Algeria is a large country in North Africa. With being such a large country, it comes with many beautiful landmarks, such as Oran, an Algerian port city, the ruins in Constantine, and the ancient history of the roman empire in Djemila.
Roaming with your provider can be expensive, which is why you want to know about your local SIM card options when visiting Algeria. In this article, I will go over every you need to know about buying a SIM card in Algeria. Let's find out.
Telecom Providers in Algeria
Algeria has 3 telecom providers: Djezzy, Mobilis, and Ooredoo Algeria. All operators have 2G, 3G, and 4G/LTE networks throughout the country. Djezzy is the largest operator, followed by Mobilis. Both operators operate solely in Algeria, whereas Ooredoo is known in multiple countries in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.
What SIM card should you buy when visiting Algeria? If you want to buy a SIM card in Algeria, I would recommend going with Djezzy because they have the best coverage throughout Algeria. If you want a lot of data, then Ooredoo should be considered.
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Like most countries in Africa, you need to show your passport when buying a SIM card. Additionally, a copy of your Algerian address has to be given to the operator too. This can be the address of your ho(s)tel or Airbnb.
Unlike most countries, where you pay a tourist premium for buying a SIM card at the airport, you pay the same price for SIM cards and packages at the airport as in regular stores. Therefore, it is highly recommended to buy your SIM card at the airport so that you are connected as soon as you arrive instead of trying to find a store in town.
At the airport, the salespeople may only ask for your passport and not for your address. Just have it ready in case you will be asked for it.
With that said, let’s see what Algeria has to offer to us.
Tip: Looking for cheap flights? Book with AirWander and add stopovers! Not in a hurry yet? Set up flight alerts with Airfarewatchdog and get notified when ticket prices for your preferred route(s) drop!
Djezzy is the mobile brand of Optimum Télécom. It has most of the Algerian customers with a market share of more than 45%. 2G, 3G, and 4G/LTE can be found in all provinces in Algeria, which is referred to as Wilayas.
Djezzy has the best coverage in Algeria. Coverage in cities is great, while it may be hard to get 3G or any service at all in rural Algeria. Nevertheless, Djezzy is recommended for those who wish to explore more of the country than only the cities.
A Djezzy SIM card costs 300 DZD ($2.50) and can be bought in Djezzy stores. The starter pack, called Djezzy Carte, comes with 50 DZD in credit and 50 MB for 7 days. Djezzy Hayla Maxi, their packs, can be added for the following allowances and prices. They come with unlimited calls and texts to Djezzy numbers:
- 100 DZD: 2 GB and 200 DZD credit for 24 hours
- 500 DZD: 10 GB and 1000 DZD credit for 7 days
- 1000 DZD: 20 GB and 2000 DZD credit for 30 days
- 1500 DZD: 40 GB and 3000 DZD credit for 30 days
- 2000 DZD: 60 GB and 4000 DZD credit for 30 days
If you are only interested in data, then Djezzy Speed, their data packs, can be added:
- 30 DZD: 100 MB for 24 hours
- 50 DZD: Unlimited data for 1 hour between 12 AM and 7 AM
- 50 DZD: 250 MB for 24 hours
- 100 DZD: 1 GB for 24 hours
- 300 DZD: 3 GB for 7 days
- 500 DZD: 6 GB for 30 days
- 1000 DZD: 15 GB for 30 days
Mobilis is the mobile brand of Algérie Télécom, which is an Algerian state-owned company. Mobilis is the second-largest operator in Algeria. Mobilis covers most of Algeria, although their coverage is not as extensive as Djezzy.
Mobilis SIM cards are sold for 100 DZD and come with 200 DZD in credit in Mobilis stores or from authorized resellers. Do note that Mobilis sells 3G and 4G SIM cards. The 4G SIM cards will only work in areas where 4G is available, while the 3G SIM cards will work where Mobilis has coverage (with 2G, 3G, or 4G/LTE).
