Getting a Lebanese SIM card has become more affordable in recent years.
Where you used to pay more than 20 USD for a SIM card in Lebanon, you can get a SIM card for much less, mainly because of government pressure.
Both Touch and Alfa sell SIM cards for 3 USD in their stores. You can get 1 GB of data for as low as 7 USD.
There is much more to know about purchasing SIM cards and getting data in Lebanon.
In this guide, I will go over everything you need to know about buying a SIM card in Lebanon. Let's get started.
Original publication: 24th of December 2019. Last updated: 12th of April 2021.
Table of Contents
Can You Buy a SIM Card in Lebanon?
Everybody living in or visiting Lebanon is allowed to purchase a Lebanese SIM card. You have to ensure your SIM card is registered upon purchase.
Moreover, your phone needs to support Lebanon's frequencies, and it needs to be SIM-lock free (unlocked).
Can You Use Your Phone in Lebanon?
Lebanon uses GSM for its mobile telecommunications network. They use frequencies used in many regions around the world (Europe, Asia, Africa, and Oceania – ITU Regions 1 & 3).
However, these frequencies are not used in the Americas (North-, Central-, and South America + the Caribbean – ITU Region 2).
If you purchased your phone in Europe, Asia (including the Middle East), Africa, or Oceania, then you can use your phone when in Lebanon.
However, if you bought your phone in the Americas (North-, Central-, and South America + the Caribbean – ITU Region 2) and it is not a Tri-Band or Quad-Band device, then there is a possibility you cannot use your phone when in Lebanon or can only use slower networks (3G or 2G).
Mobile Operators, Networks & Frequencies in Lebanon
Lebanon has two mobile operators:
The following frequencies are used by the Lebanese operators:
- 2G: 900 MHz
- 3G: 2100 MHz
- 4G/LTE: 800 MHz (Band 20) & 1800 MHz (Band 3)
To check whether your phone will work in Lebanon, check out this page by Will My Phone Work.
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 Lebanon
If you want to buy a SIM card in Lebanon, I recommend going with either Touch or Alfa. The coverage with both operators is on par and extensive. Speeds are high with both Touch and Alfa. Alfa is slightly cheaper than Touch and offers more packages and bundles.
SIM Card Registration in Lebanon
SIM card registration with your passport information is required in Lebanon. This will be done at the point of sale.
IMEI (Phone) Registration in Lebanon
As of 2018, IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) registration is mandatory when using a Lebanese SIM card and staying in the country for more than 90 days. Additionally, you will be required to pay import duties on your device, which is 15% of your phone's original price.
IMEI registration and paying the import duties do not apply when you roam in Lebanon or using a Lebanese SIM card for fewer than 90 days.
Those who want to keep a Lebanese number and do not wish to register their phones or pay import duties can consider getting a tourist SIM card.
Those SIM cards are not subject to IMEI registration and do not require you to register your phone. Moreover, they are valid for 1 year (although the original bundles have a much smaller validity).
To be eligible for a tourist SIM card, you must not be a resident of Lebanon and have an entry stamp stamped no more than 90 days ago before purchasing the SIM card.
Lebanon Speeds, Internet Prices & Insights
Mobile internet speeds are exceptionally high in the Middle East. Often, the mobile speeds are higher than fixed broadband speeds.
This also applies to Lebanon.
Lebanon's average mobile download speed is 42 Mbps, placing Lebanon in the top 40 on the Speedtest Global Index.
For reference, the world average mobile download is around 36 Mbps, so Lebanon's speeds are slightly above the world average.
How about mobile data rates in Lebanon? Is data expensive in the country?
The average price for 1 GB of data in Lebanon is 3.82 USD, which is less than the Middle Eastern average of 4.46 USD. The world average of 5.03 USD.
That is all according to Cable.co.uk.
But do not let this figure fool you – it is the average. You will notice that you have to spend almost double to get 1 GB of data.
Although the average costs seem low. In reality, mobile data in Lebanon is quite expensive by Middle Eastern standards.
However, the SIM cards themselves are affordable, and mobile coverage is close to excellent.
