Buying a Prepaid SIM Card in Libya Guide


It is quite easy to buy a prepaid SIM card in Libya, even as a traveler or tourist, especially if you are staying around the coast, like Tripoli and Benghazi. There are two operators to choose from, which are Libyana and Almadar Aljadid, and both operators have many stores in Northern Libya. Head to one of their stores with your passport and a photocopy of your passport, fill in some registration details, and you are good to go.

It is well known that international roaming can be expensive in many cases, especially if you do not or cannot get an attractive roaming bundle. In most cases, getting a local SIM card of the destination you are visiting is much cheaper than roaming with your provider, and you will enjoy faster speeds too.

The telecom situation in Libya is somewhat different from other nations in North African nations. There are some things to be aware of, such as SIM card prices, the coverage throughout the country, what packages the Libyan operators offer.

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

Buying a SIM Card in Libya Guide (Libyana & Almadar Aljadid)

Telecom Operators, Networks, and Frequencies in Libya

Libya has two mobile telecom operators:

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

The following frequencies are used by the Libyan operators:

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

The Best Prepaid SIM Card in Libya

If you want to buy a SIM card in Libya, then both Libyana and Almadar Aljadid are good options. They both have equally good coverage in populated areas. The main differences between the two operators are the type of packages they offer.

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SIM Card Registration Regulations in Libya

Just like all countries in North Africa, and Africa in general, you have to register your passport details to buy a SIM card in Libya. You also need to bring a photocopy of a passport with you. Be aware that foreigners, including tourists and travelers, can have one SIM card per operator on their name (a total of two Libyan SIM cards). Libyan nationals can have a total of five SIM cards per operator on their name (a total of ten Libyan SIM cards).

Flag of Libya

The State of the Telecom Market in Libya

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

Libya is next to the Mediterranean Sea, which means the country is connected to several international submarine cables (four) and a domestic one. In general, landlocked countries in Africa have slow internet speeds because those countries have to rely on neighboring countries for fiber bandwidth. This is made worse if the neighboring country has a subpar domestic cable infrastructure.

Libya is, at the time of writing (2020), still in a civil war, and vast areas of the country are “no-go” zones, especially in Southern Libya. In fact, the chairman of Almadar Aljadid commented back in October 2018 that “[…] expansion to the south of the country was unlikely any time soon as it was too dangerous to send engineers as Libya remains unstable” after it launched 4G/LTE services for the first time.

Expansion to the south of the country is unlikely any time soon as it is too dangerous to send engineers as Libya remains unstable.

Abdulkhaliq Ashour, Chairman of Almadar Aljadid (October 2018)

Both Libyana and Almadar Aljadid have good coverage in Northern Libya and also in towns close to the highways throughout Libya. Anywhere further out and you will not have any coverage with either of the operators, which are, as to be expected, the areas that are unstable.

Libyana Coverage Map (Speedtest)
Libyana Coverage Map according to the Speedtest Network Checker
Almadar Aljadid Coverage Map (Speedtest)
Almadar Aljadid Coverage Map according to the Speedtest Network Checker

According to the Speedtest Global Index, the average mobile download speed in Libya is 11 Mbps, while the upload speed is 5 Mbps (May 2020), which places Libya on place 131 out of 138 countries. That makes Libya as fast as neighboring country Algeria (132) and faster than Sudan (136). However, mobile speeds in Libya are slower than Egypt (99) and Tunisia (69), which are also neighboring countries.

Mobile data in Libya is expensive for African standards. The average cost for 1 GB of data in Africa is 6.45 USD, according to a study done by the Alliance 4 Affordable Internet (A4AI). In Libya, you will, on average, pay 11.37 USD/GB, which is close to double the African average. When solely looking at North Africa, Libya tops the list too. A4AI found that the average cost of 1 GB of data in North Africa is 4.82 GB.

However, when looking at the average monthly income of Libyan nationals, a Libyan would spend 2.16% of their monthly income on 1 GB of data, which is more than the North African average (1.44%) but much less than the African average (7.12%). From a regional point of view, mobile data in Libya is relatively affordable.

