Egypt SIM Cards for Tourists: Detailed Guide

Are you planning a trip for exploration and discovery in Egypt? Egypt is known for the Red Sea, the Nile River, and the mysterious Pharaohs. In this article, we will provide you with some information such as the best type of Egypt SIM cards for tourists 2024, reliable places to purchase SIM cards, how to use SIM cards, eSIM, and some related frequently asked questions.

Egypt SIM cards

I. Should You Get a Sim Card in Egypt?

Yes, definitely, getting Egypt Sim cards is very convenient for your trip.

Buying a SIM card in Egypt will be convenient for traveling, staying, searching for information as well as connecting seamlessly while you are in this country.

To stay connected in Egypt, there are several ways available to you: local SIM card, roaming, pocket Wifi or free Wi-Fi. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages. However, we suggest buying an Egyptian SIM card over the other methods for several reasons:

Firstly, you can buy a SIM card in different ways, either online before departure and have it delivered to your address, or buy it at the airport immediately upon arrival in Egypt, or get it from reputable telecommunication service providers; stores in the cities.

Secondly, using a SIM card is safer and much more cost-effective compared to roaming or pocket Wifi. During your travel, you will need to make calls or text messages, such as calling taxis, hotels, or contacting friends and family. Therefore, using a SIM card will be more economical.

Thirdly, using a trustworthy SIM card is more reliable than relying on free Wi-Fi. Though Wifi is easily available in restaurants, hotels, shopping centers, or some public places in Egypt, these access points might not always be secure and can be inconvenient if there are no nearby free Wi-Fi spots available.

To sum up, some prominent benefits of a Egypt SIM card for tourists:

  • Check and inquire thoroughly about the high-speed data commitment of the eSIM – some data packages only provide high-speed data up to a certain limit, after which it decreases, causing inconvenience when in use.
  • Some eSIM packages may only offer internet access and may not support calling, texting, or vice versa.
  • Ask the provider extensively and opt for a multifunctional package for convenient usage.

II. Types of Egypt SIM Cards for Tourists – Which One is the Best?

SIM Card and eSIM in Egypt – Which one is better?

There are 02 common types of Egypt SIM cards for travelers, based on the form.

  • Prepaid physical SIM card for Egypt, and
  • Prepaid virtual SIM card for Egypt

Here is the details of each type:

1. Prepaid physical SIM card in Egypt

Where to buy: In Egypt, you can easily purchase physical prepaid SIM cards from various mobile network providers. These are available at airports, convenience stores, vending machines, or official stores of local telecommunication companies.

What to prepare: To acquire a physical prepaid SIM card, you’ll need to present your passport for identification purposes. Make sure your phone is unlocked and compatible with the network frequencies used in Egypt. Afterwards, you can activate the SIM following the instructions provided by the provider and use it as usual.

These prepaid SIM cards typically offer various internet data, services, call, and messaging packages based on your preferences and choices when needed. To select the most cost-effective data package, you can compare between different available packages.

2. Prepaid Tourist Egypt eSIM

What is an eSIM: An eSIM is a digital SIM card embedded in your device rather than a separate physical card. It enables you to activate a mobile plan without requiring a physical SIM card. eSIMs can be provided and installed directly onto your mobile device by some local telecommunications providers specifically catering to travelers.

Where to buy: To obtain an eSIM in Egypt, you can check and search for providers on local websites and inquire if they offer services for tourists. Importantly, ensure that your phone is capable of activating and receiving an eSIM before attempting to register.

For accurate information on whether this service is available in your specific location in Egypt, try asking local residents or guides. If it’s not convenient, it’s advisable to use a local SIM card as they are easier to find and more widely available.

