Buying a SIM card at Douala International Airport (DLA) 2024: Travelers Guide

If you are visiting Cameroon for the first time, buying a SIM card at Douala International Airport (DLA) will be much easier by following the instructions in our guide.

Douala International airport sim card

Buying a SIM card at Douala International Airport (DLA) is a traditional method familiar to many travelers to Cameroon. However, you may have difficulty with your first experience. The article below will help you solve the difficulties you encounter when buying a DLA SIM card.

I. Should You Buy a SIM Card at Douala International Airport (DLA)?

Yes if you need instant access. However, there is no really exact answer for each individual, at least I think so. If you have a lot of time to queue, and you need a SIM card to be able to connect to the internet as soon as you arrive in Cameroon, you should buy a SIM card right at the airport instead of waiting for it to be delivered to the hotel. In fact, this way of purchasing can be quite expensive.

Buy SIM card at Douala International Airport (DLA)
Buy SIM card at Douala International Airport (DLA)

People who should buy SIM at the airport:

  • Need to use the internet as soon as you arrive at the airport
  • Experience the excellent access speed of a local SIM card as a priority
  • Don’t hesitate with high prices
  • There is time to queue

II. Where to Buy a SIM Card at Douala International Airport

Where to buy a SIM card at the airport
Douala International Airport map

For a large airport, especially at Douala International Airport, tourists can buy SIM cards in 2 ways:

  • Buy online before departure and pickup at the airport, and
  • Buy at the airport upon arrival.

Here are some detailed instructions:

1. Buy online before departure and pickup at the airport

If you prefer a physical SIM card or maybe your device isn’t eSIM compatible but need to reserve some form of internet connection, you’ll need to visit your carrier or service provider’s website. Then, you order the SIM card online and arrange for it to be delivered to your address when you arrive in Cameroon.

You should buy it at least 1 day before arriving in Cameroon so it can be activated and ready to use immediately when you receive it. However, this purchasing method is only available from certain suppliers.

Pros:

  • Easy to compare with many suppliers via the internet
  • Easy to order, no travel time
  • Activated before you receive your SIM card
  • Delivered to your address
  • No need to wait in line and waste time

Cons:

  • Cost may be more expensive than buying directly at the airport
  • Not all carriers have this form

2. Buy at the airport upon arrival

Carrier kiosk at Douala International Airport (DLA)
Carrier kiosk at Douala International Airport (DLA)

Usually, you can buy a SIM card at the airport at carrier kiosks. Additionally, visitors can purchase SIM cards at convenience stores that sell SIM cards. After getting off the plane, through customs, you will see many kiosks/stores/stands of major networks with bright colors that are easy to see.

Pros:

  • Cost is usually lower than online purchasing but not cheaper than other forms of internet use
  • Get connected to the Internet as soon as you arrive in Cameroon
  • Many choices

Cons:

  • Waste of time waiting in line
  • Carriers at Douala International Airport are usually open from 8:00 a.m. to midnight. So if you land early in the morning, you won’t be able to buy a SIM card at the airport.

III. How Much Does a SIM Card at Douala International Airport Cost?

When buying a SIM card at the airport, your cost is somewhat cheaper than buying at other locations due to the convenience it brings. Furthermore, it also depends on each different carrier. However, the price of SIM cards at the airport is not much different than when buying in the city center.

Prices of SIM cards come from some popular carriers:

  • Nexttel: This is the smallest carrier in Cameroon with a SIM card costing 100 XAF ($0.16 USD)
  • MTN Cameroon: MTN offers free SIM cards to travelers who purchase SIM cards at Douala International Airport
  • Orange Cameroon: Currently, Orange Cameroon is still giving away free SIM cards with preferential registration packages.

Note: Price will depend on the provider, package, and time of year of purchase. Visitors should check and compare prices between suppliers before buying.