Right now, there is a duopoly in the Libyan telecom market with Libyana and Almadar Aljadid, which are both state-owned companies. There have been talks to sell both operators since 2007, but that has not happened. In 2013, there were talks to introduce a third, private, operator to the country. However, that was just before the Libyan civil war started. Since then, no foreign operator has expressed interest in entering the Libyan market.

Currency in Libya

Libya uses the Libyan Dinar with the symbol LYD (which will be used throughout this article). Prices in Libya are listed in LYD or Dinars. For reference, below are some exchange rates between LYD and USD (US Dollars – Rounded):

  • 1 LYD = 0.70 USD
  • 10 LYD = 7.15 USD
  • 100 LYD = 71.65 USD
  • 1000 LYD = 716.35 USD

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

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Libyan Prepaid SIM Cards

Below, I will guide you through Libyana and Almadar Aljadid 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 Libyana and Almadar Aljadid have to offer to us.

Libyana

Libyana

Libyana is the largest operator in Libya. The operator is owned by the Libyan government. Libyana has good coverage around populated areas, which is Tripoli, around the coast, and towns near the highways. 4G/LTE is available around cities and towns around the coast and towns in central Libya.

Libyana 4G map

Getting a Libyana Prepaid SIM Card

You can get a Libyana SIM card for 5 LYD in Libyana Business Centers. Ask for their 4G SIM card if you want to use Libyana’s 4G/LTE network. Make sure to bring your passport with you and a photocopy of your passport when buying a Libyana SIM card.

Topping-Up Your Libyana Prepaid SIM Card

You can recharge your Libyana SIM card in three ways with:

Let’s go through each method.

Topping Up with a Libyana Voucher Card

Libyana voucher cards are sold in denominations of 5 LYD, 10 LYD, and 30 LYD throughout Libya. To top-up, call 121, select option 1, then option 1, followed by entering the 13-digit voucher number. You can also top-up by calling 120 and entering the voucher code. Finally, one can dial *121# and follow the steps to redeem a voucher card.

A voucher card extends the validity of your SIM card. The following recharge cards have the following validities:

Voucher Card Recharge AmountValidity
LYD 530 Da​​​ys
LYD 1070 Days
LYD 30180 Days
Topping Up with the Libyana E-Top Up Service

It is also possible to take advantage of Libyana’s E-Top Up Service. All Libyana Business Centers offer the E-Top Up Service. You get more choice in recharge amounts with an e-top up compared to a recharge card, and you can extend your SIM card validity up to a year.

To use the E-Top Up Service, you have to go to a Libyana Business Center, inform the agent about the credit value you want and give them your phone number, pay the agent, and you will receive a confirmation SMS when your SIM card has been topped up successfully.

The following E Top-Up recharge options are available:

E-Top Up Recharge AmountValidity
5 LYD30 Days
10 LYD70 Days
​30 LYD180 Days​
50 LYD280 Days
100 LYD365 Days
200 LYD365 Days
Topping Up with The Libyana E-Voucher Service

Finally, you can top-up with the e-voucher service, which are electronic vouchers sold by third-party establishments (Tadawel, Tfani, Masart, Aman Bank & Bank of Commerce and Development) and not in Libyana Business Centers.

When going to the aforementioned establishments, you ask the salesperson for an e-voucher in the denomination of choice, pay the salesperson, and you will receive a paper slip with a top-up code or you will get the code by SMS. Then you can redeem the voucher code by calling 121, selecting option 1, then option 1, followed by entering the voucher code.

The following E-Voucher recharge options are available:

E-Voucher Recharge AmountValidity
3 LYD10 days
5 LYD30 Days
10 LYD70 Days
​30 LYD180 Days​
200 LYD365 Days

Libyana Internet Packages, Plans, Bundles & Offers

Libyana offers several types of data-only packages, which are:

You may have to text 1 to 1414 to retrieve Libyana’s internet settings. You can check your data balance by dialing *222#.

