Some people think that Niger is part of Nigeria, or Nigeria being part of Niger. That is not surprising because the names are similar, they are neighboring countries, and the country areas look almost the same when checking Google maps (Niger: 1.268 million km² – Nigeria: 923 768 km²). However, the population of Niger is 22.5 million, while Nigeria has a population of 196 million. Quite a difference!
Besides that, Niger has its own attractions. The museum called Musée National Boubou Hama is famous. The Greay Mosque of Niamey is lovely, and the W Bénin-Niger National Park is a must-see. There is not reason to be bored in Niger.
You probably want to share your Niger experiences online. But you know that roaming with your provider can be expensive in many cases. Getting a local SIM card is more affordable than roaming, even in Niger.
In this article, I will go over everything about buying a SIM card in Niger. Let's get started.
Telecom Providers in Niger
Niger has 4 telecom providers:
- Airtel Niger
- Orange Niger
- Moov Niger
All operators have 2G and 3G networks. Airtel Niger is the only operator that has a 4G/LTE network. Orange Niger was awarded their 4G/LTE license in 2020 and is planning on building their 4G/LTE network soon.
The coverage of SahelCom is extremely poor, which is why they will not be covered in this article. However, for more information about SahelCom, you can head to their website (which is in French).
Which of these Nigerien operators have the best prepaid SIM card and prepaid offering?
If you want to buy a SIM card in Niger, then Airtel is the best because they have the best coverage, fastest speeds and have a 4G/LTE network.
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Like most countries in West Africa, and Africa in general, you have to register yourself when buying a SIM card in Niger.
Broadband internet in Niger is almost non-existent, which is why mobile internet is so prevalent in Niger. Even then, the penetration rate is less than 50%, but it has improved over recent years.
The issue, however, is the quality of service of mobile internet – it is, in general, poor for (West) African standards. In fact, the telecom regulator of Niger (ARTP) fined the 4 operators in 2017 for not improving their quality of service, as agreed to years ago.
Coverage is good in Southern, Western, and Southwestern Niger. Both Airtel Niger and Orange Niger have decent coverage up north and east, but it is not excellent.
With that being said, let’s see what Niger has to offer to us.
Airtel Niger, just Airtel, is the largest operator in Niger. They have a market share of almost 50%, have the fastest speeds, and the best coverage throughout Niger.
You can get an Airtel SIM card for 1000 XOF, which comes with 200 XOF in credit, in Airtel stores. Top-up vouchers are available all over Niger, even on the streets.
Airtel has several data packs, called Forfaits internet, which can be activated by dialing *141*3#. It looks like you get extra data on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays with these plans (Volume Lundi Mercredi Vendredi (LMV)) compared to Jours Normaux.
There are 17 Airtel Forfaits Internet Bundles:
- 100 XOF: 25 MB normal and 50 MB LMV for 24 hours
- 150 XOF: 40 MB normal and 80 MB LMV for 24 hours
- 200 XOF: 75 MB normal and 150 MB LMV for 24 hours
- 250 XOF: 200 MB normal and 400 MB LMV for 1 night between 12 AM and 5 AM
- 300 XOF: 125 MB normal and 250 MB LMV for 24 hours
- 499 XOF: 150 MB/350 MB normal and 300 MB/700 MB LMC for 7 days
- 500 XOF: 1228.8 MB normal and 2457.6 MB LMV for 1 night between 12 AM and 5 AM
- 500 XOF: 400 MB normal and 800 MB LMV for 24 hours
- 500 XOF: 300 MB normal and 600 MB LMV for 7 days
- 1000 XOF: 1 GB and 2 GB LMV for 24 hours
- 1000 XOF: 800 MB normal and 1600 MB LMV for 7 days
- 2000 XOF: 2.5 GB normal and 5 GB LMV for 7 days
- 2000 XOF: 1 GB normal and 2 GB LMV for 30 days
- 3000 XOF: 4 GB normal and 8 GB LMV for 7 days
- 5000 XOF: 4 GB normal and 7 GB LMV for 30 days
- 10 000 XOF: 12 GB normal and 24 GB LMV for 30 days
- 20 000 XOF: 30 GB normal and 60 GB LM for 30 days
Orange Niger, just Orange, is the second-largest operator in Niger. They have good coverage throughout Niger. Orange’s prices are comparable with the ones of Airtel.
