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3 Best Prepaid SIM Cards in Cameroon: Buying Guide

Cameroon is one of the world's hubs of cacao, which is used to make lovely chocolate. Besideds that, the country is known for its beaches.

Yaounde, the capital of Cameroon, has the national museum. Douala is a costal city with the Douala-Edéa Reserve. Kribi is a well-known as being a beach resort and also has the Chutes de la Lobé waterfall. Oh, there is also Mount Cameroon, a volcanic mountain. You will have a good time in Cameroon.

What may ruin your good time is dealing with an expensive roaming bill from roaming with your provider in Cameroon. Roaming can be expensive in many cases, which is why many travelers prefer to get a local SIM card, like a Cameroonian one.

In this article, I will go over everything you need to know about buying a SIM card in Cameroon. Let's go.

Mobile Operators, Networks & Frequencies in Cameroon

Cameroon has 3 telecom operators: MTN Cameroon, Orange Cameroon, and Nexttel. All these operators have 2G, 3G, and 4G/LTE networks, except for Nexttel that does not have a 4G/LTE network.

There is also a 4th operator called Camtel, which only operates in Douala and Yaoundé. Because of the limited coverage, they will not be discussed in this article. However, if you are staying in Douala or Yaoundé, you should consider them because they offer fast speeds.

Moreover, there is one Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) called YouMee Mobile, which uses the Camtel network. They will not be covered in this article either.

Best SIM Card in Cameroon

What SIM card should you buy when visiting Cameroon? If you want to buy a SIM card in Cameroon, I would recommend going with MTN because they have the best coverage and speeds. Consider Nexttel when on a budget, but be aware that their coverage is somewhat limited.

SIM Card Registration in Cameroon

Like most countries in Central Africa, and Africa in general, you have to register yourself when buying a SIM card in Cameroon.

Officially, you have to go to an operator store to buy your SIM cards because of the registration requirement. However, it is still easy to buy a SIM card on the streets for much less than the operators will charge you. Unregistered SIM cards will be shut down rather quickly, and you would have to go to an operator store to get it reactivated.

You can have a maximum of 3 Cameroonian SIM cards per operator on your name.

With that said, let’s see what Cameroon has to offer to us.

MTN Cameroon

MTN Logo

MTN Cameroon, just MTN, is the largest operator in Cameroon, with a market share of around 50%. They have the best coverage and fastest speeds. Although MTN has a 4G/LTE network, it runs on TD-LTE on 2500 MHz (Band 41), which is a highly unusual frequency.

For now, it is not important to know what that exactly means (in the future, I will be detailing what you need to know about frequencies). All you need to know is not many operators around the world use this frequency (about 20 in less than 10 countries), and mainly high-end phones support this frequency.

MTN SIM cards are sold for 500 XAF ($0.80) in MTN stores. Top-up cards are sold everywhere throughout Cameroon. Dial *155# to check your MTN balance.

MTN has many types of data bundles, such as:

  • MTN Go Plans+ (Talk+ & Surf+)
  • MTN Giga Surf Bundles (3, 7, 15 & 30 days)
  • MTN Classic Data Bundles (day, week & month)

Let’s go through each of them.

MTN Go Plans+

MTN Go Plans+ are combo plans that come with data, minutes, and SMS that are valid for 7 days or 30 days. They come in 2 variants: Talk+ and Surf+. The difference between Talk+ and Surf+ is that Talk+ puts an emphasis on minutes, while Surf+ plans come with a larger data allowance.

Let’s start with MTN Go Talk+

MTN Go Talk+

There are 9 MTN Go Talk+ plans. Besides data, minutes, and SMS, some plans come with Magic Numbers (phone numbers of choice where you can make free calls between you and those numbers), free TV (with Yabadoo), and free incoming calls when traveling outside of Cameroon. MTN Go Talk+ plans can be activated by dialing *123*21# and selecting option 1:

