Buying a Prepaid SIM Card in Liberia Guide

Liberia is a country with a vast history. Many museums can be found throughout the country. Being a seaside country, many beautiful beaches can also be found.

In fact, many of these beaches will get you a lot of likes on Instagram and Facebook… if you manage to find a way to get connected. Roaming can be expensive in many cases, which is why getting a Liberian SIM card can save you a lot of money.

Are you wondering how roaming works? This article I wrote explains it in detail.

However, mobile data rates have been known to be expensive in Liberia, especially for African standards. Even then, it is still worth it to get a local SIM card, which is cheap, and buy a data package in Liberia as opposed to roaming, as you will still be saving a lot of money.

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

Buying a SIM Card in Liberia Guide (Lonestar Cell MTN & Orange)

Telecom Operators, Networks, and Frequencies in Liberia

Liberia has 2 telecom operators:

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

The following frequencies are used by the Liberian operators:

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

The Best Prepaid SIM Card in Liberia

If you want to buy a SIM card in Liberia, then both LoneStar Cell MTN and Orange are good options. The coverage with both operators is similar, and so are the prices. However, Orange's 4G/LTE network is more extensive than the one of LoneStar Cell MTN.

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SIM Card Registration Regulations in Liberia

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

Flag of Liberia

The State of the Liberian Telecom Market

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

Liberia was involved in two civil wars (1 & 2), which resulted in the fixed-line infrastructure being destroyed. As a result, broadband internet is not as prevalent compared to other West African nations or Africa in general.

Although Liberia uses submarine cables to facilitate the internet, unlike some island nations that have to use satellites, the lack of a fixed-line infrastructure means that data rates are still expensive in Liberia. Not only for (West) Africa standards but also compared to the world average.

Not only that, but internet speeds are embarrasingly slow. According to a study done by cable.co.uk, the average download speed in Liberia is a bit more than 2 Mbps. In other words, it would take about 5:30 hours to download a 5 GB file. This study focused on broadband speeds. Mobile speeds are often slower than broadband speeds, so one should not expect fast speeds in Liberia, unfortunately.

The Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) found that in terms of average monthly income, the cost of 1 GB of data is the 5th highest in the world, which results in spending 17.25% of a Liberian monthly income on 1 GB of data. This puts Liberia behind the Democratic Republic of the Congo (26.24%), Central African Republic (22.63%), Chad (21.47%), and Guinea-Bissau (19.96%). Do note that the A4AI focuses on Africa, the Americas, excluding North America, and Asia only.

In terms of absolute prices, the average cost of 1 GB of data in Liberia is 8.63 USD/GB, which puts Liberia just out of the top 25, but still pretty high on the list.

For many around the world, these prices seem average (if you are from Canada or an island nation where they still use satellites like St Helena or Ascension Island – these prices are a steal then). For (West) African standards, these prices may seem outrageous.

Do note that SIM cards in Liberia used to cost 70 USD in the past. Now, you can get a SIM card for around 1 USD.

In areas where coverage exists, especially 4G/LTE, reception and speeds are good. When in rural Liberia, you may have to deal with 2G or no connection at all.  

LoneStar Cell MTN Coverage Map (Speedtest)
LoneStar Cell MTN Coverage Map according to the Speedtest Network Checker
Orange Liberia Coverage Map (Speedtest)
Orange Liberia Coverage Map according to the Speedtest Network Checker

Currency in Liberia

Liberia uses the Liberian Dollar with the symbol LRD and US Dollar with the symbol USD. Liberia has been a dual-currency country for a long time. In 2017, the Liberian Lower House passed a law to make the Liberian Dollar the sole legal tender in the country. Unfortunately, Liberia has been plagued with high inflation (especially after 2017), so the US Dollar is still actively being used in Liberia, and it is also used for prices. The symbol USD will be used throughout this paper unless the operator lists a cost in Liberian Dollar, then LRD will be used.

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 Liberia

Are you a visual learner? You can watch this Liberia 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 Liberian SIM cards. Also, be sure to subscribe to the channel after watching the video!

Liberian Prepaid SIM Cards

Below, I will guide you through LoneStar Cell MTN and Orange Liberia 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 LoneStar Cell MTN and Orange Liberia have to offer to us.

