Buying a Prepaid SIM Card in Lesotho Guide

Logos of Telecom Operators in Lesotho: Vodacom Lesotho & Econet Telecom Lesotho

Lesotho is an enclaved country in South Africa. This means that Lesotho is within the borders of South Africa. With an area size of 30 335 km2, Lesotho may not be the largest country out there, but there is still a lot to do in the country.

Waterfalls, wildlife, and mountains –  Lesotho is a stunning country and has a lot to offer. So stunning that it should be shared with the world online. However, international roaming can be expensive in many cases, which is why many travelers prefer to buy local SIM cards, like a Basotho one (yes, that is the Demonym of Lesotho, or that is how you call someone or a company from Lesotho).

Fortunately, mobile data rates in Lesotho are low compared to the world average and even for (South) Africa standards, which makes it another good reason to buy a SIM card in Lesotho.

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

Telecom Operators, Networks, and Frequencies in Lesotho

Flag of Lesotho

Lesotho has 2 telecom providers:

  • Vodacom Lesotho
  • Econet Telecom Lesotho

Both operators have 2G, 3G, and 4G/LTE networks. However, 4G/LTE with Econet Telecom Lesotho seems to be barely existent.

The following frequencies are used by the Basotho operators:

  • 2G: 900 MHz
  • 3G: 2100 MHz
  • 4G/LTE: 800 MHz (Band 20) & 1800 MHz (Band 3)

5G in Lesotho

Vodacom Lesotho launched 5G in Lesotho using standards-based NR. 5G is available on the following frequency and band:

  • 3500 MHz (n78)

The Best Prepaid SIM Card in Lesotho

Which of these Basotho operators have the best prepaid SIM card and prepaid offering?

If you want to buy a SIM card in Lesotho, then Vodacom is the best option. Not only do they have the best coverage in Lesotho, but the average price per GB with Vodacom is almost the same compared to Econet Telecom Lesotho (38 LSL/GB vs. 36 LSL/GB).

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SIM Card Registration Regulations in Lesotho

Just like most countries in Southern Africa, and Africa in general, you have to register your passport details to buy a SIM card in Lesotho.

Currency in Lesotho

Lesotho uses the Lesotho Loti with the symbol LSL (which will be used throughout this article). Prices in Lesotho are listed in M. For example, 25 LSL is M25. For reference, below are some exchange rates between LSL and USD (US Dollars – Rounded):

  • 1 LSL = 0.05 USD
  • 10 LSL = 0.60 USD
  • 100 LSL = 5.80 USD
  • 1000 LSL = 57.80 USD

Do note that the Lesotho Loti is pegged 1:1 to the South African Rand (ZAR), meaning that 1 LSL = 1 ZAR. ZAR is accepted in Lesotho, but you will get your change back in LSL. LSL is not a legal tender in South Africa and will not be accepted as a form of payment.

Basotho Prepaid SIM Cards

Below, I will guide you through Vodacom Lesotho and Econet Telecom Lesotho 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 Vodacom Lesotho and Econet Telecom Lesotho have to offer to us.

Vodacom Lesotho

Vodacom Logo

Vodacom Lesotho, just Vodacom, is the largest operator in Lesotho. They have the best coverage in the country as well.

Vodacom Lesotho Coverage Map

You can buy a Vodacom SIM card 30 LSL in Vodacom stores. You may have to call 100 to activate your SIM card. Vodacom recharge vouchers are widely available. To top-up, dial *100*01*VoucherCode#. For example, if your voucher code is 123456, you would dial *100*01*123456#. Dial *100# OR *111# and option 1 (Balances) to check your Vodacom balance.

Vodacom Mobile Internet

Vodacom has data-only packages that come in daily, weekly, and monthly variants. Do note that the daily packages are NOT valid for 24 hours. Instead, they expire at 23:59 (11:59 AM), which applies to the weekly and monthly plans as well (on the 7th or 30th day).

The following data bundles are available, which can be activated by dialing *111# and selecting option 2 (Buy bundles):

PriceDataValidity
2 LSL15 MBUntil midnight
3 LSL25 MBUntil midnight
5 LSL49 MBUntil midnight
6 LSL82 MBUntil midnight
10 LSL245 MBUntil midnight
18 LSL375 MB7 days
19 LSL1000 MBUntil midnight
25 LSL850 MB7 days
37 LSL1250 MB7 days
50 LSL2 GB7 days
80 LSL3000 MB7 days
82 LSL750 MB30 days
154 LSL4 GB30 days
265 LSL7 GB30 days
410 LSL10 GB30 days
590 LSL15 GB30 days
725 LSL20 GB30 days
Multiple data bundle purchases are allowed.

Vocacom Lesotho 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

RELATED GUIDES:

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Econet Telecom Lesotho

Econet Telecom Lesotho Logo

Econet Telecom Lesotho is the other operator in Lesotho. The company is a merger between Econet Ezi-Cel Lesotho and Telecom Lesotho. Their coverage is worse than the one of Vodacom, and they are not necessarily cheaper than Vodacom.

