Are you traveling to Ivory Coast and wondering what is the best way to stay connected? Let this guide help you to pick the best sim card for your trip to Ivory Coast.

Find below everything you need to know about prepaid sim cards in Ivory Coast, a comparison of the mobile internet operators, the best 4G/5G network, the best e-sim cards for Ivory Coast, up to date prices as per April 2024, my recommendation, where to buy a sim card, info about international sim cards and more.

Looking for the best way to stay connected and have data on my phone is one of the first things I do when planning my next trip. In the past I always used to buy a local prepaid sim card on arrival in every country, but more and more I use e-sim cards to stay connected. Simply because it is super convenient to order a sim card on the internet rather than finding a sim card shop on arrival.

As I am already a full time nomad and travel blogger since 2012, buying sim cards and e-sim cards is part of my life, especially since I am also aiming to travel to every country in the world. In 2022 I visited more than 60 different countries and in 2023 I traveled to 34 countries. So I pretty much bought a new sim card every week in the last 2 years.

Since I love to document all my travel tips you can already find more than 200 prepaid and e-sim card guides on Traveltomtom from all over the world: Ghana, Cameroon, Gabon, Congo Brazzaville, Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, South Africa, Europe, France, Paris, Belgium, Brussels, Turkey, Istanbul, Asia, USA, Mexico and many more.

So next time you are planning your adventure abroad come check out Traveltomtom for the most up to date and detailed advice about prepaid and e-sim cards for your next holiday destination. Bookmark me and let me help you save money!

My recommendation

Traveltomtom recommends an Orange sim card for traveling in Ivory Coast. In general prepaid sim cards for tourists are cheap and for little money you can get a lot of Gigabytes with every provider, but Orange has by far the best 4G/5G mobile network coverage in Ivory Coast.

Losing signal as soon as you leave Abidjan is very inconvenient. And therefore Traveltomtom recommends an Orange sim card. 

Traveltomtom definitely recommends e-sim cards to stay connected when traveling to Ivory Coast. E-sim cards are just so easy to arrange and you do everything online within a couple clicks.

As soon as the plane lands you are online. E-sim cards for Ivory Coast already start from $7 USD. Traveltomtom recommends ordering an e-sim card for Ivory Coast via SimOptions, Airalo.

When visiting more countries on your trip to West Africa then also check out Traveltomtom’s list of the best international sim cards for traveling in 2024.

Be aware that a prepaid sim cards from Ivory Coast, e-sim cards or an international prepaid sim cards only work in unlocked phones. If your phone is locked you have to unlock it before your trip to Ivory Coast. If you are not sure about this then contact your mobile internet provider in your home country. 

Best e-sim cards for Ivory Coast

E-sim cards are the easiest way to stay connected when traveling to Ivory Coast in 2024.

If your phone is e-sim compatible then you simply order an e-sim card for Ivory Coast on the internet, process the payment, receive a QR code, scan it, follow the simple steps and you are connected in just a couple clicks.

Upon arrival in Ivory Coast the e-sim automatically connects to an available network and you enjoy data on your phone pretty much when the plane lands.

There are many e-sim providers on the internet, below you can find my recommendations. All trusted, tested and reviewed by Traveltomtom personally.

Airalo

Airalo is a trusted e-sim card provider and Traveltomtom has used them in more than 50 countries around the world. Airalo has the following Ivory Coast e-sim card plans:

  • 1 GB data for 7 days = $7 USD
  • 2 GB data for 15 days = $13 USD
  • 3 GB data for 30 days = $17.5 USD
  • 5 GB data for 30 days = $27 USD

Click here for more info or to order an Ivory Coast e-sim card via Airalo.

The Nouchi! Mobile e-sim cards from Airalo operate on the 4G/LTE network of Orange in Ivory Coast and data is only valid in Cote d'Ivoire.

SimOptions

simoptions esim card plans for ivory coast 2024

SimOptions is another trusted e-sim card provider. They sell international e-sim cards that are valid in up to 124 countries around the world. 

  • 10 GB data for 14 days = $39.90 USD

Click here for more info or to order an international e-sim card for Ivory Coast via SimOptions.

Before ordering an e-sim card make sure your phone is unlocked and e-sim compatible otherwise an e-sim card won’t work on your phone.

Why buying a sim card for Ivory Coast

No one wants to get stuck with slow overseas data roaming plans. These data roaming plans from your mobile internet provider in your home country often reduce the data speed and are much more expensive than e-sim cards or local prepaid sim cards.

The last thing we want is to get stuck with high data roaming charges, which in 2024 are still ridiculous. Providers often charge up to $3 USD per MB, which means opening the Instagram app can easily cost you $100 USD. Not kidding!

