Mayotte is a French Overseas Department, which means that it is not an independent country but a region/province in France. Mayotte does have a different visa policy compared to mainland France. Still, those from the European Union or European Economic Area can travel and reside in Mayotte without restrictions.
What can you do in Mayotte? Mamoudzou, the capital of Mayotte, is home to the Mtsapéré Mosque. Paminzi has beautiful lakes, beaches, and is excellent for hikes. Head to the Comoro Islands if you want to see turtles (and volcanoes). In short, Mayotte is an excellent destination for adventures.
You probably want to share your Mayotte adventures with your friends on social media. However, you know what roaming can be expensive in many cases, so you want to buy a SIM card in Mayotte.
Be aware that mobile data in Mayotte is expensive compared to African standards, (in fact, it is one of the more expensive destinations to buy a SIM card, based on all the African SIM cards I analyzed in my Buying a SIM Card in Africa Guide), mainly because Mayotte is a remote island. For European standards, however, mobile data can be considered cheap or costly, depending on where you are from.
In this article, I will tell you all about buying a SIM card in Mayotte. Let’s do this.
Telecom Providers in Mayotte
Mayotte has 3 full telecom operators, which are: SFR Mayotte, Orange Mayotte, and Only. All these operators have 2G, 3G, and 4G/LTE networks.
There is also a 4G/LTE-only operator, which is called Maoré Mobile. They entered Mayotte in 2019. Their coverage is still limited because they are so young, but they plan on improving their coverage as soon as possible.
What SIM card should you buy when visiting Mayotte? If you want to buy a SIM card in Mayotte, I would recommend going with Orange because their coverage is almost the same as the one of SFR, the market leader, while offering cheaper rates.
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Like most countries in East Africa, and Africa in general, you have to register yourself when buying a SIM card in Mayotte.
Mainland France is part of the European Union (EU). As of June 2017, a new regulation has been enforced, which is known as roam at like home, meaning that those with a European Union (or EEA) SIM card should be allowed to use (some) of their data allowance in other EU/EEA countries without a surcharge.
As French Overseas Departments are considered to be part of France, the roam at like home rules apply in Mayotte, meaning that those from the EU/EEA can use their SIM cards in Mayotte without a surcharge, and you can use your Mahoran SIM card in the EU/EEA as well (in most cases).
However, make sure your operator has included Mayotte in their roam like home destination page, as they sometimes “forget” to do so, which could result in high roaming charges. If you can roam in Mayotte, do so – it will be more affordable that buying a Mahoran SIM card and data package.
With that being said, let’s see what Mayotte has to offer to us.
SFR Mayotte, just SFR, is the largest operator in Mayotte. With the best coverage and speeds in Mayotte, they manage to maintain a market share of around 75%. SFR is, however, the most expensive option in Mayotte.
SFR SIM cards, called L’offre Faïda, cost €2 and are sold in SFR stores and a few other stores. The SIM card comes with 6 EUR in credit. Top-up vouchers are sold from €3 to €40. Call 950 to check your SFR balance.
L’Offre Faïda 6 has these 2 combo plans that include data:
- €1: 1 GB high-speed data (then throttled to 2G speeds), unlimited local calls, and free SMS for 1 day. Activation: text 1WEB to 976.
- €5: 5 GB high-speed data (then throttled to 2G speeds), unlimited local calls, and free SMS for 5 days. Activation: text 5WEB to 976.
There is also an SFR plan called HALO 4G for €55 that comes 2 GB high-speed data (then throttled to 2G speeds), unlimited local calls and SMS, unlimited calls and SMS to mainland France, European Union, and other French Overseas Departments, which are:
Orange Mayotte, just Orange, is the smallest operator in Mayotte. Their coverage is almost the same as the one of SFR, and they are cheaper than SFR.
You can get an Orange SIM card for €5 (Ankili Eco) or €10 (Ankili Numéro préféré and Ankili SMS) depending on the starter plan you choose. Go for the €5 one because it does not matter which one you choose if planning on buying data plans. Top-up cards are sold everywhere. Dial #123# to check your Orange balance.
Orange has 3 types of plans that include data:
- Orange Pass internet mobile
- Orange Pass appels et sms illimités, internet mobile
- Orange Forfaits et forfaits bloqués
Let's go through each of them.