3. Comparing physical prepaid SIM cards and eSIM:

Prepaid Egypt SIM Prepaid eSIM for Egypt
Pros– Easily purchasable at airports and local telecommunication stores.
– Convenient for communication and secure, reliable high-speed internet connection.
– Can be effortlessly swapped between different mobile devices, requiring only a compatible slot.
– No need for a SIM card slot, compatible with devices supporting eSIM services.
– Flexible, can be remotely provisioned and switched without hardware-related issues.
– Convenient for internet connectivity, common messaging, and communication.
Cons– You need to purchase in person and present a passport or personal identification.
– The cost of buying a physical SIM card might be higher than an eSIM, prone to errors if the SIM slot in your device is old or has hardware issues.
– Device compatibility is required for eSIM installation, not all devices can support it.
– Not all carriers offer eSIM services, which can be inconvenient if your carrier is not compatible.
– Difficulty in finding and registering for the service due to limited availability of providers.

Both options provide optimal communication services for travelers in Egypt. Each type will have its own advantages and disadvantages. In our view, you can choose between the two methods based solely on whether your phone supports eSIM connectivity or not.

Pro Tip:

Check and inquire thoroughly about the high-speed data commitment of the eSIM - some data packages only provide high-speed data up to a certain limit, after which it decreases, causing inconvenience when in use.

Some eSIM packages may only offer internet access and may not support calling, texting, or vice versa. Ask the provider extensively and opt for a multifunctional package for convenient usage.

III. Best Egypt SIM Card Packages for Tourists and Price

Best Egypt SIM Card Packages for Tourists and Price

1. Best Egypt VODAFONE SIM Card Plans and Price

DayGBPrice
30 days10 GB9$
30 days30 GB18$

Insight: 

Vodafone is a major telecommunications company known for its strong reputation and fairly extensive 4G coverage. Vodafone SIM cards not only support high-speed internet access but also offer both domestic and international calling at reasonable rates. This is its greatest advantage.

On the flip side, the downside of this SIM brand is the slightly cumbersome activation process. You might encounter several formalities when activating it. Seeking assistance from sales representatives can make the process smoother for you.

2. Best Egypt ORANGE SIM Card Plans and Price

DayGBPrice
30 days10 GB8$
30 days40 GB18$

Insight:

The Orange SIM card is a network with extensive coverage in Egypt. It is a local SIM card provider offering long-term packages at very favorable rates for travelers. Particularly suitable for extended trips of around 30 days, you may even receive some free calls and packages from this network.

Our recommendation:

If you are on a long trip and looking to save costs, choosing ORANGE or VODAFONE is suitable.

IV. Where to Buy a Tourist SIM Card for Egypt?

1. Buy prepaid Egypt eSIM card online before traveling

eSIM for travelers can be purchased online. You can buy online through official websites or through recommendations and guides. Among them, Gigago is a reputable online platform that provides reliable eSIMs for international travel that you can consider. Before purchasing, compare prices from various sources, and carefully verify after successful registration by scanning the QR code and conducting a trial run.

Pros: Buying an eSIM before your trip helps you be more proactive in your journey, have a network available for communication and look up internet access as soon as you land at your local destination. Also good cost savings.

Cons: Your phone must support eSIM. You cannot change packages while traveling.

2. Buy Egypt SIM card at Airports

You can buy an Egyptian SIM card at various airports in the country. Famous international airports such as Cairo International Airport, Hurghada International Airport and Sharm El Sheikh International Airport often have shops or counters offering SIM cards specifically for tourists. You can conveniently buy it here and activate it immediately.

Selling SIM card or eSIM at Cairo Airport (Source: traveltomtom)

Pros: 

  • Convenient in terms of purchasing and finding providers. 
  • Activation and immediate access are possible right after purchase, with guidance and support from the seller. 
  • There are a variety of packages and SIM card brands for you to choose from.

Cons: 

  • Spending time returning to the airport in case of SIM card issues is required by some carriers because they insist on resolving the matter at the counter. 
  • Some carriers also require the presentation of personal documents, which can be time-consuming.

3. Buy Egypt SIM card at Local Telecommunication Stores

Numerous local telecommunication stores and outlets across cities and towns in Egypt sell tourist SIM cards. Look for reputable providers like Vodafone, Orange, or Etisalat.

