Mauritius is an island nation in the Indian Ocean. The country is often confused with the African nation called Mauritania, which is a country in Northwest Africa. In fact, I thought it was part of South Asia because the country is in the Indian Ocean… until I was about to publish this post, ha.
Anyway, there is a lot to do in Mauritius. Port Louis, the capital of Mauritius, is known for its Caudan Waterfront Dining and Central Market. Grand Baie has beautiful beaches and has the Grand Baie Bazaar for shopping. Chamarel has cool waterfalls and volcanoes, and Le Morne is great for kitesurfing.
What would not be great is getting a high bill from your operator because you decided to roam with your provider in Mauritius. Roaming can be expensive in many cases, which is why many travelers prefer to buy a local SIM card in Mauritius.
In this article, I will go over everything you need to know about buying a SIM card in Mauritius. Let's have a look, shall we?
Telecom Providers in Mauritius
Mauritius has 3 telecom providers: my.t, Emtel, and Chili by MTML. All operators have 2G, 3G, and 4G/LTE networks.
What SIM card should you buy when visiting Mauritius? If you want to buy a SIM card in Mauritius, I would recommend going with Emtel because they have lower rates than my.t while having slightly worse coverage than them. Additionally, the Emtel Tourist SIM card for 200 MUR ($5.30) that comes with 1 GB, unlimited Facebook (no VoIP calls), and 100 SMS for 10 days, which is quite a good deal.
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Just like most countries in Africa, you have to show your passport when buying a Mauritian SIM card. You also have to fill in a few forms. After that, your SIM card should be activated within an hour. You may have to restart your phone for the activation to go through.
There is not much more to say about Mauritian operators, so let’s see what they have to offer to us.
Tip: Looking for cheap flights? Book with AirWander and add stopovers! Not in a hurry yet? Set up flight alerts with Airfarewatchdog and get notified when ticket prices for your preferred route(s) drop!
my.t by Mauritius Telecom is the largest operator in Mauritius in terms of subscribers. They also have the best coverage throughout the country, including the islands Rodrigues and Agalega – they are the only operators that have 4G/LTE coverage there. my.t used to be known as Orange, but they rebranded to my.t late 2017.
You can get a my.t SIM card for 100 MUR ($2.65) at my.t stores or Mauritius Telecom stores. A my.t SIM card comes with 87 MUR in credit, 250 MB, 150 SMS, and unlimited Facebook. Your credit will stay valid for 100 days, your SMS for 90 days, and your data for 7 days.
However, for some reason, it can take up to 3 days before these allowances are loaded to your card. Therefore, it is recommended to purchase a data pack immediately.
my.t top-up cards are sold in many stores from 50 MUR to 300 MUR. Topping up can be done by dialing *124*VoucherCode#. For example, if your voucher code is 123456, you would dial *124*123456#. You can check your credit balance by dialing *122# and check your data balance by texting query to 8684.
Do note that you have to pay 15% VAT (GST) to some goods and services in Mauritius. In the case of my.t, all prices are inclusive of VAT (including paying 100 MUR for a my.t SIM card and all the prices for the data packs listed below).
However, when you buy a 100 MUR recharge card and want to check your balance, you will see that you have a balance of 86.96 MUR because of the tax situation. That is just something to be aware of.
The following my.t data packs are available, which also come with an SMS allowance and unlimited Facebook usage, except for Facebook videos:
- 10 MUR: 50 MB and 30 SMS for 24 hours. Activation code: text buy internetday to 8684
- 49 MUR: 300 MB and 200 SMS for 7 days. Activation code: text buy internetweek1 to 8684
- 99 MUR: 800 MB and 400 SMS for 7 days. Activation code: text buy internetweek to 8684
- 299 MUR: 2 GB and 500 SMS for 30 days. Activation code: text buy internetmonth to 8684
- 499 MUR: 5 GB and 500 SMS. Activation code: text buy 5gb to 8684
- 999 MUR: 10 GB and 500 SMS. Activation code: text buy 10gb to 8684
- 1999 MUR: 20 GB and 500 SMS. Activation code: text buy 20gb to 8684
- 2999 MUR: 50 GB and 500 SMS. Activation code: text buy 50gb to 8684
You can also dial *8900# and select a package from the menu. All my.t packs auto-renew if there is enough credit. If you want to stop an auto-renewal, replace buy with stop. For example, if you have the 499 MUR 5 GB and 500 SMS pack, you would text stop 5gb to 8684 to cancel the auto-renewal.