Orange Pass internet mobile
Orange has 2 internet passes that come with data. Both Pass internet mobile plans can be activated by dialing #111#:
- €1: 1 GB for 24 hours
- €4: 4 GB for 7 days
Dial #123# to check your Orange Pass internet mobile consumption.
Orange Pass appels et sms illimités, internet mobile
These passes come with unlimited minutes and SMS. They come in 3 variants, which are to be activated by dialing #111#:
- €2: 1 GB, unlimited minutes and SMS for 24 hours
- €7: 5 GB, unlimited minutes and SMS for 7 days
- €20: 3 GB, unlimited minutes and SMS for 30 days
Dial #123# to check your Orange Pass appels et sms illimités, internet mobile consumption.
Orange Forfaits et forfaits bloqués
Orange Forfaits et forfaits bloqués are monthly combo plans that come with much more data compared to Orange Pass. The following 6 Forfaits et forfaits bloqués come with data:
- €15: 5 GB, 2 hours of calls, and unlimited SMS
- €20: 30 GB, 2 hours of calls, and unlimited SMS
- €25: 5 GB and unlimited calls and SMS
- €30: 30 GB and unlimited calls and SMS
- €30: 60 GB, 2 hours of calls, and unlimited SMS
- €40: 60 GB and unlimited calls and SMS
Only Mayotte, just Only, is the smallest full operator in Mayotte. They coverage is limited compared to SFR and Orange, but they do offer interesting packages.
You can get an Only SIM card for €5, which comes with €4 in credit, in Only stores. Recharge cards are sold from €3 to €20. Dial #111# to check your Only balance.
Only has 2 plans without a contract: Istawi and Marahaba.
With Istawi, you have 3 options that come with data:
- €1: 200 MB for 4 days. Activation: dial #133#1200#
- € 4: 5 GB for 4 days. Activation: dial #133#5000#
- €4: 1 GB, 10 hours of calls, unlimited local SMS, and unlimited SMS to mainland France and Réunion. Activation: #133#1000
With Maharaba, you have 2 options that come with data:
- €15: 10 GB, unlimited local calls and SMS, and unlimited calls and SMS to mainland France, French Overseas Departments*, Réunion, and the European Union**
- €25: 60 GB, unlimited local calls and SMS, and unlimited calls and SMS to mainland France, French Overseas Departments*, Réunion, and the European Union**
* French Overseas Departments: Guadeloupe, Guyana, and Martinique
** European Union: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Martin (French part) Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom
Maoré Mobile is a 4G/LTE-only operator in Mayotte. They are also the newest player in Mayotte, as they started in 2019. Coverage is limited compared to the other operators, covering about 35% of Mayotte and more than 60% of the population.
Maoré Mobile SIM cards are sold for €5, with €5 in credit, in Douka stores. Top-up vouchers are sold in those stores too or online, from €2 to €100. Dial #950# to check your Maoré Mobile balance.
For data, Maoré Mobile has Forfaits Illimités, Fortaints Internet, and other plans (Autres Offres, which means other offers).
Maoré Mobile Forfaits Illimités
The Forfaits Illimités are monthly plans that come with unlimited local calls and SMS, and unlimited calls and SMS to mainland France, and French Overseas Departments. You have these 3 options:
- €15: 1 GB. Activation: dial #515#
- €20: 10 GB. Activation: dial #520#
- €25: 20 GB. Activation: dial #525#
Maoré Mobile Forfaits Internet
Forfaits Internet plans are data-only plans. They come in 2 variants:
- €5: 5 GB for 7 days. Activation: dial #555#
- €10: 10 GB for 30 days. Activation: dial #560#
Maoré Mobile Autres Offres
These are other plans that do not fit in another category. Only 2 out of the 4 other offers come with reasonable data offers:
- €3: 1 GB, unlimited local calls and SMS, and unlimited calls and SMS to mainland France, and French Overseas Departments for 3 days. Activation: dial #503#
- €5: 2 GB, local calls and SMS, and unlimited calls and SMS to mainland France, and French Overseas Departments for 5 days. Activation: dial #550#
Other Ways to Stay Connected When Traveling in Mayotte
So far, you have been informed about the SIM card options in Mayotte. However, that is not the only way to be online in Mayotte. I have already briefly mentioned that you can roam with your provider, although it can be expensive in most cases. Besides that, you can use free WIFI connections, mobile hotspots, or international SIM cards.
