Afghanistan is certainly not the most popular travel destination in Asia, but it still has a lot to offer… even after what happened.
What you should not do, in many cases, is roam internationally in Afghanistan.
International roaming can be expensive, which is why using local and travel eSIMs is recommended to save money.
And if you get a travel eSIM, you do not have to deal with the SIM card registration bureaucracy and skip the queues in Afghanistan.
How much will a local or travel eSIM for Afghanistan cost you?
You can get an eSIM for Afghanistan for as little as 8 USD, with 1 GB of data for 7 days, up to 16 USD, with 3 GB for 30 days, from Airalo (Sohbat Mobile).
Those are some generous data allowances, right?
In this guide, I will go over the eSIM options offered by the Afghan mobile operators & Airalo. Let's do this.
Original publication: 16th of September 2022. Last updated: 18th of February 2023.
Table of Contents
eSIMs offered by the Afghan Mobile Operators
To get the best service available, in terms of reception and speeds, you want to go with the local mobile operators directly instead of with a travel eSIM.
That is because you will have a higher priority on the network in case of network congestion.
However, that does not mean travel eSIMs will always be slow.
In fact, some mobile operators throttle (prepaid) on select plans or all plans for “optimization” reasons (read: we cannot be bothered to invest in our network).
You have one option for getting an eSIM for your trip to Afghanistan: Airalo (Sohbat Mobile).
Not only can you set up these eSIMs before arriving in Afghanistan and activate them upon landing, but you can also avoid Afghanistan's SIM card registration scheme, which is mandatory for anyone using Afghan SIM cards and eSIMs.
While mobile data is already affordable in Afghanistan, getting a travel eSIM will not break the bank – not at all.
Plus, I have plenty of experience with Airalo, and I can assure you they work well – and other Phone Travel Wiz readers also had pleasant experiences with them.
So let's see what these travel eSIM providers have to offer in Afghanistan, right?
Airalo eSIMs for Afghanista (Sohbat Mobile)
If I could only get a travel eSIM during my trip because I do not have the time or opportunity to buy a local SIM card or eSIM, then I would always get an eSIM from Airalo.
Airalo has eSIMs for around 190 countries, offers eSIMs at the lowest prices (on average compared to the competition) & has good service.
Airalo usually partners with the local mobile operator with the best coverage, the fastest speeds, or both.
And if it needs to partner up with multiple mobile operators, it does so, allowing you to have the best reception at all times.
Anyway, you can get a Sohbat Mobile eSIM for as low as 8 USD, with 1 GB of data, up to 16 USD, with 3 GB of data.
Those prices and data allowances are not too bad, right?
Especially knowing that the Sohbat Mobile eSIM uses the MTN Afghanistan network.
The following two Afghan Sohbat Mobile eSIM options are available:
- Afghanistan/Sohbat Mobile 1 GB eSIM for 7 days, costing 8 USD
- Afghanistan/Sohbat Mobile 3 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 16 USD
Be aware: you will be restricted to 3G – not 4G/LTE with the Sohbat Mobile eSIM (unlike most Airalo eSIMs – but mobile internet speeds are not fast in Afghanistan anyway).
The Airalo links will automatically get you the available Phone Travel Wiz exclusive offers – a code is unnecessary.
- Check out my Airalo eSIM reviews
Overall, the Sohbat Mobile eSIM gives you fantastic value for your money.
Airalo Sohbat Mobile eSIM Pros
Are there any other reasons why you should get the Sohbat Mobile eSIM for your trip? For sure:
- You can activate your Sohbat Mobile eSIM as soon as you land in Afghanistan
- You get full full (up to 3G) access to the MTN Afghanistan network
- Sohbat Mobile eSIMs are affordable (especially compared to roaming) and have generous data allowances
- You do not have to worry about SIM card registration with the Sohbat Mobile, saving you time
- Out of data? You can simply top up online on the Airalo website and not worry about language barriers when dealing with local agents
There are many other small pros, but these are the major ones.
It would be disingenuous not to mention some cons, so here we go.
Airalo Sohbat Mobile eSIM Cons
So, why should you not get the Sohbat Mobile eSIM?
- The Afghan mobile operators, including MTN Afghanistan itself, have much more generous data allowances
- While you get access to MTN Afghanistan's network, you will be restricted to 3G – so no 4G/LTE.
- You cannot call or text with the Sohbat Mobile eSIM (nor can you receive them – you get no (local) phone number)
Airalo Sohbat Mobile eSIM Overall Thoughts
Honestly, the Sohbat Mobile eSIM is fantastic.
The plans offered with Sohbat Mobile eSIMs are generous and affordable.