LoneStar Cell MTN

LoneStar Cell MTN Logo

LoneStar Cell MTN is the largest operator in Liberia. The company is an acquisition of MTN buying Investcom LLC, which owned LoneStar Cell.

LoneStar Cell MTN Coverage Map (Speedtest)
LoneStar Cell MTN Coverage Map

Getting a LoneStar Cell MTN SIM Card & Topping Up

You can buy a LoneStar Cell MTN SIM card for 100 LRD in LoneStar Cell MTN stores. You will get 0.50 USD credit in your Mobile Money wallet. For each top-up, you get a bonus of 300% if done with a voucher or 400% if done on Mobile Money. To top-up (with a voucher), dial *125*VoucherCode#. For example, if your voucher code is 123456, you would dial *125*123456#. Dial *124# to check your LoneStar Cell MTN balance.

LoneStar Cell MTN Internet Packages, Plans, Bundles & Offers

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

Click on the links above to jump to the plan you are interested in.

LoneStar Cell MTN Da Yor Own

The Da Yor Own plan is a 3-day combo plan that comes with data, minutes, and on-net SMS. The price for the Da Yor Own bundle is 1 USD and comes with the following perks for 3 days:

  • 50 MB
  • 45 on-net minutes
  • 10 off-net minutes
  • 50 on-net SMS

The Da Yor Own plan can be activated by dialing *143#. To unsubscribe, dial *143*9#. Dial *143*3# to check your Da Yor Own balance.

LoneStar Cell MTN Kool4U

The Kool4U bundles are combo plans that come with data, local minutes, international minutes, and on-net SMS. The following Kool4U bundles can be purchased by dialing *243#:

PriceDataOn-Net MinutesOff-Net MinutesInternational MinutesOn-Net SMSValidity
2 USD150 MB80 minutes15 minutesNone15 SMS3 days
20 USD1 GB600 minutes120 minutesNone120 SMS30 days
20 USD5.4 GB200 minutes60 minutesNone60 SMS30 days
29 USD2 GB700 minutes150 minutes100 minutes150 SMS30 days
29 USD7.4 GB200 minutes60 minutes60 minutes60 SMS30 days
39 USD12 GB400 minutes100 minutesNone100 SMS30 days
79 USD30 GB600 minutes180 minutes150 minutes180 SMS30 days
Multiple Kool4U bundles can be activated at the same time.

Do note that Kool4U plans support data and voice rollover, which means that if you have any data or minutes left when renewing your plan, the allowance will roll over to the new period. For example, if you used 512 MB of your 1 GB plan and let it renew, you would get 1.5 GB in the new period (512 MB = 0.5 GB).

Dial *243*5# to check your Kool4U balance. You can deactivate a Kool4U plan by dialing *243*6#.

LoneStar Cell MTN Data Bundles

The Data Bundles are standard data-only bundles. They come in daily, weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly variants. You can buy the following data bundles by dialing *352#:

PriceDataValidity
0.35 USD75 MB24 hours
0.40 USD100 MB24 hours
0.50 USD180 MB24 hours
1 USD400 MB3 days
2 USD1288.8 MB7 days
2 USD819.2 MB14 days
2 USD600 MB30 days
5 USD600 MB7 days
5 USD1.7 GB14 days
5 USD1946 MB30 days
8 USD3 GB30 days
10 USD5.2 GB7 days
10 USD3.5 GB14 days
10 USD3.9 GB30 days
12 USD4.5 GB14 days
12 USD4.3 GB30 days
20 USD10 GB7 days
20 USD7.5 GB14 days
20 USD7.9 GB30 days
30 USD15 GB7 days
30 USD10 GB14 days
30 USD12 GB30 days
36 USD12 GB14 days
50 USD18 GB14 days
50 USD20 GB30 days
60 USD22 GB14 days
60 USD25 GB30 days

You can check your data balance by dialing *352# and selecting option 7. Dial *352# and option 8 to cancel your data bundle.

LoneStar Cell MTN 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: Lonestar Cell
  • APN: internetlcc

RELATED GUIDES:

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Orange Liberia

Orange Logo

Orange Liberia, just Orange, is the other operator in Liberia. Although they are not the largest operator in Liberia, they do almost have a market share of 50%. Their 4G/LTE coverage seems to be more extensive than the one of LoneStar Cell MTN.

