Critical Guide – Tanzania SIM Card Options Available for Buying

Critical Guide – Tanzania SIM Card Options Available for Buying

Purchasing a Mobile Tanzania Sim Card in Year 2022

Are you planning to travel to Tanzania? Please don’t forget to get a Tanzania sim card before arriving to avoid paying excessive roaming fees! In Tanzania, purchasing a SIM card is simple, and data-enabled SIM cards are inexpensive. I’ll teach you all you need to be aware of in this tutorial, and I’ll also tell you about my experiences purchasing a Tanzania sim card.

Tanzania is home to Mount Kilimanjaro, Zanzibar, the Serengeti Reserve, and the world’s friendliest people. Recently when I visited Tanzania as a major part of my Africa overland journey, I observed this firsthand. When I travel, I always purchase a SIM card in Tanzania. For my impromptu travel style, having internet connectivity is essential.

In a similar vein, I have also made guides on how to purchase sim card for Kenya and Tanzania as well as South Africa, Zambia, Uganda, Namibia, Cairo,and Ethiopia.

For example, individuals in the United Republic of Tanzania speak poor English, so a translating app is helpful, but it won’t operate if you don’t have access to the internet. What about travelling around, locating accommodations, transportation, and restaurants, among other things. Your best mate will be Google Maps. My YouTube page, @Traveltomtom, has more information about my visit to Tanzania.

I also made a video about getting a Tanzania SIM card. Watch this video to learn everything that you need to be aware of about getting a Tanzania SIM card.

Recommendations for a Tanzania SIM Card – Best Sim Card in Tanzania

When visiting Tanzania, I recommend travellers purchase an Airtel or Vodacom SIM card Tanzania. Why is either of them the best sim card Tanzania? Although Tigo’s faster expanding 4G telecom network in the United Republic of Tanzania is quickly catching up, they own the strongest network coverage.

Tanzania SIM card and data package pricing are essentially the same and, in any case, quite affordable.

At the bottom of this article, you can read further about my issues obtaining a Tanzania sim card and all my troubles with the Vodacom sim card in Tanzania. Then I was unsuccessful in buying an Airtel sim card and ended up with the fast-growing Tigo sim card for the final days of my trip in Tanzania.

Also, buying a global or international sim card for travelling to Tanzania is not recommended. In my humble opinion, those overseas sim cards are essentially a fraud as they are excessively expensive and worthless.

I developed a comprehensive reference to all foreign sim cards that boast of providing telecom coverage to every nation on the planet. Yes, some of them genuinely do, but at what cost? Nobody really wants to spend $50 a minute on the Tanzania sim card internet just to browse! Click the link above to learn more on how to obtain a Tanzania sim card.

Why Purchase a Tanzania SIM Card?

Besides the reasons stated above for purchasing a Tanzania sim card, I strongly advise you NOT TO Depend largely ON Tanzanian WIFI. I recommend acquiring a data plan using a Tanzania sim card even though you only want to post on your social platforms late at night, stay in contact with relatives and friends, or read your private emails in your accommodation.

You cannot rely on the hotel’s Wi-Fi; it will either be extremely slow or wouldn’t operate at all! There will always be a minor issue in Africa. Don’t rely on others; establish a data plan for yourself.

Tanzanian Mobile Internet Service Providers

Tanzania has four distinct mobile internet service providers. A Tanzania sim card can be purchased from any of the operators listed below:

A Vodacom shop in Tanzania
A Vodacom shop in Tanzania
  •  Vodacom
  •  Airtel
  •  Tigo
  •  Halotel

Some Tanzania sim card tutorials still mention Zantel; however, these articles are out of date, as Zantel integrated with Tigo at the start of 2020.

This guide has the most recent information as of January 2022!

Tanzania SIM Card Certification

Every Tanzania prepaid sim card must be linked to a passport in Tanzania. Your passport will be photographed and uploaded to their server. Furthermore, the operator will require your fingerprint. When purchasing a Tanzania sim card, you will be forced to go through this process.

For just some reason, while purchasing a prepaid local sim in most countries in Africa, this is a common occurrence.

As a result, not every shop or telecom station you meet by the roadside can sell tourists sim cards because most of these booths lack the fingerprint function, which makes them unable to assist you.

A Tanzania sim card costs less than 1500 TZS [$0.6] in Tanzania. If you are offered a more expensive sim substantially on the street, you know there is something wrong. The majority of these prepaid cards are already registered, which can pose issues when adding additional credit. It happened to be a victim, too! That will be discussed later.

In Tanzania, Where Can I Get a Prepaid Mobile SIM Card?

A Tanzania sim card should be purchased from an authorized shopping centre or a service facility. These stores will be appropriately identified and will sell only one brand.

When you arrive at Dar City Airport, there are authorized kiosks where you may purchase a Tanzania SIM card. Tourists can also buy a sim in the arrival lounges of Zanzibar and Arusha airports. Yes, costs at the air terminal are a little more, but we’re just talking about a few dollars. The tanzania sim card kilimanjaro airport is unquestionably the most suitable place for purchasing a Tanzania SIM card.