Econet Telecom Lesotho has two prepaid SIM cards: Buddie and Libertie. The difference between Buddie and Libertie is the standard rates you pay for data, minutes, and SMS. It does not matter which SIM card you choose if planning on buying a data plan.

Econet Telecom Lesotho gives their Buddie and Libertie SIM cards for free, although you are required to top-up at least 50 LSL before you can get your SIM card. Top-up vouchers are sold everywhere. To top-up, dial *133*VoucherCode#. For example, if your voucher code is 123456, you would dial *133*123456#. Dial *134# to check your Buddie and Libertie balance.

Econet Telecom Lesotho Mobile Internet

Econet Telecom Lesotho has data bundles that come in daily, weekly, and monthly variants. They also have social media for Facebook and WhatsApp separately, also in daily, weekly, and monthly options.

Data Bundles

The following data bundles are available, which can be activated by dialing *100#:

PriceDataValidity
2 LSL20 MB1 day
5 LSL80 MB1 day
8 LSL200 MB1 day
10 LSL250 MB7 days
20 LSL800 MB7 days
50 LSL2 GB7 days
80 LSL1 GB30 days
155 LSL4 GB30 days
450 LSL12 GB30 days
600 LSL18 GB30 days
Social Media Bundles

The following social media bundles for Facebook and WhatsApp are available, which can be activated by dialing *100#:

PriceDataAppValidity
3 LSL200 MBWhatsApp1 day
3 LSL300 MBFacebook1 day
15 LSL1400 MBWhatsApp7 days
15 LSL2100 MBFacebook7 days
50 LSL6000 MBFacebook30 days
60 LSL9000 MBWhatsApp30 days

Econet Telecom Lesotho 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

Vodacom & Econet Telecom Lesotho Data Packages Compared (Price vs. Data)

Below are the data packages of Vodacom and Econet Telecom Lesotho compared. Only packages with the same price are shown below for a quick comparison:

Vodacom

PriceDataValidity
  2 LSL15 MBUntil midnight
5 LSL49 MBUntil midnight
10 LSL245 MBUntil midnight
50 LSL2 GB7 days
80 LSL3000 MB7 days

Econet Telecom Lesotho

PriceDataValidity
2 LSL20 MB1 day
5 LSL80 MB1 day
10 LSL250 MB7 days
50 LSL2 GB7 days
80 LSL1 GB30 days

Other Ways to Use the Internet When Traveling in Lesotho

Getting a Basotho SIM card is probably the cheapest way to connect to the internet when traveling in Lesotho. 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 Lesotho.

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:

  • Surfroam: my go-to SIM card when I arrive in a new destination and do not have a local prepaid SIM card yet. Airport WIFI is usually slow, and I am impatient and need to be connected right away. Data for as little as €0.01/MB (or €10.24/GB) in over 200 destinations. Read my Surfroam review.
  • SimOptions: a travel SIM card reseller that sells AMAZING travel SIM cards, covering multiple destinations, for reasonable prices. I have tried multiple SIM cards from SimOptions and have always been satisfied. Check out my review covering SimOptions SIM cards.
  • SimCorner: a travel SIM card reseller, but they also sell local SIM cards of the destination you are visiting and deliver them to your home, which is rather unique. See my SimCorner review.
  • OneSimCard: the ultimate international SIM card. It works in every corner in the world, and you can even buy multiple numbers from different countries and use them on ONE SIM card. A game-changer! See my article analyzing OneSimCard.

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 will mainly find hotspots in Windhoek and Walvis Bay. 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 Best Way to Stay Connected When Traveling in Lesotho

Getting a SIM card from Vocacom (best coverage and affordable) would do you well considering a Basotho SIM card.

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Local Prepaid SIM Card in Other African Countries

Going to other countries in Southern Africa? Check out my Southern Africa SIM card buying guide, covering other Southern 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!

What is next?

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 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!

Book Your Flight for Lesotho

It is time to book your flight. Find cheap flights with AirWander so that you can add free or cheap stopovers in destinations you have not considered yet before going to Lesotho.

Book Your Accommodation for Lesotho

I am a huge fan of Airbnb because it allows me to live with a local or get a local place for myself. Staying in someone’s house or apartment feels much different than being in a ho(s)tel, especially in Lesotho. At least, that is how I see it. Moreover, Airbnb can often be much cheaper than staying in a Basotho hotel.

Get Your Travel Insurance for Lesotho

You will regret not having travel insurance once you actually need it and “forgot” to get it. Nowadays, travel insurance is cheap and comprehensive unlike back in the days. World Nomads is by far the best travel insurance for adventurous travelers like yourself. You can even get insured WHILE already traveling in Lesotho, which is not something many insurance companies allow you to do.

Get a Travel Debit Card

Travel Cheques are outdated. Paying with your credit card or debit card can be expensive because of all the exchange commissions banks charge you. TransferWise allows you to convert your main currency to Lesotho Loti for a small fee (up to 8 times less than with your bank!) Getting a Transferwise Borderless account is FREE, so you will get an instant return on your investment.

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Enjoy your trip!

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, and plans on exploring Oceania and more of East and Southeast Asia.

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