Orange Liberia Coverage Map (Speedtest)

Getting an Orange Liberia SIM Card & Topping Up

You can buy an Orange SIM card for 1 USD in Orange stores. Top-up cards are sold from 1 USD to 100 USD in Orange stores. To top-up, dial *125*VoucherCode#. For example, if your voucher code is 123456, you would dial *125*123456#. Dial *124# to check your Orange balance.

Orange Liberia Internet Packages, Plans, Bundles & Offers

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

Click on the links above to jump to the plan you are interested in.

Orange My Way 

My Way is a flexible combo plan that comes with data, minutes, and SMS. The way My Way works is kind of complicated. It uses a sort of a credit system with inconsistent rules.

For example, the 1 USD plan comes with 50 on-net minutes/5 off-net minutes or 500 MB. However, for each minute you call, 11.1 MB will be deducted from your data balance. If you use 11.1 MB, 1 minute will be deducted from your call allowance.

The 2 USD My Flex plan has a 1 minute:13.3 MB ratio. The 29 USD plan has a 1 minute:14.28 MB ratio. The ratios for the 5 USD to 20 USD plans are unknown.

International minutes and SMS do not use a ratio system.

Moreover, some of the My Way plans do not use the flexible system, meaning that you can use your full call allowance and data allowance independently.

Below are all the available My Way plans, which can be activated by dialing *888#:

PriceDataOn-Net MinutesOff-Net MinutesMinutes to Canada & USAOn-Net SMSOff-Net SMSRollover?Flex?Validity
1 USD500 MB50 on-net minutes5 off-net minutesNoneUnlimited on-net SMSNoneNoYes30 days
2 USD1000 MB95 on-net minutes20 off-net minutes5 minutesUnlimited on-net SMSNoneNoYes30 days
5 USD2000 MB150 on-net minutes25 off-net minutes10 minutesUnlimited on-net SMS15 off-net SMSNoYes30 days
10 USD4000 MB300 on-net minutes40 off-net minutes20 minutesUnlimited on-net SMS30 off-net SMSNoYes30 days
20 USD8000 MB600 on-net minutes80 off-net minutes40 minutesUnlimited on-net SMS45 off-net SMSNoYes30 days
29 USD2000 MB700 on-net minutes150 off-net minutes100 minutesUnlimited on-net SMS50 off-net SMSYesNo30 days
29 USD10 000 MB700 on-net minutes100 off-net minutes100 minutesUnlimited on-net SMS50 off-net SMSNoYes30 days
49 USD20 000 MBUnlimited on-net minutes500 off-net minutes100 minutesUnlimited on-net SMSUnlimited off-net SMSYesNo30 days
79 USD30 000 MBUnlimited on-net minutes500 off-net minutes150 minutesUnlimited on-net SMSUnlimited off-net SMSYesNo30 days
99 USD50 000 MBVUnlimited on-net minutes500 off-net minutes250 minutesUnlimited on-net SMSUnlimited off-net SMSYesNo30 days
Orange Smart Bundles

The Smart Bundles are combo plans that come with data, minutes, international minutes, and SMS. You get international minutes to Canada and the United States, and you also get international minutes to China, France, Lebanon, and India with the 25 USD plan. The following Smart Bundles are available, which can be activated by dialing *999#:

PriceDataOn-Net MinutesOff-Net MinutesCanada/USA International MinutesChina, France, Lebanon & India International MinutesOn-Net SMSOff-Net SMSValidity
5 USD300 MB200 on-net minutes20 off-net minutesNoneNone200 off-net SMS20 off-net SMS30 days
10 USD2 GB400 on-net minutes60 off-net minutesNoneNone400 off-net SMS60 off-net SMS30 days
15 USD4 GB600 on-net minutes100 off-net minutes5 minutesNone600 off-net SMS100 off-net SMS30 days
25 USD8 GBUnlimited on-net minutesUnlimited off-net minutes10 minutes10 minutesUnlimited off-net SMSUnlimited off-net SMS30 days
Orange Data Packs

The Orange Data Packs are standard data-only plans. The following packs are available, which can be activated by dialing *474#:

PriceDataValidity
0.50 USD150 MB24 hours
1 USD400 MB2 days
25 USD10 GB30 days
50 USD25 GB30 days
99 USD60 GB30 days

Orange Liberia 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: Orange Liberia OR Cellcom Liberia
  • APN: web.cellcomnet.net

Note: Orange Liberia used to be known as Cellcom Liberia, which is why “cellcomnet.net” is used for their APN.

