Buying a Prepaid SIM Card in Tanzania Guide

Tanzania is known to Africa's highest mountain called the Kilimanjaro. It is also known for its national parks and ugali, which is a maize porridge.

In 2018, it was the 4th most popular African tourist destination by international tourism receipts, behind Egypt, South Africa, and Morocco.

When in Tanzania, you certainly want to go to their national parks, like the Ngorongoro Conservation Area or the Serengeti National Park. Dar es Salaam has the National Museum, plenty of fish markets, and beaches. Are you into watersports? Zanzibar is for you. Your time in Tanzania will be excellent.

What could ruin your excellent time in Tanzania is when you decide to roam with your provider in Tanzania. Roaming can be expensive in many cases, which is why many travelers want to buy a local SIM cards when they are on the road, like a Tanzanian one.

Mobile data rates in Tanzania are low compared to many other places in the world, which is something you should take advantage of.

In this article, I will go over everything you need to know about buying a SIM card in Tanzania. Let's do this.

Table of Contents

Mobile Operators, Networks & Frequencies in Tanzania

Tanzania has five mobile network operators:

  • Vodacom Tanzania
  • Tigo Tanzania
  • Airtel Tanzania
  • Halotel
  • Zantel

The following frequencies are used in Tanzania:

A Note About Smile, TTCL & CDMA-Only Operators

There are also 2 4G/LTE-only operators called Smile and TTCL. They do not have 2G or 3G roaming agreements with the other operators. They are primarily targeted to those living in places where broadband internet is inaccessible. Smile and TTCL are not recommended for travelers unless you are staying in one place for a while.

Finally, there are a bunch of operators that use CDMA technology, which is incompatible with GSM (which most phones and country use nowadays). As a result, they will not be covered in this article.

Best SIM Card in Tanzania

If you want to buy a SIM card in Tanzania, I would recommend going with Vodacom, Tigo, or Airtel. Vodacom has the best network but is the most expensive of them all. Tigo has a good network too and reasonable prices. Airtel is the budget option of the three, but also has the “worst” network of them all.

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SIM Card Registration in Tanzania

Like most countries in East Africa, and Africa in general, you have to register yourself when buying a SIM card. Additionally, fingerprints will be taken upon activation.

You can only have one line per network operator unless you get permission from the regulator. This means that if you feel like you need multiple SIM cards, you can, as long they are from different operators or if you get permission from TCRA.

Tanzania Prepaid SIM Cards

Below, I will guide you through the Tanzanian operators and go through:

  • Background information
  • Mobile coverage
  • SIM card types, prices, and availability
  • Recharge/top-up information
  • Combo plans, data plans, and special packs (such as social media packs) 

With that said, let's see what Tanzania has to offer to us.

Vodacom Tanzania

Vodacom Logo

Vodacom TanzaniaOpens in a new tab., just Vodacom, is the largest operator in Tanzania. It has the best coverage throughout the country, but they are also the most expensive operator. Vodacom plans to cover 90% of the population with their 4G/LTE network, as demanded by the Tanzanian government. 3G is widespread.

Vodacom SIM cards are sold all the way up to 5000 TZS (2.20) in Vodacom stores and various other places. Some of these establishments may sell you a SIM card for as little as 500 TZS. Make sure to ask for their 4G/LTE SIM card to take advantage of Vodacom’s 4G network.

Vodacom has a large variety of data packages, which they call Internet SUPA. From night-time packages all the way to plans that last you 30 days. We will go through each of them. You can activate any of these plans by dialing *149*01#.

Vodacom has 4 Internet SUPA packages that are valid for 24 hours:

  • 500 TZS: 80 MB
  • 1000 TZS: 300 MB
  • 1000 TZS: Unlimited WhatsApp and Instagram
  • 2500 TZS: 2 GB

Are you a night owl? Get one of the 2 Internet SUPA Bonge la bando bundles that are valid from 12 AM until 5 AM:

  • 500 TZS: 300 MB
  • 1000 TZS: 1 GB

There is also 1 Internet SUPA plan that costs 5000 TZS and comes with 4 GB for 48 hours.