Always make sure you switch off data roaming when traveling internationally. 

Very important when traveling to Ivory Coast is to stay connected. Why? What about ordering a taxi through an app (Yango in Ivory Coast), or getting directions from Google Maps. Ever thought about what to do in emergencies and not being able to use data on your phone? Or killing time on long train, bus or car rides, accessing your banking apps, etc.

Don’t rely on WiFi, there is no guarantee your hotel has good and fast WiFi and another reminder that being connected to the internet through public WiFi is on an UNSECURED network. The use of a VPN is recommended to protect your data. 

Where to buy a sim card for Ivory Coast 

Abidjan International Airport

buying sim card at abidjan airport

Buying a prepaid sim card for tourists on arrival at Abidjan International Airport is very easy. As soon as you set foot in the small Arrival Hall there are a bunch of people selling prepaid sim cards. They will find you as there is staff from MTN, Orange and Moov Africa walking around hustling to sell their prepaid sim cards.

You will recognized them wearing branded clothing of the mobile internet providers. The sim cards are free to register. These friendly people will set up everything for you and make sure your sim card is working.

arrival hall abidjan international airport

The photo above shows where you can find the ATM's in the arrival hall.

Buying a sim card at Abidjan Airport is obviously the most convenient place to buy a prepaid sim card in Ivory Coast. Another advantage is that the youngsters trying to sell sim cards do speak some bits of English, which is a rare find in Ivory Coast.

At Abidjan International Airport you can only get physical prepaid sim cards, no e-sim cards.

Unfortunately if you arrive very late/early it can happen that you don’t find anyone to buy a prepaid sim card from. There is no official sim card store at Abidjan Airport, so you might be unlucky, just like Traveltomtom himself when he lately visited Ivory Coast again. 

Check out my vlog below about buying a sim card for Ivory Coast including my experiences and recommendations.

If you arrive at Bouake International Airport then don’t worry you can also buy a sim card here.

mtn shop ivory coast bouake airport

moov africa ivory coast airport

Outside Bouake Airport there are small kiosks under the tree from MTN, Orange and Moov Africa.

Phone store in city center

All around Abidjan and other big cities in Ivory Coast there are sim card stores from the official mobile internet providers. Look around for stores of Orange, Moov Africa and MTN. The easiest way to locate them is using Google Maps.

Traveltomtom recommends buying a prepaid sim card in an official retail store over a random phone shop. In an official retail store of one of the mobile internet providers you get the best service and discounted deals and before you walk out of the store, the staff will make sure your data connection is working properly.

However, be aware that phone stores in Africa tend to be super crowded and there are often long lines. You are warned!

Another challenging thing can be to find someone who speaks English. If your French is limited then be prepared to use Google Translate. Not many people in Ivory Coast speak English.

Kiosks and random stores

There is also the possibility to buy a prepaid sim card in kiosks and convenience stores as well as some random late night shops. These are excellent solution to buy a prepaid sim card if you travel overland to Ivory Coast. It is not Traveltomtom’s first recommendation, but sometimes there is no other choice.

Or even from a random stranger on the streets or at Abidjan Airport. These people hustle to make a couple dollar so they sell you pre-registered sim cards for about $3 USD each. If you have seen my vlog about buying a sim card for Ivory Coast it all makes sense.

Online

Forget about all the hassle buying a prepaid sim card in Ivory Coast. Arrive prepared with an e-sim card or an international prepaid sim card for Ivory Coast. 

Traveltomtom in general recommends ordering an e-sim card, but especially if you travel overland to Ivory Coast this is the best solution.

You can order a physical prepaid sim card for Ivory Coast via SimOptions or if your phone is e-sim compatible then Traveltomtom recommends ordering an e-sim card for Ivory Coast via SimOptions, Airalo.

Mobile internet providers in Ivory Coast

There are 3 main mobile internet providers in Ivory Coast: Moov Africa, Orange and MTN. All mobile internet providers sell prepaid sim cards for tourists. Prices for prepaid sim cards are more or less the same and are pretty affordable. 

As of 2024 all mobile internet providers also offer e-sim cards for tourists. However, only in official retail stores. Finding a store is one thing, getting in line can seriously take a lot of time in this part of the world.

The big difference between the mobile internet operators is the mobile data network coverage around the country. More about that later.

Registration process

When buying a prepaid sim card in Ivory Coast in any official sim card store you will need to bring your passport. A copy of your passport will be taken in the phone store and your new Ivory Coast sim card will be registered on your name and your passport number. 

Additionally they require a photo of your face as well as your fingerprint. Welcome to West Africa! 

You will receive either a physical prepaid sim card or an e-sim card that comes with an Ivory Coast phone number that starts with +225.

