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SIM Cards in Eswatini: The Best Prepaid Plans | 2024 Guide

To save yourself a lot of money when traveling in Eswatini, it is best to buy yourself a Swazi SIM card and take advantage of local packages to keep costs low.

You can buy a Swazi SIM card for as little as 10 SZL (0.55 USD) and get a data package with 1 GB of data for 70 SZL (3.80 USD)that is quite cheap for African standards.

Eswatini, formerly known as Swaziland, is a landlocked country with Mozambique and South Africa as their neighbors, while Lesotho is almost in the middle of South Africa.

Even if you visit Eswatini from South Africa, or Mozambique for that matter, you would want to get a Swazi SIM card because roaming with a Mozambican or South African provider in Eswatini is relatively expensive, let alone if your provider is from another country in Africa or elsewhere in the world.

Mobile data rates are a bit more expensive in Eswatini compared to South African standards (not just South Africa as the country, but South Africa as a region). However, they are still low compared to the world average, so you should definitely take advantage of the local rates.

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

Buying a SIM Card in Eswatini Guide (Logos of MTN & Eswatini Mobile)

Original publication: 20th of June 2020. Last updated: 15th of January 2024.

Can I Use my Phone in Eswatini?

Eswatini has GSM networks utilizing frequencies used in many regions around the world (such as Europe, Asia, Africa, and Oceania – ITU Regions 1 & 3), but not in the Americas (North-, Central-, and South America + the Caribbean – ITU Region 2).

ITU Regions Map by Phone Travel Wiz

If you purchased your phone in the Americas, if your device has not been unlocked, or the phone does not support Eswatini's frequencies, then you cannot use your phone in Eswatini.

Mobile Operators, Networks, and Frequencies in Eswatini

Cellular Connectivity Illustration by Phone Travel Wiz

Eswatini has 2 mobile operators offering prepaid services easily accessible to travelers:

  • MTN Eswatini
  • Eswatini Mobile

Both operators have 2G, 3G, and 4G/LTE networks.

The following frequencies are used by the Swazi operators:

  • 2G: 900 MHz
  • 3G: 2100 MHz
  • 4G/LTE: 1800 MHz (Band 3)

Again, make sure your phone is unlocked. Otherwise, you will not be able to use any SIM card except the one from your home operator (meaning you have to roam internationally or buy another unlocked phone that does support the frequencies listed above).

If you want to learn how international roaming works, this guide explains it in-depth. If you wonder why it is often so expensive to roam, this article explains the hidden reason they do not want you to know.

Best SIM Card in Eswatini

If you want to buy a SIM card in Eswatini, then MTN is the best option. MTN has the best coverage in Eswatini and is, on average, cheaper than Eswatini Mobile.

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Best eSIM in Eswatini

Unfortunately, none of the mobile operators offer eSIM (to prepaid customers) in Eswatini yet.

However, you can also get a travel eSIM from various eSIM providers.

The list below is not exhaustive – many more providers have eSIMs for Eswatini.

But these are the ones I have tried and had pleasant experiences with.

Moreover, they are reasonably priced, which I find very important (you will not see me recommending an eSIM I would not buy myself).

So here are the three best eSIMs for Eswatini:

Because this is the SIM card buying guide for Eswatini, I will not spend too much time about travel eSIMs here and throughout this guide (but I will still do here and there).

If you want to learn more about the best eSIMs for Eswatini, you better check out my Eswatini eSIM buying guide.

It is as helpful and comprehensive as this guide but about eSIMs instead 😜.

Buying an eSIM for Eswatini Guide (logos of Holafly, Nomad, Hello Africa, Discover+, Eswatini Communications & Airalo)

SIM Card Registration Regulations in Eswatini

SIM card registration with your passport information is mandatory in Eswatini. It will be done at the point of purchase.

  • Find out which countries have SIM card registration regulations and what is required from you (lookup tool)
SIM Card Registration Worldwide Tool by Phone Travel Wiz

The State of the Swazi Telecom Market

(If you just want to know what the Swazi operators have to offer, click here to jump to the video guide, and click here to jump to the first operator (MTN Eswatini))

Eswatini is a landlocked country, which often means that (mobile) internet rates are higher compared to countries next to seas and oceans. Eswatini relies on neighboring countries for internet bandwidth.

Before Eswatini Mobile entered the Swazi telecom market, many locals were upset by the high rates charged by MTN Eswatini. Since then, with a combination of a drop in internet bandwidth rates, internet prices have dropped in Eswatini.

Surprisingly, MTN Eswatini is the cheaper option in the country at the moment when adding up the total GB offered with their data-only packs (Volume-Based Data Bundles for MTN Eswatini, Data Bundles for Eswatini Mobile) divided by the sum of charges for data.