You can get an Orange SIM card for 300 XOF in Orange stores, which comes with 250 XF in credit. Top-up vouchers are widely available from 500 XOF all the way up to 10 000 XOF.
Orange has 2 combo plans (Forfaits Tous Réseaux & Forfaits Orange Mix) and 1 data-only plan (Pass Internet Sawki). Let’s go through each of them.
Forfaits Tous Réseaux
The Tours Réseaux are combo plans that come with data, minutes for off-net use, and SMS. All Tours Réseaux plans are valid for 24 hours, and there are 3 of them:
- 500 XOF: 30 MB, 10 minutes, and 30 SMS
- 750 XOF: 60 MB, 15 minutes, and 60 SMS
- 1000 XOF: 120 MB, 20 minutes, and 120 SMS
Forfaits Orange Mix
The Orange Mix are combo plans that come with data, on-net minutes, and on-net SMS. There are 4 Orange Mix bundles, but only 3 of them come with data. All Orange Mix plans are valid for 24 hours:
- 500 XOF: 30 MB, 30 minutes, and 30 SMS. Activation: text 30M to 2525
- 750 XOF: 60 MB, 60 minutes, and 60 SMS. Activation: text 60M to 2525
- 1000 XOF: 100 MB and unlimited calls and SMS. Activation: text 24H to 2525
Pass Internet Sawki
The Pass Internet Sawki are standard data-only plans that range from daily passes to passes that last for 6 months. There are 13 Internet Sawki Passes available:
- 100 XOF: 20 MB for 24 hours. Activation: text 1J1 to 2525
- 200 XOF: 50 MB for 24 hours. Activation: text 1J2 to 2525
- 500 XOF: 1 GB for 1 night between 12 AM and 6 AM. Activation: text PN to 2525
- 500 XOF: 350 MB for 24 hours. Activation: text 1J3 to 2525
- 500 XOF: 250 MB for 7 days. Activation: text 1S1 to 2525
- 500 XOF: 1000 MB for 7 days (100 MB during the day and 900 MB between 12 AM and 6 AM). Activation: text SNJ to 2525
- 1000 XOF: 800 MB for 7 days. Activation: text 1S2 to 2525
- 2000 XOF: 2 GB for 7 days. Activation: text 1S3 to 2525
- 2000 XOF: 1 GB for 30 days. Activation: text 1M4 to 2525
- 5000 XOF: 4 GB for 30 days. Activation: text 1M1 to 2525
- 10 000 XOF: 10 GB for 30 days. Activation: text 1M2 to 2525
- 20 000 XOF: 20 GB for 30 days. Activation: text 1M3 to 2525
- 70 000 XOF: 50 GB for 6 months. Activation: text 6M to 2525
Moov Niger, just Moov, is the smallest operator in Niger. They have the worst coverage throughout Niger, but the coverage is still decent, especially in the South, West, and Southwest Niger.
You can get a Moov SIM card for 200 XOF in Moov stores, and it comes with 100 XOF in credit.
Moov has several combo and data-only plans, which are:
- Moov Fortaits Prestiges
- Moov Forfaits Tour Réseaux
- Moov Forfaits No Limit
- Moov Data Packages
Let's go through each of them.
Moov Forfaits Prestiges
The Prestiges plans are combo plans that come with data, minutes, and on-SMS. The sales page states that you can use your minutes for international use as well, but that is not mentioned in the description of any of the packages, which is odd.
The following 4 Moov Forfaits Prestiges plans are available:
- 500 XOF: 50 MB, 10 local minutes, and 10 on-net SMS for 24 hours. Activation: text 500 to 3000
- 1000 XOF: 200 MB, 20 local minutes, and 20 on-net SMS for 48 hours. Activation: text 1000 to 3000
- 2000 XOF: 450 MB, 45 local minutes, and 45 on-net SMS for 7 days. Activation: text 2000 to 3000
- 5000 XOF: 1 GB, 1024 local minutes, and 1024 on-net SMS for 15 days. Activation: text 5000 to 3000
Moov Forfaits Tous Réseaux
The Tous Réseaux plans are combo plans that are basically the same as Forfait Prestiges, meaning that you get data, minutes for local use, and on-net SMS. All Moov Tours Réseaux plans can be activated by dialing *515*2*1#:
- 500 XOF: 50 MB, 10 local minutes, and 10 on-net SMS for 24 hours.