You get fast speeds, for Afghan standards, and access to MTN Afghanistan, without standing in queues or dealing with SIM card registration bureaucracy.
And everything, purchasing and topping up, can be done online on the Airalo website or Airalo app (downloading the app is recommended).
Unfortunately, you cannot call or text with the Sohbat Mobile eSIM, as it is a data-only eSIM.
But if you do wish to make actual calls, so not through apps like Whatsapp, consider an Afghan SIM card (but you will have to deal with the SIM card registration laws).
Best eSIMs for in Asia (not just Afghanistan)
So what if you plan to visit neighboring Pakistan? Turkmenistan? Uzbekistan? Or other countries in East Asia or Southeast Asia?
Unfortunately, you cannot use your Airalo Sohbat Mobile eSIMs in any country than Afghanistan.
There are some eSIMs out there that allow you to use your allowance in several East Asian and Southeast Asian countries.
Sadly, Afghanistan is not one of them, but I still want to introduce them to you because they will be much cheaper than buying multiple eSIMs, or SIM cards for that matter, per country.
I highly recommend these Asia/APAC eSIMs if you plan to visit multiple East- and Southeast Asian countries to save money!
Airalo Asialink Asia eSIM
Airalo recently heavily improved its Asia eSIM, which used to offer a meager 4 GB of high-speed data before allowing for unlimited data at snail speeds, following the popular Eurolink eSIM for 39 European countries.
The Eurolink eSIM is the most popular eSIM for Phone Travel readers, and I have no doubt that the Asialink eSIM will be popular too.
Just like in Europe, many readers tend to visit multiple Asian countries, so they would rather have a travel eSIM covering multiple countries than just one (like Afghanistan).
The Asialink eSIM can be used in the following 14 countries:
- Hong Kong
- Singapore 1
- South Korea
1 currently, newly bought Asialink eSIMs cannot be used in Singapore. Airalo is working on re-including Singapore in its Asialink offering
Below is an overview of how much each Asialink eSIM costs:
- Asia/Asialink 1 GB eSIM for 7 days, costing 5 USD
- Asia/Asialink 3 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 13 USD – very popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
- Asia/Asialink 5 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 20 USD – most popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
- Asia/Asialink 10 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 37 USD – very popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
- Asia/Asialink 50 GB eSIM for 90 days, costing 100 USD
- Asia/Asialink 100 GB eSIM for 180 days, costing 185 USD
Note: Phone Travel Wiz reader popularity ranking was updated in February based on data up to the 7th of February
I aim to use the Asialink eSIM in all supported countries in 2023 (and probably 2024 too), giving you insights into how the eSIM performs in each nation.
As this will be ongoing until I finish somewhere next year, I suggest you check out the review every now and then to see if I have used it in the country you plan on visiting.
I also list my East- and Southeast Asia travel plans for the year and when I expect to write the review for the relevant country too!
- Check out my Airalo Asialink review ((being) tested in Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, the Philippines, (Singapore), South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand & Vietnam
So yeah, you can say I (will) have some experience with the Asialink eSIM 😏.
Holafly & Nomad eSIMs for Afghanistan
Because of Airalo's previous Asia eSIM, I used to recommend Nomad's APAC eSIMs instead (to be used in 8 countries).
This eSIM can be used in Australia, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore & Thailand (1 GB/7 days/15 USD – 20 GB/30 days/69 USD).
As you can see, this eSIM cannot be used in Afghanistan, so it would be useless here but useful in the aforementioned countries.
The Holafly Asia eSIM has only one variant: 8 GB for 30 days, costing 47 USD/49 EUR/34 GBP.
This eSIM can be used in Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand & Vietnam.
Basically, the same countries as the Airalo Asialink eSIM with just fewer options (1 variant (8 GB) vs. 6 variants (1 GB/3 GB/5 GB/10 GB/50 GB/100 GB) and much more expensive.
So yeah, the Asialink eSIM is superior, I would say.
Remember, the Airalo links above will automatically offer you the best deals.
Overview of the Best eSIMs for Afghanistan (Airalo)
In this guide, I went over Airalo's Sohbat Mobile as the only (reasonably priced) eSIM for Afghanistan.
I recognize that there are other eSIM providers that do offer services for Afghanistan.
But they are either crazy expensive or the quality of service is whack (based on my experience or the experiences of other Phone Travel Wiz readers).
But you are free to try them out and let me know if they were any good 😀.
Buying a SIM Card in Afghanistan
Want to just use a SIM card but not your current one because roaming will be criminally expensive?
Consider getting an Afghan SIM card instead – local SIM cards are the cheapest way to stay connected abroad.
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