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

Libyana Internet

The Internet packages are data-only packages sold in weekly, half-monthly, and monthly variants. Do note that speed restrictions apply depending on the validity of the internet package. Below are all the Libyana packages:

PriceDataDownload SpeedValidityActivation
1 LYD50 MBMax. 512 Kbps7 days*777*1#
3 LYD200 MBMax. 512 Kbps7 days*777*3#
4 LYD400 MBMax. 512 Kbps7 days*777*4#
8 LYD1000 MBMax. 2 Mbps15 days *777*8#
12 LYD2000 MBMax. 2 Mbps15 days *777*12#
16 LYD3000 MBMax. 2 Mbps15 days *777*16#
25 LYD5 GBMax. 8 Mbps30 days *777*25#
Libyana 4G Packages

The 4G packages are packages that allow you to take full advantage of Libyana’s 4G/LTE network without speed restrictions. You need to have a 4G enabled SIM card to purchase any of the 4G packages. Text 4 to 130 to see if your SIM card supports Libyana’s 4G/LTE service. The following two 4G packages are available:

PriceDataValidityActivation
35 LYD7 GB30 days*777*35#
50 LYD30 GB30 days*777*50#
Libyana Off-Peak Packages

The Off-Peak Packages are packages that can be used between 3:00-10:00 (3 AM-10 AM). The following six off-peak packages are available, which can be activated by dialing *555#:

PriceDataValidity
1 LYD2 GB1 day
2 LYD5 GB1 day
10 LYD30 GB7 days
25 LYD100 GB7 days
40 LYD200 GB30 days
50 LYD500 GB30 days

Libyana 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: Libyana
  • APN: Libyanawap

RELATED GUIDES:

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Almadar Aljadid (Al Madar)

Almadar Logo

Almadar Aljadid, which is also known as Al Madar, is Libya’s first operator and now the “smallest” operator. It is a state-owned operator, just like Libyana. Al Madar has good coverage around populated areas, which is Tripoli and towns near highways. 4G/LTE can be found in Tripoli, Benghazi, Misrata Tobruk, Ajdabiya, Zuwaytinah, Brega, and Bishr.

Getting An Almadar Aljadid Prepaid SIM Card – Tawasul

You can get an Almadar Aljadid prepaid SIM card, called Tawasul, for 5 LYD in Almadar Aljadid Service Centers and dealers. Dial 120 and select option 4 to hear your Tawasul phone number (you may have to dial 120 and select option 3 to change the system language from Arabic to English).

Topping-Up Your Almadar Aljadid Prepaid SIM Card

You can recharge your Almadar Aljadid SIM card in two ways with:

Let’s go through both methods.

Topping Up with an Almadar Aljadid Recharge Card

Al Madar recharge cards are widely available from 3 LYD to 100 LYD. To top-up, dial *112*VoucherCode#. For example, if your voucher code is 123456, you would dial *112*123456*. It is also possible to redeem a voucher online. Dial *111# to check your Tawasul balance.

You can extend the validity of your SIM card with each top-up. The following recharge amounts have the following validities:

Recharge AmountValidity
3 LYD1​​​5 Days
5 LYD35 Days
10 LYD75 Days
​20 LYD120 Days​
40 LYD240 Days
50 LYD365 Days
100 LYD365 Days
Topping Up with An Almadar Aljadid E-voucher

It is also possible to get an Al Madar e-voucher from an authorized agent without the need to scratch cards. E-vouchers are available in denominations of 1 LYD to 200 LYD. To get an e-voucher, head to an authorized dealer, ask for the value amount you need, pay the agent, and the agent will process the top-up. Once the top-up is successful, you will receive a confirmation SMS.

Almadar Aljadid Internet Packages, Plans, Bundles & Offers

Almadar Aljadid offers one combo bundle, two data-only bundles, and one social media bundle, which are:

You can check your data balance by dialing *111*2# to by texting 1 to 8989. You may have text 1 OR ALL to 8888 to retrieve the Al Madar internet settings.

