Traveling to Egypt soon? The land of the mysterious Pharaohs, the Sahara Desert, the Red Sea and the majestic Nile River will amaze you, but don't get stuck with high roaming charges. Looking for ways to stay connected when traveling to Egypt? This is the ultimate guide for staying connected when traveling to Egypt. Find everything about buying a sim card for Egypt, where to buy a sim card, up to date prices as per March 2023, the best 4G/5G network in Egypt, my recommendation, a vlog about my experiences and even information about international and e-sim cards for Egypt.
Traveling the world is my biggest passion and inspiring and helping other travelers doing the same is what keeps me going. On my journey to visit every country in the world I made it to a long list of countries. The first thing I do when I get to a new countries is looking for the best way to stay connected and therefore on Traveltomtom you can find already more than 200 sim card guides from all over the world: USA, Canada, Dubai, Turkey, Ethiopia, South Africa, Kenya, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Dominican Republic and also a guide for buying a sim card for Egypt at Cairo Airport.
So next time you are planning your adventure abroad come check out Traveltomtom for the latest (e)-sim card advice for your destination. Bookmark this website!
Why buying a sim card in Egypt
First of all a local prepaid sim card is in 9/10 times the cheapest way to get a lot of data on your phone. Getting an e-sim card for Egypt is the easiest way to stay connected when visting Egypt. There are many other options, like overseas data plans, portable WiFi devices and international sim cards, I will compare them all.
Personally I prefer a local prepaid sim card for Egypt because I am a heavy data user and these sim cards guarantee you the most affordable rates and the best mobile data speed and network connection. By the way a reminder that overseas data plans limit your internet speed.
Buying a sim card in Egypt is pretty easy, done fast and cheap! However, an e-sim card takes just 2 minutes and you arrange everything online.
Having a working data connection makes traveling to Egypt so much easier. Think about ordering an Uber or finding a nearby restaurant with good ratings, killing time on long bus and train rides or getting directions from Google Maps and figuring out your travel plans while on the go.
Don’t rely on public WiFi, first off WiFi in Egypt is not reliable. Mostly it is either super slow or not working at all. Second I would like to remind you that public WiFi is though an UNSECURED network connection. The use of a VPN is recommended.
RELATED: 8 Best Hotels with Views of the Pyramids!
Traveltomtom recommends using a Vodafone sim card for Egypt. They have the best mobile internet network coverage in Egypt. They are slightly more expensive than other providers but it is worth the extra buck.
That said at Cairo Airport you can find a great Egypt prepaid sim card plan for tourists offered by Orange. Check the link for more info may you fly into Cairo.
Traveltomtom does also recommend international sim cards for travelers. These prepaid sim cards with global coverage are more expensive than local prepaid sim cards, but the convenience is that you can order them online before your trip and arrive prepared in Egypt. Check out my comparison of the best international sim cards for traveling abroad in 2023 and find the one that suits your trip.
E-sim cards for Egypt
By far the easiest way to stay connected when traveling to Egypt in 2023 is an e-sim card! With an e-sim card you arrange everything online within just a couple minutes. No more swapping physical sim cards and visiting a sim card shop. You receive a QR code in your mail, follow the instructions and you are all set. Have a look at the following e-sim card deals for Egypt:
- 1 GB data for 7 days = $9.5 USD
- 3 GB data for 30 days = $18 USD
- 5 GB data for 30 days = $25.5 USD
Click here to directly order one of the above Egypt e-sim card deals or find more info.
On another website I found an international sim card with coverage in more than 120 countries including Egypt:
- 6 GB data for 15 days = $39.90 USD
Click here to order this international e-sim card for Egypt directly online.
Mobile internet operators Egypt
There are 4 main mobile internet providers in Egypt:
All the mobile operators sell prepaid sim cards for tourists.
