Buying a Prepaid SIM Card in Namibia Guide

Logos of Telecom Operators in Namibia: MTC & Telecom Namibia

Namibia is known for its dunes and Etosha National Park, where one can take fantastic nature and wildlife photos. To do so, you need to be connected to share your stunning creations online.

However, roaming with your provider has proven to be expensive in many cases, which is why many travelers opt for buying local SIM cards to enjoy local rates and prevent roaming bills.

Mobile data rates are low, compared to the world average, which is a solid reason to get a Namibian SIM card.

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

Telecom Operators, Networks, and Frequencies in Namibia

Flag of Namibia

Namibia has 2 telecom operators:

  • MTC
  • TN Mobile (by Telecom Namibia)

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

The following frequencies are used by the Namibian operators:

  • 2G: 900 MHz & 1800 MHz
  • 3G: 2100 MHz
  • 4G/LTE: 1800 MHz (Band 3) & 2600 MHz (Band 38)

There is also a third operator called Paratus Telecom. Although they offer mobile data, their target the home market (broadband internet is not widely available). Paratus does not even offer the ability to make voice calls.

However, on average, Paratus Telecom offers the lowest data rates, but their coverage is extremely limited (which is why they will not be covered in this article). Only consider Paratus Telecom if staying in Windhoek, Kleine Kuppe, Okahandja, Swakopmund, or Walvis Bay.

The Best Prepaid SIM Card in Namibia

If you want to buy a SIM card in Namibia, then both MTC and TN Mobile are good options. MTC has the best coverage throughout the country, but they are the most expensive. TN Mobile’s coverage is good, but not as extensive as the one of MTC. However, TN Mobile is cheaper than MTC (56 NAD/GB vs. 92 NAD/GB) when looking at the average price per GB of standard data-only plans.

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SIM Card Registration Regulations in Namibia

Unlike most countries in Southern Africa, you do not have to register your passport details when buying a SIM card in Namibia. However, according to Privacy International, the Namibian government is considering implementing a SIM card registration law

The State of the Namibian Telecom Market

Namibia is the second-least densely populated country behind Mongolia (which I have written a SIM card buying guide on as well). This means that coverage is not as extensive as you are used to in other African countries or other countries in general.

Luckily, all cities and towns have at least 3G coverage with both MTC and TN Mobile. However, smaller towns may only have 2G reception, which is too slow for modern data use. 4G/LTE is not widely available yet.

If you are staying in greater Windhoek, coverage should not be a problem. When traveling between towns, you may only have 2G reception or nothing at all.

The average mobile download and upload speeds in Namibia, according to Spedetest by Ookla, were 17 Mbps down and 11 Mbps up in May 2020, which placed Namibia on the 107th place of fastest speeds in the world. This is faster than other Southern African nations like Zimbabwe (122nd), Zambia (124th), and Tanzania (126th), but slower than Mozambique (105th), Botswana (104th), and South Africa (62nd).

Mobile data prices are reasonably priced for Southern African standards. Rates are often not inclusive of the necessary 15% tax. When the tax is excluded from the price, an additional column with the price with tax (price * 1.15) is added for your convenience.

Currency in Namibia

Namibia uses the Namibian Dollar with the symbol NAD (which will be used throughout this article). Prices in Cape Verde are listed in N$ or ND. For example, 25 NAD is N$/ND 25. For reference, below are some exchange rates between NAD and USD (US Dollars – Rounded):

  • 1 NAD = 0.05 USD
  • 10 NAD = 0.65 USD
  • 100 NAD = 6.70 USD
  • 1000 NAD = 67.15 USD
  • 10 000 NAD = 671.55 USD

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

Namibian Prepaid SIM Cards

Below, I will guide you through MTC and TN Mobile 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 MTC and TN Mobile have to offer to us.

MTC

MTC Logo

MTC is the largest operator in Namibia, and they have the best coverage throughout the country. However, that is mainly referring to 2G, which is useless for modern data usage. MTC’ 3G network covers all cities and most large towns, while 4G/LTE can be found in a handful of cities and towns, such as:

  • Finkenstein Estate/Manor
  • Gobabis
  • Grootfontein
  • Henties Bay
  • Hosea Kutako International Airport (Windhoek Airport – WDH)
  • Katima Mulilo
  • Keetmanshoop
  • Langstraat-Oord
  • Lüderitz
  • Mariental
  • Okahandja
  • Ondangwa
  • Oranjemund
  • Oshakati
  • Oshikango
  • Otavi
  • Otjiwarongo
  • Outapi
  • Outjo
  • Rehoboth
  • Rosh Pinah
  • Rundu
  • Swakopmund
  • Tsumeb
  • Walvis Bay
  • Windhoek
MTC Coverage Map

You can buy an MTC SIM card, called Tango, for 6.99 NAD in MTC shops. You can also buy an MTC SIM card Windhoek Airport (Hosea Kutako International Airport – WDH).

