Traveling to Burkina Faso? You must be an avid world traveler just like me. Not many people choose to spend their holidays in Central West Africa. Could be for business too of course but regardless, here is the most complete guide for buying a local prepaid sim card in Burkina Faso. Read all about where to buy one, up to date prices, the best network coverage, buying a sim card at Ouagadougou Airport, my experiences and recommendation.
Writing local prepaid sim card guide for other world travelers became a passion since it is the first thing I do when I arrive to a new country. In more than 100 countries around the world I researched the best prepaid sim card for tourists: Niger, Ethiopia, Egypt, Cairo, Costa Rica, Hong Kong, Europe, France, Dubai and endless more cities and countries.
Wondering what made me travel to Burkina Faso? I am on a quest to visit every country in the world! Curious? Check out the link to follow my journey and see how far I have got already.
Why buying a sim card in Burkina Faso
If you are an experienced world traveler there is no need to explain to you that having a working data connection on your phone simply makes traveling much easier. Think about ordering a taxi from an app, getting directions from Google Maps, make or change travel plans while on the road, find nearby restaurants or information about a place you are visiting. Enough reasons to stay connected on the road.
On top of that a local prepaid sim card is the cheapest way to get data on your phone and also guarantees you the fastest internet connection possible. Did you know that overseas data plans limit their speed?
Getting a sim card in Burkina Faso is easy and takes just a couple minutes!
If you are intended to rely on your hotel’s WiFi then please be aware that this is Central Africa and things don’t work as they do back home. WiFi is very limited in Burkina Faso and not something you can rely on. Also keep in mind that WiFi is internet through an UNSECURED network, the use of a VPN is recommended.
Traveltomtom recommends an Orange sim card for Burkina Faso. They have countrywide the best network coverage and is also recommended by locals.
Vlog about buying a sim card in Burkina Faso
Although this article is much more detailed you can also find my recommendations in my vlog about buying a Burkina Faso sim card.
Buy a Burkina Faso 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 when you connect to the network in Burkina Faso. 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
Where to buy a prepaid in sim card in Burkina Faso
There are 3 options, you either buy a sim card from a street vendor/kiosk, you go to the an official retail store or buy one on arrival at Ouagadougou Airport.
Traveltomtom always recommends to get a sim card from an official retail store as they do register you sim card properly, give you the best and most trustworthy advice, the latest offers and help you set up everything the right way.
That said, this time I got myself a prepaid sim card from a street vendor this time. As our group was traveling with an agency in Burkina Faso, the guys from the agency fixed a local to come to the hotel to set us all up with a local prepaid sim card, see my vlog.
Buying a sim card at Ouagadougou Airport
This is the easiest, fastest and most convenient way to get your Burkina Faso sim card. You can’t miss the official mobile internet retail stores at Ouagadougou Airport. They are not located in the arrival hall, but as soon as you set foot out of the airport you walk right into them as seen in my vlog.
All mobile internet providers in Burkina Faso have their own store at Ouagadougou Airport and buying and setting up your sim card is done in a couple minutes. I visited the stores to get the prices for you and they are the same as in other places around the country. So buying a sim card at Ouagadougou Airport is definitely what I recommend.
Sim card registration
When buying a sim card in Burkina Faso from an official retail store you will need your passport. In store they will take a copy of your passport and will register the sim card on your name, like in most countries around the world.
The advantage of buying a sim card from a street vendor or a random kiosk is that you don’t need your passport. The sim card will not be registered on your name, but in case something goes wrong you will most like need to buy a new sim card again.
Traveltomtom recommends therefore to buy a sim card from an official retail store. If you want to stay anonymous you buy a pre registered sim card. Officially this is illegal, but practiced anywhere around the country.
Internet providers Burkina Faso
There are 3 main mobile internet operators in Burkina Faso.
- Moov Africa
All of them sell prepaid sim cards for tourists. Prices differ slightly, but relatively we are talking about just a couple dollar.
Prices prepaid sim cards Burkina Faso
All prepaid sim cards in Burkina Faso officially cost only 250-500 XOF = $0.5 - $1 USD. When buying from kiosks and street vendors, they obviously ask a higher price and you can bargain if you feel like they are overcharging you.
When checking the Moov Africa store at Ouagadougou Airport it was unfortunately closed, but in the city there are a lot of Moov Africa retail stores as well.
A Moov prepaid sim card costs 500 XOF = $1 and then you will need to top up to buy one of the internet packages.
