Saint Helena is a British Overseas Territory comprising of Saint Helena, Ascension Island, and Tristan da Cunha. The island lies almost 1950 kilometers (1200 miles) west of the coast of southwest Africa and 4000 kilometers (2500 miles) from Brazil. As a result, the island ground is grouped together with West Africa, even when it is so far away from mainland Africa.
The island does have a few tourist attractions, but many travelers go there to relax, which is understandable. You are so far away from everyone… the only thing you can do is relax!
As not many operators offer roaming in Saint Helena, your only option to stay connected in Saint Helena is getting a Saint Helenian local SIM card. Roaming can be expensive in many cases, which is why many travelers prefer to buy a local SIM card. In the case of Saint Helena, you do not have much choice.
In this article, I will go over everything you need to know about buying a SIM card in Saint Helena. Let's get started.
Original publication: 16th of March 2020. Last updated: 6th of September 2023.
Table of Contents
Telecom Provider in Saint Helena
Saint Helena has 1 telecom provider, and that is Sure Saint Helena. Sure Saint Helena has 2G and 4G/LTE networks throughout the island.
As there is no 3G network, it is essential to know that Sure uses the frequency 1800 MHz (Band 3) for their 4G/LTE network. If your phone does not support this frequency, then you will be limited to 2G speeds, which is extremely slow for data.
Best SIM Card Saint Helena
If you want to buy a SIM card in Saint Helena, Sure would be your only option.
Also, be aware that although Saint Helena and Ascension Island are in the same territory, they have separate networks (even though it is also operated by Sure). You will be charged roaming fees if using your Sure Saint Helena SIM card in Ascension Island and vice versa.
Additionally, Saint Helena uses satellites to facilitate (mobile) internet because the island has no submarine cables linked to other countries. As a result, mobile data in Saint Helena is expensive compared to many other nations and can be slow at times if many people are using mobile data.
The Saint Helenian government has signed an agreement with Google to branch off a cable to Saint Helena from the Portugal-South Africa cable. This project is expected to be finished in 2022, which will result in faster speeds and lower prices. Until then, you will pay a premium for using the internet on the island.
A special reminder for those from the EU/EEA: Saint Helena is not part of the EU or EEA, which means that the Roam like Home rule does not apply in Saint Helena. Therefore, it is recommended that European citizens with EU SIM cards buy a Saint Helenian SIM card instead of roaming with their providers.
Not many providers offer roaming in Saint Helena (in Europe, only Vodafone UK and O2 do), let alone free roaming, so be sure to check your provider’s site to learn whether you can roam for free or not.
With that being said, let’s see what Saint Helena has to offer to us.
Sure Saint Helena
Sure Saint Helena, officially called Sure South Atlantic, is the sole operator in Saint Helena. Their coverage is decent throughout Saint Helena.
SIM Card Price – Sure Saint Helena
You can buy a Sure SIM card for 16.50 GBP ($20.30) with 10 GBP in credit in the Sure service center in Jamestown (Bishop’s Room) and Saint Helena Airport. Although the salesperson will often activate your Sure SIM card for you, you may have to dial *170# to activate your SIM card.
- Find out how much SIM cards cost in every country, including data-only SIM cards and tourist SIM cards, offered by each mobile operator + information about starter benefits (lookup tool)
Sure top-up vouchers are sold in various stores. To recharge, you have to dial *177&VoucherCode#. For example, if your voucher code is 123456, you would dial *177*123456#.
Sure has 2 (expensive) data packs:
- 10 GBP: 100 MB. Activation: dial *173*200#
- 20 GBP: 250 MB. Activation: dial *173*200#
In short, you will spend at least 26.50 GBP for 100 MB (16.50 GBP for the SIM card and 10 GBP for the 100 MB pack), which is criminal.
The Best Way to Stay Connected When Traveling in Saint Helena
Getting a SIM card from Sure would be your only option when considering a Saint Helenian SIM card.
Local Prepaid SIM Card in Other African Countries
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