Other Ways to Get Online When Traveling in Liberia

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

Mobile Hotspots for Liberia

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). As a solo traveler, I barely get a mobile hotspot for myself, but they can be useful when traveling in pairs or as a group.

Skyroam for Liberia

Skyroam Logo

Skyroam covers more than 130 destinations around the world, including Liberia. 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 Liberia

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 Liberia.

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.

Sadly, the rates international SIM cards can charge you can be criminal at times. However, there is one international SIM card that has reasonable prices for Liberia, and that is Surfroam.

Surfroam for Liberia

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. Unfortunately, Liberia is not one of those €0.01/MB destinations. Instead, you will pay €0.02/MB in Liberia, which is still a much better deal than most international SIM cards out there.

Plus, you can use your Surfroam SIM card in neighboring countries for €0.02/MB as well, or even €0.01/MB when visiting Ghana.

If you have read any of my other guides, then you know that Surfroam is my go-to SIM card before buying a local SIM card because it can sometimes take a while before I can buy a local prepaid SIM card, and I want to be connected as soon as possible.

Although you have to pay for 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)

At the time of writing, I am still using my initial Surfroam credit because I have been using it in countries where they charge €0.01/MB (and the SIM card has helped me in plenty of emergencies when the credit of my local SIM card ran out – oops!)

Roaming with your Provider in Liberia

For some reason, the Lesothan operators do not have many roaming agreements with other operators around the world, which means that you may not be able to roam while in Liberia.

International roaming 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, like a Lesothan one.

Earlier, I mentioned that the price of mobile data is high in Liberia for African standards (above average). It is also much higher than the world average of 4 USD/GB. Some of you who are reading this are probably considering to roam when in Liberia.

International roaming 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, like a Liberian one. However, roaming often results in expensive bills because of excessive roaming rates (if you are confused about what roaming is or want to learn more how it works, check out this guide that explains it all)

Luckily, many operators offer packages and plans dedicated to international roaming, which are often much more affordable than standard roaming rates (that is how people get roaming bills in the thousands).

Fortunately, many African operators, especially East and West African operators, include Liberia in their attractive roaming packages, but that does not necessarily mean that roaming will be cheaper than getting a Liberian SIM card – it will just be more convenient for you.

I have written have many articles covering the roaming options of operators around the world, so you may want to check if I covered your operator already and learn about your roaming options. I also have many phone travel tips to keep your phone bills low when traveling.

Using Free WIFI Hotspots in Liberia

Using free WIFI connections is the cheapest way to connect to the internet because, well, you do not have to pay anything… as long as you are able to locate an open WIFI connection.

You will barely find any WIFI hotspots in Liberia. Those you will find will not be free or will be slow.

Besides that, public WIFI hotspots are unsecure. They are a prime target for hackers to steal your data and use your personal information for things they should not be using it for.

Therefore, I ALWAYS use a VPN when connecting to public WIFI connections (in fact, I am always connected to a VPN, even right now while I am writing this article at the Airbnb I am staying at in Tainan, Taiwan). That way, I make sure no crazy person can hijack my details.

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). Plus, VPNs can unblock blocked or censored content (like Netflix when in another country, or social media when in China).

If you are in Liberia, I recommend using Surfshark (which I have been using for about a year now) and connect to servers located in Nigeria, which are the closest servers to Liberia. Perhaps Surfshark will add servers in Liberia in the future, but we will have to see.

Because the distance between Liberia and Nigeria is not too big, the reduction in internet speeds when using Surfshark should be minimal (plus, we learned that internet speeds in Liberia are already slow anyway).

Surfshark is affordable, has many servers around the world, and allows you to connect as many devices as you want on one account (which is rather unique – most VPN providers put a cap on that). Surfshark has regular promotions going on, so better check if one is going on right now, and keep your internet traffic secure and away from prying eyes!

Surfshark Banner

The Preferred Way to Stay Online When Traveling in Liberia

Getting a SIM card from LoneStar Cell MTN (more choice in data packages) or Orange (best 4G/LTE coverage) would do you well when considering a Liberian 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 West 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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