Need a bundle that lasts you a week? Get one of these 6 Internet SUPA week plans. Some of them come with a dedicated night bonus that can be used between 12 AM and 5 AM.

  • 3000 TZS: 1 GB and 1 GB Night Bonus
  • 3000 TZS: Unlimited WhatsApp and Instagram
  • 5000 TZS: 1 GB and 2.5 GB Night Bonus
  • 10 000 TZS: 3 GB and 5 GB Night Bonus
  • 15 000 TZS: 5 GB and 5 GB Night Bonus
  • 20 000 TZS: 20 GB

Staying in Tanzania for a month? Get one of the 5 Internet SUPA 30-day plans:

  • 8000 TZS: Unlimited WhatsApp and Instagram
  • 10 000 TZS: 2 GB and 6 GB Night Bonus
  • 20 000 TZS: 5 GB and 10 GB Night Bonus
  • 35 000 TZS: 10 GB and 17 GB Night Bonus
  • 50 000 TZS: 20 GB and 30 GB Night Bonus

There are also a handful of Jimwage data packages. I contacted Vodacom to ask what Jimwage stands for. The agent stated that “Jimwage is an internet package that you will be able to browse the internet pages.” That does not explain a lot.

They later told me that Jimwage bundles are for prepaid customers only, whereas Internet SUPA packages are also available to postpaid customers.

The following 6 Jimwage Data bundles are available:

  • 500 TZS: 100 MB for 24 hours
  • 1000 TZS: 400 MB for 24 hours
  • 2000 TZS: 2.5 GB for 24 hours
  • 2500 TZS: 1.2 GB for 3 days
  • 15 000 TZS: 17 GB for 7 days
  • 20 000 TZS: 15 GB for 30 days

There are also Video Bundles. I asked Vodacom what you can do with those bundles, and I was told that “You can watch the latest movies, series, kids shows, and music videos.” That was not helpful at all. I later found out that Video Bundles are for a streaming service called DSTV, which is mainly popular in sub-Sarahan Africa.

FURTHER READ: Looking for other SIM cards in Africa? Check out my Buying a SIM Card in Africa Guide.

Tigo Tanzania

Tigo Logo

Tigo Tanzania, just Tigo, is the second-largest operator in the country. It was the first operator to start with 4G/LTE in Tanzania. Their overall overage is good, but not as great as Vodacom, but Tigo is slightly cheaper than Vodacom and claims to have the fastest 4G/LTE network. 4G/LTE is still being actively rolled out to rural Tanzania.

Tigo SIM cards are sold in 2 variants: 3G SIM cards for 1000 TZS and 4G/LTE SIM cards for 5000 TZS. You can get any Tigo SIM card at Tigo stores.

Tigo has 4 types of packages that include data: Combo Packs, Kinara Packs, internet Packages, and Social Packs. Let’s go through each of them.

Tigo has 6 Combo plans, ranging from 1000 TZS to 20 000 TZS, which can be activated online or on the Tigopesa app:

  • 1000 TZS: 350 MB, 20 minutes, and 20 SMS for 24 hours
  • 2000 TZS: 1 GB, 120 minutes, and 20 SMS for 24 hours
  • 3000 TZS: 2 GB, 120 minutes, and 100 SMS for 7 days
  • 5000 TZS: 2 GB, 350 minutes, and 100 SMS for 7 days
  • 10 000 TZS: 6 GB, 550 minutes, and 500 SMS for 30 days
  • 20 000 TZS, 9 GB, 1500 minutes, and 500 SMS for 30 days

Then you have the Tigo Kinara Packs. It is not exactly clear what these packs are, except for the fact that it is “a life-style driven service that delivers a superior customer experience, lifestyle benefits and an ex[c]eptional range of product and service offers.” All I do know is that these packs come with a lot of data, and unused data rolls over to the next period, as long as you renew the plan before it expires and that the plan is of the same validity.