Emtel is the second-largest operator in Mauritius. Their 3G network is as extensive as the one of my.t, but their 4G/LTE network still needs to catch up. Emtel rates are also lower, which is why I recommend getting an Emtel SIM card.
Emtel SIM cards are sold for 100 MUR (VAT included in all Emtel prices) in Emtel stores and convenience stores and come with 87 MUR in credit, 300 MB valid for 7 days, unlimited Facebook for 7 days, and 250 SMS for 90 days.
Remember, you need to register your passport information when buying a SIM card in Mauritius. If you decide on buying an Emtel SIM card in a convenience store, you need to mail in a form. It can take days, maybe even a week before that form will be processed. That is why you will be better off buying a SIM card at an Emtel store.
Normally, I mention the tourist plans and packages after mentioning the standard data packs because they are often more expensive than the regular plans. However, in the case of Emtel, you can get an Emtel Tourist SIM card for 200 MUR that comes with 1 GB, unlimited Facebook (no VoIP calls), and 100 SMS for 10 days, which is quite a good deal.
Anyway, Emtel top-up cards are sold in many convenience stores from 50 MUR to 200 MUR. Topping up can be done by dialing *121*VoucherCode#. For example, if your voucher code is 123456, you would dial *121*123456#. You can check your balance by dialing *122#.
You can get Emtel Kombo Packs (spelled with a K, indeed) that come with unlimited Emtel to Emtel calls and unlimited SMS:
- 39 MUR: 1.5 GB for 24 hours. Activation: text SUB KOMBO to 8284
- 195 MUR: 5 GB for 7 days. Activation: text SUB KOMBOW to 8284
You also have the choice of getting data packs that come with minutes and SMS:
- 24 MUR: 100 MB (until midnight), 10 minutes, and 100 SMS for 24 hours. Activation: text SUB COMBO to 8284
- 85 MUR: 325 MB, 325 minutes to Emtel numbers, and 325 SMS for 7 days. Activation: text SUB MIX to 8284
The following standard Emtel data-only packs are available, which come with an SMS allowance:
- 10 MUR: 55 MB and 55 SMS for 24 hours. Activation: text SUB DAILY to 8284
- 49 MUR: 500 MB and 500 SMS for 7 days. Activation: text SUB WEEKLY to 8284
- 99 MUR: 1 GB and 500 SMS for 7 days. Activation: text SUB WEEKLY1GB to 8284
- 249 MUR: 2 GB and 500 SMS for 30 days. Activation: text SUB 1GB to 8284
The following Emtel unlimited data packs are available, which will get throttled to 256 Kbps after fully consuming your allowance, and come with unlimited Facebook*:
- 19 MUR: 600 MB for 24 hours. Activation: text SUB ULDAY to 8284
- 51 MUR: 2 GB for 24 hours. Activation: text SUB ULDAILY to 8284
- 109 MUR: 3 GB for 7 days. Activation: text SUB ULWEEKLY to 8284
- 299 MUR: 5 GB for 30 days. Activation: text SUB UL to 8284
- 319: 1.5 GB per day for 30 days. Activation: text SUB ULMON to 8284
* Uploading photos and videos to Facebook, watching (external) videos on Facebook, or Facebook VoIP calls are not inclusive of the free Facebook offer.
You can also activate any of these plans by dialing *100# and selecting your package of choice through the menu.
Chili by MTML
Chili by MTML is the smallest operator in Mauritius, but they also have the lowest rates throughout the country. Initially, Chili marketed its 3G network as 4G for some reason. They stated that they were working on an actual 4G/LTE network. However, it is not clear whether 4G/LTE actually exists or not – let me know!
Chili SIM cards are sold for 100 MUR (tax included in all Chili prices) in Chili stores. It also comes with 100 MUR in credit. Chili recharge cards are sold from 25 MUR to 300 MUR. Topping up can be done by dialing *111*VoucherCode#. For example, if your voucher code is 123456, you would dial *111*123456#. You can check your balance by dialing *222#.