If you manage to get a 3G SIM card and want to use 4G/LTE, you can get 4G/LTE activated by visiting a Mobilis store.
With Mobilis, you need to bring your passport and a notarized copy of your passport to purchase a Mobilis SIM card.
The following Mobilis combo packs, also called Pixx, can be added. They all come with unlimited on-net calls:
- 500 DZD: 5 GB and 500 DZD credit for 15 days
- 1000 DZD: 13 GB and 1000 DZD credit for 30 days
- 2000 DZD: 30 GB and 2000 DZD credit for 30 days
You can also get a Mobilis data-only SIM card called Navigui 4G. They are sold for 2400 DZD and come with 3 GB and unlimited WhatsApp and Facebook for 30 days. You can add regular data packs to this SIM card. However, you would be better off buying a normal SIM card and the 2000 DZD plan, and you would still have some money left compared to buying Navigui 4G.
Ooredoo Algeria, just Ooredoo, is the smallest operator in Algeria. Ooredoo is a Qatari company that is active in multiple parts of the world. Ooredoo has the “worst” coverage with not covering all of Algeria with their 3G and 4G network (in terms of Wilayas covered). However, they are fine in the cities and offer a lot of data for low prices compared to the other operators.
Ooredoo SIM cards can be bought from Ooredoo stores and from authorized resellers. They sell several starter packs called either LA Switch or Hashta. The LA Switch comes with unlimited on-net calls and is valid for 30 days. Its perks are highlighted below:
- 1500 DZD: 50 GB, 10 international minutes, and 1500 DZD credit
- 2500 DZD: 120 GB, 30 international minutes, 2500 DZD credit
- 4000 DZD: Unlimited internet, 50 international minutes, and 3000 DZD credit
The Hashta packs are also valid for 30 and come with unlimited Facebook usage but without international minutes:
- 1000 DZD: 4 GB and 2000 DZD credit
- 2000 DZD: 10 GB and 5000 DZD credit
With all plans, you can add the following data packages:
- 100 DZD: 1400 MB for 24 hours
- 200 DZD: 3 GB for 48 hours
- 300 DZD: 5 GB for 72 hours
- 1000 DZD: 20 GB for 30 days
- 2000 DZD: 45 GB for 30 days
- 3000 DZD: 60 GB for 30 days
Other Ways to Stay Connected When Traveling in Algeria
So far, you have been informed about the SIM card options in Algeria. However, that is not the only way to be online in Algeria I have already briefly mentioned that you can roam with your provider, although it can be expensive in most cases. Besides that, you can use free WIFI connections, mobile hotspots, or international SIM cards.
Roaming in Algeria with Your Provider
Roaming is a term used in wireless telecommunication that indicates a mobile device is outside the range of its home network and has connected to a different, available cell network. Let’s say your provider is Moov Benin, then you would be roaming with Moov Benin in Algeria.
You may have read horror stories of people coming back from a lovely holiday, only to be confronted with a roaming bill in the thousands. This can still be the case if you do not review your roaming options before going on a holiday. Luckily for you, I have written about the roaming options you have with various providers around the world, which you can read here.
Some operators offer roaming plans. Others allow you to roam for free in Algeria, while several operators let you use your plan’s allowance for a daily fee. As you can see, roaming does not have to be a horrific experience. If your provider is generous and lets you roam for free in Algeria, then you do not even need a local SIM card (although I would still recommend doing so, as your connection speed will be much slower as a roamer than someone who is a customer of the network).
No idea how roaming works? I made this comprehensive guide about what roaming is and how it works. It is worth the read – promised!
Pay As You Go roaming should be avoided, as that is how travelers get high roaming bills. One provider charges you about 1000 USD per GB in certain destinations, which is insane. If you really want to roam, check whether your provider has attractive roaming plans. Else, you will be better off with buying a local SIM card.