Before leaving the shop, always insert the Tanzania sim card into your unlocked mobile phone and test it. If you discover it isn’t working after you’ve already left the store, you’ll most likely have to repeat the registration process, which you don’t want to do!

Purchasing and activating a Tanzania SIM card takes time. Like so much else in Africa! Anticipate this process to take at least 20 minutes, and plan accordingly.

Tanzania’s Best 4G/5G Network

Tanzania does not have a 5G network as of January 2022, and it does not appear that one will be constructed anytime soon.

It’s difficult to evaluate the best Tanzania sim card and network provider because there is no current information and no meaningful comparison accessible. I did my thorough investigation on the internet and came to the following conclusions:

  •  Halotel has Tanzania’s weakest network.
  • In Tanzania, Tigo boasts of having Tanzania’s most extensive 4G coverage; however, that just isn’t the case.
  •  In Tanzania, Airtel and Vodacom have the biggest 4G networks.

Halotel 4G Connections

Halotel, unfortunately, doesn’t really disclose any information or data on their 4G coverage in Tanzania. As a result, purchasing a Halotel Tanzania sim card can be difficult, particularly if you are touring around the nation. I believe you’ll locate a Halotel mobile signal in most Tanzania tourist spots, although it is not assured whether it is 2G, 3G or 4G.

I would not advocate travellers purchasing a Halotel Tanzania sim card for their travels in Tanzania due to the fact that the Halotel 4G coverage is the lowest of all the telecom network operators in Tanzania.

Tigo Tanzania Fourth Generation Wireless[4G] Network

While researching Tigo Tanzania’s 4G coverage, I discovered that Tigo boasts of having Tanzania’s FASTEST and LARGEST 4G network. That is not the case. They don’t have a thorough 4G network map, although they boast of having 4G in over 20 locations across the Country.

Tanzania sim card appears to have 4G coverage in most tourist areas. However, you will not be able to get a Tigo 4G connection if you visit the Pemba Archipelago or the more distant West coast of Tanzania.

Visit this page to get a little more inside about the Tanzanian Tigo 4G network.

Airtel Tanzania Fourth Generation Wireless [4G] Network

Airtel stated in February of 2021 that it would enhance its 4G coverage across the nation, investing $12 million and bringing 4G to over 500 cities. Alongside Vodacom, Airtel possesses one of the finest Tanzania sim card and mobile network connectivity. On their official website, they feature a temporary Airtel network map.

Tanzania’s Vodacom Fourth Generation Wireless [4G] Network

Vodacom advertises on their official website that they have the Tanzania sim card with the fastest network. They do include a map of 4G coverage on their official website. Here’s how it looks.

However, I can factually tell you that the map above is old, and their fourth-generation wireless network is far larger than it appears on the map. I spent most of my time in the Western part of the Country and had a 4G connection in 90 per cent of those regions, although they’re not shown on Vodacom Tanzania’s 4G network coverage map.

More details on Vodacom Tanzania’s fourth generation wireless [4G] network can be found by clicking on the link.

Tanzanian Prepaid Mobile SIM Prices


Halotel shop in Tanzania
Halotel shop in Tanzania

Voice and data services are already included when you acquire a prepaid Halotel Tanzania sim card. They provide the following combination packages, which they refer to as HOT bundles:

  •  10,000 Schillings = 7 Gigabytes data + 150 mins + 500 text messages – valid for thirty days [ $4]
  •  20,000 Schillings = 15 Gigabytes data + 300 mins + 500 text messages – valid for thirty days [ $9]
  •  30,000 Schillings = 23 Gigabytes data + 400 mins + 500 text messages – valid for thirty days [ $13]
  • 40,000 Schillings = 31 Gigabytes data + 500 mins + 1,000 text messages – valid for thirty days [ $17]

You can see the most recent prices for the Halotel Spicy Bundles by clicking on the link:

The network at Halotel is the worst, but the pricing is the greatest. In Tanzania, their costs are significantly lower than those of other wireless network operators. Data-only bundles are available for a day, a week, and monthly consumption. Examples include:

  •  For one day, 1,500 Schillings = one Gigabyte ($0.65)
  •  For one week, 10,000 Schillings = 13 Gigabytes ($4)
  •  one month, 20,000 Schillings = 22 Gigabytes ($9)

The current Halotel internet bundles are available here.

If you need the most worth for your money when purchasing a Tanzania SIM card, use Halotel. Halotel is an excellent choice if you just plan on staying in Dar City or any other touristy area.

Tigo Tanzania

Tigo Tanzania sim card costs 1,000 TZS, and you’ll need to top up the card with credit to be able to purchase packages. Data and voice packages are available for purchase separately and also in combination packages.

  • 15,000 schillings = 7 Gigabytes data + 650 mins + 100 SMS – Seven-day validity ($7)
  •  20,000 schillings = 10 Gigabytes data + 800 mins + 500 text messages – valid for thirty days [ $9]

View the complete prepaid combination packages for Tigo Tanzania sim card.

