Sudan is the third-largest country in Africa, behind Algeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Sudan would still have been the largest African nation if South Sudan did not become a separate country. Then, Sudan would have a landmass of 2.5 million km2 compared to Algeria's 2.4 million km2.
Although being a large country with many tourist attractions, Sudan is not a popular tourist attraction. Domestic conflicts do not help with creating a positive destination image, but it can be fun and safe in Sudan, especially in the North.
Lake Nasser is a reservoir which is excellent for fishing. Kartoum has museums, markets, and camels wandering around. Wadi Halfa has deserts and lakes, and Port Sudan is good for Scuba Diving. In short, there is no reason to be bored in Sudan.
You probably want ot share your Sudan experiences with your friends and family on social media. Roaming can be expensive in many cases, especially in Sudan, so you would be better off getting a Sudani SIM card.
In this article, I will go over everything you need to know about buying a SIM card in Sudan. Let's go.
Telecom Providers in Sudan
Sudan has 3 telecom providers: Zain Sudan, Sudani by Sudatel, and MTN Sudan. All operators have 2G, 3G, and 4G/LTE networks.
What SIM card should you buy when visiting Sudan? If you want to buy a SIM card in Sudan, I would recommend going with either Zain or Sudani. Both operators have good coverage with their 2G and 3G networks. 4G/LTE is still limited to the cities and major towns. Consider MTN if staying in the cities and want to take advantage of unlimited data plans (throttled at max. 42 Mbps).
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Do note that coverage throughout Sudan is still mediocre. In the capital area, you will be fine with 2G, 3G, and 4G/LTE. Outside of the capital, you will find 3G in other cities and major towns. In other towns, you may get 2G speeds, which is too slow to actually do something on the web.
Just like most countries in Africa, you have to show your passport when buying a Sudani SIM card. Also, bring copies of your passport (2) and passport-sized photos (2). When at the operator store, you will have to fill in a form. Once that has been processed, you get the option to top-up or buy a package, you will receive your SIM card, and you will be ready to go.
All prices are advertised without the 31% government tax (such an incredible high tax). I will mention the price with the tax where relevant in brackets.
The internet in Sudan is subject to censorship. Various websites have been blocked, which are considered to be blasphemous or immoral by the Sudani government. Moreover, internet traffic is monitored too.
That is I would recommend using a VPN to browse the web in peace. I use NordVPN because I get high speeds with their servers. They have around 5800 servers in 59 countries. They have servers in South Africa and Sudan (there are many more, but these are the closest to Sudan). You can get up to 70% off your NordVPN subscription if you get yours today!
With that being said, let’s see what Sudan has to offer to us.
Zain Sudan, just Zain, is the largest operator in Sudan. 2G can be found in populated areas, 3G is available in most towns, and 4G/LTE can be found in cities like, but not limited to, Khartoum, Sudan’s capital, Port Sudan, Madani, and El Obeid.
You can buy Zain SIM cards in Zain stores for 7 SDG ($0.13). Zain offers 3 types of prepaid SIM cards: Zain Shabab, Zain eeZee, and Zain class. It does not matter which SIM card you get if you plan on buying data packages.
Zain advertises their data plan prices without the 31% tax. I will add the price with the tax in brackets. All the listed data plans are 3G data plans unless stated otherwise.
Zain Daily Plans
Zain has 4 plans that last 1 day:
- 1 SDG (1.31 SDG): 25 MB
- 1.5 SDG (1.97 SDG): 40 MB
- 3.5 SDG (4.59 SDG): 100 MB
- 8 SDG (10.48 SDG): 250 MB
Zain Weekly Plans
Need a plan that will last you for a week? Consider one of these 4 week plans:
- 6.5 SDG (8.52 SDG): 200 MB
- 9.5 SDG (12.45 SDG): 300 MB
- 15.5 SDG (20.31 SDG): 500 MB
- 30.5 SDG (39.96 SDG): 1 GB
Zain Monthly Plans
Staying in Sudan for a month? Then the Zain monthly plans will be interesting:
- 45.5 SDG (59.61 SDG): 1.5 GB
- 59 SDG (77.29 SDG): 2 GB
- 140 SDG (183.40 SDG): 5 GB
- 200 SDG (262 SDG): 10 GB
Zain 4G Plan (Month)
If you are in an area where Zain has 4G/LTE coverage, then you can consider getting the 400 SGD (524 SDG) plan that comes with 16 GB for 1 month.
Sudani is the mobile brand of Sudatel. They are the second-largest operator in Sudan, and their 2G and 3G coverage is almost the same as Zain. 4G/LTE is limited to the cities and major towns only.
Sudani SIM cards can be bought in Sudani stores for 7 SDG. Top-up vouchers can be purchased there too, but they are sold in many stores throughout Sudan.
Just like with Zain, which will apply to MTN too, prices are advertised without tax. The price with tax will be mentioned in brackets.
