Data Roaming in Cameroon for Tourists 2024: Rates & How to Avoid it

When you are traveling to Cameroon, do you wonder how to stay connected in this country? Or do you question how data roaming in Cameroon works? Yes, roaming is one of the issues that many travelers are facing when they are traveling abroad. Let’s discover how you can use your phone and data and the best alternatives that you may consider to stay connected to the Internet there. 

I. Phone Roaming in Cameroon – Quick Facts for Tourists

When you are traveling to Cameroon, you should find a way to be connected. Data roaming in Cameroon is one of popular ways to stay connected while abroad for travelers. Here are some quick facts for tourists that you should know: 

  • Roaming availability: Most major mobile operators in Cameroon, including MTN Cameroon and Orange Cameroon, offer roaming services to international travelers.
  • Roaming coverage: varies depending on the operator and the particular location in Cameroon. Usually, urban areas generally have better coverage than rural areas.
  • Activation: Roaming services may need to be activated prior to departure. Contact your home operator for more details.
  • Roaming fees: Roaming charges in Cameroon can be expensive, especially for data usage. Check with your home operator for particular rates and packages. And consider buying a local SIM card or using WiFi hotspots or install eSIM Cameroon before traveling to reduce costs.

Pro tip: Consider using social apps like Messenger, Whatsapp, etc for easier communication and cheaper prices

II. Understand about Roaming in Cameroon – How It Works

All to know about data roaming in Cameroon

What is phone and data roaming in Cameroon?

Data roaming means you use your phone’s cellular data services  out of your home country network’s coverage area. It will allow you to access the internet, send messages, and make calls even when you’re not in your country. There are 2 types of data roaming:

  • Domestic/Regional Data Roaming: it means you use another network in your home country, when you travel to an area where your current mobile provider’s coverage is limited
  • International Data Roaming: it happens when you travel to another country and your phone would connect to a local cellular network to enable you to stay connected

Which mobile network carriers offer roaming services for tourists to Cameroon?

When you are in Cameroon, you can choose to use networks of MTN or Orange Cameroon. They are major providers in Cameroon which offer data roaming services for travelers from around the world. 

Besides, there are also some MVNOs (mobile virtual network operators) in Cameroon that offer roaming services for tourists, which are Xpress Union (use MTN Cameroon’s network) and Nexttel (use Orange Cameroon’s network). These roaming plans include a limited amount of data, voice and text message at a fixed price. This is good for tourists who do not want to worry about overage charges.

Can your phone roam in Cameroon?

Yes, most likely. To roam in Cameroon, you need to meet these two requirements:

  • Your phone must be able to roam on GSM networks. Fortunately, most modern smartphones support GSM roaming.
  • Your network carrier must have a roaming agreement with Cameroon mobile network operators.

III. Is the Roaming Rate in Cameroon Expensive?

YES. Data roaming in Cameroon is quite expensive. It depends on where you will go for your trip. You can choose a bundle package for an affordable price. There are some packages for international roaming rate if you are using a Cameroonian SIM card and travel to another country. 

Roaming rate of MNT

  • Roaming Like Home: if you are from Afghanistan, Yemen, Iran, Cyprus, etc, you will enjoy same rate as in Cameroon (6F/MB for Internet using)
  • Roaming Classic: it depends on where you are and where you will go. It will vary from 250XAF to 12,000XAF (approx. 0.4 – 20USD) 
  • Roaming Bundles: it is applied for travelers going to Saudi Arabia with the price from 5,000XAF to 30,000XAF (approx. 8.3 – 50USD), depending on its validity 

Roaming rate of Orange 

There are some bundles for people going to Canada, Europe, USA, etc (including voice, SMS, data) with prices starting from 5,000XAF (~ 8.3USD). Or they will charge about 1528.98F (2.5USD) for calls to Cameroon or about 3058.98F (5.1USD) for international calls. 

Our recommendation: roaming may cost a lot and it is also limited in some areas. You should find other alternatives like a SIM card or eSIM for a better experience. 

IV. How to Activate Roaming Service for Cameroon in Your Cell Phone?

Let’s check how to activate data roaming in Cameroon

When it comes to roaming your cellular service, you will need to check if your home country mobile providers offer data roaming in Cameroon or not. If not, you should buy their SIM card to use and connect to the Internet when traveling there. 

So then, if you want to activate roaming services, you should need to follow these steps: 

Step 1: Choose your preferred service provider

You should search for their service and choose the best one. Just imagining that you are from those following countries and using roaming from your country providers:

Operator (Home Country)PlanCalls (per minute)Text (per message)Data (per MB)Additional Notes
AIS (Thailand)One-2-Call Tourist SIM (Not recommended)$3 – $5$1 – $2$10 – $20High charges, consider local SIM card
Docomo (Japan)Global Data Roaming Pass (Not recommended)NANA$10 – $20Very expensive for data, consider local SIM card
Rogers (Canada)Roam Like Home Pass Limited data & calls depending on planLimited texts depending on planNACheck roaming inclusion and limits for Cameroon
AT&T (USA)International Day PassLimited data & calls depending on planLimited texts depending on planNACheck roaming inclusion and limits for Cameroon
Telstra (Australia)TravelSIM$4 – $6$2 – $3$20 – $30High charges, consider local SIM card

If you choose to use the local plan of Cameroon’s major operators, and activate its roaming service, the recommended local providers for roaming services are MTN or Orange. As at the moment, MTN offers tariffs for international data roaming. You will not need to disconnect your local number.  

