Buying a Prepaid SIM Card in Lesotho Guide

There is so much to see and capture when in Lesotho that it would be a good idea to get yourself a SIM card while in Lesotho so that you can post all your Lesothan experiences online.

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.

With 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 Lesothan one.

Fortunately, mobile data rates in Lesotho are low compared to (Southern) 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.

Buying a SIM Card in Lesotho Guide (Vodafom & Econet Telecom Lesotho)

Telecom Operators, Networks, and Frequencies in Lesotho

Lesotho has 2 telecom providers:

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 Lesothan 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 NROpens in a new tab.. 5G is available on the following frequency and band:

  • 3500 MHz (n78)

The Best Prepaid SIM Card in Lesotho

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.

Flag of Lesotho

The State of the Telecom Market in Lesotho

(This section is not potent to learn how to get a SIM card in Lesotho, and the prices for the packages offered by the local operators. However, it does give you background information on how the Lesothan telecom market is, and it explains why things are how they are. If you are simply interested in getting a SIM card in Lesotho, click here to jump to the first operator.)

Lesotho is a landlocked country, which is literally inside the borders of South Africa. This means that Lesotho does not have direct access to submarine cables and have to rely on fiber bandwidth from neighboring countries. In this case, that would be South Africa.

This is relavant to know because many landlocked countries in Africa have significantly slower internet speeds compared to those with direct access to submarine cables. This usually also drives the price for internet up.

South Africa is connected to at least 9 submarine cables, of which some South Africa they have majority ownership in (the South African Government, MTN South Africa, or Telkom). These submarine cables are:

  • ACE
  • EASSy
  • Main One
  • METISS Cable (Planned)
  • SAFE
  • SAT-2
  • SAT-3/WASC
  • SEACOM
  • WACS

With South Africa having direct access to so many submarine cables, speeds should and bandwidth is fast in the country (compared to other African nations), which should also result into fast speeds in Lesotho.

Unfortunately, there is no public information available about the average download speed in Lesotho. What I do know is that in June 2020, the Speedtest Global Index placed South Africa as the 59th fastest country for mobile internet with an average download speed of 33.72 Mbps. Morocco is the only African country that has faster download speeds than South Africa with an average download speed of 35.50 Mbps (spot 52).

Based on this information, it is safe to assume that speeds will be relatively fast in Lesotho. Obviously, speeds will not be faster than in South Africa, but it will be significantly faster than most African nations (if not almost all).

What about the price of mobile data in Lesotho? They are affordable for African standards. According to a study done by the Alliance 4 Affordable Internet (A4AI)Opens in a new tab., the average cost of 1 GB of data is 5.36 USD in Lesotho. The average of Africa as a whole is 6.45 USD for 1 GB.

When looking at it from a regional perspective, Southern Africa (Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa when using A4AI's definition), mobile data rates in Lesotho are below the Southern African average is 8.29 USD for 1 GB.

What makes things even more interesting is that mobile data rates are lower in Lesotho than in South Africa (10.37 USD for 1 GB).

When talking about coverage, you should not be expecting much outside of Maseru.

Vodacom Lesotho Coverage Map (Speedtest)
Vodacom Lesotho Coverage Map according to the Speedtest Network CheckerOpens in a new tab.
Econet Telecom Lesotho Coverage Map (Speedtest)
Econet Telecom Lesotho Coverage Map according to the Speedtest Network CheckerOpens in a new tab.

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.

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!

Transferwise Banner

Video Guide for Buying a SIM Card in Lesotho

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

Lesothan 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 LesothoOpens in a new tab., just Vodacom, is the largest operator in Lesotho. They have the best coverage in the countryOpens in a new tab. as well.

Vodacom Lesotho Coverage Map

Getting a Vodacom Lesotho SIM Card & Topping Up

You can buy a Vodacom SIM card 30 LSL in Vodacom storesOpens in a new tab.. 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 Lesotho Internet Packages, Plans, Bundles & Offers

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):

  • Name: Vodacom Lesotho
  • APN: internet

RELATED GUIDES:

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Econet Telecom Lesotho

Econet Telecom Lesotho Logo

Econet Telecom LesothoOpens in a new tab. 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 Coverage Map (Speedtest)
Econet Telecom Lesotho Coverage Map according to the Speedtest Network Checker

Getting an Econet Telecom Lesotho SIM Card & Topping Up

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 Internet Packages, Plans, Bundles & Offers

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

Econet Telecom Lesotho 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
Econet Telecom Lesotho 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):

  • Name: Econet Lesotho
  • APN: internet

Other Ways to Use the Internet When Traveling in Lesotho

Getting a Lesothan SIM card is probably the cheapest way to connect to the internet when traveling in Lesotho. However, you can also:

Mobile Hotspots for Lesotho

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.

Skyroam for Lesotho

Skyroam Logo

Skyroam covers more than 130 destinations around the world, including Lesotho. Their daily rate is $8.99, and you get unlimited internet through the mobile hotspot – wherever you go. You can get a discount with Skyroam by using coupon code PHONETRAVELWIZ upon checkout. You should take advantage of that!