MTC Mobile Internet

MTC has one combo plans and two data-only plans:

  • Aweh (combo plans)
  • Data Bundles with Validity (data-only)
  • Other [Data Bundles] (data-only)

Let’s go through each of them.

MTC Aweh

The Aweh plans are combo plans that come with data, social media data, minutes, and SMS. Depending on the plan, social media data applies to WhatsApp only or WhatsApp and Facebook. WhatsApp calls do not fall under social media data and will be deducted from your regular data allowance.

You have the following 5 Aweh plans:

PricePrice with 15% TAXDataSocial Media DataSocial Media AppsMinutesSMSValidityActivation SMS to 13400
7 NAD8.05 NAD20 MB20 MBWhatsApp20 minutes50 SMS3 days#OkaAweh#
13 NAD14.95 NAD50 MB50 MBWhatsApp50 minutes150 SMS7 days#AwehGO#
32 NAD36.8 NAD200 MB200 MBWhatsApp350 minutes700 SMS7 days#Aweh#
32 NAD36.8 NAD1 GB500 MBWhatsApp100 minutes700 SMS7 days#AwehGig#
53 NAD60.95 NAD3 GB*700 MBWhatsApp & Facebook700 minutes1500 SMS7 days#SuperAweh#
Data Happy Hour between 00:00-6:00 (12 AM-6AM) – FUP of 90 GB.
MTC Data Bundles with Validity

The Data Bundles with Validity are standard data-only bundles. All Data Bundles with Validit are valid for 60 days. Data Bundles with Validity can be purchased by dialing *682#:

PricePrice with 15% TaxData
13 NAD14.95 NAD40 MB
20 NAD23 NAD80 MB
85 NAD97.75 NAD400 MB
139 NAD159.85 NAD800 MB
235 NAD270.25 NAD1.5 GB
353 NAD405.95 NAD3 GB
1069 NAD1229.35 NAD15 GB
MTC Other Data Bundles

The Other Data Bundles, which are literally called other data bundles, are data-only bundles that are valid for 120 days. You have the following 3 options:

PricePrice with 15% TaxDataActivation SMS
16 NAD18.4 NAD60 MB#N15-60mb# to 12515
25 NAD28.75 NAD100 MB#N23-100mb# to 12516
38 NAD43.7 NAD200 MB#N35-200mb# to 12517

MTC 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):

  • APN: internet

RELATED GUIDES:

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TN Mobile (Telecom Namibia)

Telecom Namibia Logo

TN Mobile by Telecom Namibia is the other operator in Namibia. Their coverage is worse than the one of MTC, but TN Mobile is generally cheaper than MTC.

Telecom Namibia Coverage Map

You can buy a TN Mobile SIM card for less than 10 NAD in TN Mobile stores. Recharge cards are widely available. To top-up, you text the Voucher Code to 124. For example, if your voucher code is 123456, you would text 123456 to 124. Send a blank SMS to 124 to check your TN Mobile balance. The same can be done by calling 139.

TN Mobile Internet

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

  • Jiva Family (combo plans)
  • Prepaid Data Bundles (data-only plans)
  • Unlimited Prepaid Data (unlimited data-only plans)

Let’s go through each of them.

TN Mobile Jiva Family

The Jiva Family bundles are combo bundles with data, social media data, nighttime data, minutes, and SMS, which are all valid for 7 days. It is unknown which apps fall under social media data. Nighttime data, referred to as Night Surfer, allows you to use “unlimited data” (90 GB) between 00:00-5:59 (12 AM-5:59 AM). Below are the 4 Jiva bundles:

PricePrice with 15% taxDataSocial Media DataNight SurferMinutesSMS
30 NAD34.5 NAD1.5 GBNoneNo130 minutes700 SMS
35 NAD40.25 NAD2 GB500 MBNo130 minutes700 SMS
40 NAD46 NAD2 GB500 MBYes200 minutes1000 SMS
50 NAD57.5 NAD10 GB2 GBYes200 minutes1000 SMS
TN Mobile Prepaid Data Bundles