Prices Ivory Coast prepaid sim cards

All prices and info below are updated in April 2024. Prices are in West Africa Franc and $1 USD = 605 XOF and 1,000 XOF = $1.65 USD.

As of 2024 all mobile internet providers in Ivory Coast offer e-sim cards as well as prepaid sim cards. So when buying a sim card for Ivory Coast in any of the official stores of Moov Africa, MTN or Orange you can choose to get a physical prepaid sim card or an e-sim card.

Moov Africa

moov ivory coast prepaid sim card plans

Moov has a wide range of prepaid sim card plans for tourists. When buying a Moov Africa prepaid sim card in Cote d'Ivoire you can choose from one of the many data plans above. You will get some additional calling credit, but it is very little.

  • 1.5 GB for 10 days = 1,000 CFA - $1.7 USD
  • 3 GB for 30 days = 2,000 CFA - $3.4 USD
  • 7.2 GB for 30 days = 4,900 CFA - $8.2 USD
  • 22 GB for 30 days = 9,900 CFA - $16.5 USD

As you can see the Moov prepaid data plans are very affordable. For more info see the Moov Africa Ivory Coast website. In an official MOOV Africa store in Ivory Coast you can opt for a physical prepaid sim card or an e-sim card.

Orange

orange ivory coast prepaid sim card plans

When buying an Orange prepaid sim card you can choose from the following packages according to their website, but in reality there are couple more data plans as well as data-only plans, but then you need to add extra credit for calling.

  • 1.7 GB data + 60 minutes + 7 international minutes for 7 days = 1,500 CFA - $2.5 USD
  • 3.7 GB data + 60 minutes + 15 international minutes for 30 days = 3,000 CFA - $5 USD
  • 12 GB data + 180 minutes + 50 international minutes for 30 days = 10,000 CFA - $16.7 USD

For more info see the Orange Ivory Coast website. In an official Orange store in Ivory Coast you can opt for a physical prepaid sim card or an e-sim card.

MTN

mtn ivory coast prepaid sim card plans

There are several prepaid data plans available when buying an MTN sim card in Ivory Coast. Here are the most common ones for tourists:

  • 2 GB data for 30 days = 1,800 CFA - $3 USD
  • 3.5 GB data for 30 days = 2,500 CFA - $4.2 USD
  • 7.2 GB data for 30 days = 5,000 CFA - $8.4 USD
  • 15 GB data for 30 days = 10,000 CFA - $16.7 USD

When buying a prepaid MTN sim card in Ivory Coast You actually get some credit as a gift as well as calling minutes, see the photo below.

buying mtn ivory coast prepaid sim card

For more info see the MTN Ivory Coast website. In an official MTN store in Ivory Coast you can opt for a physical prepaid sim card or an e-sim card.

Best 4G/5G data network in Ivory Coast in 2024

To determine the best prepaid sim card for traveling in Ivory Coast let’s compare the mobile data network coverage of all the mobile internet providers. Ivory Coast is a pretty big country and especially during long bus or car rides you want to stay connected. A sim card without a data connection is useless.

Is there 5G in Ivory Coast?

No, as of 2024 there is actually 5G in Ivory Coast. However, in general there is a pretty decent 4G/LTE mobile data network in Ivory Coast and data speed is not that bad at all. 

In pretty much all tourist destinations in Ivory Coast there is a 4G/LTE signal available.

Anyway, let me show you why the network coverage is so important before choosing the best prepaid sim card for Ivory Coast in 2024. 

Moov 4G/5G network coverage map

moov 4g 5g network coverage map ivory coast 2024

MTN 4G/5G network coverage map

mtn 4g 5g network coverage map ivory coast 2024

Orange 4G/5G network coverage map

orange 4g 5g network coverage map ivory coast 2024

Although the above mobile data network coverage maps are updated for 2024 they are not 100% accurate. However, they are a great reference to compare the 4G/5G networks of the mobile internet providers in Ivory Coast in 2024.

From the above Ivory Coast 4G/5G coverage maps Traveltomtom comes to the easy conclusion that Orange has by far the the best 4G/5G mobile data network in Ivory Coast in 2024.

There is actually a big difference between Orange and MTN and Moov Africa. MTN is a second best but is no competition for Orange when it comes to the best 4G/LTE network in Ivory Coast. Moov Africa is the smallest mobile internet provider in Ivory Coast and also has the smallest 4G/LTE network.

Best sim card for Ivory Coast

All the mobile internet operators in Ivory Coast offer competitive prepaid sim card plans and for most tourists these prepaid sim cards with data are affordable.

