Buying a Prepaid SIM Card in Angola Guide

Logos of Mobile Operators in Angola: Unitel & Movicel

Buying a prepaid SIM card in Angola is quite easy. You visit a Unitel or Movicel store, hand over your passport so that the salesperson so that they can note down the required information, select a data package of choice, and you are good to go.

Now, you are ready to share your Angola experiences online. This could be a fancy dinner in Luanda, the capital city of Angola. A cool photo of your visit to Parque Nacional do Quicama, or the beach-life in Lobito.

But why should you get an Angolan SIM card? Roaming with your provider can be expensive in many cases. At the same time, local prepaid SIM cards have proven to be an affordable alternative in almost all cases. The same can be said for Angola.

In this article, I will go over everything you need to know about buying a SIM card in Angola. Let’s do this.

Telecom Operators, Networks, and Frequencies in Angola

Flag of Angola

Angola has 2 telecom operators:

  • Unitel
  • Movicel

Both operators have 2G, 3G, and 4G/LTE networks.

The following frequencies are used by the Angolan operators:

  • 2G: 900 MHz & 1800 MHz
  • 3G: 2100 MHz
  • 4G/LTE: 1800 MHz (Band 3)

The Best Prepaid SIM Card in Angola

If you want to buy a SIM card in Angola, then Unitel is the best option. They have the best coverage in the country. Furthermore, they are only slightly more expensive than Movicel.

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SIM Card Registration Regulations in Angola

Just like most countries in Central Africa, and Africa in general, you have to register your passport details to buy a SIM card in Angola. Your visa details will also be recorded.

The State of the Telecom Market in Angola

As a country next to the ocean, Angola is connected to several submarine cables. African countries next to the sea or ocean have, on average, significantly lower mobile data rates compared to landlocked countries because they do not have to rely on bandwidth from neighboring countries. This is especially problematic for landlocked countries with a poor domestic landline infrastructure, like the neighboring country Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The Angolan landline infrastructure is decent, which results in decent reception and speeds throughout Angola. However, locals complain that the quality of the network is poor, with constant network dropouts and high costs for phone calls.

In terms of mobile data rates, mobile broadband prices are below average in Angola compared to Central African standards. The average cost of 1 GB of data in Angola is 6.10 USD compared to the Central African average of 8.12 USD, based on a study done by the Alliance 4 Affordable Internet (A4AI).

When looking at the average price for 1 GB in Africa as a whole, Angola is slightly below the African average of 6.45 USD/GB. When taking the Angolan average monthly income into consideration, an Angolan would spend 2.17% of their monthly income on 1 GB of data, which is much less than the Central African average (11.85%) and also much less than the African average (7.12%).

Right now, there is a duopoly in Angola with Unitel and Movicel. Angorascom was given a license to operate in Angola. In 2020, the company reported no progress in terms of its official launch. However, late December 2019, Angorascom set the launche date for February 2021. Telstar was also given a license in 2019, which was promptly canceled by the president within a week. In 2020, it was reported that Africell was the sole bidder for the 4th telecom license in the country. Africell won the bid and will enter the market in the Angolan near future.

The entrance of two new operators, Angorascom and Africell, should result in more competition, better quality of service, and lower prices.

Currency in Angola

Angola uses the Angolan Kwanza with the symbol AOA (which will be used throughout this article). Prices in Angola are listed in Kz. For example, 25 AOA is Kz 25. For reference, below are some exchange rates between AOA and USD (US Dollars – Rounded):

  • 10 AOA = 0.01 USD
  • 100 AOA = 0.15 USD
  • 1000 AOA = 1.65 USD
  • 10 000 AOA = 16.49 USD
  • 100 000 AOA = 164.95 USD

For up-to-date AOA:USD exchange rates, search AOA to USD on Google, or replace USD with the currency you use.

Prices in Angola

Do note that in 2019, the Angolan government introduced a Value Added Tax (VAT, sometimes known as GST – Goods and Services Tax) of 14% called IVA. Some establishments include the IVA in their final prices, some do not. In the case of Angolan operators, Unitel does not include the IVA in their final prices, while Movicel does.

For your convenience, I will mention the listed price in one column and the price with the 14% tax in another column.

Be aware that Unitel uses very specific prices with three digits after the decimal. For example, a price below (without tax) may be listed below as 88 AOA, but it is actually 87.719 (or 87,719, depending on the format you use), which is 87 Kwanzas and 71(9) cêntimos. Movicel does use “normal” prices.

Angolan Prepaid SIM Cards

Below, I will guide you through Unitel and Movicel and go through:

  • Background information
  • SIM card types, prices, and availability
  • Recharge / top-up information
  • Combo plans, data plans, and special packs (such as social media packs)   

With that being said, let’s see what Unitel and Movicel have to offer to us.

Unitel

Unitel Angola Logo

Unitel is the largest operator in Angola. They also have the best coverage throughout Angola.

