Are you wondering how roaming works? This article I wrote explains it in detail
Moreover, it is easy to get a SIM card in Seychelles. You could buy a SIM card from Airtel Seychelles or Cable & Wireless Seychelles at the international airport at no premium, or you can visit one of their stores in town to get yourself one.
The telecom situation is straightforward on Seychelles, but there are still some things you need to know about buying a local prepaid SIM card there.
In this article, I will go over everything you need to know about buying a SIM card in Seychelles. Let's get started.
Telecom Operators, Networks, and Frequencies in Seychelles
Seychelles has two mobile telecom operators:
Both operators have 2G, 3G, and 4G/LTE networks.
The following frequencies are used by the Seychelles operators:
- 2G: 900 MHz
- 3G: 2100 MHz
- 4G/LTE: 800 MHz (Band 20)
The Best Prepaid SIM Card in Seychelles
If you want to buy a SIM card in Seychelles, then both Airtel and Cable & Wireless are good options. Airtel has better coverage on the main islands in Seychelles, while Cable & Wireless charge slightly less for their packages and covers the smaller islands.
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SIM Card Registration Regulations in Seychelles
Just like all countries in East Africa, and Africa in general, you have to register your passport details to buy a SIM card in Seychelles.
The State of the Telecom Market in Seychelles
(This section is not potent to learn how to get a SIM card in Seychelles, and the prices for the packages offered by the local operators. However, it does give you background information on how the Seychelles telecom market is, and it explains why things are how they are. If you are simply interested in getting a SIM card in Seychelles, click here to jump to the first operator.)
Seychelles is a multi-island nation. Island nations sometimes have to deal with extremely slow internet because of satellite use instead of submarine cables. Submarine cables provide much faster internet speeds than satellites, and about 99% of the global internet traffic goes through submarine Cables.
In the case of Seychelles, they are connected to two international submarine cables (PEACE & SEAS), meaning that internet speeds will be significantly faster compared to island nations that use satellite connections, like Ascension Island.
Normally, I look at the Speedtest Global Index to see how a country is doing with their mobile internet speeds. Unfortunately, not enough users in Seychelles do speed tests with the Speedtest app on their phones for a representative average. However, the average download speed for fixed broadband was 34 Mbps in June 2020, placing Seychelles on place 86 of the 174 countries indexed. That looks promising.
However, according to a study done by Cable.co.uk, the mean download speed in Seychelles is 2.93 Mbps, placing Seychelles on spot 146 of the 208 countries studied. This means that it would take almost 4 hours to download a 5 GB movie on mobile.
Moreover, (mobile) internet is on the more expensive side in Seychelles when compared to the rest of Africa. The Alliance 4 Affordable Internet (A4AI) found that the average cost for 1 GB of data is 6.45 USD in Africa. In Seychelles, the average price of 1 GB of data is 11.43 USD. When looking at the mobile data costs at a regional level (Sub-Saharan Africa), Seychelles is still on the more expensive side. 1 GB of data costs 6.91 USD on average in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Cable & Wireless Seychelles is already boasting their 5G (NR) plans for the country, which should result in much faster (mobile) internet speeds for the island nation. Airtel will follow suit with their 5G (NR) development, so I expect much faster speeds in Seychelles in the coming few years.
When looking at coverage, it looks like both operators cover Seychelles well. But as mentioned in the Best Prepaid SIM Card in Seychelles section, Airtel Seychelles has the best coverage on the main islands, while Cable & Wireless Seychelles also covers some smaller islands (Silhouette Island & Ile du Nord)
Currency in Seychelles
Seychelles uses the Seychellois Rupee with the symbol SCR (which will be used throughout this article). Prices in Seychelles are listed in SCR or SR. For reference, below are some exchange rates between SCR and USD (US Dollars – Rounded):
- 1 SCR = 0.06 USD
- 10 SCR = 0.55 USD
- 100 SCR = 5.70 USD
- 1000 SCR = 56.80 USD
- 10 000 SCR = 568.15 USD
For up-to-date SCR:USD exchange rates, search SCR 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!
Seychelles Prepaid SIM Cards
Below, I will guide you through Airtel Seychelles and Cable & Wireless Seychelles and go through:
- Background information about the operators
- How to get a SIM card from each operator
- How to recharge your SIM card
- What type of data-featured packages are offered by the operators
What that being said, let's see what the Seychelles operators have to offer to us.
Getting an Airtel Seychelles Prepaid SIM Card
You can buy an Airtel SIM card for 100 SCR in Airtel Showrooms and from many other types of stores throughout Seychelles, like grocery stores, kiosks, and convenience stores. Airtel also has a booth at Seychelles International Airport (Victoria-Seychelles Airport). The SIM card will come with 25 SCR in credit. During promotions, one can get an Airtel SIM card for 50 SCR.
How to See your Airtel Seychelles Phone Number
If you forget your Airtel phone number, you can retrieve it by dialing *121#, choosing option 1 (My account), and option 1 again (My telephone number).
Topping-Up Your Airtel Seychelles Prepaid SIM Card
Airtel top-up vouchers are sold at any store that has the Airtel logo on their storefront, which are grocery stores, convenience stores, and gas stations. Recharge vouchers are sold from 50 SCR to 1000 SCR. It is also possible to recharge online with an international debit or credit card.