If you go from a weekly to a monthly plan or the other way around, then your unused data will not rollover.

The following 4 Tigo Kinara Packs are available, which can be activated by dialing *147*00#:

  • 10 000 TZS: 5 GB, 550 minutes, and 100 SMS for 7 days
  • 15 000 TZS: 10 GB, 950 minutes, and 100 SMS for 7 days
  • 30 000 TZS: 21 GB, 2400 minutes, and 500 SMS for 30 days
  • 50 000 TZS: 35 GB, 4000 minutes, and 500 SMS for 30 days

Now we have Internet Packages that are Tigo’s data-only packs. They are valid for 24 hours, 7 days, or for 30 days. They can be activated by dialing 148*00# or on the Tigopesa app.  Let’s have a look.

You can choose from 3 Daily Packages:

  • 500 TZS: 100 MB
  • 1000 TZS: 400 MB
  • 2000 TZS: 2.4 GB

Staying in Tanzania for a week? Choose one of these 4 Weekly Packages:

  • 3000 TZS: 2 GB
  • 5000 TZS: 4 GB
  • 10 000 TZS: 10 GB
  • 15 000 TZS: 16 GB

Exploring Tanzania for a month or just need a lot of data? Then these 4 Monthly Packages may be interesting:

  • 10 000 TZS: 7 GB
  • 20 000 TZS: 16 GB
  • 30 000 TZS: 34 GB
  • 50 000 TZS: 60 GB

Finally, we have the Social Packs, which are Facebook and WhatsApp packs; WhatsApp and Instagram packs; Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, and Twitter Packs; and YouTube packs.

The following 3 WhatsApp and Facebook plans are available:

  • 1000 TZS: 1 GB for 24 hours
  • 2000 TZS: 3 GB for 7 days
  • 5000 TZS: 8 GB for 30 days

Need a bundle for WhatsApp and Instagram instead? Get one of these 3 WhatsApp and Instagram plans:

  • 1000 TZS: 1 GB for 24 hours
  • 2000 TZS: 3 GB for 7 days
  • 5000 TZS: 8 GB for 30 days

Need a bundle for Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, and Twitter? Once again, you have 3 options:

  • 1500 TZS: 2 GB for 24 hours
  • 3000 TZS: 6 GB for 7 days
  • 8000 TZS: 16 GB for 30 days

Finally, you have the 2 YouTube packs:

  • 500 TZS: 600 MB for 24 hours
  • 1000 TZS: 2 GB for 24 hours

Airtel Tanzania

Airtel Logo

Airtel TanzaniaOpens in a new tab., just Airtel, is the third-largest operator in Tanzania. They have decent coverage, albeit it being worse than Vodacom, but they are cheaper than Vodacom, so they can be considered a budget option. Reports show that Airtel has the best coverage in Northern Tanzania (Ngorongoro and Serengeti), so you should consider Airtel if going to these places.

Airtel SIM cards can be acquired for 2000 TZS in Airtel stores.

Looking for a combo plan? Airtel has 7 Yatosha Janja Lao Combo Bundles:

  • 1000 TZS: 350 MB, 30 minutes, and 20 SMS for 1 day
  • 2000 TZS: 1 GB, 120 minutes, and 20 SMS for 1 day
  • 3000 TZS: 2 GB, 120 minutes, and 100 SMS for 7 days
  • 5000 TZS: 4 GB, 400 minutes, and 500 SMS for 7 days
  • 10 000 TZS: 6 GB, 550 minutes, and 500 SMS for 30 days
  • 20 000 TZS: 15 GB, 1200 minutes, and 1500 SMS for 30 days
  • 50 000 TZS: 40 GB, 4000 minutes, and 1500 SMS for 30 days

Airtel also has several Yatosha Janja Lao data plans, ranging from daily plans to monthly plans. These plans can be activated by dialing *149*99# and selection option 5.