Sudani Connect Plans
Sudani has 6 Sudani Connect plans, which are their data plans that use their 3G network. All plans, except the 7 SDG one, are valid for 30 days, while the 7 SDG one is valid for 14 days. The following Sudani Connect plans are available:
- 7 SDG (9.17 SDG): 120 MB. Activation: dial *4*5#
- 12.5 SDG (16.38 SDG): 500 MB. Activation: dial *4*6#
- 22 SDG (28.82 SDG): 1 GB. Activation: dial *4*7#
- 80 SDG (104.80 SDG): 5 GB. Activation: dial *4*8#
- 100 SDG (131 SDG): 10 GB. Activation: dial *4*9#
- 230 SDG (301 SDG): 25 GB. Activation: dial *4*10#
Sudani 4G Advance Plans
If you are in an area where Sudani has 4G/LTE coverage, then you can consider getting one of their 6 4G Advance plans:
- 40 SDG (52.40 SDG): 2 GB for 7 days. Activation: dial *4*102#
- 100 SDG (131 SDG): 5 GB for 15 days. Activation: dial *4*105#
- 250 SDG (327.50 SDG): 15 GB for 15 days. Activation: dial *4*115#
- 400 SDG (524 SDG): 30 GB for 30 days. Activation: dial *4*130#
- 550 SDG (720.50 SDG): 50 GB for 30 days. Activation: dial *4*150#
- 900 SDG (1179 SDG): 100 GB for 30 days. Activation: dial *4*1100#
MTN Sudan, just MTN, is the smallest operator in Sudan. Their coverage is worse than the ones of Zain and Sudani. However, one of their main selling is that they offer unlimited internet packages while the other operators do not.
You can get your MTN SIM card for 7 SDG in many MTN stores throughout the country.
MTN Unlimited Internet Packages
The following 6 unlimited internet packages are available. The price with the tax is shown in brackets. Speed restrictions apply with these unlimited internet packages, which will be mentioned as well:
- 0.6 SDG (0.79 SDG): unlimited data at max. 42 Mbps for 1 hour. Activation: dial *123*13#
- 1 SDG (1.31 SDG): unlimited data at max. 1 Mbps for 1 day. Activation: dial *123*1#
- 4.5 SDG (6.90 SDG): unlimited data at max. 10 Mbps for 1 day. Activation: dial *123*34#
- 6 SDG (7.86 SDG): unlimited data at max. 1 Mbps for 7 days. Activation: dial *123*7#
- 25 SDG (32.75 SDG): unlimited data at max. 1 Mbps for 30 days. Activation: dial *123*30#
- 95 SDH (124.45 SDG): unlimited data at max. 42 Mbps for 30 days. Activation: dial *123*35#
MTN Internet Packages
You can also get one of the 10 MTN regular data packs:
- 0.76 SDG (100 SDG): 20 MB for 24 hours. Activation: dial *123*20#
- 1.5 SDG (1.97 SDG): 45 MB for 24 hours. Activation: dial *123*45#
- 3 SDG (3.93 SDG): 95 MB for 24 hours. Activation: dial *123*95#
- 8 SDG (10.48 SDG): 250 MB for 7 days. Activation: dial *123*250#
- 15 SDG (19.65 SDG): 500 MB for 10 days. Activation: dial *123*500#
- 30 SDG (39.30 SDG): 1 GB for 30 days. Activation: dial *123*1024#
- 80 SDG (104.80 SDG): 3 GB for 30 days. Activation: dial *123*3072#
- 130 SDG (170.30 SDG): 5 GB for 60 days. Activation: dial *123*5120#
- 250 SDG (327.50 SDG): 10 GB for 60 days. Activation: dial *123*10240#
- 470 SDG (615.70 SDG): 20 GB for 90 days. Activation: dial *123*20480#
Other Ways to Stay Connected When Traveling in Sudan
So far, you have been informed about the SIM card options in Sudan. However, that is not the only way to be online in Sudan. 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 Sudan 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 MTN Ghana, then you would be roaming with MTN Ghana in Sudan.
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 Sudan, 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 Sudan, 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 Sudan
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 Sudan. 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 Sudan, you will not find many hotspots. If you manage to find one, it will be slow.
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 Pocket WIFI (Mobile Hotspot) in Sudan
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 and Vision Global Wireless 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. Both 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 Sudan
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 Sudan. Not only that, some offer poor service as well for high rates. Some reputable companies I know are OneSimCard, SimOptions, and Surfroam.
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 Sudan
Getting a SIM card from MTN or Sudani would do you well when considering an Sudani 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 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 Botswana, Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Egypt, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, 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 Sudan
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 Sudan. If you are not ready to take off yet, set up flight alerts with Airfarewatchdog, and they will notify you once ticket prices to Sudan drop.
Book Your Accommodation for Sudan
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 Sudan. At least, that is how I see it. Moreover, Airbnb can often be much cheaper than staying in a Sudani hotel.
Get Your Travel Insurance for Sudan
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 Sudan, 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!