It is understood that this excludes many of the other types of bundles, like the combo bundles. It may not be an accurate representation of the average price charged by the Swazi operators. Still, it does give a quick snapshot of the price difference between the two operators.

However, it is expected that Eswatini Mobile will lower its prices once they have finished their 5-year investment plan in 2022.

Currency in Eswatini

Eswatini uses the Swazi Lilangeni with the symbol SZL (which will be used throughout this guide). Prices in Eswatini are listed in E. For example, 25 SZL is E25. For reference, below are some exchange rates between SZL and USD (US Dollars – Rounded):

  • 1 SZL = 0.055 USD
  • 10 SZL = 0.55 USD
  • 100 SZL = 5.45 USD
  • 1000 SZL = 54.65 USD
  • 10 000 SZL = 546.45 USD

Do note that the Swazi Lilangeni is pegged 1:1 to the South African Rand (ZAR). Moreover, you can use ZAR in Eswatini (although you will get change back in SZL), but SZL is barely accepted in South Africa.

If your credit/debit card charges you foreign exchange fees, get yourself a Wise Borderless Account and Debit Card.

Their fees are MUCH lower than banks and credit card companies charge you (and Wise is transparent about their fees, unlike banks).

I have saved literal THOUSANDS of Australian Dollars and Euros, my main currencies, when using Wise abroad when traveling compared to my debit and credit cards.

Open a Wise account for FREE!

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Swazi Prepaid SIM Cards

Below, I will guide you through MTN Eswatini and Eswatini Mobile 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 MTN Eswatini and Eswatini Mobile have to offer to us.

MTN Eswatini

MTN Logo

MTN Eswatini, also known as MTN Swazi but will be referred to as only “MTN,” is the largest operator in Eswatini. They also have the best coverage in the country.

MTN Eswatini Coverage

MTN has the best coverage in Eswatini, mainly because they have been operating as a monopoly for a long time.

MTN does not have a coverage map on their website, so I will use a map produced by the Speedtest App, which quite a reliable source.

MTN Eswatini Coverage Map by Speedtest

SIM Card Price – MTN Eswatini

MTN SIM cards, called MTN Pay As You Go, are sold for 10 SZL in MTN stores.

  • Find out how much SIM cards cost in every country, including data-only SIM cards and tourist SIM cards, offered by each mobile operator + information about starter benefits (lookup tool)
SIM Card Prices Worldwide Tool by Phone Travel Wiz

Recharging your MTN Eswatini SIM Card

MTN top-up vouchers are widely available throughout Eswatini. To top-up, dial *141*VoucherCode#.

For example, if your voucher code is 123456, you would dial *141*123456#. Dial either *556# or *557# to check your MTN balance.

MTN Eswatini Internet Packages, Plans, Bundles & Offers

MTN has several types of combo bundles and data-only bundles:

Let’s go through each of them. Click on the links above to jump to the plan you are interested in.

MTN Eswatini Saver Combos

The Saver Combos are combo plans that come with data, minutes, and SMS. Saver Combos can be activated by dialing *686#.

You have the following eight options:

55 SZL150 MB30 minutes10 SMS7 days
115 SZL450 MB60 minutes20 SMS7 days
160 SZL1 GB100 minutes30 SMS30 days
180 SZL800 MB100 minutes30 SMS7 days
220 SZL1 GB150 minutes50 SMS30 days
250 SZL1.5 GB100 minutes50 SMS30 days
360 SZL3 GB300 minutes100 SMS30 days
650 SZL5 GB500 minutes200 SMS30 days
MTN Eswatini Pulse

The Pulse plans are combo plans targeting those to up to 25 years old.

Those who are 16 years old or younger can take advantage of mPulse, which comes with 5 free minutes for a day or week, depending on the type of Pulse package they buy (so you need to buy a bundle before you get free minutes).

Young adults between 17 and 25 years old can take advantage of Pulse, which comes with free Twitter for a day or a week, depending on the type of Pulse package they buy.

There is also something called Pulse Pro, but that is available to postpaid customers only, which will not be discussed in this guide.

The following eight Pulse bundles are available, which can be activated by dialing *411#:

5 SZL10 MB20 minutes1 day
5 SZL25 MB5 minutes1 day
10 SZL20 MB40 minutes1 day
10 SZL50 MB15 minutes1 day
15 SZL50 MB60 minutes7 days
15 SZL100 MB30 minutes7 days
20 SZL80 MB90 minutes7 days
50 SZL500 MB50 minutes30 days
MTN Eswatini Time-Based Data Bundles

Time-Based Bundles are short-term data-only bundles. They are known as Rush Hour Bundles, which are hourly data bundles, and Loloma Bundles, which are unlimited data bundles for an hour up to 4 hours between 23:00 and 5:00 (11 PM – 5 AM).