Skyroam banner

International SIM Cards for Lesotho

International 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 am a big fan of collecting SIM cards, many travelers are not. With an international SIM card, you can keep using one SIM card for all the destinations you are visiting without paying expensive roaming rates.

There are many international SIM cards that cover Lesotho. In fact, probably scrolled through a few before clicking this article on Google. Unfortunately, many international SIM cards charge criminal prices, especially for Lesotho.

Luckily, there is one international SIM card that has reasonable prices for Lesotho, and that is Surfroam.

Surfroam for Lesotho

Surfroam Logo

Surfroam has a SIM card that allows you to use data for as little as €0.01/MB (or €10.24/GB) in over 200 destinations. Lesotho is one of the countries where you will be charged €0.01/MB.

If you decide to go to South Africa after your visit in Lesotho, then you will also be charged €0.01/MB, which is super cheap. Be aware that the rates for Eswatini (Swaziland) is €0.02/MB (or €20.48/GB).

Surfroam is my favorite international SIM card because of their low rates. I bring mine with me on every trip and use it between the time I arrive in a new country until I get the chance to buy a local SIM card. Sometimes, it can take a while before I get the chance to buy a SIM card, and I want to be connected as soon as possible, so using Surfroam in the meantime is a good option (compared to international roaming).

Even though you have your Surfroam SIM card, the price you pay for the SIM card will be credited on your SIM card, so it is basically free. And they have an eSIM version (yes, eSIMs work DO abroad).

Roaming with your Provider in Lesotho

As mentioned in the intro, the Lesothan operators do not have many roaming agreements with operators from around the world. One notable exception is Vodacom South Africa.

With Vodacom Africa Roaming, you pay reduced rates when roaming in countries where Vodacom/Vodafone is active in, which Mozambique, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Kenya (Safaricom), and Lesotho.

With Africa Roaming will pay 5 ZAR/MB (or 5120 ZAR/GB), 2.90 ZAR/min (local calls), 5 ZAR/min for calls to South Africa, or to other countries, 2.90 ZAR/min for receiving calls, and 1.50 ZAR/SMS.

Although these rates may seem expensive at first glance, this roaming plan is probably the best roaming plan that covers Lesotho (if you are confused about what international roaming is or how it works, this guide explains it all).

One of the pros of international roaming is that your friends and family can keep reaching you on the phone number they have. Another benefit is that you do not have to buy a new SIM card for each country you visit.

One of the major cons of international roaming is that it can be expensive in many cases, especially if your operator has no attractive roaming plans or packages. Standard roaming rates are how people get bills in the thousands.

Mostly African operators include Lesotho in their roaming packages (if they do it at all). If your operator is not from Africa, you may not want to roam at all – it will be pricey.

I have written many roaming guides from mobile operators around the world. Check if I covered yours already, and also check if they include Lesotho in their roaming plans. Perhaps you get attractive roaming rates for your visit to Lesotho.

Besides that, I also discuss many phone travel tips to keep your phone bills low when traveling.

Using Free WIFI Hotspots in Lesotho

Nothing beats not paying for anything. If you can get internet without paying for it, you should take advantage of it, right? Well, not so fast.

First, you have to locate free WIFI hotspots. This can be difficult if you are on the road. Secondly, public WIFI hotspots can be unreliable.

You can find free WIFI hotspots in Maseru (capital city) and some tourist attractions. Be aware that speeds will be slow.

Apart from that, public WIFI hotspots are unsecure, mainly because they are open and can be used by everyone. This includes bad actors that want to use your personal data for inappropriate reasons.

You will not see me using a public WIFI connection without a VPN. In fact, I am connected to a VPN all the time because some operators sell your browsing data to advertisers, and some governments around the world keep track of what you are doing to make sure you are not being a threat to the establishment – scary.

A VPN creates an encrypted tunnel between your device and the VPN server. This way, hackers cannot see what you are doing. Moreover, VPNs mask your IP address, which makes it hard for anyone to trace what you are doing, including mobile operators and governments (internet freedom is not a thing in many countries, including Lesotho. Internet censorship is a thing there, unfortunately).

VPNs can unblock blocked content (like Netflix when in another country), or censored sites.

When in Lesotho, I recommend using NordVPN (which I have been using for years now – third anniversary soon), and connect to servers located in South Africa. Because Lesotho is so small, NordVPN has no servers in Lesotho itself. Luckily, Lesotho is literally within the borders of South Africa, so the distance to the servers in South Africa from Lesotho is small, meaning that the drop in speed will be minimal (or not noticeable at all at times).

The best part is that NordVPN often has incredible deals going on, where you can get double-digit discounts (like a 70% discount – crazy!). Get yourself a NordVPN subscription, which will give you access to around 5500 servers in around 60 countries. This ensures that your private information will indeed stay private.

The Preferred Way to Stay Connected When Traveling in Lesotho

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

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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Get regular phone-travel-related news, tips, and articles. I will also send you a FREE Excel sheet with the best operator(s) of 230+ destinations around the world, including why they are the best, SIM card prices, and more! 

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Learn More About Who Adu Actually Is

Who is the guy behind Phone Travel Wiz? Well, find out on the Ernest Adu about page!

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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