  • 1000 XAF: 75 MB, 3000 XAF call credit, and 100 SMS for 7 days
  • 1500 XAF: 125 MB, 5000 XAF call credit, and 100 SMS for 7 days
  • 2500 XAF: 250 MB, 8500 XAF call credit, 500 SMS, and 1 Magic Number for 7 days
  • 3000 XAF: 250 MB, 9000 XAF call credit, and 250 SMS for 30 days
  • 5000 XAF: 500 MB, 17 000 XAF call credit, 500 SMS, 2 Magic Numbers, and TV Mobile (1 week) for 30 days
  • 10 000 XAF: 1 GB, 35 000 XAF call credit, 500 SMS, 2 Magic Numbers, and TV Mobile (1 week) for 30 days
  • 15 000 XAF: 1.5 GB, 55 000 XAF call credit, 500 SMS, 3 Magic Numbers, TV Mobile (1 week), and 1 hour of incoming calls when roaming for 30 days
  • 30 000 XAF: 2.5 GB, 75 000 XAF call credit, 500 SMS, 3 Magic Numbers, TV Mobile (1 week), and 2 hours of incoming calls when roaming for 30 days
  • 30 000 XAF: 4 GB, 120 000 XAF call credit, 500 SMS, 3 Magic Numbers, TV Mobile (1 week), and 3 hours of incoming calls when roaming for 30 days
MTN Go Surf+

9 MTN Go Surf+ plans are available. Besides data, minutes, and SMS, some plans come with Magic Numbers (phone numbers of choice where you can make free calls between you and those numbers), free TV (with Yabadoo), and free incoming calls when traveling outside of Cameroon. MTN Go Talk+ plans can be activated by dialing *123*21# and selecting option 2:

  • 1000 XAF: 500 MB, 1000 XAF call credit, and 100 SMS for 7 days
  • 1500 XAF: 750 MB, 1500 XAF call credit, and 100 SMS for 7 days
  • 2500 XAF: 1.5 GB, 2500 XAF call credit, 500 SMS, and 1 Magic Number for 7 days
  • 3000 XAF: 1.5 GB MB, 3000 XAF call credit, and 250 SMS for 30 days
  • 5000 XAF: 2.5 GB MB, 5000 XAF call credit, 500 SMS, 2 Magic Numbers, and TV Mobile (1 week) for 30 days
  • 10 000 XAF: 6 GB, 10 000 XAF call credit, 500 SMS, 2 Magic Numbers, and TV Mobile (1 week) for 30 days
  • 15 000 XAF: 9 GB, 15 000 XAF call credit, 500 SMS, 3 Magic Numbers, TV Mobile (1 week), and 1 hour of incoming calls when roaming for 30 days
  • 30 000 XAF: 12 GB, 20 000 XAF call credit, 500 SMS, 3 Magic Numbers, TV Mobile (1 week), and 2 hours of incoming calls when roaming for 30 days
  • 30 000 XAF: 20 GB, 30 000 XAF call credit, 500 SMS, 3 Magic Numbers, TV Mobile (1 week), and 3 hours of incoming calls when roaming for 30 days

MTN Giga Surf Bundles

MTN Giga Surf Bundles are data plans that come with a relatively large data allowance. You get a certain amount of data per day that can be used from your overall data allowance. These plans do not include minutes or SMS. Dial *157*5# to purchase a Giga Surf Bundle and *157*0# to unsubscribe from the bundle, as they auto-renew. To check your Giga Surf balance, dial *157*99#.

There is a total of 20 Giga Surf bundles, 5 for 3 days, 5 for 7 days, 5 for 15 days, and 5 for 30 days. I will group them by their validity

MTN 3-Day Giga Surf Bundles

The following MTN Giga Surf Bundles are valid for 3 days:

  • 1200 XAF: 3 GB (1 GB/day)
  • 2550 XAF: 6 GB (2 GB/day)
  • 4000 XAF: 9 GB (3 GB/day)
  • 5450 XAF: 12 GB (4 GB/day)
  • 6900 XAF: 15 GB (5 GB/day)  
MTN 7-Day Giga Surf Bundles

The following MTN Giga Surf Bundles are valid for 7 days:

  • 2700 XAF: 3 GB (1 GB/day)
  • 5750 XAF: 6 GB (2 GB/day)
  • 8800 XAF: 9 GB (3 GB/day)
  • 12 000 XAF: 12 GB (4 GB/day)
  • 15 200 XAF: 15 GB (5 GB/day) 
MTN 15-Day Giga Surf Bundles

The following MTN Giga Surf Bundles are valid for 15 days:

  • 5250 XAF: 3 GB (1 GB/day)
  • 11 250 XAF: 6 GB (2 GB/day)
  • 17 350 XAF: 9 GB (3 GB/day)
  • 25 000 XAF: 12 GB (4 GB/day)
  • 32 250 XAF: 15 GB (5 GB/day) 
MTN 30-Day Giga Surf Bundles

The following MTN Giga Surf Bundles are valid for 30 days:

  • 10 000 XAF: 3 GB (1 GB/day)
  • 21 000 XAF: 6 GB (2 GB/day)
  • 34 500 XAF: 9 GB (3 GB/day)
  • 49 500 XAF: 12 GB (4 GB/day)
  • 63 500 XAF: 15 GB (5 GB/day) 

MTN Classic Data Bundles

Finally, you have the standard MTN data bundles that come with data lasting from 2 hours to 30 days.

