Buying a Prepaid SIM Card in Equatorial Guinea Guide

When planning on visiting Equatorial Guinea, you are probably wondering how to stay connected in the country. Buying a local prepaid SIM card, like an Equatoguinean, is often the most affordable way to stay connected because international roaming has proven to be more expensive in many cases.

You may have heard that mobile data rates are one of the highest in Equatorial Guinea on a continental level. Together with Zimbabwe, Guinea-Bissau, Chad, Libya, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and South Africa, getting 1 GB of data will cost you more than 10 USD.

To some, these are reasonable prices. For African standards, however, this is expensive.

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

Buying a SIM Card in Equatorial Guinea Guide (Muni & Getesa)

Telecom Operators, Networks, and Frequencies in Equatorial Guinea

Equatorial-Guinea has 2 GSM telecom operators:

Both operators have 2G and 3G networks. 4G/LTE is not available yet, but both operators are planning on launching 4G/LTE soon.

There is also a third operator called Gecomsa. Gecomsa uses CDMA, which is incompatible with GSM phones. Only a handful of countries, such as the United States, Japan, South Korea, and Russia, use CMDA, and most of their operators are planning on shutting down their CDMA network in the near future. Since CDMA phones are not popular nowadays (and incompatible with GSM phones), Gecomsa will not be covered in this article.

The following frequencies are used by the Equatoguinean operators:

  • 2G: 900 MHz & 1800 MHz
  • 3G: 900 MHz & 1800 MHz

The Best Prepaid SIM Card in Equatorial Guinea

If you want to buy a SIM card in Equatorial Guinea, then Getesa is the best option. They have the best coverage throughout the country, and they are, on average, cheaper than Muni.

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SIM Card Registration Regulations in Equatorial Guinea

Just like most countries in Central Africa, and Africa in general, you have to register your passport details to buy a SIM card in Equatorial Guinea.

Flag of Equatorial Guinea

The State of the Telecom Market in Equatorial Guinea

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

Equatorial Guinea is next to the ocean, which means it is connected to several submarine cables. This is essential to know because most landlocked African countries have slow speeds and bad connections because the country has to rely on neighboring countries for fiber bandwidth.

The issue is that there is massive inequality in terms of internet access in Equatorial Guinea. Although internet services are widespread throughout the country, the quality of service is lacking due to the lack of proper broadband infrastructure. A country can have access to multiple submarine cables. However, if the domestic internet infrastructure is lacking, then the locals cannot take advantage of the connection.

According to a study done by cable.co.uk, the mean download speed in Equatorial Guinea is less than 1 Mbps. In other words, it would take more than 22 hours to download a 5 GB file. This study focused on broadband speeds. Mobile speeds are often slower than broadband speeds, so one should not expect fast speeds in Equatorial Guinea.

Moreover, (mobile) internet is expensive in Equatorial Guinea. According to a study done by the Alliance 4 Affordable Internet, the average cost of 1 GB of data in Equatorial Guinea is 34.25 USD compared to the Central African average of 8.12 USD. That is much more than the African average of 6.45 USD/GB. Together with Zimbabwe, Equatorial Guinea is the most expensive African nation to buy data.

In short, mobile data is expensive in Equatorial Guinea. In some cases, it may be worth to roam with your provider if they offer lower rates than offered by the Equatoguinean operators. Do note that if you plan on roaming in the country, you will experience even slower speeds because Getesa and Muni will prioritize the traffic of their customers over roaming traffic.

Currency in Equatorial Guinea

Equatorial Guinea uses the Central African CFA France with the symbol XAF (which will be used throughout this article), which should NOT be confused with the West African CFA Franc with the symbol XOF. Prices in Equatorial Guinea are listed in (F)CFA. For example, 25 XAF is 25(F)CFA. For reference, below are some exchange rates between XAF and USD (US Dollars – Rounded):

  • 10 XAF = 0.02 USD
  • 100 XAF = 0.20 USD
  • 1000 XAF = 1.70 USD
  • 10 000 XAF = 17.15USD
  • 100 000 XAF = 171.50 USD
  • 1 000 000 XAF = 1714.80 USD

For up-to-date XAF:USD exchange rates, search XAF 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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Equatoguinean Prepaid SIM Cards

Below, I will guide you through Getesa and Muni 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 Getesa and Muni have to offer to us.

Getesa

Getesa Logo

Getesa is the largest operator in Equatorial-Guinea. They also have the best coverage throughout the country,

Getting a Getesa SIM Card

You can buy a Getesa SIM card for 2000 XAF in Getesa stores. The SIM card comes with 2000 XAF in credit. Dial #222# to check your Getesa balance. Call 333 to change the system language.

Getesa Internet Packages, Plans, Bundles & Offers

Getesa has data-only packages called Paquetes de datos de Prepago. The following data packs are available, which can be activated by dialing *100#:

PriceDataValidity
500 XAF30 MB24 hours
900 XAF65 MB24 hours
1800 XAF160 MB24 hours
2500 XAF320 MB24 hours
3300 XAF500 MB24 hours
3000 XAF250 MB7 days
6000 XAF500 MB7 days
9000 XAF1 GB7 days
12 000 XAF2 GB7 days
10 000 XAF1 GB30 days
16 000 XAF2 GB30 days
30 000 XAF4 GB30 days
40 000 XAF6 GB30 days
50 000 XAF8 GB30 days
60 000 XAF10 GB30 days

Getesa 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: Getesa
  • APN: internet

RELATED GUIDES:

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Muni

Muni Logo

Muni is the other GSM operator in Equatorial Guinea. When excluding Gecomsa, the CDMA operator, Muni is the smallest operator in the country. Muni’s coverage is worse than the one of Getesa.