IV. What to Prepare for Getting a SIM Card at Douala International Airport – Registration Process

Travelers need to prepare the following to be able to buy a SIM card at Douala International Airport (DLA):

  • Identification documents (passport)
  • The phone is unlocked
  • Cash (currently airports in Cameroon do not allow forms of payment other than cash)
  • Typically, staff at the provider’s kiosk will assist with SIM installation. Therefore, you do not need to prepare a SIM removal tool.
Prepare cash to buy a SIM card at Douala International Airport
Prepare cash to buy a SIM card at Douala International Airport

V. Best Tourist Douala Airport SIM Cards Options and Price

The three major carriers at Douala airport offering a variety of data packages include Nexttel, MTN, Orange Cameroon. Below are best plans and costs respectively offered by these carriers:

1. Nexttel SIM card options and price

Nexttel has many data plans but I will suggest a few that are suitable for travelers:

PackagesPrice (XAF)VolumeValidity
Fly month21200012000 MBUnlimited
Fly monthly 151500015000 MBUnlimited
Fly Extra 30900031.5 GB1.05 GB daily valid till midnight

2. MTN SIM card options and price

Data packages for MTN Cameroon calendar guests:

  • 5,000 XAF ($8.23 USD) = 250 MB/day + 2,500 XAF calling credit to all networks for 7 days
  • 10,000 XAF )$16.45 USD) = 1 GB / day + 5,000 XAF calls to all networks for 7 days
  • 20,000 XAF ($32.9 USD) = 1 GB / day + 10,000 XAF calls to all networks for 30 days
MTN Traveler Data Plans
MTN Traveler Data Plans

3. Orange Cameroon SIM card options and price

Orange Cameroon is flexible regarding the duration of data packages. They offer 7-day, 15-day, and 30-day data plans:

  • 2,650 XAF ($4.36 USD) = 1 GB per day for 7 days
  • 5,250 XAF ($8.64 USD) = 1 GB per day for 15 days
  • 10,000 XAF ($16.45 USD) = 1 GB per day for 30 days

Note: Information about prices and plan features may change over time.

VI. Cameroon eSIM for Douala – an Alternative to Prepaid SIM Card at Douala International Airport

If you have an eSIM compatible device, it is the best option for Douala. When using eSIM, you won’t need easy-to-lose SIM cards. It is compact and saves space inside the phone.

Gigago is a famous SIM card provider from Hong Kong offering eSIM plans for more than 200 countries, including Cameroon.

Gigago offers different Cameroon eSIM data plans ranging from 1, 3, 5 GB high-speed data. For only $10.50 , you get 1 GB of high speed for 7 days.

Cameroon eSIM for tourists
Cameroon eSIM for tourists

VII. Where to Buy a SIM card Outside Douala International Airport?

Buy Cameroon SIM card at official stores
Buy Cameroon SIM card at official stores

In addition to buying a SIM card at the airport upon arrival, customers can buy a SIM card outside the city, at:

  • Official stores of carriers like Orange, MTN, Nexttel Cameroon.
  • Convenience stores like Express Union, Santa Lucia, Mahima, etc.
  • A store franchised from the network operator

Note: You are required to bring your passport or ID card when buying a SIM card in Cameroon, as registration is a must.

With this way of buying, you may encounter difficulties if you are not fluent in a foreign language. However, don’t be afraid to ask locals or look on maps.

Pro Tip:

  • Ask around at your  hotel for the nearest convenience store that sells SIM cards
  • Look for stores with signs advertising Vente de puces (sale of SIM cards)

VIII. FAQs

Which SIM card is best at Douala International Airport?

All networks have different advantages and disadvantages. However, in terms of coverage and diverse data packages, Orange Cameroon stands out.

Can I pay for a SIM card at Douala International Airport with a credit card?

Currently, airports in Cameroon only accept cash payments.

Should I look to buy SIM cards at stores outside the airport?

Depending on your choice, you can buy a SIM card at an official store, convenience store, or carrier-authorized store.

IX. Conclusion

Above is the necessary information about the SIM card at Douala International Airport (DLA). Hope this information is helpful for you. Don’t forget to check out eSIM from Gigago for your next trip to Cameroon.