Currency in Lebanon
Lebanon uses the Lebanese Pound with the symbol LBP. However, LBP is pegged to the US Dollar (USD). 1 USD is, officially, 1507.50 LBP. 0.01 USD would be 15.07. However, local shops and banks may use a different exchange rate.
USD is widely accepted in Lebanon but expect change back in LBP. Prices in Lebanon are often listed in USD, which applies to the mobile operators in the country. However, you can always pay in LBP.
In this guide, USD will be used for pricing, as that is what the mobile operators use.
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!
Lebanon Prepaid SIM Cards
- Background information
- Mobile coverage
- 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 Lebanon has to offer to us.
Touch is the largest operator in Lebanon. It is managed by the Zain group while being partially owned by the Lebanese government (which applies to Alfa too, but they are run by a different company).
Touch has extensive coverage throughout Lebanon.
Touch' 4G/LTE coverage is almost as extensive as its 3.9G coverage. Nearly all of Lebanon is covered by Touch.
Getting a Touch SIM Card & Price
You can get a Touch SIM card, called Magic, for 3 USD with 3 USD in credit for 5 days in Touch Certified Outlets, Point of Presence, and Service Centers. You can also get a data-only SIM card for 19 USD with 19 USD in credit.
Touch sells other SIM cards, mostly referred to as profiles, which are Start, Smart, and Super. They are sold for the following prices:
- Start SIM card: 13.64 USD – 9.09 USD in credit for 30 days
- Smart SIM card: 19.70 USD – 15.15 USD in credit for 30 days
- Super SIM card: 31.82 USD – 27.27 USD in credit for 30 days
The difference between all these SIM cards and prices is the standard rates you pay. Most plans and packages are available to all SIM cards and profiles.
The Start, Smart, and Super SIM cards have their own recharge cards and values.
You can switch profiles by texting the name of the profile (Magic, Start, Smart, or Super) to 1144.
Do note that current credit and activated services will not be transferred when switching profiles.
For most, the Magic SIM card and profile will be the most affordable profile when in Lebanon.
Touch SIM cards, mostly the Magic SIM card, are also sold at Beirut International Airport.
Touch Visitor Line (Tourist SIM Card)
The Touch Visitor Line is a SIM card aimed at tourists. It costs 39 USD and includes 10 GB of data, 100 minutes for local and international use, and 100 SMS for local and international use, all for 14 days.
The Visitor Line plan can be renewed by texting VB to 1100.
You can check your Visitor Line balance by dialing *220#.
Although the Visitor Line plan is valid for 14 days, the SIM card itself is valid for 365 days. Moreover, IMEI registration is unnecessary when you have a Visitor Line SIM card, nor do you have to pay import duties.
The Touch Visitor Line is also available at Beirut International Airport.
Topping-Up Your Touch SIM Card
Touch Magic recharge cards are available in denominations from 11.36 USD to 231.82 USD in Touch Stores, Service centers, and Points of Presence.
The Magic top-up cards come in the following values, and they can also be used to recharge Visitor Line and Al Tawasol SIM cards and profiles:
|11.36 USD||10 days|
|17.06 USD||20 days|
|22.73 USD||30 days|
|45.45 USD||60 days|
|68.18 USD||90 days|
|231.82 USD||365 days|
To redeem your scratch card, dial *200*VoucherCode# or dial 1322 and follow the instructions.
For example, if your voucher code is 123456, you would dial *200*123456# when using the shortcode method.
To check your Touch balance, dial *220#.
Those on the Start, Smart, and Super profiles will have to get one of the following recharge cards:
|Start||9.09 USD||30 days|
|Smart||15.15 USD||30 days|
|Super||27.27 USD||30 days|
Touch Internet Packages, Plans, Bundles & Offers
Touch offers several types of packages and bundles, which are:
- Web and Talk bundle (combo bundle – Magic)
- Al Tawasol (combo bundle for Syrians in Lebanon)
- Daily Data (data-only bundles)
- High Speed Internet 4.5 Packages (data-only bundles)
- WhatsApp (data-only bundles for WhatsApp)
- Social Data (data-only bundle for select social media apps)
Click on the links above to jump to the plan you are interested in.
