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Cairo International Airport (CAI) SIM Card Buying Guide

Cairo – known for its pyramids, museums & mosques.

It is also known its the Sphinx.

Cairo International Airport also acts as the gateway to Africa because it is the busiest airport on the continent (it overtook South Africa's Johannesburg-O.R. Tambo International Airport after COVID-19).

Writing a list of all the cool things to do in Cairo would require another blog post (or a dedicated Cairo blog), so I will save you from that because you want to know what SIM card options are available at the airport.

Anyway, which SIM cards are available at the airport?

You can get a Vodafone Egypt, Orange Egypt, Etisalat Egypt, or WE (Telecom Egypt) SIM card for between 193.70 EGP (6.30 USD) and 923 EGP (29.85 USD) at Cairo International Airport (CAI).

The cheapest SIM card will give you 27 GB of data, whereas the most expensive is 151 GB.

Yeah… SIM cards are not expensive in Egypt 😎.

But are the ones sold at the airport any good?

Let's review all your options and see if getting a SIM card at Cairo International Airport is even worth it.

Buying a SIM Card at Cairo International Airport Guide

Original publication: 10th of December 2023. Last updated: 14th of January 2024.


Table of Contents

Mobile Operators in Egypt

Before I tell you about the SIM card and eSIM options you have at Cairo International Airport (CAI), you first need to know about all the mobile operators in Egypt.

Egypt has four mobile operators offering prepaid services easily accessible to travelers:

  • Vodafone Egypt
  • Orange Egypt
  • Etisalat Egypt
  • WE by Telecom Egypt
Cellular Connectivity Illustration by Phone Travel Wiz

All the Egyptian mobile operators sell SIM cards at the airport, giving you plenty of choice.

More surprisingly, the SIM cards are sold at reasonable prices (not (highly) inflated, unlike at most airports).


Where to Buy a SIM Card at Cairo International Airport

Vodafone Egypt, Orange Egypt, Etisalat Egypt & WE by Telecom Egypt SIM cards are sold in the baggage claim area of Terminals 1, 2 & 3 at Cairo International Airport (CAI).

Yes, I said baggage claim – not the arrivals hall.

At least, that is the case with Terminal 2 – although I did see Vodafone and Orange stalls in the arrivals hall (the Vodafone one was slightly hidden).

I flew with Turkish Airlines from Istanbul to Cairo. Typically, it uses Terminal 3 with various other Star Alliance members. Not on the day I flew in… for some reason.

Cairo International Airport has three terminals.

This guide will focus on the plans offered at Terminal 2 because that is the one I used, and it is not easy to transfer between terminals after luggage claim and customs.

Yes, the airport has an Automated People Mover (APM). But it can only be used by those not going through immigration. The APM is on the airside of the airport (for transit passengers), not the landside.

So, I could not really be bothered to see what was happening at Terminal 1 and Terminal 3 🗿.

After immigration and the guy checking your passport to see if you have received your entry stamp, you take the escalator or stairs down to baggage claim.

If you are lucky, a lady or two from tourist services will rush towards you, asking where you are from, if you are staying in Cairo & have a transfer to your next destination – they are trying to sell you a tour or private transfer.

Yes, unsolicited offers are rarely appreciated, but the staff are friendly, polite & simply curious. Please do not be rude towards them… as I have seen another traveler be 🙄.

If I recall correctly, you have the Etisalat booth on your left.

Etisalat Egypt Store at Cairo International Airport Luggage Claim

Across the Etisalat store, you have WE by Telecom Egypt.

WE Egypt Telecom Store at Cairo International Airport Luggage Claim

On the right of Telecom Egypt, you have Vodafone Egypt.

Vodafone Egypt Store at Cairo International Airport Luggage Claim

Then, diagonally, you will find Orange Egypt on the other side of the luggage claim.

Orange Egypt Store at Cairo International Airport Luggage Claim

All mobile operators accept debit and credit cards as payment methods.

You can also pay by cash, but mostly in Egyptian Pounds (EGP) – Orange Egypt is the only store that actively accepts EUR and USD.

However, if you overpay the other mobile operators, I would not be surprised if they would accept EUR, GBP, or USD.

Anyway, let's review each mobile operator to see what they offer us at the airport.


What SIM Cards & Plans Does Vodafone Egypt Sell at Cairo International Airport (+Prices)?

Vodafone Logo
© Vodafone

Vodafone Egypt, just Vodafone but also known as Vodafone Misr or ڤودافون مَصر, is the largest mobile operator in Egypt.

