,000 TZS bringing the total to 21,000 TZS (around $9 USD).

This is pretty good! On top of this, Vodacom has the best network coverage in Tanzania, as well as a reputation for being more reliable and easier to acquire a sim card from. For these reasons I recommend it above any of the other providers.

Also consider checking out the Airalo Tanzania eSim. For the same amount of data, it is not at all competitive compared to local sim cards in Tanzania. However, it is far more convenience as you don’t need to visit a store, register with your passport, buy a plan, top up and install a sim card. So if you’re only visiting for a few days or are looking for the easiest option, then definitely consider an Airalo eSim.

Tanzania Sim Card Prices

A Tourist Sim Card in Tanzania costs 21,000 TZS in June 2024, however, the exact price will often depend on the store you visit and the plan you choose.

Alternatively, an eSim in Tanzania will cost between $4.50 USD and $26 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 Tanzania which includes 5GB of data which is valid for 30 days and costs $15.50 USD.

Tanzania Sim Card Providers

In Tanzania, the main sim card providers are Vodacom, Airtel, and Tigo. Vodacom is the leading telecom company in the country, offering a wide range of data and voice services. It has the largest network coverage and customer base, making it a popular choice among locals and tourists. Airtel, another major player, provides competitive packages and has a strong network presence. They offer affordable internet bundles and attractive call rates. Tigo, although trailing behind Vodacom and Airtel, also has a significant market share. Tigo offers various data plans, voice services, and value-added services. Overall, these three providers offer reliable mobile services catering to the diverse needs of Tanzanians.

Vodacom Tourist Sim

Vodacom is a leading telecommunications provider in Tanzania, known for offering reliable and affordable services to locals and tourists. Their tourist sim cards are a popular choice for travelers, as they provide seamless connectivity during their stay. With competitive data bundles and nationwide coverage, tourists can easily stay connected, access the internet, and make calls while exploring Tanzania’s beautiful landscapes and attractions. Vodacom’s tourist sim cards ensure a hassle-free communication experience for travelers visiting the country.

Vodacom Tanzania Tourist Sim Price

The price of a Vodacom tourist sim card in Tanzania is 21,000 TZS (1,000 for the sim card + 20,000 for the plan).

The plan offered by Vodacom stores includes 9.8GB data valid for 30 days.

Airtel Tourist Sim

Airtel is a well-known telecommunications company, providing reliable services in Tanzania. Airtel offers tourist SIM cards tailored to meet the communication needs of travelers visiting Tanzania. These SIM cards provide excellent network coverage, affordable calling rates, high-speed data, and flexible recharge options. With Airtel’s tourist SIM cards, tourists can stay connected with their loved ones and easily navigate through Tanzania’s beautiful landscapes, ensuring a seamless travel experience.

Airtel Tanzania Tourist Sim Price

The price of a Airtel tourist sim card in Tanzania is 21,500 TZS (1,500 for the sim card + 20,000 for the plan).

The plan offered by Airtel stores offers 9.5GB data valid for 30 days.

Tigo Tourist Sim

Tigo is a leading telecommunications company in Tanzania. They offer tourist sim cards that make it convenient for travelers to stay connected during their visit. These sim cards provide reliable network coverage across the country, allowing tourists to make calls, send texts, and access the internet. Tigo’s tourist sim cards also offer affordable data plans, helping travelers to easily navigate, research attractions, and share their experiences with friends and family back home.

Tigo Tanzania Tourist Sim Price

The price of a Tigo tourist sim card in Tanzania is 21,000 TZS (1,000 for the sim card + 20,000 for the plan).

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

How to Get a Sim Card in Tanzania

Identify mobile providers: Vodacom, Airtel and Tigo are your best options in Tanzania.

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 Tanzania

At the Airport

Buying a prepaid sim card for Tanzania 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 Tanzania then you will be in luck. All major international airports in Tanzania 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 Vodacom, Airtel and Tigo. 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 Tanzania 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 Tanzania 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!

Tanzania 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 Tanzania. The Airalo Tanzania 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 $15.50 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 Tanzania without having to venture outside.

Airalo Tanzania

Our preferred eSim provider in Tanzania is Airalo. We used them, alongside a local sim card on another device, for our most recent trip to Tanzania 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 Tanzania eSim uses the Vodacom network to provide data and connect users to the internet. You can expect very good coverage and reliability with the Vodacom networknetwork as they are amongst the best mobile internet operators in Tanzania.

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

1GB data valid for 7 days – Price: $4.50 USD
2GB data valid for 15 days – Price: $8 USD
3GB data valid for 30 days – Price: $11 USD
5GB data valid for 30 days – Price: $15.50 USD
10GB data valid for 30 days – Price: $26 USD

For most travellers we recommend the 5GB data plan for $15.50 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 Tanzania

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 Tanzania eSims offer unlimited data.

Holafly’s Tanzania eSim uses the Vodacomnetwork to provide data and connect users to the internet. This network will provide reliable speeds and coverage while in Tanzania

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

5GB data valid for 30 days – Price: $44 USD

What is an eSim?

The eSIM, also known as an embedded SIM, is a digital SIM card that is incorporated into a device like a smartphone, tablet, or smartwatch. Unlike traditional physical SIM cards, there is no need to insert or remove a physical card with an eSIM.

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

The use of eSIM technology offers great convenience, flexibility, and user-friendliness, especially for frequent travelers or those who frequently switch between various mobile networks or travel internationally. It eliminates the need to purchase and insert physical SIM cards, making it much more convenient to manage multiple mobile connections on one device.

To activate an eSIM, users can either scan a QR code provided by their mobile network operator or manually input the activation details. Once activated, the device can connect to the chosen mobile network and enjoy all the features of a traditional SIM card, including voice calling, data usage, and messaging services.

Why Use an eSim?

There are multiple reasons why using an eSIM can be advantageous. Firstly, it offers convenience by eliminating the need to physically insert or remove a SIM card when switching networks or plans. This is especially useful for frequent travelers who may need to switch networks or use local SIM cards in different countries.

Secondly, eSIM allows for dual SIM functionality, enabling users to have two active mobile numbers on the same device. This can be beneficial for separating personal and work numbers or managing multiple phone lines.

Additionally, eSIMs save space as they are embedded within the device, eliminating the need for a physical SIM card slot. This allows manufacturers to make devices smaller or use the extra space for other components.

Furthermore, remote provisioning is a feature of eSIMs that enables activation and management of mobile plans to be done remotely over the air. This eliminates the need for a physical SIM card or store visit when activating or switching to a new mobile plan, offering greater flexibility and convenience for connectivity management.

Lastly, eSIM technology ensures future-proofing as more mobile networks and service providers offer support for eSIMs. By using an eSIM-compatible device, users can take advantage of new services and offerings as they become available.

Overall, eSIM technology provides flexibility, convenience, and future-proofing for mobile connectivity, making it a compelling choice for many users.

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. 

Learn More About Me