Airtel Seychelles Internet Packages, Plans, Bundles & Offers
Airtel has only one type of data-featured plan, which is their data bundles. The following data bundles are available, which can be activated by dialing *121#:
|24 SCR||50 MB||7 days|
|49 SCR||150 MB||15 days|
|98 SCR||300 MB||30 days|
|149 SCR||750 MB||30 days|
|299 SCR||1.5 GB||30 days|
|499 SCR||3 GB||30 days|
|999 SCR||7 GB *||30 days|
|1999 SCR||15 GB||30 days|
* Officially, the Airtel site states that you get 7158 MB, which is about 6.99 GB. I assume that is a typo and should have been 7168 MB, which is exactly 7 GB.
To check your Airtel data balance, dial *220*3#
Airtel Seychelles APN Settings
In most cases, your phone will retriece the correct Airtel Seychelles APN setting automatically. If you need to enter the APN settings manually, then you need the following details (do not add anything else not mentioned down below):
- Name: Airtel
- APN: airtelgprs.com
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Cable & Wireless Seychelles
Cable & Wireless Seychelles, just Cable & Wireless, is the other operator in Seychelles. They used to have a monopoly in Seychelles until Airtel entered the market. Since then, they lost their monopoly status and also lost the top spot.
Cable & Wireless' coverage is slightly worse than the one of Airtel. However, one average, Cable & Wireless is marginally cheaper than Airtel. Moreover, Cable & Wireless offers a dedicated allowance for Facebook, which means Facebook use does not get deducted from your main data allowance.
Getting a Cable & Wireless Seychelles Prepaid SIM Card
You can get a Cable & Wireless SIM card for 100 SCR in Cable & Wireless Stores throughout multiple islands and at their booth at Seychelles International Airport (Victoria-Seychelles Airport). The SIM card will come with 25 SCR in credit.
How to See your Cable & Wireless Seychelles Phone Number
You can retrieve your Cable & Wireless phone number by dialing #126#.
Topping-Up Your Cable & Wireless Prepaid SIM Card
You can recharge your Cable & Wireless SIM card with eTopUps, which are electronic top-up vouchers that can be purchased in Cable & Wireless stores and 300+ stores across Seychelles. eTopUps start from 50 SCR to 1000 SCR. It is also possible to top-up online with an international debit or credit card.
In the past, PayPal was an accepted payment method, but that has been discontinued recently.
To check your Cable & Wireless balance, dial #125#.
Cable & Wireless Internet Packages, Plans, Bundles & Offers
Cable & Wireless has one type of data-only bundles, which are their Data TopUps. They come with data, while some plans also come with a dedicated Facebook data allowance.
Cable & Wireless Seychelles Data TopUps
The following Data TopUps are available, which can be activated by dialing #155#:
|24 SCR||50 MB||N/A||7 days|
|49 SCR||150 MB||N/A||15 days|
|99 SCR||300 MB||N/A||30 days|
|199 SCR||1 GB||N/A||30 days|
|399 SCR||2 GB||N/A||30 days|
|549 SCR||3 GB||300 MB||30 days|
|749 SCR||4 GB||400 MB||30 days|
|849 SCR||5 GB||500 MB||30 days|
|1699 SCR||10 GB||1000 MB||30 days|
You can check your data balance by dialing #125#.
Cable & Wireless Seychelles APN Settings
In most cases, your phone will retrieve the correct Cable & Wireless APN settings automatically. You can also text all to 9633 to retrieve the APN settings. If that does not work and you need to add them manually, then you need the following details (do not add anything else not mentioned below):
- Name: CW Seychelles
- APN: internet
Other Ways to Get Online When Traveling in Seychelles
Getting a Seychelles SIM card is the cheapest way to stay connected when traveling in Seychelles.
Although the average data prices in Seychelles are on the more expensive end when looking at Africa in general, they are still affordable. However, getting an Airtel or Cable & Wireless SIM card is not the only way to get online when in Seychelles. You could also:
- Get an international SIM card
- Roam with your provider in Seychelles
- Use WIFI connections in Seychelles
International SIM Cards for Seychelles
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 Seychelles. This can be time-consuming and bothersome.
Moreover, you will have to deal with multiple numbers and SIM cards when traveling, which makes it hard for friends and family to stay in touch with you when not using messaging apps.
Surfroam for Seychelles
When in Seychelles, I would not recommend watching YouTube videos or anything that uses a lot of data with your Surfroam SIM card, because you would be paying a lot for in Seychelles. In other destinations where you only pay €0.01/MB, I do not even pay attention to how much data I use.
Even if you will not use your Surfroam in Seychelles, you will always have a SIM card to rely on in case of emergencies.
Roaming with Your Provider in Seychelles
We have already established that international roaming can be expensive in many cases. However, it is the most convenient way to stay connected when traveling because you do not have to swap SIM cards and your friends and family can reach you on the phone number they already have.
There is no particular operator that comes up in my mind that has an attractive roaming plan that covers Seychelles. However, I have written roaming guides of many operators around the world. You could look for yours and see if they have decent rates for Seychelles.
Free WIFI Hotspots in Seychelles
I do not think I have to explain this one a lot. Using free WIFI hotspots is the cheapest way to get online because you do not have to pay for anything. However, free WIFI hotspots can be unsecure and unreliable.
You will find many open hotspots throughout Seychelles, but they will be slow. Moreover, 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 use, and would recommend you to start using, a Virtual Private Network (VPN) if you connect to a public hotspot. 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 as my primary VPN.
The Preferred Way to Stay Connected When Traveling in Seychelles
Getting a SIM card from Airtel (best coverage) or Cable & Wireless (cheapest option) would do you well considering a Seychelles SIM card.
Local Prepaid SIM Card in Other African Countries
Going to other countries in East Africa? Check out my East Africa SIM card buying guide, covering other East African nations, such as:
Be sure to check out this guide covering all African countries, such as these popular African travel destinations:
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