MTN Eswatini Rush Hour Bundles

There are four Rush Hour Bundles available, which can be activated by dialing *686*1*4#:

1 SZL2 MB1 hour
2.50 SZL10 MB1 hour
10 SZL45 MB1 hour
20 SZL100 MB1 hour
MTN Eswatini Loloma Bundles

There are four Loloma Bundles available, which can be activated by dialing *686*1*4#:

PriceDataValidityTime frame
10 SZLUnlimited1 hour23:00-5:00 (11 PM-5 AM)
25 SZLUnlimited2 hours23:00-5:00 (11 PM-5 AM)
30 SZLUnlimited3 hours23:00-5:00 (11 PM-5 AM)
40 SZLUnlimited4 hours23:00-5:00 (11 PM-5 AM)
MTN Eswatini Volume Data Bundles

The Volume Data Bundles are standard data-only bundles. They come in daily, weekly, and monthly variants. You get the same data allowance that can be used at night between 23:00 and 5:00 (11 PM – 5 AM).

For example, if you get a 1 GB data plan, you will get an additional 1 GB allowance for at night, making your total data allowance 2 GB.

All Volume Data Bundles can be activated by dialing *66*1*1#.

The following Volume Data Bundles are available:

PriceDataNight Data BonusValidity
2 SZL8 MB8 MB1 day
5 SZL23 MB23 MB1 day
10 SZL47 MB47 MB1 day
17 SZL185 MB185 MB7 days
25 SZL500 MB500 MB7 days
40 SZL200 MB200 MB30 days
60 SZL350 MB350 MB30 days
70 SZL1 GB1 GB7 days
80 SZL500 MB500 MB30 days
150 SZL1 GB1 GB30 days
250 SZL2 GB2 GB30 days
350 SZL3 GB3 GB30 days
450 SZL5 GB5 GB30 days
550 SZL7 GB7 GB30 days
750 SZL10 GB10 GB30 days
1000 SZL1.5 GB/day (45 GB in total)None30 days
1100 SZL15 GB15 GB30 days
1250 SZL20 GB20 GB30 days
1500 SZL25 GB25 GB30 days
MTN Eswatini Social Data Bundles (WhatsApp, Facebook, YouTube & Study)

The Social Data Bundles are data bundles for WhatsApp only, Facebook only, YouTube only, or a bunch of study-related websites.

All Social Data Bundles can be activated by dialing *686*1*2#.

The following Social Data Bundles are available:

5 SZL30 MBWhatsApp1 day
5 SZL30 MBFacebook1 day
10 SZL500 MBStudy1 day
10 SZL1.5 GBYouTube1 day
20 SZL150 MBWhatsApp7 days
20 SZL150 MBFacebook7 days
20 SZL1 GBStudy7 days
20 SZL3 GBYouTube7 days
40 SZL360 MBWhatsApp30 days
40 SZL360 MBFacebook30 days
50 SZL3 GBStudy30 days
65 SZL5 GBYouTube30 days

The following sites fall under your Study Data Bundle data allowance:

The study bundles may not be useful for tourists and travelers. However, they can be helpful for exchange students, which is why I still mention them in this guide.

MTN Eswatini Tourist Pack

The Tourist Pack is MTN's SIM card targeting tourists visiting Eswatini. The Tourist Pack costs 99 SZL and comes with 1 GB, 45 on-net minutes, and 15 international minutes, and they are sold at MTN stores at border entry points.

The Tourist Pack has three weekly bundles available:

PriceDataOn-Net MinutesInternational Minutes
99 SZL1 GB45 minutes15 minutes
150 SZL2 GB50 minutes15 minutes
299 SZL5GB50 minutes30 minutes

It is not entirely clear whether one can buy one of the regular data bundles with a tourist SIM card. MTN claims that “[…] the customer (tourist) must have bought the preloaded starter pack that has the 99 SZL value of tourist bundle” and later states that “The bundles are as below,“ which are the bundles listed above.

MTN Eswatini APN Settings

In most cases, your phone will retrieve the correct MTN Eswatini APN settings automatically. If you need to enter it manually, then you need the following details (do not add anything not mentioned below):

  • Name: MTN Swaziland
  • APN:

Eswatini Mobile

Eswatini Mobile Logo

Eswatini Mobile, which was known as Swazi Mobile before the country changed names, is the newest operator in the country. Eswatini Mobile was awarded a license to break up MTN’s monopoly. Initially, Eswatini Mobile used MTN’s towers before building their own network, but they now have their own network.

Eswatini Mobile Coverage

Eswatini has a list of towns they cover, which is more than 85 towns.

However, showing you a table of towns you have never heard of or will not visit would not be helpful.

Instead, I will show you a coverage map provided with the Network Checker on the Speedtest app.

