Buying a Prepaid SIM Card in Guinea-Bissau Guide

Guinea-Bissau often gets confused with Equatorial Guinea in Central Africa and Guinea (Conakry), which is also in West Africa. My partner even confused it with French Guinea in South America. Guinea-Bissau.

Guinea-Bissau has a lot to offer, which you probably want to share online. International roaming can be super expensive, which is why many travelers prefer to buy local prepaid SIM cards, like a Bissau-Guinean (yes, that is the demonym of Guinea-Bissau).

Luckily, mobile data is affordable compared to the world’s average, which makes it another reason why you should buy a SIM card in Guinea-Bissau.

In this article, I will go over everything you need to know about buying a SIM card in Guinea-Bissau. Let’s go.

Buying a SIM Card in Guinea-Bissau Guide (MTN & Orange)

Telecom Operators, Networks, and Frequencies in Guinea-Bissau

Guinea-Bissau has 2 telecom operators:

  • Orange Guinea-Bissau (Orange Bissau)
  • MTN Guinea-Bissau (MTN Guiné Bissau)

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

The following frequencies are used by the Bissau-Guinean operators:

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

The Best SIM card in Guinea-Bissau

If you want to buy a SIM card in Guinea-Bissau, then Orange has the best prepaid offering. Not only do they have the best coverage throughout the country, but they are also the cheapest option.

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SIM Card Registration Regulations in Guinea-Bissau

Like most countries in West Africa, and Africa in general, you have to register your passport details when buying a SIM card in Guinea-Bissau.

Guinea-Bissau Flag

Currency in Guinea-Bissau

Guinea-Bissau uses the West African Franc with the symbol XOF (which will be used throughout this article). Prices in Guinea-Bissau are listed in (F)CFA. For example, 25 XOF is (F)CFA 25. For reference, below are some exchange rates between XOF and USD (US Dollars – Rounded):

  • 10 XOF = 0.02 USD
  • 100 XOF = 0.20 USD
  • 1000 XOF = 1.70 USD
  • 10 000 XOF = 17.15 USD
  • 100 000 XOF = 171.45 USD

For up-to-date XOF:USD exchange rates, search XOF to USD on Google, or replace USD with the currency you use.

Bissau-Guinean Prepaid SIM Cards

Below, I will guide you through Orange Guinea-Bissau and MTN Guinea-Bissau 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 Orange Guinea-Bissau and MTN Guinea-Bissau have to offer to us.

Orange Guinea-Bissau

Orange Logo

Orange Guinea-Bissau, officially Orange Bissau but will be referred to as just “Orange,” has the best coverage in Guinea-Bissau. They are also, on average, the cheapest. 4G/LTE can be found in the following areas:

  • Bafatá
  • Bissau
  • Buba
  • Bubaque
  • Canchungo
  • Farim
  • Gabú
  • Quinhamel
  • Safim

Getting an Orange Guinea-Bissau SIM Card

You can buy an Orange SIM card, called Orange Livre, for 500 XOF in Orange stores. You will get 500 XOF in credit as a bonus. You may have to call 500 to activate your SIM card.

Topping Up Your Orange Guinea-Bissau SIM Card

Recharge cards are sold in denominations of 500 XOF, 1000 XOF, 5000 XOF, 10 000 XOF, and 25 000 XOF. For recharges of more than 5000 XOF, you get 1000 XOF, 2000 XOF, and 5000 XOF bonus credit. To top-up your Orange SIM card, you have to dial *123*VoucherCode#. For example, if your voucher code is 123456, you would dial *123*123456#.

Orange Guinea-Bissau Internet Packages, Plans, Bundles & Offers

The Orange Internet Móvel Passes are data-only passes. They are grouped into two categories: Gama Classica & Gama Intensa. The Classica passes, meaning classic passes, are data passes that are valid from 24 hours to 30 days, while the Intensa passes, meaning intense passes, are valid for 30 days (and have a larger data allowance).

Both the Classica and Intensa passes can be activated by dialing *1234* or by heading to pass.orange-bissau.com (works only on a device with an Orange Bissau SIM card), so they will be listed in one table. Below are all your options:

PriceDataValidity
200 XOF40 MB24 hours
350 XOF80 MB24 hours
650 XOF250 MB3 days
2000 XOF750 MB7 days
4000 XOF1.5 GB30 days
7500 XOF3 GB30 days
10 000 XOF5 GB30 days
15 000 XOF10 GB30 days
22 000 XOF20 GB30 days
35 000 XOF40 GB30 days
50 000 XOF75 GB30 days

Orange Guinea-Bissau APN Settings

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

  • APN: internetogb OR 4Gogb

RELATED GUIDES:

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MTN Guinea-Bissau

MTN Logo

MTN Guinea-Bissau, officially known as MTN Guiné Bissau but will be referred to as just “MTN,” is the other operator in Guinea-Bissau. Their coverage is slightly worse than the one of Orange, and they are more expensive than Orange.

Getting an MTN Guinea-Bissau SIM Card & Topping Up

You can buy an MTN SIM card for 500 XOF in MTN stores. Recharge vouchers are widely available throughout the country, even on the streets.