Touch Web and Talk Bundle
The Web and Talk Bundle is a combo bundle with data, minutes, and SMS for Magic Lines.
The Web and Talk Bundle includes the following allowances:
|Price||Data||Local Minutes||Minutes to Preferred Number||Local SMS||Validity||Activation Code|
|14 USD||600 MB||60 minutes||300 minutes||440 SMS||30 days||W|
To activate the Web and Talk Bundle, text W to 1100.
You can check your Web and Talk Bundle allowance by dialing *230#.
The Web and Talk Bundle auto-renews. To deactivate the bundle, text DW to 1100.
Touch Web and Talk Preferred Number
You can set up a preferred number with the Web and Talk Bundle, which gives you 300 minutes to that specific number.
- To register a preferred number, dial *721*PhoneNumber#
- To change a registered preferred number, dial *722*NewPhoneNumber*OldPhoneNumber#
- To check your current registered preferred Number, dial *723#
- To delete your current preferred number, dial *724*PhoneNumber#
Touch Al Tawasol Bundle
The Al Tawasol Bundle is a plan for Syrians living in Lebanon and want to keep in touch with those still in Syria.
The Al Tawasol Bundle includes the following allowances:
|Price||Data||Local Minutes||Minutes to Syria||Local SMS||SMS to Syria||Validity||Activation Code|
|11 USD||100 MB||10 minutes||40 minutes||10 SMS||20 SMS||30 days||Tawasol|
To activate the Al Tawasol Bundle, text Tawasol to 1100.
You can check your Al Tawasol Bundle allowance by dialing *220#.
The bundle can be combined with the WhatsApp Bundle.
Touch Daily Data Bundles
The Daily Data Bundles are data-only packages.
The following Daily Data Bundles are available:
|1 USD||50 MB||1 day||DD|
|2 USD||200 MB||2 days||DD2|
|4 USD||700 MB||4 days||DD4|
|7 USD||1 GB||7 days||WD|
To activate a Daily Data Bundle, text the Activation Code to 1188.
For example, if you want the 1 USD 50 MB bundle, you would text DD to 1100.
You can check your Daily Data Bundle allowance by dialing *230#.
Touch High Speed Internet (HSI) 4.5 Packages
The High Speed Internet 4.5 Packages, also known as HSI packages, are data-only bundles on Touch' 4.5G network (LTE-A).
The following HSI Packages are available:
|10 USD||Offer 1||500 MB||30 days||HS1|
|19 USD||Offer 2||1.75 GB||30 days||HS2|
|26 USD||Offer 3||6 GB||30 days||HS3|
|33 USD||Offer 4||10 GB||30 days||HS4|
|39 USD||Offer 5||20 GB||30 days||HS5|
|49 USD||Offer 6||30 GB||30 days||HS6|
|59 USD||Offer 7||40 GB||30 days||HS7|
|69 USD||Offer 8||60 GB||30 days||HS8|
|109 USD||Offer 9||100 GB||30 days||HS9|
To activate an HSI Package, text the Activation Code to 1188.
For example, if you want Offer 1, you would text HS1 to 1188.
You can check your HSI Package allowance by dialing *220#.
Touch WhatsApp Bundles
The WhatsApp Bundles are data bundles for WhatsApp.
The following WhatsApp Bundles are available:
|4 USD||200 MB||30 days||WA|
|6 USD||300 MB||30 days||WA2|
To activate a WhatsApp Bundle, text the Activation Code to 1100.
You can check your HSI Package allowance by dialing *220#.
The WhatsApp Bundles auto-renew. To deactivate the bundle, text DWA to 1100.
The Social Data Bundle is a data bundle for Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Twitter & Snapchat.
The Social Data Bundle includes the following allowances:
|7 USD||300 MB||30 days||S|
To activate the Social Data, text S to 1100.
You can check your Social Data Bundle allowance by dialing *230#.
The Social Data Bundles auto-renew. To deactivate the bundle, text SD to 1100.
Touch APN Settings
- Name: Touch
- APN: touch
Note: leave anything not mentioned above untouched.
Alfa is the other operator in Lebanon. Orascom Telecom is managed by the Lebanese government while being partially owned by the Lebanese government (which applies to Touch too, but they are run by a different company).