Surprisingly, Telecom Egypt (with WE as its mobile brand), has a 45% stake in Vodafone.

Even though it has its own mobile network 🤨.

Anyway, in Terminal 2, the easiest way to get a Vodafone SIM card is at luggage claim.

And the store is located slightly to the left across the hall (close to customs).

Vodafone Egypt Store at Cairo International Airport Luggage Claim

Two types of SIM cards are available here: the Tourist Line (1) and Flex Lines (7).

The Tourist Line SIM card is straightforward. It gives you 30 GB of data, 200 local minutes & 30 international minutes, valid for 28 days, costing 505 EGP.

The cheaper Tourist Line, 250 EGP with 10 GB of data, 200 local minutes & 20 international minutes, is not sold anymore.

Vodafone Egypt Tourist Line
© Vodafone Egypt

The Flex Line SIM cards work differently because every action is charged in different ways (Flex).

For example, 1 Flex equals 1 MB, 1 on-net minute, or 1 local SMS.

Whereas you are charged 5 Flex per off-net minute.

At least, this is how Flex Lines work if you buy your SIM card in a Vodafone store – the ones sold at the airport are for data only (as per the Vodafone salesperson).

You have these seven Vodafone Flex Line plans:

PricePlanDataSocial Data 1Validity
301 EGPFlex 100 + Plus 6523 GBUnlimited28 days
373 EGPFlex 200 + Plus 1528 GBUnlimited28 days
401 EGPFlex 200 + Plus 3532 GBUnlimited28 days
444 EGPFlex 200 + Plus 6538 GBUnlimited28 days
523 EGPFlex 200 + Plus 12049 GBUnlimited28 days
637 EGPFlex 200 + Plus 20066 GBUnlimited28 days
780 EGPFlex 200 + Plus 30089 GBUnlimited28 days

1 for Facebook and WhatsApp only

Vodafone Egypt SIM Cards at Cairo International Airport Luggage Claim

I bought the Flex 100 + Plus 65 SIM card because (301 EGP).

Before I got my SIM card, I had to hand over my passport, as per Egypt's SIM card registration laws.

SIM Card Registration Worldwide Tool by Phone Travel Wiz

I paid by card, but cash is accepted (Egyptian Pounds, but the staff members may accept USD or EUR… if you overpay them).

Because I still had another SIM card to buy (Orange Egypt) and my private transfer to Alexandria was waiting for us for hours because of a delayed arrival, I was in a hurry and did not confirm if the SIM card worked.

Well, it did not… to some extent.

For some reason, my Vodafone SIM card was restricted to 3G.

Even on 3G, nothing would open.

Initially, I attributed it to driving from Cairo to Alexandria.

But then I realized the other three Egyptian SIM cards worked alright – and had 4G/LTE access most of the time.

I tried changing the APN settings and inserting the SIM card in another phone… all without luck.

Even when I was stationary in Alexandria, my hotel, the SIM card still did not work.

So, it was time to visit a Vodafone store.

First, finding a Vodafone store in my area was difficult – they were limited.

Once I finally found one, there was a long queue. It took me 30 minutes before I could be helped.

Fortunately, the salesperson spoke English. I explained the issue to him… but he tried to dismiss it.

So I tried opening a news page to show him nothing would load – it still did not.

As a result, he put the SIM card into his phone, where an Orange SIM card fell out (🗿) & opened up YouTube to show me it did work.

Yes, the video page loaded, but he was also stuck on 3G (which he did not address).

Eventually, he called customer service to figure out what was wrong.

Well… that is what I thought. He returned my phone and told me to speak to customer care.

??? tf – what type of service is this? 🙄

Eventually, customer care came on the line. The dude spoke English but did tell me he would try his best (it could not get worse than what I experienced in the store I was in).

He told me to run some USSD codes to reset the network and that he would do some things on his end.

The call would disconnect, but he promised to call me a few minutes later.

Unfortunately, the codes did not do anything, nor did whatever he did work.

What surprised me was that the dude actually did call me back. I reported back… and that was it for the evening. More than an hour was wasted 🙄.

I guess I would not be testing Vodafone this time 🥲.

That is what I thought… until I saw that I had 4G/LTE access the morning after.

And everything worked!

So, I suspect that activating a Vodafone SIM card takes about a business day, which the salesperson at the airport did not tell me.

He only told me to leave airplane mode on for about 15 minutes… I guess he was wrong.

And that was it – that is how I got my Vodafone SIM card at Cairo International Airport, which did not work for a day.