You can buy a Unitel SIM card, called Prépago SIM, for 900 AOA in Unitel stores. Recharge cards are widely available. To top-up, dial *101*VoucherCode#. For example, if your voucher code is 123456, you would dial *101*123456#. Dial *111# to check your Unitel balance.

Unitel Mobile Internet

Unitel has data-only bundles, which they referred to as Net. The following options are available:

PricePrice with 14% TaxDataValidity
88 AOA100.32 AOA100 MB24 hours
175 AOA199.50 AOA200 MB24 hours
307 AOA349.98 AOA70 MB15 days
439 AOA500.46 AOA100 MB15 days
878 AOA1000.92 AOA400 MB15 days
1755 AOA2000.7 AOA1 GB31 days
4385 AOA4998.9 AOA3 GB31 days
8772 AOA10 000.08 AOA8 GB31 days
10 527 AOA12 000.78 AOA20 GB31 days
21 053 AOA24 000.42 AOA30 GB31 days

Unitel APN Settings

In most cases, your phone will retrieve the correct APN settings automatically. If you need to enter it manually, then you need the following details (do not add anything not mentioned below):

  • APN: internet.unitel.co.ae

RELATED GUIDES:

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Movicel

Movicel Angola Logo

Movicel is the smaller operator in Angola. Their coverage is okay but not as extensive as the one of Unitel.

You can buy a Movicel SIM card for 900 AOA in Movicel stores. Top-up vouchers can be purchased everywhere. To top-up, dial *198*VoucherCode#. For example, if your voucher code is 123456. You would dial *198*123456#. Dial *196# to check your Movicel balance.

Movicel Mobile Internet

Movicel has several combo plans and data-only plans, which are:

  • Takuiá (short-term combo plans)
  • Karga (combo plans)
  • Movinet (data-only plans)
  • Aditivos (Noites) (nighttime data-only plans)

Let’s go through each of them.

Movicel Takuiá

The Takuiá plans are short-term combo plans that come with data, minutes, and SMS. There are two Takuiá plans, which are both valid for 3 days:

PriceDataOn-Net MinutesOff-Net MinutesOn-Net SMSOff-Net SMSValidityActivation
400 AOA100 MB30 on-net minutes5 off-net minutes30 on-net SMS5 off-net SMS3 daysDial *500*30# OR text VOZ to 19500
400 AOA400 MB10 on-net minutes5 off-net minutes10 on-net SMS5 off-net SMS3 daysDial *500*10# OR text DADOS to 19500
Movitel Karga

The Karga plans are combo plans data, minutes, and SMS. The following four Karga plans are available:

PriceDataOn-Net MinutesOff-Net MinutesOn-Net SMSOff-Net SMSValidityActivation
850 AOA150 MB150 on-net minutes20 off-net minutes150 on-net SMS20 off-net SMS7 daysDial *500*850# OR text LEVE to 19500
2200 AOA700400 on-net minutes50 off-net minutes400 on-net SMS50 off-net SMS30 daysDial *500*2200# OR text NICE to 19500
3900 AOA1 GB750 on-net minutes80 off-net minutes750 on-net SMS80 off-net SMS30 daysDial *500*3900# OR text TUDO to 19500
7400 AOA2 GB1600 on-net minutes160 off-net minutes1600 on-net SMS160 off-net SMS30 daysDial *500*7400# OR text BWE to 19500
Movicel Movinet

The Movinet plans are data-only plans. You have the following options:

PriceDataValidityActivation
100 AOA100 MB1 dayDial *200*100# OR text 100 to 19200
350 AOA200 MB7 daysDial *200*350# OR text 200 to 19200
1000 AOA500 MB15 daysDial *200*1000# OR text 500 to 19200
1900 AOA1 GB30 daysDial *200*1900# OR text 1 to 19200
4800 AOA3 GB30 daysDial *200*4800# OR text 3 to 19200
7900 AOA5 GB30 daysDial *200*7900# OR text 5 to 19200
18 000 AOA15 GB30 daysDial *200*18000# OR text 15 to 19200
Movicel Aditivos (Noites)

The Noites plans are nighttime data-only plans that can be used between 00:00-6:00 (12 AM-6 AM). The following 2 options are available:

PriceDataValidityActivation
1500 AOA2 GB7 nightsDial *201*1500# OR text SEMANA to 19201
4000 AOA10 GB30 nightsDial *201*4000# OR text MES to 19201

Movicel APN Settings

In most cases, your phone will retrieve the correct APN settings automatically. If you need to enter it manually, then you need the following details (do not add anything not mentioned below):

  • APN: internet.movicel.co.ao

Other Ways to Get Online When Traveling in Angola

Getting an Angolan SIM card is probably the cheapest way to connect to the internet when traveling in Angola. However, you can also:

Mobile Hotspots

Mobile hotspots are battery-powered wireless router that allows you to connect your phone, laptop, or tablet without needing multiple SIM cards for those devices to be connected to the internet. They are excellent for those traveling in groups, like friends or family.