Alfa has extensive coverage throughout Lebanon.
Alfa's 4G/LTE coverage is almost as extensive as its 3.9G coverage. Nearly all of Lebanon is covered by Alfa.
Getting an Alfa SIM Card & Price
You can get an Alfa SIM card, called Alfa Prepaid, for 3 USD with 3 USD in credit for 10 days in Alfa stores. The data-only SIM card, called Mobile Broadband, is available for 18.87 USD, with 17 USD in credit for 30 days. Short-term visitors can also get the Alfa365 SIM card, which is Alfa's SIM card targeted at tourists.
Besides the aforementioned SIM cards, Alfa sells other types of SIM cards as well, such as:
- Alfa Waffer: 4.55 USD for the SIM card, 9.09 for the plan
- Alfa2Alfa: 30 USD
- U Chat 9: 9 USD with 50 MB, 10 minutes for weekdays, 20 minutes for weekends, one Alfa preferred number (4hr/weekend), all for 30 days
- U Chat 17: 17.50 USD with 250 MB, 20 minutes for weekdays, 40 minutes for weekends, one Alfa preferred number (4hr/weekend), all for 30 days
Alfa SIM cards are also sold at Beirut International Airport.
Alfa365 (Tourist SIM Card)
The Alfa365 SIM card is Alfa's SIM card targeted at tourists. The price of the SIM card is 18 USD. It includes 2 GB of data, 30 minutes for local and international use, and 100 SMS for local and international use, all for 7 days.
The Alfa365 plan can be renewed by dialing *111#.
Although the Alfa365 plan is valid for 7 days, the SIM card itself is valid for 365 days. Moreover, IMEI registration is unnecessary when you have an Alfa365 card, nor do you have to pay import duties.
Alfa365 is also available at Beirut International Airport.
Topping Up Your Alfa SIM Card
You can recharge your Alfa SIM card with Prepaid Cards and Alfa Top Ups. Alfa Top Ups are available in values of 1.40 USD to 8.40 USD. Prepaid Cards are sold in denominations of 3.64 USD to 231.82 USD. Online recharge is available too.
The following Prepaid Cards are available:
|3.64 USD||Credit only|
|9.09 USD||13 days|
|17.06 USD*||25 days|
|22.73 USD||35 days|
|45.45 USD||65 days|
|68.18 USD||95 days|
|136.36 USD *||95 days|
|231.82 USD||365 days|
* Sold at ATMs only.
The following Alfa Top Ups are available:
|Price||Credit||Validity (for Alfa Prepaid Plan)|
|1.40 USD||1 USD||3 days|
|2.40 USD||2 USD||3 days|
|3.40 USD||3 USD||3 days|
|4.40 USD||4 USD||3 days|
|5.40 USD||5 USD||5 days|
|6.40 USD||6 USD||5 days|
|7.40 USD||7 USD||8 days|
|8.40 USD||8 USD||8 days|
To redeem your Alfa Top Up or Prepaid Card, dial *14*VoucherCode#.
For example, if your voucher code is 123456, you would dial *14*123456#.
Dial *111# to check your Alfa balance.
Alfa Internet Packages, Plans, Bundles & Offers
Alfa has several types of packages and bundles, such as:
- Mobile Internet Bundles (data-only bundles)
- Alfa 5×5 (nighttime data-only bundle)
- Data Boosters (data add-ons)
- WhatsApp Bundle (data bundle for WhatsApp)
- Mobile Broadband (data-only bundles for the Mobile Broadband data-only SIM card)
Click on the links above to jump to the plan you are interested in.
Alfa Mobile Internet Bundles
The Mobile Internet Bundles are standard data-only bundles.