MTN Classic Day Data Bundles

There are 6 MTN day data bundles and 1 data bundle that is valid during the night from 12 AM until 6 AM:

  • 45 XAF: 45 MB for 24 hours. Activation: dial *157*1*1#
  • 50 XAF: 50 MB for 2 hours. Activation: dial *157*1*2#
  • 100 XAF: 100 MB for 24 hours. Activation: dial *157*1*3#
  • 200 XAF: 2 GB for between 12 AM and 6 AM. Activation: dial *157*1*7#
  • 250 XAF: 250 MB for 24 hours. Activation: dial *157*1*4#
  • 500 XAF: 600 MB for 24 hours. Activation: dial *157*1*5#
  • 1000 XAF: 2 GB for 24 hours. Activation: dial *157*1*6#
MTN Classic Week Data Bundles

These 4 MTN data bundles are valid for 7 days:

  • 180 XAF: 50 MB. Activation: dial *157*2*1#
  • 700 XAF: 200 MB. Activation: dial *157*2*2#
  • 1000 XAF: 750 MB. Activation: dial *157*2*3#
  • 3000 XAF: 3 GB. Activation: dial *157*2*4#
MTN Classic Month Data Bundles

Need a data plan that lasts you for 30 days? Consider one of these 6 MTN month data bundles:

  • 850 XAF: 250 MB. Activation: dial *157*3*1#
  • 2000 XAF: 1.2 GB. Activation: dial *157*3*2#
  • 4000 XAF: 3 GB. Activation: dial *157*3*3#
  • 8000 XAF: 9.2 GB. Activation: dial *157*3*4#
  • 10 000 XAF: 30 GB. Activation: dial *157*3*5#
  • 40 000 XAF: 75 GB. Activation: dial *157*3*6#

Orange Cameroon

Orange Logo

Orange Cameroon, just Orange, is the second-largest operator with a market share of around 30%. They have good coverage, but it is not as extensive as the one of MTN.

Just like MTN, Orange also uses 2500 MHz (Band 41) for their 4G/LTE network.

Orange SIM cards are sold for 300 XAF in Orange stores. Recharge cards can be purchased all over Cameroon. Dial #111# to see your Orange balance.

Orange has 2 types of data plans: Orange Forfaits Internet Mobile and Orange Forfaits Giga Data. The difference between Internet Mobile and Giga Data is that almost all of the Internet Mobile plans come with a data allowance that you can use however you want. In contrast, Giga Data plans come with a maximum data allowance that can be used per day.

Let’s start with the Orange Forfaits Internet Mobile plans.

Orange Forfaits Internet Mobile Plans

There are 11 Internet Mobile plans you can choose from, which have a validity of at least 24 hours to 30 days:

  • 100 XAF: 100 MB for 24 hours. Activation: dial #145*231#
  • 250 XAF: 250 MB for 24 hours. Activation: dial #145*232#
  • 300 XAF: 350 MB for 7 days. Activation: dial #145*222#
  • 500 XAF: 600 MB for 24 hours. Activation: dial #145*233#
  • 500 XAF: 500 MB for 7 days. Activation: dial #145*221#
  • 1000 XAF: 2 GB for 24 hours. Activation: dial #145*234#
  • 2000 XAF: 1200 MB for 30 days. Activation: dial #145*2144#
  • 2040 XAF: 3 GB for during the night for 30 nights. Activation: dial #145*2145#
  • 4000 XAF: 3 GB for 30 days. Activation: dial #145*213#
  • 8000 XAF: 9.2 GB for 30 days. Activation: dial #145*212#  
  • 10 000 XAF: 1 GB/day (max. 30 GB) for 30 days. Activation: dial #145*211#

Orange Forfaits Giga Data Plans

Orange Forfait Giga Data plans are sold in 3-day, 7-day, 15-day, and 30-day variants. Depending on the plan, you get 1 GB a day to 15 GB a day, which applies to all variants.