Pros: Easily find local suppliers or genuine telecommunications stores. No need to travel far, convenient connection and support if there is a problem during use.

Cons: Limited English assistance outside big cities.Require identification documents when registering to buy a SIM card.

4. Buy Egypt SIM card at Hotels and Tourist Areas

You can buy SIM card Egypt in hotels or tourists areas (Source: traveltomtom)

Currently, to meet and expand service needs for tourists, surrounding hotels and restaurants have small counters providing SIM card services. You can ask the staff here for instructions on purchasing and registering to activate a SIM card during your trip.

Pros: You can buy and activate a SIM card right where you live, no need to travel far. Easily complain if there are problems and problems when using the SIM card.

Cons: Some hotels and accommodations are not available and do not provide SIM card services, especially motels or small hotels in suburban areas.

Our recommendation: Here are some advice on choosing where to buy Egypt SIM for tourists:

  • If needing immediate and convenient use: Purchase from airport shops, albeit at a higher price.If there’s preparation time: Opt for purchasing eSIM online before the journey for proactive readiness.
  • For cost-saving and flexibility: Register for a local SIM card at stores upon arrival in Egypt.
  • The most convenient option is to use eSIM for quick transactions and activation, as long as your device is compatible.

V. How Much Data is Enough for a Prepaid Tourist SIM Card for Egypt?

The necessary data for a prepaid travel SIM card in Egypt varies based on your personal needs and how you intend to use your mobile phone. Data consumption relies on whether you prioritize internet searches, work-related activities, entertainment, or navigation. Opt for a larger data package if you frequently require high-speed internet, plan for an extended stay, and aim to save costs.

How much data is enough depends on your usage needs (Source: Etisalat)

Conversely, if your stay is short-term and you have limited requirements such as occasional navigation, ride-hailing, or minimal communication needs, consider a smaller, sufficient data package. 

Our recommendation:

For a suitable package for short-term travel ranges from 1 GB to 5 GB. For higher data plans, estimate based on short-term package requirements, depending on your individual needs.

VI. How to Use Egypt Prepaid SIM Cards and eSIM

1. Using prepaid Egypt tourist SIM Cards

After purchasing a SIM card in Egypt, activate and use it following these steps:

  • Turn off your phone and remove the current SIM card, then insert the purchased SIM card.
  • Place the Egypt SIM card into the correct SIM slot.
  • Power on your phone and wait for it to establish a network signal connection.
  • Complete the registration process and use the SIM normally. Contact the network provider if you encounter any issues.

2. Setting up and activating Egypt eSIM 

To use an eSIM in Egypt, follow these steps:

  • Activate SIM: Access the eSIM settings on your phone, download the QR code, and scan the provided code. Follow the steps outlined to activate the SIM.
  • Using the SIM: Once successfully activated, switch between different eSIM profiles and experience them on your device.

VII. FAQs

1. Should I use eSIM instead of a SIM card in Egypt?

Depending on your needs and device compatibility, if your device only has a physical SIM slot, opt for a SIM card. If your device supports eSIM connectivity, then choose eSIM.

2. Which SIM card is the best in Egypt?

Vodafone is one of the major telecom operators in Egypt, offering a wide range of prepaid and postpaid SIM cards with various data plans, good network coverage, and services.

3. What is the validity period for SIM cards for tourists in Egypt?

Some plans might offer a validity period of 30 days for the SIM card itself, while the data or credit purchased might expire after a different period, such as 7 days, 14 days, or more.

4. Can I purchase an eSIM at Egyptian airports?

You can absolutely purchase both eSIMs and physical SIM cards at major international airports in Egypt. However, the cost might be higher compared to buying from external providers due to additional taxes imposed at the airport shops.

VIII. Conclusion

In summary, purchasing a SIM card in Egypt is highly recommended for travelers. This saves you from incurring charges for international roaming and costly fees for paid Wi-Fi packages. Some of the reputable SIM card providers we mentioned earlier will offer suitable options. You can buy them online, at the airport, or from local telecom stores. Being proactive ensures a smooth trip and easy connectivity.