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Malawi: 5 Best eSIMs Compared + Discounts (2023)

Malawi is one of the more popular travel destinations in (East) Africa.

But international roaming will certainly not be cheap in this country (like in most countries).

So, what are your local or travel eSIM options for Malawi?

You can get an eSIM for Malawi for as little as 9.50 USD to 44 USD from Airalo (Shire Mobile), Holafly & SimCorner.

I will also introduce you to a few global eSIMs that be used in Malawi and 80+ other countries, including Malawi's neighbors, for competitive rates.

Buying an eSIM for Malawi Guide (logos of Airalo, Golafly & SimCorner)

Original publication: 26th of November 2022. Last updated: 30th of November 2022.


Table of Contents

Airalo Shire Mobile eSIM for Malawi

Airalo Logo
© Airalo

Airalo is the most popular eSIM platform, covering around 190 countries (more than any other eSIM platform out there).

That is because it is the largest and oldest eSIM platform worldwide.

Airalo has an eSIM that can be used in Malawi: Shire Mobile.

Malawi Shire Mobile eSIM Airalo
© Airalo

Travel eSIM providers like Airalo set up roaming agreements with local mobile operators.

But do not get too worried about the term roaming – you will not get a 3000 USD roaming bill.

What Airalo does, and basically all mobile operators do, is partner up with a local mobile operator so that their customers can still stay connected when abroad.

In Malawi, the Airalo Shire Mobile eSIM uses the Airtel Malawi network up to 4G/LTE (no 5G NR yet).

Airtel Logo Small
© Airtel

Be aware: most travel eSIMs, including Airalo's Malawi Shire Mobile eSIM, are data-only eSIMs, so you cannot call or text with them (nor can you receive any calls or SMS).

  1. Malawi/Shire Mobile 1 GB eSIM for 7 days, costing 9.50 USD
  2. Malawi/Shire Mobile 3 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 11 USD
  3. Malawi/Shire Mobile 5 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 16.50 USD
Malawi Shire Mobile eSIM Airalo (with Prices)

I can already tell you that Airalo has the cheapest eSIM options for Malawi in this guide.

What makes things even more pleasant is that you can top up your eSIM when it is expiring or when you are out of data without the need to purchase a new eSIM.

But you may think that a local SIM card or eSIM will (still) be cheaper than Airalo or any other travel eSIM.

And you are right – that is true in most cases.

However, you will have to deal with the Malawian SIM card registration laws.

(Why does this matter? Because hackers can steal your (critical) personal data if the mobile operator does not secure your data properly, like what happened in Australia (10 million Optus customers were affected, where info, like passport numbers, were stolen (including mine – luckily not my passport number but my boyfriend was not as lucky) or Indonesia (1.3 billion SIM card-related data was hacked)).

Most mobile operators in Africa will only sell you (overpriced) tourist SIM cards (when available) or the most expensive plans because of “mandatory new plan requirements” (which are often lies to take more of your money).

  • Find out which countries have SIM card registration regulations and what is required from you (lookup tool)
SIM Card Registration Worldwide Tool by Phone Travel Wiz

So yes, you could get cheaper plans, but the question is if you can actually get them.

Oh, you should also be aware of the following, you can get up to 4G/LTE connections with the Airalo Malawi Shire Mobile eSIM, your speeds will most likely not be faster than someone using a local SIM card.

That is because you are roaming on the Airtel Malawi network instead of being a native customers

But that does not mean you will have (extremely) slow speeds – just (slightly) slower than native customers.

Anyway, the Airalo Malawi Shire Mobile eSIM is fantastic and is the eSIM I, and many Phone Travel Wiz readers, recommend the most.

The eSIMs are affordable, the data allowances can be tailored to your needs (1 GB to 5 GB + top-ups are available) & you will have a smooth network experience (in most cases).


SimCorner eSIM for Malawi

SimCorner Logo Small
© SimCorner

Recently, SimCorner, known for selling great and affordable travel SIM cards, started selling eSIMs too, even for Malawi.