Using Free WIFI connections in Algeria
This does not require a lot of explanation, but using free WIFI connections is the cheapest way to connect to the internet because you do not have to pay anything. Nothing beats free stuff, right? Well, not so fast.
First, you need to find hotspots in Algeria. In some countries of cities, you will find so many hotspots that you can try them out one by one and find the one with the fastest speeds. In other places, however, WIFI connections do not seem to exist.
In the case of Algeria, you can find plenty of hotspots in the bigger cities, but you should not expect to find many, or fast hotspots, in smaller towns and villages.
Additionally, public WIFI hotspots are unsecure. They are a prime target for hackers to steal your data and use it for illicit purposes. That is 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, and you can get up to 70% off when you get a NordVPN subscription. Get your subscription now or learn more about NordVPN.
Using a Pocket WIFI (Mobile Hotspot) in Algeria
Pocket WIFI is a portable, 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 compact and lightweight so that you take them along with you whenever you need internet access on the go.
Many companies have created mobile hotspots (just have a quick search on Amazon, for example, you will find many). Skyroam and Vision Global Wireless are reputable pocket WIFI providers I know. You can get a discount if you rent a router through Skyroam by using coupon code PHONETRAVELWIZ. Cellular access with Skyroam starts at $8 a day while using a Vision Global device starts at $2 a day. Both services cover more than 130 destinations around the world.
I often recommend mobile hotspots to those who are traveling in groups or with families. They can save groups a lot of money if they are visiting destinations where buying multiple SIM cards would become an expensive endeavor.
I recently wrote an article analyzing the 7 Best Mobile Hotspots for Travelers like yourself, which should be an interesting read if pocket WIFI is something you are considering. I do reviews of individual devices every now and then, so check out my mobile hotspot category to stay up to date.
Getting an International SIM card for Traveling in Algeria
International SIM cards are, as the name implies, SIM cards for international use. Well, that does not explain anything. Although most providers allow you to use your card abroad, some actually restrict this possibility. An international SIM card lets you go abroad without having to change SIM cards when visiting multiple destinations. They have been made with the traveler in mind.
All of this sounds lovely, but international SIM cards are much more expensive than local SIM cards in Algeria. Not only that, some offer poor service as well for high rates. Some reputable companies I know are OneSimCard, SimOptions, and Surfroam.
International SIM cards are appealing to those who travel frequently or are visiting multiple destinations in one trip. Many countries in Africa require you to register before you can use a SIM card, which can be a hassle for some. Additionally, the language barrier may be off-putting to some travelers, which is why an international SIM card can be handy. You order it before you depart and can use it in various destinations.
My recommendation, however, is to get a local SIM card if you are only visiting one destination. If you are visiting multiple ones, an international SIM card could be handy. If you want to learn more about international SIM cards, check out my international SIM card comparison article, where I analyze 10 international SIM card providers so that you do not have to.
The Best Way to Stay Connected When Traveling in Algeria
Getting a SIM card from Djezzy would do you well when considering an Algerian SIM card. Be sure to explore the roaming options your provider offers you, as they may offer free or cheap roaming bundles.
You could also consider getting an international SIM card or using a portable hotspot. International SIM cards are attractive for those visiting multiple destinations at once or within a year. Portable hotspots will be useful when traveling with multiple people so that not each individual has to get a SIM card but can use the hotspot.
Visiting other countries in Africa? Check out my Africa SIM card buying guide, covering other African countries, such as Botswana, Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Egypt, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. Going to other places around the world? Then you should also check out my sim card buying guides for other destinations around the world.
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 Algeria
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 Algeria. If you are not ready to take off yet, set up flight alerts with Airfarewatchdog, and they will notify you once ticket prices to Algeria drop.
Book Your Accommodation for Algeria
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 Algeria. At least, that is how I see it. Moreover, Airbnb can often be much cheaper than staying in an Algerian hotel.
Get Your Travel Insurance for Algeria
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 Algeria, 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 the local currency 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.
Enjoy your trip!