The following short-term (up to 7 days) Chili packs are available:
- 6 MUR: 40 MB and 20 SMS for 1 day. Activation: text act daily to 8200
- 17.25 MUR: 600 MB (“unlimited”) for 1 day. Activation: text act 15 to 8200
- 45 MUR: 400 MB and 50 SMS for 7 days. Activation: text act weekly to 8200
- 50 MUR: 1 GB for 1 day. Activation: text act daily1gb to 8200
- 56.4 MUR: “unlimited” data from 10 PM to 7 AM. Activation: text act Data1N to 8200
- 517.5 MUR: “unlimited” data for 7 days. Activation: text act Data7D to 8200
All plans marked with “unlimited” some with a Fair Usage Limit (FUL). After consuming your allowance, your speed will be reduced to 256 Kbps. It is unknown what the FUL is for the unlimited night and weekly plans.
The following monthly Chili packs are available for purchase:
- 112.7 MUR: 1 GB. Activation: text act 1GB to 8200
- 225 MUR: 1.25 GB and 125 SMS. Activation: unknown
- 287.5 MUR: 2.5 GB (“unlimited”). Activation: text act 1gb to 8200
- 343.85 MUR: 30 GB (1 GB/day “unlimited”). Activation: text act 299 to 8200
- 425 MUR: 2.5 GB and 250 SMS. Activation: unknown
- 458.85 MUR: 90 GB (3 GB/day “unlimited). Activation: text act 399 to 8200
- 800 MUR: 5 GB and 500 SMS. Activation: text act 5gb to 8200
- 900 MUR: 100 GB (“unlimited”). Activation: text act 900 to 8200
- 1400 MUR: 10 GB. Activation: text act 10gb to 8200
- 1400 MUR: 500 GB (“unlimited”). Activation: text act 1400 to 8200
- 2800 MUR: 50 GB. Activation: text act 50gb to 8200
Although not clearly mentioned by Chili, I believe the large unlimited packs (100 GB and 500 GB) are permanently throttled. Otherwise, it would not make sense to buy the 1400 MUR 10 GB package if you can get 500 GB for the same price.
Other Ways to Stay Connected When Traveling in Mauritius
I have discussed the relevant providers in Mauritius in this article because using a Mauritian SIM card would be much cheaper than roaming with your provider… in most cases. However, buying a local SIM card is not the only way to stay connected in Mauritius. You can buy an international SIM card, use a mobile hotspot, or use free WIFI connections. Below, I will discuss the alternative options to use your phone in Mauritius.
Roaming in Mauritius with Your Provider
Roaming is a term used in wireless telecommunication that indicates a mobile device is outside the range of its home network and has connected to a different, available cell network. Let’s say your provider is Ooredoo Maldives, then you would be roaming with Ooredoo in Mauritius
The issue with roaming is that it can be expensive. There have been many horror stories where people had to pay thousands in roaming fees when coming back from their holidays, which is just a shame, in my opinion. However, roaming does not always have to be expensive, especially when visiting a neighboring country.
Many providers offer roaming plans. Some allow you to roam for free in Mauritius, while others would offer you a roaming bundle with a set number of minutes, SMS, and data. Finally, several operators let you use your plan’s allowance for a daily fee.
As you can see, there are many options out there, so be sure to explore the roaming options your provider has. Conveniently for you, I have reviewed the roaming options of many providers (and many more to come) and discussed everything you need to know about roaming with your provider. If you are lucky, you may not even have to buy a SIM card in Mauritius and can roam for free there.
No idea how roaming works? I made this comprehensive guide about what roaming is and how it works. It is worth the read – promised!
One thing I would not recommend doing is to Roam As You Go. Just like prepaid cards where you can buy bundles or Pay As You Go (as in, charged per minute, SMS, or MB), Roaming As You Go can be insanely expensive (that is how people get expensive roaming bills). So far, there are a handful of providers I have reviewed that offer affordable Roam As You Go rates. But generally, avoid it. Get a roaming plan if you can or buy a SIM in Mauritius.
Using an International SIM Card in Mauritius
International SIM cards are cards that have been made for travelers so that they do not have to deal with roaming costs.
The number of international SIM card providers is too many to count, but international SIM cards give you the same convenience as roaming with your provider. A few providers I know are OneSimCard, SimOptions, Surfroam, BNESIM, and SimCorner.
They allow people to call you at one number instead of five in case you are exploring multiple countries in one trip. Moreover, you do not have to deal with multiple SIM cards you will never use again. In short, international SIM cards have been made for the international traveler in mind.
Although this sounds fabulous, international SIM cards are much more expensive than local SIM cards in Mauritius. Some international SIM card providers charge ridiculous fees (sometimes, even more than roaming with your provider), while others offer awful service. It is, therefore, important to go with a reputable company so that you do not have to deal with surprised when traveling around the world.