- 999 XOF = 1 GB for 7 days
- 2,500 XOF = 1 GB for 30 days
- 3,000 XOF = 2 GB for 30 days
- 3,500 XOF = 3 GB for 30 days
- 4,000 XOF = 4 GB for 30 days
- 6,000 XOF = 5 GB for 30 days
- 10,000 XOF = 10 GB for 30 days
Check out the latest prepaid sim card deals on the Moov website.
A Telecel prepaid sim card costs 250 XOF = $0.5 and after adding credit you can top up with one of the following internet package deals:
- 2,000 XOF = 1 GB for 30 days
- 4,000 XOF = 2 GB for 30 days
- 5,000 XOF = 3 GB for 30 days
- 8,000 XOF = 5 GB for 30 days
- 15,000 XOF = 10 GB for 30 days
- 26,000 XOF = 20 GB for 30 days
As you can see Telecel is slightly more expensive than Moov, which gives you more data for the same price.
Click here for the most recent Telecel Burkina Faso prepaid sim card deals.
Orange Burkina Faso
Prepaid Orange sim cards also cost 250 XOF = $0.5 and they have daily, weekly and monthly data packages to choose from.
- 2,000 XOF = 1 GB for 7 days
- 4,000 XOF = 2 GB for 30 days
- 8,000 XOF = 5 GB for 30 days
- 15,000 XOF = 10 GB for 30 days
As you can see prices for Orange and Telecel are pretty much the same.
For the latest Orange Burkina Faso prepaid sim card deals click on the link to go to their website.
Best 4G network in Burkina Faso
Of course we all love our 5G connection these days, but I have to disappoint you there is NO 5G in Burkina Faso yet, even 4G is not spread country wide.
Locals advised me to get an Orange prepaid sim card as they have the best mobile internet network in Burkina Faso according to them. Well, let’s see!
It is very hard to find out information about the network coverage in Burkina Faso. Only Telecel provides a network coverage map on their website. Unfortunately Orange and Moov do not.
If you click on the link you will see a map of where Telecel provides a 4G and a 3G signal, but it is very limited. The only place where you are sure of a 4G signal in Burkina Faso are the big cities like Ouagadougou and Bobo-Dioulasso for example.
Well, unfortunately we will just have to go with the advice of local people who mostly all said that Orange had the best network, especially if you travel around the country.
Best prepaid sim card for Burkina Faso in 2021
Based on the prices, advises and network strength Traveltomtom come to the conclusion that Orange is the best prepaid sim card in Burkina Faso. For 8,250 XOF ($15) you will get 5 GB data for 30 days.
My experiences buying a sim card in Burkina Faso
On arrival I checked the sim card stores at Ouagadougou Airport. Moov Africa was closed and although prices for Telecel and Orange were more or less the same, the lady at the Telecel shop offered me a deal to give me 5 GB data for 5,000 XOF instead of 8,000 XOF.
Since the group was in a hurry getting to the hotel I didn’t get a chance to complete a purchase after my research.
After we checked in the tour agency we were traveling around Burkina Faso with ordered a local sim card guy to come to the hotel to set us up with local sim cards. He, as well as the tour agency guys, advised us to get Orange prepaid sim cards as they would guarantee us the best network connection when on the road.
The guy wanted to charge us 2,000 XOF per sim card, but he didn't know I knew the actual price. We confronted him and we bargained (not too much) to a price of 1,500 XOF ($2.5). In the end he came to the hotel for us and he pre registered the sim cards for us, so we didn't need our passports.
He activated the sim card on the spot and activated a 4 GB data package on offer for 4,000 XOF, a good deal as it was better than in the official Orange stores.
This was the welcome message I got from Orange.
You can easily check your saldo/credit by calling: *160#.
And this is what the message will look like.
If you want to know your Orange number you dial: *444#
When we were sightseeing in Ouagadougou we came across some street vendors selling data package for Orange and Moov Africa at a very good price. Since everyone in the group just got connected and activated data package, we didn't make use of this offer. But look at them in the photo above, they were very good prepaid sim card data package deals.
In Ouagadougou and Bobo-Dioulasso there was a 4G signal and it was pretty decent. Watching and uploading Instagram stories was no problem, even doing Live videos on Facebook was doable. However, when on the road from Bobo-Dioulasso to Ouagadougou the connection was spotty.
When we visited Tiebele in the south of Burkina Faso on the Ghana border there was only a 2G/E signal. Enough for WhatsApp and email, but that was about it.
I hope all the above tips for buying a prepaid sim card in Burkina Faso were helpful. If you have any additional questions please let me know and leave me a comment below.