- 1000 XOF: 200 MB, 20 local minutes, and 200 on-net SMS for 48 hours
- 2000 XOF: 450 MB, 45 local minutes, and 450 on-net SMS for 7 days.
- 5000 XOF: 1 GB, 150 local minutes, and 1024 on-net SMS for 15 day
Moov Forfaits No Limit
The No Limit plans are combo plans that come with data, (unlimited) on-net minutes and unlimited on-net SMS. 5 No Limit plans are available, and they can be activated by dialing *515*3*1#:
- 500 XOF: 100 MB, unlimited on-net calls, and 5 local minutes for 24 hours
- 1000 XOF: 1 GB, unlimited on-net calls, 15 local minutes, and unlimited on-net SMS for 3 days
- 3000 XOF: 1.5 GB, unlimited on-net calls, and 30 local minutes for 7 days
- 5000 XOF: 3 GB, unlimited on-net calls, 120 local minutes, and unlimited on-net SMS for 10 days
- 10 000 XOF: 6 GB, unlimited on-net calls, 140 local minutes, and unlimited on-net SMS for 20 days
- 20 000 XOF: 12 GB, unlimited on-net calls, 300 local minutes, and unlimited on-net SMS for 30 days
Moov Data Packages
Finally, we have regular data-only plans. They come in daily, nightly, weekly, and monthly variants.
Moov Internet Jour (Day)
The daily packages are valid for 24 hours. 4 daily packages are available:
- 100 XOF: 25 MB. Activation: text J1 to 888 or dial *888*1*1*1*1#
- 200 XOF: 75 MB. Activation: text J2 to 888 or dial *888*1*1*1*2#
- 500 XOF: 400 MB. Activation: text J3 to 888 or dial *888*1*1*1*3#
- 1000 XOF: 1.5 GB. Activation: Dial *888#
Moov Internet Nuit (Night)
The night packages are valid between 12 AM and 6 AM for 1 night:
- 200 XOF: 200 MB. Activation: text NUIT1 to 888 or dial *888*1*1*4*1#
- 500 XOF: 1 GB. Activation: text NUIT2 to 888 or dial *888*1*1*4*2#
Moov Internet Hebdo (Weekly)
There a 3 weekly plans:
- 500 XOF: 300 MB. Activation: text S1 to 888 or dial *888*1*1*2*1#
- 1000 XOF: 800 MB. Activation: text S2 to 888 or dial *888*1*1*2*2#
- 2000 XOF: 2.5 GB. Activation: text S3 to 888 or dial *888*1*1*2*3#
Moov Internet Mois (Month)
You have 4 monthly plans that are valid for 30 days:
- 2000 XOF: 1 GB. Activation: text M1 to 888 or dial *888*1*1*3*1#
- 5000 XOF: 4 GB. Activation: text M2 to 888 or dial *888*1*1*3*2#
- 10 000 XOF: 12 GB. Activation: text M3 to 888 or dial *888*1*1*3*3#
- 20 000 XOF: 30 XOF. Activation: text M4 to 888 or dial *888*1*1*3*4#
Other Ways to Stay Connected When Traveling in Niger
I have discussed the relevant providers in Niger in this article because using a Niger 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 Niger. 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 Niger.
Roaming in Niger 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 SFR Reunion, then you would be roaming with SFR Réunion in Niger.
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 Niger, 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 Niger 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 Niger.
Using an International SIM Card in Niger
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 Niger. 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. 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.
Using Portable Hotspots (Pocket WIFI) in Niger
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 Travelwifi 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. 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.
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 Niger
Finally, we have the most cost-effective way to stay connected in Niger 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 Niger, you will not find many hotspots. Those you find will be slow.
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.
The Best Way to Stay Connected When Traveling in Niger
Getting a SIM card from Airtel would do you well when considering a Nigerien SIM card. Be sure to explore the roaming options your provider offers you, as they may offer free or cheap roaming bundles.
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:
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 Niger
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 Niger.
Book Your Accommodation for Niger
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 Niger. At least, that is how I see it. Moreover, Airbnb can often be much cheaper than staying in a Nigerien hotel.
Get Your Travel Insurance for Niger
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 Niger, 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 West African CFA Franc 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!