The Prepaid Data Bundles are standard data-only bundles. You have the following 12 options:

PricePrice with 15% TaxDataActivation
5 NAD5.75 NAD 20 MB*130*20#
10 NAD11.5 NAD 40 MB*130*40#
15 NAD17.25 NAD 60 MB*130*60#
23 NAD26.45 NAD 100 MB*130*100#
35 NAD40.25 NAD 300 MB*130*300#
99 NAD113.85 NAD 600 MB*130*600#
139 NAD159.85 NAD 1 GB*130*1000#
199 NAD228.85 NAD 2 GB*130*2000#
399 NAD458.85 NAD 5 GB*130*5000#
849 NAD976.35 NAD 10 GB*130*10000#
1049 NAD1206.35 NAD 20 GB*130*20000#
1599 NAD1838.85 NAD 40 GB*130*40000#
1999 NAD2298.85 NAD 50 GB*130*50000#
3299 NAD3793.85 NAD 100 GB*130*100000#
TN Mobile Unlimited Prepaid Data

The Unlimited Prepaid Data bundles are data bundles that come with unlimited data for a day, week, or month. The following options are available:

PricePrice with 15% TaxValidityActivation
49 NAD56.35 NAD1 day*130*49#
299 NAD343.85 NAD7 days *130*299#
999 NAD1148.85 NAD30 days*130*998#

TN Mobile 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):

  • APN: internet

Other Ways to Use the Internet When Traveling in Namibia

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

Mobile Hotspots

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) or rent them. As a solo traveler, I barely get a mobile hotspot for myself. When I do, I rent them from Travelwifi, which covers 130+ destinations for as little as $7/day, or Skyroam, which also covers more than 130 destinations, and data starts from $8/day. You can get a discount with Skyroam by using coupon code PHONETRAVELWIZ upon checkout.

Travelwifi banner
Skyroam banner

International SIM Cards & Travel SIM Cards

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, unlike in Namibia (for now).

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. I recommend four companies that sell international SIM cards or travel SIM cards:

  • Surfroam: my go-to SIM card when I arrive in a new destination and do not have a local prepaid SIM card yet. Airport WIFI is usually slow, and I am impatient and need to be connected right away. Data for as little as €0.01/MB (or €10.24/GB) in over 200 destinations. Read my Surfroam review.
  • SimOptions: a travel SIM card reseller that sells AMAZING travel SIM cards, covering multiple destinations, for reasonable prices. I have tried multiple SIM cards from SimOptions and have always been satisfied. Check out my review covering SimOptions SIM cards.
  • SimCorner: a travel SIM card reseller, but they also sell local SIM cards of the destination you are visiting and deliver them to your home, which is rather unique. See my SimCorner review.
  • OneSimCard: the ultimate international SIM card. It works in every corner in the world, and you can even buy multiple numbers from different countries and use them on ONE SIM card. A game-changer! See my article analyzing OneSimCard.

Roaming

Roaming with your provider 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. However, roaming often results in expensive bills, but that does not always have to be the case. Your operator may offer attractive roaming packages, but it will most likely be more expensive than buying a local prepaid SIM card and getting a data package from a local operator.

I have an article explaining why roaming is so expensive. I also have many articles covering the roaming options of operators around the world, and make a verdict saying roaming can be worth it or not. Finally, I discuss many phone travel tips to keep your phone bills low when traveling.

Free WIFI Hotspots

Using free WIFI connections is the cheapest way to connect to the internet because you do not have to pay anything. However, free WIFI hotspots can be unsecure and unreliable.

You will mainly find hotspots in Windhoek and Walvis Bay. Additionally, public WIFI hotspots are unsecure. They are a prime target for hackers to steal your data and use it for illicit purposes, which is why I ALWAYS use a VPN on open WIFI connections (and even on private ones, even at home).

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 Namibia

Getting a SIM card from MTC (best coverage) or TN Mobile (cheapest option) would do you well considering a Namibian 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!

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 Namibia

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 Namibia.

Book Your Accommodation for Namibia

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 Namibia. At least, that is how I see it. Moreover, Airbnb can often be much cheaper than staying in a Namibian hotel.

Get Your Travel Insurance for Namibia

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 Namibia, 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 Namibian Dollar 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.

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Enjoy your trip!

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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