It took them a while, as they like to do extensive testing before introducing new products, but here we are.

For Malawi, SimCorner has one eSIM: SimCorner Malawi 6 GB eSIM for 15 days, costing 36 USD.

Depending on your location, you will be charged in AUD, EUR, GBP, or NZD for your convenience.

Be aware that the SimCorner Malawi eSIM is a data-only eSIM, so there is no calling or texting.

Unlike the Airalo eSIM and some other eSIMs in this guide, you cannot top up or extend the validity with the SimCorner Malawi eSIM.

If you are out of data or the eSIM expires, you have to purchase a new one.

Luckily, getting another eSIM is quick and straightforward, but that does mean you will have to buy at least two eSIMs if you plan on staying in Malawi for 15 days or longer, for example.

On the other hand, you do not have to deal with Malawi's SIM card registration requirements, which is a big plus!

  • Find out which countries have SIM card registration regulations and what is required from you (lookup tool)
SIM Card Registration Worldwide Tool by Phone Travel Wiz

By the way, use discount code PHONETRAVELWIZ for extra savings (although the link above will give you the best deals available too – automatically).


Holafly eSIM for Malawi

Holafly Logo
© Holafly

Holafly is one of the many travel eSIM resellers and is one of the popular ones.

In June, they started offering unlimited data plans for some its eSIMs, making Holafly unique.

And these unlimited data eSIMs can be used in various East– and Southeast Asian countries, almost all European Union member states (except for Liechtenstein) & a few other countries, like Canada and the United States.

Unfortunately, unlimited data eSIMs are not available in Malawi… yet.

Phone Travel Wiz x Holafly Banner
No unlimited data for Malawi (yet)

I say yet because Holafly's goal is to offer unlimited data plans for every country it covers: 150+ countries.

And I can tell you that I get positive emails multiple times a week from Phone Travel Wiz readers that have used the unlimited data plans in East- and Southeast Asia, Europe & North America; they love these eSIMs.

For now, you have only one Holafly Malawi eSIM (which uses the Airtel Malawi network):

Malawi eSIMs Holafly

As expected, you cannot use 5G NR (yet) with the Holafly Malawi eSIM, nor can you call and text (it is a data-only eSIM).

Moreover, you cannot top up or extend the validity with the Holafly Malawi eSIM – so you need to buy another eSIM when you are out of data or the eSIM expires; you have to purchase a new one.

But you can get 5% off each and any Holafly purchase (so it does not have to be the Malawi eSIM) when you use code PHONETRAVELWIZ 😏.

Holafly Travel eSIM Reviews by Phone Travel Wiz

Local Malawian eSIM for Prepaid Customers

If you want the best and full network experience, including being able to call and text, you want to get a local eSIM.

You have two mobile operators in Malawi: Airtel Malawi and TNM.

Currently, no Malawian mobile operator offers eSIMs to prepaid customers.

For more information about the plans offered by the Malawian mobile operators, check out my Malawi SIM card buying guide.

Buying a SIM Card in Malawi Guide (logos of Tnm and Airtel)

International eSIM for Malawi & More Countries

Okay, I went over the Malawi travel eSIM options offered by Airalo, Holafly & SimCorner.

As expected, these eSIMs can only be used in Malawi and not in neighboring Mozambique, Tanzania or Zambia.

So what if you plan on visiting any of those countries, or you are on a world tour and wish to use one eSIM in multiple countries – do you have any other options?

Yes, you do. Airalo & SimCorner have regional, global & international eSIMs covering at least 80 countries; some include Malawi too.

So let's see which multi-country eSIMs can be used in Malawi and other countries, including Malawi's neighbors.


Airalo Hello Africa eSIM

Hello Africa Africa eSIM Airalo
© Airalo

Airalo also has the Hello Africa eSIM covering 27 countries with two variants: 1 GB/30 daysvery popular with PTW readers & 3 GB/30 daysmost popular with PTW readers.