Roaming in Mayotte 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 Africell Sierra Leone, then you would be roaming with AirtelTigo in Mayotte.
You may have read horror stories of people coming back from a lovely holiday, only to be confronted with a roaming bill in the thousands. This can still be the case if you do not review your roaming options before going on a holiday. Luckily for you, I have written about the roaming options you have with various providers around the world, which you can read here.
Some operators offer roaming plans. Others allow you to roam for free in Mayotte, while several operators let you use your plan’s allowance for a daily fee. As you can see, roaming does not have to be a horrific experience. If your provider is generous and lets you roam for free in Mayotte, then you do not even need a local SIM card (although I would still recommend doing so, as your connection speed will be much slower as a roamer than someone who is a customer of the network).
No idea how roaming works? I made this comprehensive guide about what roaming is and how it works. It is worth the read – promised!
Pay As You Go roaming should be avoided, as that is how travelers get high roaming bills. One provider charges you about 1000 USD per GB in certain destinations, which is insane. If you really want to roam, check whether your provider has attractive roaming plans. Else, you will be better off with buying a local SIM card.
Using Free WIFI connections in Mayotte
This does not require a lot of explanation, but using free WIFI connections is the cheapest way to connect to the internet because you do not have to pay anything. Nothing beats free stuff, right? Well, not so fast.
First, you need to find hotspots in Mayotte. In some countries of cities, you will find so many hotspots that you can try them out one by one and find the one with the fastest speeds. In other places, however, WIFI connections do not seem to exist.
In the case of Mayotte, you will find many hotspots in populated areas.
Additionally, 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 or learn more about NordVPN.
Using a Mobile Hotspot in Mayotte
Pocket WIFI is a portable, 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.
Many companies have created mobile hotspots (just have a quick search on Amazon, for example, you will find many). Skyroam, Vision Global Wireless, and Travelwifi are reputable pocket WIFI providers I know. 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. Travelwifi offers Teppy, the name of the pocket WIFI, starting from $7 per day. All these services cover more than 130 destinations around the world.
I often recommend mobile hotspots to those who are traveling in groups or with families. They can save groups a lot of money if they are visiting destinations where buying multiple SIM cards would become an expensive endeavor.
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.
Getting an International SIM card for Traveling in Mayotte
International SIM cards are, as the name implies, SIM cards for international use. Well, that does not explain anything. Although most providers allow you to use your card abroad, some actually restrict this possibility. An international SIM card lets you go abroad without having to change SIM cards when visiting multiple destinations. They have been made with the traveler in mind.
All of this sounds lovely, but international SIM cards are much more expensive than local SIM cards in Mayotte. Not only that, some offer poor service as well for high rates. Some reputable companies I know are OneSimCard, SimOptions, Surfroam, BNESIM, and SimCorner.
International SIM cards are appealing to those who travel frequently or are visiting multiple destinations in one trip. Many countries in Africa 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.
The Best Way to Stay Connected When Traveling in Mayotte
Getting a SIM card from Orange would do you well when considering a Mahoran 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 or using a portable hotspot. International SIM cards like OneSimCard, SimOptions, Surfroam, BNESIM, and SimCorner are attractive for those visiting multiple destinations at once or within a year. Portable hotspots like Skyroam, Vision Global Wireless, and Travelwifi will be useful when traveling with multiple people so that not each individual has to get a SIM card but can use the hotspot.
Going to other countries in East Africa and Southeast Africa? Check out my East Africa SIM card buying guide, covering other East African nations, such as Botswana, Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Eswatini (Swaziland) Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mayotte, Mozambique, Réunion, Seychelles, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
What about other places in Africa? My Africa SIM card buying guide covers all African destinations, such as Algeria, Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Egypt, Ghana, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Sudan, and Tunisia.
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 Mayotte
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 Mayotte. If you are not ready to take off yet, set up flight alerts with Airfarewatchdog, and they will notify you once ticket prices to Mayotte drop.
Book Your Accommodation for Mayotte
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 Mayotte. At least, that is how I see it. Moreover, Airbnb can often be much cheaper than staying in a Mahoran hotel.
Get Your Travel Insurance for Mayotte
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 Mayotte, 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 Euros 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!