You can either buy a mobile hotspot (like the ones I cover in this article) or rent them. As a solo traveler, I barely get a mobile hotspot for myself. When I do, I rent them from Travelwifi, which covers 130+ destinations for as little as $7/day, or Skyroam, which also covers more than 130 destinations, and data starts from $8/day. You can get a discount with Skyroam by using coupon code PHONETRAVELWIZ upon checkout.

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International SIM Cards & Travel SIM Cards

International SIM cards and travel SIM cards can be a convenient way to stay connected when traveling around multiple countries. Many countries require those buying local prepaid SIM cards to go through a registration procedure, like in Angola.

Although I love to collect SIM cards, many do not. So having one SIM card that covers all the destinations you are visiting can be a blessing. I recommend four companies that sell international SIM cards or travel SIM cards:

  • Surfroam: my go-to SIM card when I arrive in a new destination and do not have a local prepaid SIM card yet. Airport WIFI is usually slow, and I am impatient and need to be connected right away. Data for as little as €0.01/MB (or €10.24/GB) in over 200 destinations. Read my Surfroam review.
  • SimOptions: a travel SIM card reseller that sells AMAZING travel SIM cards, covering multiple destinations, for reasonable prices. I have tried multiple SIM cards from SimOptions and have always been satisfied. Check out my review covering SimOptions SIM cards.
  • SimCorner: a travel SIM card reseller, but they also sell local SIM cards of the destination you are visiting and deliver them to your home, which is rather unique. See my SimCorner review.
  • OneSimCard: the ultimate international SIM card. It works in every corner in the world, and you can even buy multiple numbers from different countries and use them on ONE SIM card. A game-changer! See my article analyzing OneSimCard.

Roaming

Roaming with your provider is the most convenient way to stay connected when traveling because you can keep using your SIM card and do not have to buy a new one. However, roaming often results in expensive bills, but that does not always have to be the case. Your operator may offer attractive roaming packages, but it will most likely be more expensive than buying a local prepaid SIM card and getting a data package from a local operator.

I have an article explaining why roaming is so expensive. I also have many articles covering the roaming options of operators around the world, and make a verdict saying roaming can be worth it or not. Finally, I discuss many phone travel tips to keep your phone bills low when traveling.

Free WIFI Hotspots

Using free WIFI connections is the cheapest way to connect to the internet because you do not have to pay anything. However, free WIFI hotspots can be unsecure and unreliable.

You will find some hotspots throughout Angola, but they will be slow. Additionally, public WIFI hotspots are unsecure. They are a prime target for hackers to steal your data and use it for illicit purposes, which is why I ALWAYS use a VPN on open WIFI connections (and even on private ones, even at home).

What a VPN does is creating an encrypted tunnel between your device and the hotspot so that your data will stay private. I use NordVPN, and you can get up to 70% off when you get a NordVPN subscription. Get your subscription now!

The Preferred Way to Stay Connected When Traveling in Angola

Getting a SIM card from Unitel (best coverage and affordable) would do you well considering an Angolan SIM card.

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Local Prepaid SIM Card in Other African Countries

Going to other countries in Central Africa? Check out my Central Africa SIM card buying guide, covering other Central African nations, such as:

Be sure to check out this guide covering all African countries, such as these popular African travel destinations:

Otherwise, I have many guides covering countries all over the world. Get my SIM card recommendation sheet by signing up for my newsletter!

What is next?

Looking for the best companies and gadgets to enhance your travel experience? Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel! Save money on plane tickets, bus rides, cruises, and accommodation. Besides that, I also list services and items I use to make my life easier – and I believe they will help you too!

Book Your Flight for Angola

It is time to book your flight. Find cheap flights with AirWander so that you can add free or cheap stopovers in destinations you have not considered yet before going to Angola.

Book Your Accommodation for Angola

I am a huge fan of Airbnb because it allows me to live with a local or get a local place for myself. Staying in someone’s house or apartment feels much different than being in a ho(s)tel, especially in Angola. At least, that is how I see it. Moreover, Airbnb can often be much cheaper than staying in an Angolan hotel.

Get Your Travel Insurance for Angola

You will regret not having travel insurance once you actually need it and “forgot” to get it. Nowadays, travel insurance is cheap and comprehensive unlike back in the days. World Nomads is by far the best travel insurance for adventurous travelers like yourself. You can even get insured WHILE already traveling in Angola, which is not something many insurance companies allow you to do.

Get a Travel Debit Card

Travel Cheques are outdated. Paying with your credit card or debit card can be expensive because of all the exchange commissions banks charge you. TransferWise allows you to convert your main currency to Angolan Kwanza for a small fee (up to 8 times less than with your bank!) Getting a Transferwise Borderless account is FREE, so you will get an instant return on your investment.

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Enjoy your trip!

Ernest Adu

Ernest Adu, going by just Adu, is the founder and editor at Phone Travel Wiz. He has been a traveler for 6 years. Although from Europe, the Netherlands, Adu's favorite region in Asia, in particular, East and Southeast Asia. He currently lives in Tainan, Taiwan, and plans on exploring Oceania and more of East and Southeast Asia.

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