MTN Guinea-Bissau Internet Packages, Plans, Bundles & Offers

MTN has several combo plans and data-only plans, which are:

  • MTN Bombástico (combo)
  • MTN Livre (combo)
  • MTN Nonstop (unlimited)
  • MTN Pacotes Internet Móvel (data-only)

Let’s go through each of them

MTN Bombástico 

The Bombástico bundles are short-term combo bundles that come with data, on-net minutes, and on-net SMS. They can be activated by dialing *777#. There are 4 Bombástico bundles, but only 3 of them come with data:

PriceDataOn-Net MinutesOn-Net SMSValidity
200 XOF50 MB20 minutes20 SMS24 hours
300 XOF80 MB20 minutes20 SMS3 days
500 XOF250 MB60 minutes60 SMS7 days
MTN Livre

The Livre bundles are semi-long-term combo bundles that come with data, on-net minutes, off-net minutes, and on-net SMS. They can be activated by dialing *313#. You have the following 5 options:

PriceDataOn-Net MinutesOff-Net MinutesOn-Net SMSValidity
800 XOF500 MB60 minutesNone60 SMS14 days
1000 XOF500 MB90 minutes5 minutes100 SMS14 days
1500 XOF1000 MB150 minutes5 minutes100 SMS14 days
3000 XOF500 MB200 minutes5 minutes200 SMS30 days
5000 XOF2000 MB200 minutes20 minutes200 SMS30 days
MTN Nonstop

The Nonstop bundles are bundles that come with unlimited data, on-net minutes, or a combination of data and on-net minutes for 1 hour. They can be activated by dialing *316#. There are 3 options:

  • 200 XOF: Unlimited on-net minutes
  • 500 XOF: Unlimited data
  • 800 XOF: Unlimited data and on-net minutes
MTN Pacotes Internet Móvel

The Pacotes Internet Móvel are data-only packages. They come in various variants:

  • Pacotes Internet Móvel (regular)
  • Y’ello Night (night bundles)
  • Flash (hourly)
  • Pacotes Redes Sociais (Facebook & WhatsApp)

The activation procedure of all these packages is the same. They can be activated by dialing *138#. The Y’ellow Night bundles can be used between 11 PM and 6 AM only. The Pacotes Redes Sociais packages which are for WhatsApp and Facebook only.

The Pacotes Redes Sociais cannot be recommended because they come with a minuscule data allowance (4 MB for 50 XOF and 10 MB for 100 XOF for 24 hours and 7 days, respectively).

Below are all the 14 Pacotes Internet Móvel packages:

PriceDataValidity
100 XOF50 MB1 hour
100 XOF5 MBUntil midnight
200 XOF200 MB1 hour
200 XOF200 MB1 night between 11 PM and 6 AM
300 XOF50 MB24 hours
500 XOFUnlimited1 hour
500 XOF2 GB1 night between 11 PM and 6 AM
500 XOF100 MB24 hours
700 XOF500 MB24 hours
1000 XOF150 MB7 days
2500 XOF1 GB7 days
10 000 XOF5 GB30 days
15 000 XOF10 GB30 days
25 000 XOF20 GB30 days

MTN Guinea-Bissau APN Settings

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

  • APN: internet

Other Ways to Use the Internet When Traveling in Guinea-Bissau

Getting a Bissau-Guinean SIM card is probably the cheapest way to connect to the internet when traveling in Guinea-Bissau. However, you can also:

Mobile Hotspots

Mobile hotspots are 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 excellent for those traveling in groups, like friends or family.

You can either buy a mobile hotspot (like the ones I cover in this article) or rent them. As a solo traveler, I barely get a mobile hotspot for myself. When I do, I rent them from Travelwifi, which covers 130+ destinations for as little as $7/day, or Skyroam, which also covers more than 130 destinations, and data starts from $8/day. You can get a discount with Skyroam by using coupon code PHONETRAVELWIZ upon checkout.

Travelwifi banner
Skyroam banner

International SIM Cards & Travel SIM Cards

International SIM cards and travel SIM cards can be a convenient way to stay connected when traveling around multiple countries. Many countries require those buying local prepaid SIM cards to go through a registration procedure, like in Guinea-Bissau.

Although I love to collect SIM cards, many do not. So having one SIM card that covers all the destinations you are visiting can be a blessing. I recommend four companies that sell international SIM cards or travel SIM cards:

Roaming

Roaming with your provider is the most convenient way to stay connected when traveling because you can keep using your SIM card and do not have to buy a new one. However, roaming often results in expensive bills, but that does not always have to be the case. Your operator may offer attractive roaming packages, but it will most likely be more expensive than buying a local prepaid SIM card and getting a data package from a local operator.

I have an article explaining why roaming is so expensive. I also have many articles covering the roaming options of operators around the world, and make a verdict saying roaming can be worth it or not. Finally, I discuss many phone travel tips to keep your phone bills low when traveling.

Free WIFI Hotspots

Using free WIFI connections is the cheapest way to connect to the internet because you do not have to pay anything. However, free WIFI hotspots can be unsecure and unreliable.

You can find quite some WIFI hotspots in Guinea-Bissau, but they can be slow at times. Additionally, public WIFI hotspots are unsecure. They are a prime target for hackers to steal your data and use it for illicit purposes, which is why I ALWAYS use a VPN on open WIFI connections (and even on private ones, even at home).

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!

The Preferred Way to Stay Connected When Traveling in Guinea-Bissau

Getting a SIM card from Orange (best coverage and fastest speeds) would do you well when considering a Bissau-Guinean SIM card.

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Local Prepaid SIM Card in Other African Countries

Going to other countries in West Africa? Check out my West Africa SIM card buying guide, covering other East African nations, such as:

Be sure to check out this guide covering all African countries, such as these popular African travel destinations:

Otherwise, I have many guides covering countries all over the world. Get my SIM card recommendation sheet by signing up for my newsletter!

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 resource 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!

Phone Travel Tips & 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 in Asia, in particular, East and Southeast Asia. He currently lives in Tainan, Taiwan due to the current pandemic and does not have any travel plans for after his stay in Taiwan.

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