Orange Forfaits 3-Day Giga Data Plans

The following Orange Forfaits Giga Surf Data plans are valid for 3 days:

  • 1200 XAF: 1 GB/day (max. 3 GB). Activation: dial #145*2445#
  • 2550 XAF: 2 GB/day (max. 6 GB). Activation: dial #145*2444#
  • 4050 XAF: 3 GB/day (max. 9 GB). Activation: dial #145*2443#
  • 5400 XAF: 4 GB/day (max. 12 GB). Activation: dial #145*2442#
  • 6700 XAF: 5 GB/day (max. 15 GB). Activation: dial #145*2441#
Orange Forfaits 7-Day Giga Data Plans

The following Orange Forfaits Giga Surf Data plans are valid for 7 days:

  • 2650 XAF: 1 GB/day (max. 7 GB). Activation: dial #145*2435#
  • 5600 XAF: 2 GB/day (max. 14 GB). Activation: dial #145*2434#
  • 8950 XAF: 3 GB/day (max. 21 GB). Activation: dial #145*2433#
  • 12 300 XAF: 4 GB/day (max. 28 GB). Activation: dial #145*2432#
  • 15 400 XAF: 5 GB/day (max. 35 GB). Activation: dial #145*2431#
Orange Forfaits 15-Day Giga Data Plans

The following Orange Forfaits Giga Surf Data plans are valid for 15 days:

  • 5250 XAF: 1 GB/day (max. 15 GB). Activation: dial #145*2425#
  • 11 250 XAF: 2 GB/day (max. 30 GB). Activation: dial #145*2424#
  • 18 000 XAF: 3 GB/day (max. 45 GB). Activation: dial #145*2423#
  • 25 800 XAF: 4 GB/day (max. 60 GB). Activation: dial #145*2422#
  • 32 250 XAF: 5 GB/day (max. 75 GB). Activation: dial #145*2421#
Orange Forfaits 30-Day Giga Data Plans

The following Orange Forfaits Giga Surf Data plans are valid for 30 days:

  • 10 000 XAF: 1 GB/day (max. 30 GB). Activation: dial #145*2415#
  • 21 500 XAF: 2 GB/day (max. 60 GB). Activation: dial #145*2414#
  • 34 450 XAF: 3 GB/day (max. 90 GB). Activation: dial #145*2413#
  • 50 400 XAF: 4 GB/day (max. 120 GB). Activation: dial #145*2412#
  • 63 000 XAF: 5 GB/day (max. 150 GB). Activation: dial #145*2411#

Nexttel

Nexttel Logo

Nexttel is, if excluding Camtel, the smallest operator in Cameroon. It is owned by Viettel, which is, in turn, owned by the Vietnamese army. Their coverage is not on par as MTN and Orange yet, but their network is good where they have coverage.

Nexttel SIM cards can be bought for 100 XAF. Recharge cards are sold all over Cameroon from 1000 XAF to 25 000 XAF. To top-up, dial *802*VoucherCode#. For example, if your voucher code is 123456, you would dial *802#123456#. Dial *801# to see your Nexttel balance.

Nexttel has several types of data packages, such as FLY, Surf, and social packs. Let’s go through each of them.

Nexttel FLY Plans

Nexttel has 3 types of FLY plans: FLY limité, FLY illimité, and FLY Extra. There is also FLY Premium, but those are for models or internet sticks only.

Nexttel FLY Limité Plans

The FLY Limité plans are short-term data packages lasting you between 2 hours to 24 hours. The following 6 variants are available:

  • 50 XAF: 50 MB for 2 hours. Activation: dial *865*20#
  • 100 XAF: 100 MB for 24 hours. Activation: dial *865*24#
  • 150 XAF: 200 MB between 12 AM and 6 AM. Activation: dial 865*11#
  • 150 XAF: 150 MB for 24 hours. Activation: dial *865*21#
  • 250 XAF: 200 MB between 12 AM and 6 AM. Activation: dial 865*12#
  • 250 XAF: 250 MB for 24 hours. Activation: dial *865*22#
Nexttel FLY Illimité Plans