Where to buy a prepaid sim card
International Airport on arrival
The best and easiest way to get a prepaid sim card for Egypt is on arrival at the airport. All the international airports in Egypt have kiosks that sell prepaid sim cards for tourists. You can’t miss them. In Cairo Airport they are already located next to the luggage belts.
Flying to Cairo? Check out my complete guide for buying a sim card for Egypt at Cairo International Airport.
Mobile phone stores in Egypt
If for some reason you couldn’t buy a sim card at the airport on arrival there are mobile phone shops in every tourist destination in Egypt. Sometimes you can even find a mobile shop on the side of the road, like the one above on the main square in Alexandria.
Traveltomtom advices you to buy an Egypt sim card from an official retail store from one of the mobile internet operators rather than any random mobile phone shop. They have the best deals, best advice and in case something goes wrong the problem can be fixed instantly.
At random phone stores in Egypt they also sell prepaid sim cards for tourists, but they have of course their own price. You can even negotiate, but so much hassle. Therefore not directly recommended.
The easiest way and to avoid all hassle is buying a sim card for Egypt online. Arrive prepared by ordering a sim card for Egypt online and get it shipped to your home address or order an e-sim card for Egypt.
Registration Egypt prepaid sim cards
Like almost every other country around the world you need your passport when buying a prepaid sim card in Egypt. In the store they will take a copy of your passport and register the sim card on your passport number and your name.
That is also another reason why Traveltomtom recommends buying a sim card in Egypt from an official retail store and not any random mobile phone shop. The whole registration process should not take more than 5 minutes.
You will receive the sim card with your new Egypt phone number. Always put the sim card in your phone immediately and make sure the purchased data plan and voice packages are working before you leave the store and ask them how you can check your balance and remaining data.
When buying an e-sim card or an international sim card for Egypt online you don't need to register with your passport.
Prices prepaid sim cards in Egypt in 2023
Data plans and prepaid packages in Egypt are a little complicated as some mobile operators work with units and so called super apps. Basically 1 unit is like 1 MB. However, when using the super apps you only use 0.5 unit per 1 MB, so your MB allowance pretty much doubles if you use the super apps.
All is explained below per mobile internet operator. When buying a prepaid sim card in Egypt we advice you to always ask your provider what is the exact deal. As of March 2023 $1 USD = 30.7 EGP and 1 EGP = $0.033 USD.
WE is by far the smallest mobile internet provider in Egypt. A WE sim card costs 77 EGP ($5) and comes with 0 credit. They offer a wide range of mobile data packages and are called Nitro Prime which are valid for 28 days.
- 10 EGP = 625 MB up to 1,250 GB
- 20 EGP = 1,375 MB up to 2,750 MB
- 40 EGP = 3,250 MB up to 6,500 MB
- 70 EGP = 6,250 MB up to 12,500 MB - $2.3 USD
- 100 EGP = 10,000 MB up to 20,000 MB
- 200 EGP = 23,500 MB up to 47,000 MB
- 450 EGP = 50,000 MB up to 100,000 MB for 90 days
All the above packages are valid for 28 days, unless stated different. The use 1 MB of social media apps like Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp are counted as 0.5 MB. Which means if you would only use social media apps you get the maximum amount of MB’s to use from your data package.
Normal browsing and streaming is 1 MB = 1 MB. Therefore in the above packages they speak from X up to X MB’s
WE Egypt has very competitive data package prices compared to other mobile internet operators in Egypt, but are they the best sim card for traveling in Egypt? Wait till you see their network coverage across the country!
For more info check out the WE Egypt website.
An Etisalat prepaid sim card costs 30 EGP ($1 USD) for the registration and activation and then you will have to add one of the following data packages:
- 7 GB data + 100 minutes + 5 min international = 200 EGP - $6.5 USD
- 12 GB data + 250 minutes + 10 min international = 300 EGP
- 25 GB data + 250 minutes + 20 min international = 450 EGP
- 40 GB data + 400 minutes + 30 min international = 600 EGP - $19.6 USD
Etisalat Egypt keeps it simple, no super apps or units. I like! As you can see a prepaid sim card in Egypt is very cheap.
