Buying a Prepaid SIM Card in Angola Guide

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? Because 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.

Buying a SIM Card in Angola Guide (Movicel & Unitel)

Telecom Operators, Networks, and Frequencies in Angola

Angola has 2 telecom operators:

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 checked and recorded.

Flag of Angola

The State of the Telecom Market in Angola

(This section is not potent to learn how to get a SIM card in Angola, and the prices for the packages offered by the local operators. However, it does give you background information on how the Angolan telecom market is, and it explains why things are how they are. If you are simply interested in getting a SIM card in Angola, click here to jump to the first operator.)

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.

If your credit/debit card charges you foreign exchange fees, get yourself a Transferwise Borderless Account and Debit Card. Their fees are MUCH lower than banks, and credit card companies charge you (and Transferwise is transparent about their fees, unlike banks). I have saved literal THOUSANDS of Euros, my main currency, when using Transferwise abroad when traveling compared to my debit and credit cards. Open a Transferwise account FREE!

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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.

Video Guide for Buying a SIM Card in Angola

Are you a visual learner? You can watch this Angola SIM Card Buying Guide! It is recommended to read the remainder of the review after watching this video (I refer to this article a few times throughout the video). Otherwise, you will be missing key elements related to Angolan SIM cards. Also, be sure to subscribe to the channel after watching the video!

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.

Getting a Unitel Prepaid SIM Card & Topping Up

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 Packages, Plans, Bundles & Offers

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):

  • Name: Unitel AO
  • 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.

Getting a Movicel Prepaid SIM Card & Topping Up

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 Packages, Plans, Bundles & Offers

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

Click on the links above to jump to the plan you are interested in.

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
Movicel 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):

  • Name: Movicel Internet
  • 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 for Angola

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.

If you want to rent a mobile hotspot from Travelwifi (called Teppy) for Angola, then prices start from $8.95/day (1 GB high-speed internet) to $12.95/day (3 GB high-speed internet). If you go over your high-speed data allowance, your speeds will be reduced 256 Kbps, which is unlimited and gets reset to high speeds the next day. Quite a good deal!

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Roaming with your Provider in Angola

Earlier, I mentioned that the cost of 1 GB of data in Angola is slightly below the African average, which some see as a sign that they should roam in Angola instead.

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 (No idea what international roaming is or how it works? This guide explains it all)

The issue with international roaming, However, roaming often results in expensive bills, but that does not always have to be the case. Your operator may offer attractive roaming packages,

Unfortunately, not many African operators, or operators around the world for that matter, include Angola in their most attractive roaming plans, bundles, or packages, so you will most likely pay standard roaming rates in Angola.

However, those rates could still be affordable. Check out my roaming guides and see if I have covered your operator already. From there, see if the prices charged for Angola are reasonable or not. If not, get yourself a Unitel or Movicel SIM card.

Be aware that I discuss many phone travel tips to keep your phone bills low when traveling.

Using Free WIFI Hotspots in Angola

This should be the most popular option because you do not have to pay anything for free WIFI hotspots because they are free. However, you first have to locate them.

You will find some WIFI hotspots throughout Angola, but most of them will be slow.

Be aware that public WIFI hotspots are unsecure. They are a prime target for hackers to steal your data and use it for illicit purposes.

That is why I ALWAYS use a VPN on open WIFI connections (and even on private ones, even at home – internet service providers can still see what you are doing).

What a VPN does is creating an encrypted tunnel between your device and the hotspot so that your data will stay private and secure.

For Angola, I recommend Surfshark as the preferred VPN (which I have been using for years now) and connect to servers in South Africa. Sadly, Surfshark does not have servers in Angola (yet). South Africa is the closest server to Angola.

The distance between Luanda and Cape Town is quite a lot, so you will experience slower speeds when connected to a free WIFI hotspot compared to not being securely routed through Surfshark. At least you do not have to worry about your data getting stolen or being spied on.

Surfshark is affordable, and they regularly have discounts on their subscription, so get yourself a VPN from Surfshark through this link, and stay secure and private with Surfshark!

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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!

Next Steps to Enhance Your Travel Experiences

Looking for the next steps to enhance your phone travel experiences? Here is what to do:

Check Out My Resource Page

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 with international SIM cards, 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!

Phone Travel Tips & Hacks

I have written many articles with tips and hacks to save money on mobile costs while abroad. You surely want to check them out!

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Sign up for my newsletter: Get an excel sheet of the best SIM cards of over 230+ destinations around the world, updated monthly! Moreover, I send you many tips and tricks on how to save money while traveling every now and then.

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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 due to the current pandemic and does not have any travel plans for after his stay in Taiwan.

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