Buying a Prepaid SIM Card in Eswatini (Swaziland) 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 (0.60 USD) and get a data package with 1 GB of data for 70 SZL (4.20 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 (Swaziland) Guide (Logos of MTN & Eswatini Mobile)

Original publication: 20th of June 2020. Last updated: 28th of October 2020.

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 Maximilian DΓΆrrbecker (Chumwa) – Own work, using this fileOpens in a new tab. by Denelson83, CC BY-SA 2.5,

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

Eswatini has 2 mobile operators:

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.

The 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.

 ALSO: Want to get an excel sheet of the best SIM cards of over 230+ destinations around the world, updated monthly? Sign up for the Phone Travel Wiz Newsletter and get the excel sheet for FREE!

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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.

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 = 0.05 USD
  • 10 SZL = 0.55 USD
  • 100 SZL = 5.70 USD
  • 1000 SZL = 57.15 USD
  • 10 000 SZL = 571.45 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 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!

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Video Guide for Buying a SIM Card in Swaziland

Are you a visual learner? You can watch this Eswatini SIM Card Buying Guide! It is recommended to read the remainder of the review after watching this video (I refer to this guide a few times throughout the video). Otherwise, you will be missing key elements related to Swazi SIM cards. Also, be sure to subscribe to the channel after watching the video!

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 EswatiniOpens in a new tab., also known as MTN Swazi but will be referred to as only β€œMTN,” 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 AppOpens in a new tab., which quite a reliable source.

MTN Eswatini Coverage Map by Speedtest

Getting an MTN Eswatini Prepaid SIM Card & Price

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

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:

PriceDataMinutesSMSValidity
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#:

PriceDataMinutesValidity
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#:

PriceDataValidity
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:

PriceDataAppValidity
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 β€œ[…] the customer (tourist) must have bought the preloaded starter pack that has the 99 SZL value of tourist bundle” and later states that β€œThe bundles are as below,β€œ 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: mymtn.co.sz

RELATED GUIDES:

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Eswatini Mobile

Eswatini Mobile Logo

Eswatini MobileOpens in a new tab., 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 networkOpens in a new tab., 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

Getting an Eswatini Mobile Prepaid SIM Card & Price

You can buy Eswatini Mobile SIM cards for 50 SZL in Eswatini Mobile storesOpens in a new tab.. The SIM cards come with 50 SZL in credit.

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:

PriceDataValidity
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

Other Ways to Get Online When Traveling in Eswatini

Getting a Swazi SIM card is probably the cheapest way to connect to the internet when traveling in Eswatini. Not even the roaming packages MTN South Africa or operators from Mozambique come close to the local Swazi rates.

In some cases, getting a local SIM card, like a Swazi one, is not practical or not possible. Luckily, other ways to stay connected exist.

International SIM Cards or Travel SIM Cards

International SIM cards or Travel SIM cards are made for the traveler in mind – you do not have to buy a local SIM card for every country you visit, and they are cheaper than international roaming.

International SIM cards and Travel SIM cards are SIM cards that can be used internationally.

Yes, almost all SIM cards allow you to use them internationally (with international roaming), but international SIM cards are often cheaper than international roaming rates, and they sometimes work in more countries than your operator covers.

Sadly, many international SIM cards and travel SIM cards have unfavorable rates for most African nations – Eswatini included.

However, Surfroam is one of the international SIM cards that does have reasonable prices for Eswatini. It is worth taking a look because they have amazing rates for many countries around the world (starting as low as €0.01/MB).

With such low mobile data rates in Namibia, it will be hard to find an international SIM card or travel SIM card that will offer better rates.

You can learn more about international SIM cards and travel SIM cards on this page.

International Roaming

Although international roaming can be expensive in many cases, it does not always have to be the case.

I know that MTN South Africa has reasonable roaming rates for those visiting Eswatini. Other countries in Southern Africa may do the same, but you would have to explore your options.

Be aware that international roaming can be all fun and games until you receive a roaming bill in the thousands.

If you are traveling from any other country that South Africa or other countries in Southern Africa, you may not want to roam – unless you have too much money.

This video below explains why international roaming is criminally expensive.

Mobile Hotspots (Pocket WIFI)

Mobile hotspots, or pocket WIFI, are small devices that connect to the local operators of the country you are visiting. Mobile hotspots are ideal for families or those traveling in a large group. They allow you to connect multiple devices to one hotspot without each traveler having to buy a SIM card.

Sadly, the companies that rent out mobile hotspots do not cover Eswatini. Or they do so at excessive rates.

It is also possible to buy a mobile hotspot one and insert a SIM card in it. Then, multiple users can connect to it without every individual having to buy their own SIM cards and plans – it an save you a lot of money.

Free WIFI Networks

Nothing beats free, including free WIFI networks. The major downside of trying to use WIFI hotspots is that you will have to locate them – they are not available all the time, especially when on the road. The main benefit is… that they are free.

You can find quite a few free WIFI hotspots Eswatini. However, they can be slow. If you manage to find one, however, make sure to protect your internet traffic with a VPN so that hackers cannot steal your personal data.

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.

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Local Prepaid SIM Cards 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.

Next Steps to Enhance Your Travel Experiences

Looking for the next steps to enhance your phone travel experiences? Here is what to do:

Check Out My Resource Page

Looking for the best companies and gadgets to enhance your travel experience? Check out my travel resources page for the best companies to use when you travel! Save money with international SIM cards, 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!

Start Your Own Online Business – Make Money While Traveling

Do you want to learn how I started an online business that allows me to generate income while traveling? In my starting an online business guide, I tell you which tools, services, and products I have for this site and my YouTube channel. If I can start a business about something I am passionate about (phone travel), then you can do it too!

Learn About Your Phone Travel Options

You can buy local prepaid SIM cards, international SIM cards, mobile hotspots, or roam internationally. Each of these options has its pros and cons. Learn more about them, and find the best option for you.

Phone Travel Tips, Tricks & Hacks

I have written many articles with tips and hacks to save money on mobile costs while abroad. You surely want to check them out!

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Ernest Adu

Ernest Adu, going by just Adu, is the founder and editor at Phone Travel Wiz. He has been a traveler for 6 years. Although from Europe, the Netherlands, Adu's favorite region is Asia. In particular, East and Southeast Asia. He currently lives in Tainan, Taiwan.

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