On the other hand, international SIM cards are appealing to those who travel frequently or are visiting multiple destinations in one trip. Some countries in Oceania require you to register before you can use a SIM card, which can be a hassle for some. Additionally, the language barrier may be off-putting to some travelers, which is why an international SIM card can be handy. You order it before you depart and can use it in various destinations.
My recommendation, however, is to get a local SIM card if you are only visiting one destination. If you are visiting multiple ones, an international SIM card could be handy. If you want to learn more about international SIM cards, check out my international SIM card comparison article, where I analyze 10 international SIM card providers so that you do not have to.
Using Portable Hotspots (Pocket WIFI) in Mauritius
Portable hotspots, also referred to mobile hotspots or pocket WIFI, are routers small enough to bring with you everywhere you go. They are portable, battery-powered wireless routers that allow 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.
Just like with the number of international SIM card providers, there are so many mobile hotspots out there that it is challenging to keep track of them all. Skyroam and Vision Global Wireless are reputable pocket WIFI providers. You can get a discount if you rent a router through Skyroam by using coupon code PHONETRAVELWIZ. Cellular access with Skyroam starts at $8 a day while using a Vision Global device starts at $2 a day. Both services cover more than 130 destinations around the world.
The first time I used a portable hotspot was when I was in Bangkok, Thailand, with my dad. He uses the Dutch telecom provider called KPN, which does not let you roam for free in Thailand. I was with 3 Denmark (3 Danmark), which also did not allow me to roam for free. The router was offered for free by our Airbnb host. Let me tell you how convenient that thing was!
I do not remember the exact brand router we used, but we could connect our phones to it, explore Bangkok, and upload highlights of our trip on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and WhatsApp without the need of connecting to unsecure and slow connections in Thailand.
That is why I often recommend those who are traveling in groups or with families to consider getting a pocket WIFI device so that each individual does not need to buy a local SIM card and data packages. In some countries, the cost of getting a local SIM card or packages is so low that it is not even worth getting a mobile hotspot. In others, it could save you money.
I recently wrote an article analyzing the 7 Best Mobile Hotspots for Travelers like yourself, which should be an interesting read if pocket WIFI is something you are considering. I do reviews of individual devices every now and then, so check out my mobile hotspot category to stay up to date.
Connecting to Free WIFI Networks in Mauritius
Finally, we have the most cost-effective way to stay connected in Mauritius which is using free WIFI networks.
Using WIFI networks should not cost you any money (unless you are connecting to premium hotspots), which is why it is a popular option for travelers. Go to a local café, buy a coffee, connect to their WIFI, and post your pictures to Facebook or Instagram. Straightforward, right? Well, let’s see if that is indeed the case.
First, you need to find hotspots. In some regions, they are readily available. In others, you cannot find any, require you to give your personal details (for commercial purposes), are restricted for those who are a subscriber of an operator’s, or are so slow that you wished you never connected to them.
In the case of Mauritius, you will find some hotspots here and there, but not many.
Public WIFI hotspots are unsecure. They are a prime target for hackers to steal your data and use it for illicit purposes. That is I use, and would recommend you to start using, a Virtual Private Network (VPN) if you connect to a public hotspot. 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 Mauritius
Getting a SIM card from Emtel would do you well when considering a Mauritian SIM card. Be sure to explore the roaming options your provider offers you, as they may offer free or cheap roaming bundles.
You could also consider getting an international SIM card like OneSimCard, SimOptions, Surfroam, BNESIM, and SimCorner, or using a portable hotspot. International SIM cards are attractive for those visiting multiple destinations at once or within a year. Portable hotspots will be useful when traveling with multiple people so that not each individual has to get a SIM card but can use the hotspot.
Visiting other countries in Africa? Check out my Africa SIM card buying guide, covering other African countries, such as Algeria, Botswana, Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. Going to other places around the world? Then you should also check out my sim card buying guides for other destinations around the world.
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 Mauritius
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 Mauritius. If you are not ready to take off yet, set up flight alerts with Airfarewatchdog, and they will notify you once ticket prices to Mauritius drop.
Book Your Accommodation for Mauritius
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 Mauritius. At least, that is how I see it. Moreover, Airbnb can often be much cheaper than staying in a Mauritian hotel.
Get Your Travel Insurance for Mauritius
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 Mauritius, 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 the local currency 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.
Enjoy your trip!