Check the Etisalat Egypt website for more info.
An Orange Egypt prepaid sim card costs 84 EGP and comes with 2,000 units for calling. Orange offers the following mobile data package deals for 28 days:
- up to 5,000 MB = 40 EGP
- up to 8,500 MB = 60 EGP
- up to 12,000 MB = 80 EGP
- up to 20,000 MB = 120 EGP - $3.9 USD
- up to 36,000 MB = 200 EGP
- up to 90,000 MB = 400 EGP
Orange Egypt data plans are super cheap and you get a lot of data for just a couple dollar. However, there is a catch! Orange prepaid sim cards also have Super MBS and Super Apps and Super Websites. Meaning if you use the Super Apps/Websites then 1 MBS is 1 MB. However, if you use an app that is not part of the Super Apps then 1 MB is 2 MBS. Complicated and impossible to keep track of your data usages. Well, luckily data sim cards for tourists are really cheap in Egypt.
Check the Orange Egypt website for more info.
Note: Orange Egypt also offers packages for tourists at airports in Egypt. For 150 EGP you get 1,000 minutes and 16 GB. The same Super MBS system applies to these tourist sim cards. I only found this Orange sim card deal at Cairo International Airport.
Vodafone Egypt offers 2 different types of prepaid sim cards: the so-called sim cards with super units and tourist sim cards with simply just big data plans and voice bundles.
Let's forget about the Vodafone sim cards with Super Units as it get simply too complicated for tourists looking for the best prepaid sim card in Egypt.
Vodafone Egypt tourist sim card bundles:
- 10 GB data + 200 local minutes + 20 international minutes = 255 EGP - $8.3 USD
- 30 GB data + 200 local minutes + 30 international minutes = 505 EGP - $16.5 USD
Vodafone Egypt data-only plans, also see the above picture:
- 4,000 MB = 60 EGP - $2 USD
- 8,000 MB = 100 EGP
- 12,000 MB = 150 EGP
- 20,000 MB = 2500 EGP
- 40,000 MB = 400 EGP - $13 USD
As you can see even Vodafone Egypt, rated as the best mobile internet provider in Egypt still has very competitive prices and data plans are simply really cheap for tourists.
The prices at Vodafone Cairo Airport and what I found in the stores around the country are the same. For more info check the Vodafone Egypt website.
Best 4G/5G network in Egypt in 2023
We Egypt has by far the smallest network, you will see in the below comparison. Based on the network only I would already NOT recommend a WE prepaid sim card for Egypt.
All the other providers offer a 4G signal in most Egypt tourist destinations, but based on my own experiences there is still a big difference in reality. More about that later.
Is there 5G in Egypt?
No, there is still no 5G network available for prepaid costumers in Egypt as of March 2023. It has been tested by Vodafone and it has been said to be rolled out soon, but so far you can not roam the internet on 5G in Egypt yet. Max data speed in Egypt is still 4G.
Etisalat Egypt 4G/5G network coverage
Orange Egypt 4G/5G network coverage
Vodafone Egypt 4G/5G network coverage
WE Egypt 4G/5G network coverage
From the updated mobile internet coverage maps for Egypt per March 2023 we can clearly can see that Vodafone has the strongest 4G network in Egypt. Based on the network strength I would recommend you to get a Vodafone sim card for your trip to Egypt. Also this Egypt 4G network comparison is another reminder that a WE Egypt sim card is not recommended for tourist traveling to Egypt.
Best sim card for Egypt in 2023
As I mentioned before Traveltomtom does not recommend a WE Egypt prepaid sim card as their network is very weak compared to the other mobile internet providers in Egypt. Based on my own experiences (see below) I would not recommend an Etisalat sim card either. I was disappointed with its performance.