Airtel has 4 24-hour plans:

  • 200 TZS: 40 MB
  • 500 TZS: 150 MB
  • 1000 TZS 500 MB
  • 2000 TZS: 3 GB

Need a plan for 3 days? Get the 2000 TZS plan that comes with 1.3 GB for 3 days.

Exploring Tanzania for a week? Get one of these 5 weekly plans:

  • 1500 TZS: 750 MB
  • 3000 TZS: 2.5 GB
  • 5000 TZS: 5 GB
  • 10 000 TZS: 12 GB
  • 15 000 TZS: 20 GB

Staying in Tanzania for a month or just need a lot of data? Then one of these 5 monthly plans are for you:

  • 10 000 TZS: 8 GB
  • 15 000 TZS: 14 GB
  • 20 000 TZS: 22 GB
  • 25 000 TZS: 30 GB
  • 35 000 TZS: 45 GB 

Halotel

Halotel Logo

Halotel is another operator in Tanzania. It is owned by a Vietnamese company called Viettel. They have good coverage throughout the country, and 4G/LTE is still being rolled out to many places in Tanzania.

You can buy a Halotel SIM card for 1000 TZS in Halotel stores. Dial *102*01# to see your balance.

Just like all the other operators, Halotel has a bunch of data packages to choose from, which can be activated by dialing *148*66#.

Halotel has 5 Internet Daily bundles:

  • 500 TZS: 200 MB
  • 1000 TZS: 500 MB
  • 1500 TZS: 1 GB
  • 2000 TZS: 2 GB
  • 3000 TZS: 4 GB

Staying in Tanzania for a week? Get one of these 5 Internet Week bundles:

  • 1000 TZS: 300 MB
  • 2000 TZS: 800 MB
  • 5000 TZS: 2.5 GB
  • 10 000 TZS: 6 GB
  • 15 000 TZS: 13 GB

Exploring the country for a month or need a lot of data? These 7 Internet Monthly bundles may be for you:

  • 5000 TZS: 1.8 GB
  • 10 000 TZS: 4 GB
  • 20 000 TZS: 9 GB
  • 50 000 TZS: 25 GB
  • 80 000 TZS: 41 GB
  • 100 000 TZS: 55 GB
  • 150 000 TZS: 85.9 GB
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Zantel

Zantel Logo

ZantelOpens in a new tab. is an operator that used to be active in Zanzibar only, a popular Tanzanian island. However, Tigo bought Zantel a few years ago and they will be merging into one company somewhere in 2020. Zantel roams on the Tigo network on mainland Tanzania, so you do not have to worry about no coverage in mainland Tanzania after buying your SIM card in Zanzibar.

You can buy your Zantel SIM card for 1000 TZS in various shops and at Zanzibar airport.

As to be expected, there are many bundles to choose from. You can activate them by dialing *149*15#.

Zantel has 4 daily data bundles to choose from:

  • 300 TZS: 60 MB
  • 500 TZS: 150 MB
  • 1000 TZS: 750 MB
  • 2000 TZS: 1.6 GB

Need a data plan that lasts you a week? Get one of the 4 weekly data bundles:

  • 3000 TZS: 700 MB
  • 5000 TZS: 1.2 GB
  • 8000 TZS: 2.5 GB
  • 12 000 TZS: 10 GB

Finally, you have 4 monthly data bundles:

  • 10 000 TZS: 1.5 GB
  • 15 000 TZS: 3 GB
  • 25 000 TZS: 7 GB
  • 35 000 TZS: 14 GB

Other Ways to Stay Connected When Traveling in Tanzania

Being redone.

The Preferred Way to Stay Connected When Traveling in Tanzania

Getting a SIM card from Vodacom, Tigo, or Airtel would do you well when considering a Tanzanian SIM card.

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Local Prepaid SIM Cards in Other African Countries

Visiting other countries in Africa? Check out my Africa SIM card buying guide, covering other African countries, such as

Going to other places around the world? Then you should also check out my sim card buying guides for other destinations around the world.

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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 is Asia. In particular, East and Southeast Asia. He currently lives in Tainan, Taiwan.

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