One thing the Vodafone store at the airport, or anywhere else, cannot do for you is give you Vodafone eSIMs (because no mobile operator currently offers eSIMs).

Fortunately, travel eSIMs for Egypt are available for reasonable prices.

Even unlimited data options are available.

Another perk with them is that you do not have to deal with Egypt's SIM card registration.

SIM Card Registration Worldwide Tool by Phone Travel Wiz

I write about the best travel eSIMs for Egypt in my Best Egypt eSIM buying guide.

Buying an eSIM for Egypt Guide

I even tried many of them extensively for my Egyptian eSIM review series.

Support Me on Ko-Fi Orange

What SIM Cards & Plans Does Orange Egypt Sell at Cairo International Airport (+Prices)?

Orange Logo
© Orange

Orange Egypt, just Orange but also known as Orange Misr or موبينيل and formerly Mobinil, is the second-largest mobile operator in Egypt.

Together with Vodafone Egypt, it is regarded as the best mobile network in the country.

In Terminal 2, you can get an Orange SIM card at luggage claim (preferred) and in the arrivals hall (tucked in the corner on the left after clearing customs).

The Orange booth is on your right at baggage claim after going down from immigration and secondary passport check.

Orange Egypt Store at Cairo International Airport Luggage Claim

Surprisingly, the Orange Holidays Line (tourist) plans are not sold at Cairo International Airport.

Instead, plans combining Free Max and GO are sold at the airport – allowing for data allowances of up to 151 GB.

However, purchasing these combinations yourself could save up to 323 EGP (10.45 USD).

Orange sells the following six SIM cards at Cairo Airport:

PricePlanData 1On-Net MinutesValidity
280 EGPFree Max 150 + Offer41 GB700 minutes28 days
351 EGPFree Max 200 + Offer61 GB1700 minutes28 days
466 EGPFree Max 200 + Go 80+73 GB1700 minutes28 days
523 EGPFree Max 200 + Go 120+81 GB1700 minutes28 days
637 EGPFree Max 200 + Go 200+97 GB1700 minutes28 days
923 EGPFree Max 200 + Go 400+151 GB1700 minutes28 days

1 +unlimited Facebook and WhatsApp

Orange Egypt SIM Cards at Cairo International Airport Luggage Claim

The data allowances are actually up to because you get units for flexible use.

Let's focus on the Free Max 200 + Go 80+ plan (466 EGP).

The Free Max component gives you 14 000 units.

1 MB of data equals 1 unit. The same applies to on-net calls.

But if you were to use a Super App (unspecified), you would only use one unit per 2 MB.

And an off-net call (to Vodafone Egypt, Etisalat Egypt, or WE (Telecom Egypt) would use 5 units.

Yeah… the calculations can get complicated.

If you use your Orange SIM card primarily for data, you will have very generous data allowances.

You must keep track of your usage once you mix it with off-net calls to ensure you do not drain your units too quickly.

I bought the Free Max 150 + Offer SIM card (280 EGP).

Before I got my SIM card, I had to hand over my passport, as per Egypt's SIM card registration laws.

SIM Card Registration Worldwide Tool by Phone Travel Wiz

I paid by card, but cash is accepted.

And Orange is the only mobile operator that accepts payments in USD and EUR.

Unlike Vodafone and Etisalat, I did not have to leave my phone on airplane mode for up to 15 minutes before the SIM card would work.

It worked instantly as soon as I inserted it into my phone.

And that was it – that is how I got my Orange SIM card at Cairo International Airport.

One thing the Orange store at the airport, or anywhere else, cannot do for you is give you Orange eSIMs (because no mobile operator currently offers eSIMs).

Fortunately, travel eSIMs for Egypt are available for reasonable prices.

Even unlimited data options are available.

Another perk with them is that you do not have to deal with Egypt's SIM card registration.

SIM Card Registration Worldwide Tool by Phone Travel Wiz

I write about the best travel eSIMs for Egypt in my Best Egypt eSIM buying guide.

Buying an eSIM for Egypt Guide

I even tried many of them extensively for my Egyptian eSIM review series.

Support Me on Ko-Fi Orange

What SIM Cards & Plans Does Etisalat Egypt Sell at Cairo International Airport (+Prices)?

Etisalat Logo New
© Etisalat

Being written.


What SIM Cards & Plans Does WE (Telecom Egypt) Sell at Cairo International Airport (+Prices)?

WE Telecom Egypt Logo
© WE (Telecom Egypt)

Being written.