Nexttel FLY Illimité plans are, to some extent, unlimited data plans. Once you have exhausted your data balance, your speeds will be throttled to unknown speeds (probably max. 128 Kbps, which is extremely slow). Some of these plans come with credit for calls and SMS. The following 8 FLY Illimité plans are available:

  • 500 XAF: 500 MB for 24 hours. Activation: dial *865*23#
  • 2000 XAF: 1 GB for 7 days. Activation: dial *865*31#
  • 4000 XAF: 1.5 GB and 4000 XAF credit (7 days) for 30 days. Activation: dial *865*44#
  • 8000 XAF: 4.6 GB and 8000 XAF credit (7 days) for 30 days. Activation: dial *865*41#
  • 12 000 XAF: 8 GB and 12 000 XAF credit (14 days) for 30 days. Activation: dial *865*42#
  • 25 000 XAF: 18 GB and 25 000 XAF credit (14 days) for 30 days. Activation: dial *865*43#
  • 68 500 XAF: 50 GB for 30 days. Activation: dial *865*45#
  • 135 000 XAF: 90 GB for 30 days. Activation: dial *865*46#
Nexttel FLY Extra Plans

Finally, you have the Nexttel FLY Extra Plans, which is a data plan that comes with a maximum amount of data per day. The following 6 Nexttel FLY Extra Plans are available:

  • 1000 XAF: 3 GB (1 GB/day) for 3 days. Activation: dial *865*25#
  • 1500 XAF: 5 GB (2 GB/day) for 3 days. Activation: dial *865*26#
  • 2000 XAF: 7 GB (1 GB/day) for 7 days. Activation: dial *865*38#
  • 4500 XAF: 15.75 GB (1.05 GB/day) for 15 days. Activation: dial *865*40#
  • 5000 XAF: 14 GB (2 GB/day) for 7 days. Activation: dial *865*39#
  • 9000 XAF: 31.5 GB (1.05 GB/day) for 30 days. Activation: dial *865*49#

Nexttel Weekend Boomba Plans

The Weekend Boomba plans are data plans that are valid on Saturday and Sunday. Most plans come with credit for calls and SMS as well. There are 5 Weekend Boomba plans:

  • 300 XAF: 400 MB. Activation: dial *865*80#
  • 500 XAF: 600 MB and 500 XAF credit. Activation: dial *865*81#
  • 1000 XAF: 1.5 GB and 1000 XAF credit. Activation: dial *865*82#
  • 2000 XAF: 4 GB and 2000 XAF credit. Activation: dial *865*83#
  • 4000 XAF: 9 GB and 4000 XAF credit. Activation: dial *865*84#

Nexttel Surf Extra Plans

The Surf Extra plans are simply large monthly data plans. They also come with a maximum amount of data per day. The following 4 Surf Extra plans are available:

  • 20 500 XAF: 60 GB (2 GB/day). Activation: dial *865*54#
  • 34 500 XAF: 90 GB (3 GB/day). Activation: dial *865*55#
  • 49 500 XAF: 120 GB (4 GB/day). Activation: dial *865*56#
  • 63 000 XAF: 150 GB (5 GB/day). Activation: dial *865*55#

Nexttel Social Packs (Facebook & WhatsApp)

Nexttel has Facebook and WhatsApp that come with unlimited data for those apps. Unlimited data also applies to voice and video calls with WhatsApp. There are 3 packs for each app:

  • 150 XAF: Unlimited Facebook for 24 hours. Activation: dial *865*51#
  • 150 XAF: Unlimited WhatsApp for 24 hours. Activation: dial *865*61#
  • 500 XAF: Unlimited Facebook for 7 days. Activation: dial *865*52#
  • 500 XAF: Unlimited WhatsApp for 7 days. Activation: dial *865*62#
  • 1500 XAF: Unlimited Facebook for 30 days. Activation: dial *865*53#
  • 1500 XAF: Unlimited WhatsApp for 30 days. Activation: dial *865*63#

Other Ways to Stay Connected When Traveling in Cameroon

Being redone.

The Best Way to Stay Connected When Traveling in Cameroon

Getting a SIM card from MTN would do you well when considering a Cameroonian SIM card.

Local Prepaid SIM Card in Other African Countries

Visiting other countries in Africa? Check out my Africa SIM card buying guide, covering other African countries, such as:

Going to other places around the world? Then you should also check out my sim card buying guides for other destinations around the world.

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