The following Mobile Internet Bundles are available:
|5 USD||500MB||7 days||WDB500|
|7 USD||1.5 GB||7 days||WDB1.5|
|10 USD||500 MB||30 days||MI500|
|15 USD||5 GB||7 days||WDB5|
|17 USD||1.5 GB||30 days||MI1.5|
|23 USD||5 GB||30 days||MI5|
|30 USD||10 GB||30 days||MI10|
|39 USD||20 GB||30 days||MI20|
|46 USD||30 GB||30 days||MI30|
|59 USD||40 GB||30 days||MI40|
|59 USD||20 GB||60 days||2MI20|
|66 USD||25 GB||60 days||2MI25|
|69 USD||60 GB||30 days||MI60|
|72 USD||30 GB||60 days||2MI30|
|79 USD||70 GB||30 days||MI70|
|84 USD||40 GB||60 days||2MI40|
|102 USD||50 GB||60 days||2MI50|
|109 USD||100 GB||30 days||MI100|
|139 USD||70 GB||90 days||3MI70|
|179 USD||100 GB||90 days||3MI100|
|194 USD||200 GB||30 days||MI200|
|259 USD||200 GB||90 days||3MI200|
To activate a Mobile Internet Bundle, text the Activation Code to 1050.
For example, if you want the 10 USD 500 MB bundle, you would text MI500 to 1050.
You can check your Mobile Internet Bundle allowance by dialing *11 or *111#.
Alfa 5×5 Nighttime Bundle
Alfa 5×5 is a data-only bundle that can only be used at nighttime (1:00 – 5:00/1 AM – 5 AM).
The Alfa 5×5 bundle includes the following:
|5 USD||5 GB||30 days, between 1:00-5:00||AR|
To activate Alfa 5×5, text AR to 1050.
Alfa Data Boosters
The Data Boosters are data add-ons for those who need extra data.
The following Data Boosters are available:
|1 USD||Data Booster $1||50 MB||Until next day midnight||D1|
|3 USD||Data Booster $3||600 MB||3 days||D3|
|5 USD||Data Booster $5||“Unlimited”, 50 GB||2 hours||D5|
To activate a Data Booster, text the Activation Code to 1050.
For example, if you want Data Booster $3, you would text D3 to 1050.
Alfa WhatsApp Bundle
The WhatsApp bundle is a data bundle for WhatsApp.
The WhatsApp Bundle includes the following:
|5 USD||300 MB||30 days||WA300|
To activate the WhatsApp Bundle, text WA300 to 1050.
Alfa Mobile Broadband Packages
The Mobile Broadband Packages are data-only bundles exclusively for the Alfa Mobile Broadband SIM card (data-only SIM).
The following Mobile Broadband Packages are available:
|10 USD||500 MB||30 days||MBB500|
|17 USD||1.5 GB||30 days||MBB1.5|
|23 USD||5 GB||30 days||MBB5|
|30 USD||10 GB||30 days||MBB10|
|39 USD||20 GB||30 days||MBB20|
|47 USD||30 GB||30 days||MBB30|
|59 USD||40 GB||30 days||MBB40|
|69 USD||60 GB||30 days||MBB60|
|79 USD||70 GB||30 days||MBB70|
|107 USD||100 GB||30 days||MBB100|
|139 USD||70 GB||90 days||3MBB70|
|179 USD||100 GB||90 days||3MBB100|
|194 USD||200 GB||30 days||MBB200|
|259 USD||200 GB||90 days||3MBB200|
To activate a Mobile Broadband, text the Activation Code to 1050.
For example, if you want the 30 USD 10 GB package, you would text MBB10 to 1050.
Alfa APN Settings
- Name: Alfa Internet
- APN: alfa
Note: leave anything not mentioned above untouched.
Other Ways to Stay Connected When Traveling in Lebanon
So far, you have learned that Lebanese SIM cards are relatively affordable. But mobile data packages can be pricey.
That may be a reason why you do not want to buy a Lebanese SIM card. Or you do not want to deal with the IMEI registration.
The video below discusses a few reasons why getting a Lebanese SIM card may not be for you.
You have other options to stay connected when in Lebanon.
International roaming is the most convenient way to stay online when abroad. You do not have to switch SIM cards, nor do you have to register SIM cards.
I talk about the benefits of international roaming in the video below.
The Preferred Way to Stay Connected When Traveling in Lebanon
Getting a SIM card from either Touch or Alfa would do you well when considering a Lebanese SIM card.
Local Prepaid SIM Cards in Other Middle Eastern Countries
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:
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