Getting a Muni SIM Card & Topping Up

You can buy a Muni SIM card for 1500 XAF in Muni stores. You may have to call 333 to activate your Muni SIM card after purchase if the salesperson does not do that for you. Top-up vouchers are widely available. To top-up, dial *222# and follow the instructions. Dial *555# to check your Muni balance.

Muni Internet Packages, Plans, Bundles & Offers

Muni has a combo plan called Mi Uno and data-only bundles, which is referred to as internet.

Muni Mi Uno

The Mi Uno plans are short-term combo plans that come with data, minutes, and SMS. The following two options are available, which can be activated by dialing *123# and selecting option 3:

PriceDataMinutesSMSValidity
1000 XAF15 MB5 minutes50 SMS1 day
7500 XAF200 MB25 minutes250 SMS7 days
Muni Tarifas de Internet (Data Packages)

The internet packages are standard data-only packages. The following six options are available:

PriceDataValidity
500 XAF15 MB1 day
2500 XAF100 MB1 day
5000 XAF200 MB7 days
10 000 XAF500 MB7 days
20 000 XAF1 GB30 days
40 000 XAF2.5 GB30 days

Muni 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: Muni
  • APN: Muni

Other Ways to Get Online When Traveling in Equatorial Guinea

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

Mobile Hotspots for Equatorial Guinea

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). As a solo traveler, I barely get a mobile hotspot for myself, but they can be useful when traveling in pairs or as a group.

Skyroam covers more than 130 destinations around the world, including Equatorial Guinea. Their daily rate is $8.99 (which is lower than the average price of 1 GB of data in Equatorial Guinea), and you get unlimited internet through the mobile hotspot – wherever you go. You can get a discount with Skyroam by using coupon code PHONETRAVELWIZ upon checkout. You should take advantage of that!

Skyroam banner

Roaming with your Provider in Equatorial Guinea

Earlier, we learned that, together with Zimbabwe, mobile data in Equatorial Guinea is the priciest country to buy mobile data. This probably makes you wonder whether you should roam 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 how what international roaming is or how it works? Check out this guide that explains it in detail).

The issue, however, is that international roaming often results in expensive bills. Generally, mobile operators offer attractive roaming packages compared to standard roaming rates, but it will most likely be more expensive than buying a local prepaid SIM card and getting a data package from a local operator.

Since mobile data in Equatorial Guinea is already expensive, international roaming in the country will be even more expensive. Most African operators, or operators around the world for that matter, do not include Equatorial Guinea in their roaming packages, meaning you will have to pay standard roaming rates (which is how people get roaming bills in the thousands).

This is the same reason why I do not recommend getting an international SIM card for Equatorial Guinea because none of them have affordable rates, including my favorite international SIM card Surfroam (€0.25/MB in Equatorial Guinea, or €256/GB – no thanks).

If you want to check the roaming rates for your operator for in Equatorial Guinea yourself, I also have many articles covering the roaming options of operators around the world, and I conclude each analysis with whether roaming with your operator is worth it or not. I discuss many phone travel tips to keep your phone bills low when traveling.

Using Free WIFI Hotspots in Equatorial Guinea

Nothing beats free, which is why free WIFI connections are loved – you do not have to pay a penny. The main issue with free WIFI hotspots is that they are not always readily available, and they can be unreliable.

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

Since broadband rates are high in Equatorial Guinea (even more expensive than mobile data rates), You will not find many hotspots in Equatorial Guinea. Those you will find will be unbearably slow.

Although the hotspot may be free, they are open to everyone, which makes them targets for hackers and those who want to use your personal details for things they should not be using them for.

This is why you should ALWAYS use a VPN when using public WIFI hotspots (in fact, I use one all the time because internet service providers can also see what you are doing – in some countries, they sell your browsing data to advertisers).

Luckily, VPNs have become more affordable over the years, like Surfshark. I recommend Surfshark for those wanting to use a VPN in Equatorial Guinea and recommend connecting to servers in Nigeria. The servers in Nigeria are the closest to Equatorial Guinea (there are no servers in Equatorial Guinea… yet).

Because the server location in Nigeria is so close to Equatorial Guinea, the drop in speed will be minimal (and speeds in Equatorial Guinea are already slow, as established earlier). However, based on using Surfshark for around a year now, the speed reduction when routing your traffic through Surdshark will be minimal.

Surfshark is affordable, has many servers around the world, and allows you to connect as many devices as you want on one account (which is rather unique – most VPN providers put a cap on that). Surfshark has regular promotions going on, so better check if one is going on right now, and keep your internet traffic secure and away from prying eyes!

Surfshark Banner

The Preferred Way to Stay Connected When Traveling in Equatorial Guinea

Getting a SIM card from Getesa (best coverage and affordable) would do you well considering an Equatoguinean 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:

  • Angola
  • Central African Republic
  • Chad
  • Congo-Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of the Congo)
  • Gabon
  • São Tomé and Príncipe

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!

Sign Up for the Phone Travel Wiz Newsletter

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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