First things first! When arriving to a new country I want to make sure I get online as soon as possible. It was my first time in Africa after 8 years and was super excited to explore Namibia, a country on my bucketlist for such a long time.
Flying into Namibia I had an absolutely amazing flight experience with Qatar Airways as I could try their new business class in the A350. Qatar Airways definitely lived up to its slogan: first in business! Damn it flying like that is almost something unreal! Though when I arrived I came back into the real world: the free wifi on Windhoek Airport was not working and my pick up was not there! I had my drivers whatsapp number but no internet. It was time to buy a sim card at Windhoek Airport.
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Mobile internet providers Namibia
Since Namibia is the second least densely populated country in the world I did not expect it to have a competitive mobile market. There are only two mobile providers in Namibia:
- Telecom Namibia
Both mobile providers have a shop at Windhoek Airport were travelers can buy a Namibian sim card on arrival. MTC was the first mobile provider in Namibia and it is said that they have the best network, but more about that later. Telecom is supposed to be cheaper, let's see.
How to go around in Namibia? That is a little complicated! I went hitchhiking in Namibia to give it a try. How that went? Hilarious! See the video in the link.
Prices prepaid Namibia sim card for travelers
At the airport shops it was pretty easy to find the prices as both MTS and Telecom Namibia had them displayed at the counter.
Data packages MTC Namibia
A little bit random and unfortunately they had no better one but here you can see the prices for the different data packages for MTC Namibia. Probably most interesting for tourists will be the 1.5GB package for N$275 ($22) and the 3GB package for N$410 ($33). Not cheap as you can see!
Data packages Telecom Namibia
A little clearer than its opponent and also a little cheaper. Most travelers will probably opt for the 2GB data package of Telecom Namibia for N$237 ($19).
If you have a closer look, you can see that Telecom Namibia is cheaper and would be a good buy.
Network coverage Namibia sim card
In a country so vast as Namibia I think the most important thing is connection. As there is only a slight difference in price I think to find out the best prepaid sim card for Namibia is to have a look at the network maps.
Normally I only look at the 4G coverage maps to compare the mobile internet providers, but not in Namibia!
This is the 4G coverage map of MTC and they have the best 4G network! ;)
As you can see 4G did not really make it to Namibia yet, so be prepared to deal with slower internet speed than you are probably used to.
I also did volunteering in Namibia. Oana Flora & Fauna is located all the way in southeast Namibia. There was no phone reception at all!
But when we look at the network coverage maps for MTC and Telecom Namibia we can easily see what is the best sim card for Namibia based on the network.
Telecom Namibia has a way smaller network than its opponent MTC Namibia.
Where to buy your Namibia sim card
I have had a look for you at the shops in town as well. I stayed close to the Wernhill Park Mall and had a look in the MTC shop as well as the Telecom Namibia shop and I can strongly encourage you not to buy your Namibia sim card in the city. It was a Monday afternoon and both shops were packed with people. When I asked in the MTC shop how long the wait was they said about 20 minutes, African minutes probably! LOL
Buying a sim card for Namibia at Windhoek Airport
If you have read my other articles about buying a sim card for travelers in Thailand, Greece or Amsterdam Airport I strongly discourage people to buy a sim card for travelers at the airport. You always pay way too much! And so you do here in Namibia. Prices in the city are about $5 cheaper on average, but is it worth the hassle? The people at the MTC shop as well as the Telecom Namibia shop were both really friendly and helpful and it took only a couple minutes to buy my Namibia sim card at Windhoek Airport.
Best Namibia sim card for travelers
If you really want the best price you should buy a Telecom Namibia sim card in Windhoek, but to me the best Namibia sim card is MTC. They are only slightly more expensive but have a way better network and at the end of the day I simply want to be connected to the internet.
I ended up buying a Namibia sim card from MTC with 1.5GB data on it. I paid N$307 for the package including N$7 for the sim card itself.
This is a speed test of my 3G connection in Windhoek.
My experience on my trip to Namibia
Most of the time the places I traveled to had no 3G signal at all. At places like Sossusvlei, Deadvlei, Namib Desert, Skeleton Coast, Fish River Canyon and Etosha National Park I was happy with a E signal. In the end I still used all of my 1,5GB because on the long drives on the main road North and South there I mostly had a 3G signal. Namibia is one of those countries where you can easily switch off from being online!
Portable WiFi device TEP Wireless
Save the hassle and look into TEP Wireless for your future trips! Traveling with a Teppy guarantees that you will always be online and that is what you want right? For a couple bucks a day they give you unlimited data for up to 5 devices at the same time!
Where to stay in Windhoek
Looking for a place to stay in Windhoek before you start your adventure around Namibia? Have a look at Chameleon Backpackers! Not just a hostel, they have a private rooms as well and a swimming pool, a communal area and a tour agency. Chameleon Safaris have loads of multi day tours around Namibia. If you are a solo traveler this is where you want to crash, meet people and make plans with fellow solo travelers.