Buying a prepaid sim card in Ivory Coast is relatively cheap, but so are e-sim cards. 

Not everyone needs 15 GB data for their trip to Ivory Coast and also not everyone travels off the beaten path. In fact, most tourists only visit Abidjan and the nearby beaches.

Different travelers, different needs.

Prices for Ivory Coast e-sim cards already start from $7 USD and as soon as the plane lands you are online. Traveltomtom recommends ordering an e-sim card for Ivory Coast via SimOptions or Airalo.

If you want a lot of data and you have the patience then Traveltomtom advices in general to buy a local prepaid sim card in Ivory Coast. But arriving prepared with an e-sim card is also very tempting. 

If you will be traveling around the country then Traveltomtom definitely advices to buy an Orange prepaid sim card since they have the best 4G/LTE mobile data network coverage.

Orange has great prepaid sim card plans for tourists and for 10,000 CFA ($16.7 USD) you get 12 GB data for 30 days.

For those who only visit Abidjan a Moov Africa or an MTN sim card will do the job as well. That said, expect to have a weaker phone signal inside buildings.

After comparing all the prepaid and e-sim cards for Ivory Coast and taking into account the 4G/5G network coverage Traveltomtom concludes that Orange is the best sim card for traveling to Ivory Coast in 2024.

Order a prepaid sim card for Ivory Coast online

international prepaid sim card for ivory coast

If your phone is not e-sim compatible but you rather avoid all the hassle buying a sim card on arrival in Ivor Coast then look into the following.

Arrive prepared in Ivory Coast with an international prepaid sim card. You order them online and a physical prepaid sim card will be delivered to your home address. You put this sim card in your phone and it automatically connects to an available network upon arrival in Ivory Coast, basically when the plane lands you are instantly online.

SimOptions is the only sim card provider that sells physical prepaid sim cards for Ivory Coast: 

  • 10 GB data for 14 days = $49.90 USD

Click here for more info or to order an international physical prepaid sim card for Ivory Coast via SimOptions.

Last reminder that if your phone is e-sim compatible then simply order an e-sim card for traveling to Ivory Coast on the internet. Arrange everything in just a couple clicks and as soon as the plane lands you are online.

Traveltomtom recommends ordering an e-sim card for Ivory Coast via SimOptions or Airalo.

My experience buying a sim card for Ivory Coast

From my first trip to Ivory Coast in 2022 I knew that they sell prepaid sim cards for tourists on arrival at Abidjan Airport. I was tempted to just get an e-sim card but I decided not to this time and was determined to buy a local prepaid sim card in Ivory Coast on arrival.

Well, that was a mistake!

I forgot that my plane landed in Abidjan around 04.30 am so by the time I got my visa printed, went through passport control and picked up my luggage it was around 05:30 am. 

There is an Orange pop-up store just outside the Abidjan Airport building but there was no one to sell me a prepaid sim card. When arriving this early in the morning Traveltomtom recommends to order an e-sim card for Ivory Coast on the internet so as soon as you arrive you are connected.

Because I needed to get into my Airbnb and find my friends this early in the morning I had no other choice than buying a pre-registered prepaid sim card from a random guy at the airport. Sim cards for tourists are free in Ivory Coast, but it is just the sim card, no allowance or credit.

However, around this time of day there are a couple random people walking around selling you pre-registered sim cards and they ask $5 USD. You can negotiate the price down if you want.

I had no other choice then to buy one of these sim cards. The easy thing is that there is no passport needed and no official registration. It is plug and play! I gave the guy extra cash so he added me credit and I converted the credit into a data plan.

End good, all good. But a lot of hassle. 

Traveltomtom only recommends this way of getting connected if you have no other choice.

The data speed on my Orange prepaid sim card was pretty good. I traveled mainly to Bouake and Abidjan and was very content with the performance of my Orange prepaid sim card.

data speed ivory coast sim card

From the above speed test you can see that the data speed in Abidjan was not disappointing at all with often more than 100 Mbps download speed and around 50 Mbps upload speed. I will be honest, I didn't expect this from the mobile data speed in West Africa.

Anyway, I am sure some of the above tips for buying a prepaid sim card or an e-sim card for Ivory Coast were helpful and my information made it easier for you to pick the right sim card for your trip to Ivory Coast.

Leave me a comment below if you have any questions and I am more than happy to help you out.

Curious what the life of a full time nomadic traveler looks like? Go check out my Instagram account @traveltomtom and follow along with daily updates from around the world about the good, the bad and the ugly about traveling.

Traveltomtom is on the road to 197, meaning I would like to travel to every country in the world. As of April 2024 I have visited more than 155 countries, still about 40 to go, but no rush.

Enjoy your trip to Ivory Coast!