Swazi Mobile Coverage Map by Speedtest

SIM Card Price – Eswatini Mobile

You can buy Eswatini Mobile SIM cards for 50 SZL in Eswatini Mobile stores. The SIM cards come with 50 SZL in credit.

  • Find out how much SIM cards cost in every country, including data-only SIM cards and tourist SIM cards, offered by each mobile operator + information about starter benefits (lookup tool)
SIM Card Prices Worldwide Tool by Phone Travel Wiz

Recharging your Eswatini Mobile SIM Card

Eswatini Mobile recharge vouchers are sold everywhere throughout Eswatini. To top-up, dial *200*VoucherCode*.

For example, if your voucher code is 123456, you would dial *200*123456#. Dial *202# to check your Eswatini Mobile balance.

Eswatini Mobile Internet Packages, Plans, Bundles & Offers

Eswatini has several types of combo plans and data-only plans, which are:

Let’s go through each of them. Click on the links above to jump to the plan you are interested in.

Eswatini Mobile No Frills Contracts

The No Frills Contracts are combo bundles. Although the name includes contract, it is a prepaid bundle.

Unlike the Prepaid Plans mentioned later, No Frills Contracts expire at the end of the month, not the usual 28-31 days. This means that if you buy a No Frills Contract on the 25th of the month, you can use your allowance for only 3-6 days, depending on the length of the month.

Eswatini Mobile No Frills Contract
One of the No Frills Packages

The following four No Frills Contracts are available, which can be activated by dialing *222#:

PriceDataOn-Net MinutesOff-Net MinutesLocal SMSUnlimited Calls
50 SZL500 MB250 on-net minutes50 off-net minutes50 SMSOn Saturdays
100 SZL1 GB300 on-net minutes60 off-net minutes60 SMSOn Saturdays & Sundays
195 SZL2 GB600 on-net minutes120 off-net minutes120 SMSOn Sundays between 6:00-18:00 (6 AM-6PM)
295 SZL8 GBUnlimited on-net minutes150 off-net minutes150 SMSN/A

No Frills Contracts auto-renew. To cancel auto-renewal, dial *241*PackageAmount#.

For example, if you purchased the 100 SZL package and want to cancel it, you would dial *241*100#.

Eswatini Mobile Prepaid Plans

Prepaid Plans are combo plans that come with data, on-net minutes, off-net minutes, and SMS.

The following seven Prepaid Plans are available:

PriceDataOn-Net MinutesOff-Net MinutesLocal SMSValidity
5 SZL5 MB30 on-net minutes5 off-net minutes5 SMS24 hours
10 SZL10 MB70 on-net minutes10 off-net minutes10 SMS24 hours
50 SZL50 MB250 on-net minutes50 off-net minutes50 SMS7 days
195 SZL1 GB500 on-net minutes100 off-net minutes50 SMS30 days
240 SZL60 MB60 on-net minutesN/A60 SMSAllowance renewed every 30 days, the plan expires after 365 days
295 SZL2 GB750 on-net minutes200 off-net minutes75 SMS30 days
495 SZL4 GB1000 on-net minutes400 off-net minutes100 SMS30 days
Eswatini Mobile Data Bundles

The Data Bundles are data-only bundles.

Besides data you can use whenever you want, you get a 50% data bonus to be used at night (unknown timeframe).

For example, if you get a 10 MB data plan, you will get an additional 5 MB to be used at night, making your total data allowance 15 MB.

The following 16 Data Bundles are available, which are all valid for 30 days:

PriceDataNight Data
2 SZL7 MB3.5 MB
5 SZL20 MB10 MB
10 SZL30 MB15 MB
20 SZL40 MB20 MB
25 SZL70 MB35 MB
30 SZL100 MB50 MB
35 SZL130 MB65 MB
50 SZL200 MB100 MB
90 SZL400 MB200 MB
100 SZL512 MB256 MB
150 SZL1 GB512 MB
295 SZL2.5 GB1.25 GB
500 SZL5 GB2.5 GB
700 SZL7.5 GB3.75 GB
800 SZL10 GB5 GB
1000 SZLUnlimitedUnlimited
YouTube Bundles

You can also get a YouTube Bundle in addition to your Data Bundle so that you do not exhaust your data bundle allowance. You could call them add-ons.

You have the following three options:

10 SZL1 GB1 day
20 SZL2.5 GB1 day
35 SZL5 GB1 day

Eswatini Mobile APN Settings

In most cases, your phone will retrieve the correct Eswatini Mobile APN settings automatically. If you need to enter it manually, then you need the following details (do not add anything not mentioned below):

  • Name: Swazi Mobile
  • APN: internet

The Preferred Way to Stay Online When Traveling in Eswatini

Getting a SIM card from MTN (best coverage and lower prices) would do you well when considering a Swazi SIM card.