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

Almadar Aljadid MIX Bundles

The MIX bundles are combo bundles that come with data, minutes, and SMS. The following three MIX bundles are available, which are all valid for 30 days:

PriceDataMinutesSMSValidity
15 LYD0.5 GB500 minutes100 SMS30 days
25 LYD1 GB700 minutes200 SMS30 days
40 LYD3 GB1000 minutes400 SMS30 days

You can activate a MIX bundle by following these steps:

  1. Dial *000#
  2. Choose option high-speed internet
  3. Press option Monthly Offers
  4. Choose MIX
  5. Select your plan of choice
Almadar Aljadid H+ Internet Bundles

The H+ bundles, also referred to as (internet) Net Bundles, are data-only plans. Do note that, unlike the GPRS bundles, the H+ plans can only be used in Tripoli, Benghazi, Tobruk, Misrata, Zliten, and Ajdabya. The following five H+ bundles are available:

PriceDataValidityActivation
5 LYD500 MB7 days*000#
8 LYD1 GB30 days*000*12#
20 LYD3 GB30 days*000#
30 LYD5 GB30 days*000#
80 LYD10 GB30 days*000*110#
Almadar Aljadid GPRS Bundles

The GPRS bundles are data-only bundles that can be used throughout Libya, where Almadar Aljadid has coverage. The following 3 GPRS bundles are available:

PriceDataValidityActivation
1 LYD10 MB1 dayText 1 to 8989
3 LYD40 MB7 dayText 7 to 8989
10 LYD200 MB30 dayText 30 to 8989
Almadar Aljadid Facebook Bundles

The Facebook bundles are bundles specifically for Facebook. They come in two variants, which can be activated by dialing *000#:

PriceDataValidity
5 LYD1 GB7 days
15 LYD3 GB30 days

Almadar Aljadid 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: Al Madar
  • APN: almadar.net

Other Ways to Get Online When Traveling in Libya

Although getting a Libyan prepaid SIM card will be the most affordable way to stay connected when in Libyaia, you could also:

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Mobile Hotspots for Libya

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 compact and lightweight so that you take them along with you whenever you need internet access on the go.

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 Libya

Skyroam Logo

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

Roaming with your Provider in Libya

Roaming with your provider is something we are all familiar with because it often results in expensive bills. However, that does not always have to be the case. Your operator may offer attractive roaming packages. That way, you do not have to deal with multiple SIM cards and can be reached to the phone number your friends and family are familiar with.

The issue, however, is that Libya is not a popular travel destination right now, which is why many mobile operators do not include Libya in their lower-priced roaming packages. As a result, you will be subject to standard roaming rates, which is how people often get roaming bills in the thousands (confused about what international roaming is or want to learn how it works? This article explains it all).

Some neighboring countries may charge relatively low roaming rates for when in Libya, but I would not count on it.

Do note that I have I also have many articles covering the roaming options of operators around the world. I also have many phone travel tips to keep your phone bills low when traveling.

Free WIFI Hotspots in Libya

Whenever something is free, you ought to take advantage of it. The same can be said about free public WIFI hotspots. If they are there, why not use them, right? Well, not so fast.

If you are traveling around Libya, it will be hard to stay connected to WIFI hotspots because you are constantly on the road. Moreover, WIFI hotspots in Libya are not known for being the most reliable out there.

You will barely find any WIFI hotspots in Libya. 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.

Internet freedom is also a thing that is not really known by the Libyan government, so they keep track of what people are doing online to ensure they are not doing anything shady.

That is why I ALWAYS use a VPN when connecting to public WIFI connections. Not only public WIFI connections but every WIFI connection that is not my home network (even at home I connect to a VPN because internet service providers can sell your browsing history to advertisers for targeted ads). This way, I ensure my traffic stays private.

But what does a VPN do? 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). Quite cool, If I have to be honest.

If you are in Libya, I recommend using Surfshark (which I have been using for about a year now) and connect to servers located in Libya. I do not know any other VPN provider that has servers in Libya, so that makes Surfshark unique.

Moreover, Surfshark is extremely affordable. They also have many servers around the world (Europe, Asia, the Americas, Oceania), so you can use Surfshark while at home. You to connect as many devices as you want at the same time 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!

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The Preferred Way to Stay Connected When Traveling in Libya

Getting a SIM card from either Libyana or Al Madar would do you well when considering a Libyan SIM card.

ALSO: Want to get an excel sheet of the best SIM cards of over 230+ destinations around the world, updated monthly? Sign up for the Phone Travel Wiz Newsletter and get the excel sheet for FREE!

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Local Prepaid SIM Card in Other African Countries

Going to other countries in North Africa? Check out my North Africa SIM card buying guide, covering other North 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, and plans on exploring Oceania and more of East and Southeast Asia.

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