Buying a sim card for Egypt online is very convenient and definitely those travelers that want to arrive prepared I recommend looking into buying an international sim card for Egypt or an e-sim card for Egypt directly online. It saves you the hassle of getting connected when arriving in Egypt.
However, those who want to buy a prepaid sim card in Egypt I recommend Orange or Vodafone.
Orange Egypt has a great prepaid sim card deal but they are also complicated and keeping track of your usage is pretty much impossible with their so-called Super Apps and Super Websites and Units.
Vodafone Egypt keeps it simple and offers big data plans for just a couple dollars on top of that Vodafone has the stronger 4G network in Egypt and therefore it is an easy conclusion that Vodafone is the best prepaid sim card for Egypt in 2023.
Buying a sim card for Egypt online
If buying a sim card in Egypt sounds like too much hassle then no worries, you can always buy a sim card for Egypt online. You skip all the hassle and are online as soon as you land. Order one of the pre-activated international sim cards for Egypt below and the sim card will be send to your home address before your trip.
Check out the following two Egypt sim card deals:
- 6 GB data for 15 days = $39.90 USD
- 10 GB data for 14 days = $49.90 USD
Click here to order one of the above Egypt sim card deals directly online or find more info in the link.
Also a last reminder that you can also stay connected when traveling to Egypt with an e-sim card. You can order them directly through Airalo or SimOptions. With an e-sim card you keep your own phone number from home as well, but not every phone is e-sim card compatible.
My experiences buying a prepaid sim card in Egypt for tourists
When I arrived in Egypt at Cairo Airport the WiFi wasn’t working and I had not done my research yet. Based on the prices and my feeling I got myself an Etisalat prepaid sim card with 20 GB data. The first week I spent just in Cairo and I was surprised how many times the Etisalat 4G signal was pretty weak. Especially going into buildings, I could often not connect to 4G.
Pretty damn annoying as I rather work on 4G than rely on WiFi. Unfortunately I couldn’t tether my Macbook to my phone as I did not have a signal in my room in the heart of Cairo and in some coffee shops. On the streets it was mostly fine, but even in rush hour, being stuck in a taxi in the middle of Cairo, my 4G Etisalat sim card wasn’t working properly.
When after about 10 days my 20 GB ran out I wanted to top up. After I downloaded the Etisalat Egypt app, I tried to find the right internet bundle, but honestly couldn’t find it. It was very complicated with multiple types of bundles, but couldn’t just find one with a lot of GB’s. I found Etisalat very difficult to use and pretty frustrating. Also their sms service is in Arabic only and you will need to copy paste everything to Google Translate.
Therefore I switched to Vodafone and had a much smoother experience. Yes, Vodafone is much more expensive but at least I didn’t have the connection issues and my data went a long way. I use mostly social media apps and therefore got double the data.
Unfortunately the Vodafone sms service is completely in Arabic as well even though in the Vodafone store they tried changing it to English. Pretty damn annoying. They will tell you to download the Vodafone App, but that is NOT possible for most iPhone users as Vodafone Egypt wouldn't pop up, as my iStore is not located in Egypt. Vodafone Egypt also still has a lot of work to do when it comes to costumer service.
However, my overall experience using a Vodafone Egypt prepaid sim card was great and based on that I would recommend a Vodafone sim card for traveling in Egypt.
Here is my vlog about all my experiences getting connected traveling in Egypt and buying a local prepaid sim card.
I hope all the above tips and recommendations about buying a sim card for Egypt were helpful. If you still have any questions please leave me a comment and I will try to help you out.
Let me inspire you with some cool places to visit in Egypt! Go check out my Instagram profile @traveltomtom and get fuelled with wanderlust to explore the world. As of March 2023 I traveled to more than 150 countries around the world.
Enjoy your trip to Egypt!
Some links in this article about the best ways to stay connected when traveling to Egypt are affiliate links. If you buy any of the products after using an affiliate link in this article I earn a small commission. This is at no extra cost to you of course!