Tigo also has data-only subscriptions available for a day, a week, and monthly. The most popular are as follows:

  •  For one day, 2,000 schillings = 1 Gigabyte ($0.90)
  •  For seven days, 10,000 schillings = 6 Gigabytes ($4
  •  For 30 days, 20,000 schillings = 12 Gigabytes ($9)

I recommend these three data-only packs to travellers. Many others exist. Go here to see them.

Airtel Tanzania

Airtel Tanzania sim card costs 1,500 Schillings, and you will need to purchase additional packages in order for your sim to function properly.

The following are the most valuable data and voice packages offered by Airtel Tanzania:

  •  For seven days, 10,000 schillings =6 Gigabytes ($4)
  •  For seven days, 15,000 schillings = 8 Gigabytes ($7)
  •  For a period of 30 days, 25,000 schillings = 12 Gigabytes ($11)

Follow the link to visit Airtel Tanzania’s website for more details about their prepaid sim card Tanzania data plans.

Vodacom Tanzania will be charged 1,000 TZS for the purchase of a Vodacom sim card Tanzania, which will be registered in store on your behalf. Voice and data bundles must be purchased separately.

The following are the package for a day, a week, and monthly data offered by Vodacom Tanzania:

  •  For seven days, 10,000 schillings = 5 Gigabytes ($4)
  •  For 7 days, 15,000 schillings = 7.5 Gigabytes ($7)
  •  15 Gigabytes for seven days with 20,000 TZS ($9)
  • For thirty days, 35,000 schillings =16 GB. ($15)

You can dial *149*60# in other to review your existing Vodacom credit balance. Follow the link to learn more about Vodacom’s current internet bundles.

Tanzania’s Best Mobile SIM Card in 2022

As you may have gathered from the rest of the text, I just wouldn’t endorse Halotel Tanzania sim card to visitors who are travelling throughout Tanzania. Halotel, on the other hand, offers the best worth for your money and the lowest price.

Tigo isn’t really my preferred Tanzania sim card because, while their prices are comparable to Vodacom and Airtel, their coverage is weaker.

Only Vodacom and Airtel remain viable options. They got the best coverage, but their internet packages are significantly more costly than those offered by Tigo as well as, Halotel.

In 2022, the greatest prepaid mobile Tanzania sim card is Vodacom!

My Experience Purchasing a Mobile SIM in Tanzania

I decided to purchase a Vodacom Tanzania sim card when I arrived in Tanzania because I had already done my research on which network would be the best. As a major part of my more extensive Africa overland travels, I arrived in Tanzania in the town of Tunduma, from Zambia.

Oh, and by the way, if you’re willing to travel through Africa by land, I recommend seeing the documentary of Africa’s worst road on my Channel on YouTube: A 19-hour journey on Africa’s worst roads from Lusaka to Zambia, then to Tanzania!

It took some searching and some time, but I eventually found a booth that could sell me a mobile Tanzania SIM card and register it. Despite using my passport and fingerprints, he was ultimately unable to register the Vodacom sim under me for reasons I can’t explain.

He also asked for 5,000 TZS, but I didn’t realize it was just 1,000 TZS at the time. But I didn’t have a choice; I needed to connect right away. I didn’t mind because 5,000 TZS is only $2.20.

For 15,000 Schillings, I added 7,5 Gigabytes of data to it. I was pleased with Vodacom’s service in isolated areas of Tanzania, particularly around the beautiful Lake Tanganyika, and was surprised to find that they had good service in 90 per cent of these locations, with 4G signals available in many of them.

Locals with smartphones, at least throughout this area of the Country, mainly were Airtel and Vodacom customers.

I used up all my data after four days, so I politely asked a member of the Lupita Island staff to add some other 15,000 data to my account now So I can purchase 7.5 Gigabytes of data again. Everything went smoothly, and I had no issues activating the data bundle. I discovered that the Vodacom Tanzania sim card wasn’t really registered in my name.

I used up all my megabytes seven days later and attempted to top up my Mpesa Vodacom account. Then my PIN was requested, which you’re supposed to create when purchasing a Tanzania SIM card.

Simply put, I did not have my pin, and I couldn’t use my Mpesa official account unless my PIN number were available. The solution was to visit a Vodacom service department, but they had just closed for the day when I arrived.

I desperately wanted a different Tanzania sim card because I had too much work to take care of, and the WIFI at the hotel was obviously not working. I was just about to purchase an Airtel local sim ‘rapidly’ from a neighbouring Airtel kiosk that was still available. This is because Tanzania sim cards are incredibly cheap.

I should’ve been more cautious. Nothing is completed fast in Africa, and after a 15-minute wait, the salesgirl said, “Sorry, the Airtel platform is down; please try again tomorrow!” THERE IS NO OTHER WAY! So, I dashed to the Tigo shop, which was just about to lock up but fortunately, they assisted me.

It was completely fixed within ten minutes. A copy of a passport, data packages, fingerprint etc. I did the same in Tanzania during my final days before crossing the boundary into Uganda, roaming on the Tigo provider.

I hope the above suggestions for buying a mobile Tanzania sim card were very helpful in determining which mobile network provider in the United Republic of Tanzania you should choose for your next travels to Tanzania.

For more articles related to Infrastructure in Tanzania, click here!

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