Like Asia, the Caribbean, Europe & Latin America, many readers tend to visit multiple African countries, so they would rather have a travel eSIM covering multiple countries than just one.

The Hello Africa eSIM can be used in 27 countries in Africa:

  • Algeria
  • Botswana
  • Burkina Faso
  • Cameroon
  • Central African Republic
  • Chad
  • Congo, Democratic Republic of (Kinshasa)
  • Congo, Republic of (Brazzaville)
  • Eswatini (Swaziland) 1
  • Gabon
  • Ghana
  • Guinea 1
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Ivory Coast
  • Kenya
  • Liberia
  • Madagascar
  • Malawi
  • Namibia
  • Nigeria
  • Rwanda
  • Senegal
  • Sierra Leone
  • Tanzania
  • Tunisia
  • Uganda
  • South Africa

1 on 3G only

Below is an overview of how much each Hello Africa eSIM costs:

  1. Africa/Hello Africa 1 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 27 USD – very popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
  2. Africa/Hello Africa 3 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 59 USD – most popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers

With the Hello Africa eSIM, you can save a lot of money by skipping the initial SIM card costs per country you visit.

SimCorner International eSIM

International Travel eSIM SimCorner
© SimCorner

When SimCorner introduced its eSIMs in October 2022, it also launched an international one, covering Malawi and 110+ countries.

For now, you only have one option: SimCorner International 6 GB eSIM for 15 days, costing 36 USD.

Depending on your location, you will be charged in AUD, EUR, GBP, or NZD for your convenience.

The SimCorner International eSIM can be used in the following 110+ countries:

  • Afghanistan
  • Åland Islands
  • Albania
  • Argentina
  • Armenia
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Azerbaijan
  • Bahrain
  • Bangladesh
  • Belarus
  • Belgium
  • Brunei
  • Bulgaria
  • Cambodia
  • Canada
  • Chad
  • Chile
  • China
  • Colombia
  • Congo, the Republic of (Brazzaville)
  • Croatia
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Egypt
  • El Salvador
  • Estonia
  • Eswatini
  • Faroe Islands
  • Fiji
  • Finland
  • France
  • Gabon
  • Germany
  • Ghana
  • Greece
  • Guam
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Hong Kong
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Jordan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kenya
  • Kuwait
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Laos
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Macau
  • Madagascar
  • Malawi
  • Malaysia
  • Malta
  • Mauritius
  • Mexico
  • Moldova
  • Mongolia
  • Montenegro
  • Myanmar
  • Nauru
  • Nepal
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Nigeria
  • North Macedonia
  • Northern Cyprus
  • Norway
  • Oman
  • Pakistan
  • Panama
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Puerto Rico
  • Qatar
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • San Marino
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Serbia
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Solomon Islands
  • South Africa
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Sri Lanka
  • Svalbard & Jan Mayen
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan
  • Tonga
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey
  • U.S. Virgin Islands
  • Uganda
  • Ukraine
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • Uruguay
  • Uzbekistan
  • Vatican City
  • Vietnam

By the way, the SimCorner International eSIM is also available as a SIM card – very convenient (if your or your travel companion's phone does not support eSIM).


Overview of the Best eSIMs for Malawi (Airalo vs. Holafly vs. SimCorner)

I introduced you to various travel eSIMs that can be used in Malawi.

So, which eSIM do I recommend the most? Here is my recommendation order:

Phone Travel Wiz Approved Seal

Remember to use code PHONETRAVELWIZ for Holafly and SimCorner eSIMs – a code is unnecessary for Airalo eSIM purchases.


Buying a SIM Card in Malawi

Want to just use a SIM card but not your current one because roaming will be criminally expensive?

Consider getting a Malawian SIM card instead – local SIM cards are the cheapest way to stay connected abroad.

Or you can get the SimCorner Malawi card, which will be delivered to your home before going to Malawi – convenient 😏.

Buying a SIM Card in Malawi Guide (logos of Tnm and Airtel)

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