If you use local SIM cards of following countries when traveling to Cameroon, you will bear fee as below table if you use prepaid SIM card of MTN providers: 

CountryLocal call When you call a number within the country where roamingCall to Cameroon When you call a number in CameroonSMS When you send an SMS to any destination.Prepaid data
Canada(Telus)2,500(~ 4.2USD)350(~ 0.6USD)147/30KB
US(AT &T/Cingular)2,500(~ 4.2USD)350(~ 0.6USD)147/30KB
Australia(Vodafone)3,000(~ 5USD)7,000(~ 11.6USD)350(~ 0.6USD)400/30KB
Italia(Vodofone)3,000(~ 5USD)7,000(~ 11.6USD)350(~ 0.6USD)400/30KB

Step 2: Open roaming function on your phone and activate 

Every mobile carrier has its own way to activate roaming service. You should better check with them on their website or contact their customer service for help. 

Step 3: Choose and purchase the best mobile roaming package 

Choose the best package for your trip in Cameroon

Roaming rates are always expensive. However, a roaming package may prevent you from paying much money for using a phone when traveling to Cameroon. 

Pro Tips:

  • Highly recommend buying a roaming package one day before departure. So, it can activate right after purchase. 
  • Remember to choose the roaming package that suits your needs. For instance, if you are a heavy data user, it is better to choose an unlimited package (if any). 

Step 4: Turn your phone’s roaming on in Setting menu 

On Android: Settings > Tap on “Data roaming” > Turn “International Roaming” or

On iOS (iPhone): Settings > Cellular > Tap on “Data roaming”

Note: Do not forget to turn off the roaming feature when not in use to prevent any unnecessary expenses once you come back from Cameroon.

V. How to Avoid Roaming Charges When Traveling to Cameroon 

Turn off data roaming when not needed to avoid surcharge

If you do not to pay so much for data roaming when traveling, you should remember to do those things: 

  • Disable data roaming when not needed 
  • Use public or free wifi as long as you can. You can find free wifi in coffee shops, malls, supermarkets,… 
  • Disable automatic app updates
  • Use a local SIM Card or eSIM instead. You can buy upon arrival or purchase before departing 
  • Monitor your data usage to avoid overuse charge 

If you are considering using eSIM, contact Gigago at +1 657-571-1199 (WhatsApp) for more information. 

VI. Cameroon eSIM – Alternative to Data Roaming in Cameroon to Get Internet

Cameroon eSIM

Data roaming is kind of expensive. So what is an alternative? If you want to find another more convenient and cheaper way to stay in touch with friends and family, you can consider using eSIM Cameroon. But, remember to check your phone compatibility with eSIM first. 

eSIM is an embedded SIM to your phone. It can help you to access the Internet, even make phone calls or send messages within Cameroon. However, you should use prepaid or data-only for economic options. 

You can find pros and cons of eSIM and data roaming in Cameroon in table below for better comparison:

eSIMData roaming 
Pros– No need to carry a physical SIM card or visit a local store, just buy and install online before departing
– More security Cheaper than data roaming  
– Use existing phone number for calls and texts
– Security 
Cons– Limited support to some model of phones 
– Limited coverage in some major cities and tourist destinations
– More expensive 
– Unexpected charges for some overuse data 

In that case, eSIM will be a better choice because it helps you reduce costs when traveling. For Cameroon, Gigago offers one data plan option, with 1 GB for 7 days for $10.50 . This data volume is enough for average internet users. In case you want to use more data, you can top up or buy another plan. You can see more details on Cameroon eSIM by Gigago.

VII. How to Turn Off Data Roaming When Traveling in Cameroon

How to turn off data roaming when traveling to Cameroon on iPhone 

Here are easy steps that help you to turn off data roaming with your phone. Depending on your phone operating system, you should choose the most suitable one below:

1. Turn off international roaming on iPhones

You can follow these step to turn off international roaming on iPhones:

  • Open the Settings app on your iPhone
  • Tap Cellular
  • Tap Cellular Data Options
  • Ensure Enable LTE is turned off
  • Toggle Data Roaming to Off

2. Turn off international roaming on Android When Traveling in Cameroon

It is not difficult to turn off data roaming on Android phones. All you need to do is following those steps: 

  • Open the Settings app on your Android phone
  • Tap Connections
  • Tap Mobile Network
  • Tap Data Roaming
  • Toggle the switch to Off

VIII. FAQs about data roaming in Cameroon 

How much does data roaming in Cameroon cost?

Data roaming charges can vary depending on your carrier, but they can be expensive.  Expect to pay several CFA francs per megabyte.

Can I buy a local SIM card in Cameroon?

Yes, you can buy a local SIM card with a data plan from MTN Cameroon or Orange Cameroon. This can be a more economical option than data roaming, especially if you plan on staying for a while.

How can I activate data roaming on my phone in Cameroon?

You might need to activate data roaming on your phone before you travel.  Contact your home carrier for specific instructions.

Can I use my eSIM data plan from another country in Cameroon?

This depends on the eSIM provider and plan. Some eSIMs are specific to a particular country, while others offer wider regional coverage. Check with the eSIM provider for details.

IX. Conclusion

There are many ways to get connected to the Internet when traveling to Cameron, using data roaming in Cameroon is also a choice. However, it may cost a lot due to the expensive price. Instead, you can choose to use a local SIM card or eSIM for more convenience.