Buying a Prepaid SIM Card in Zambia Guide

Logos of Telecom Operators in Zambia: MTN Zambia, Airtel Zambia, and Zamtel

Zambia is a hidden gem in Africa. Although its neighbours Botswana and South Africa are popular for their safaris, Zambia has majestic safaris as well, especially Kafue National Park. Some even claim that Zambia has the best safaris, but that is subjective.

Lusaka, the capital of Zambia, has the Lusaka City Market, which you have to visit, the same counts for the national museum. Livingstone is close to the Victoria Falls and is popular for adventure sports. And Lake Kariba is the largest man-made lake. There is no reason to be bored in Zambia.

What also will not bore you is dealing with an expensive roaming bill you get from roaming with your provider in Zambia. Roaming can be expensive in many cases, which is why many travelers prefer to buy local SIM cards, like a Zambian one.

Mobile data is cheap in Zambia for African standards, and especially compared to the world average, so you should take advantage of it.

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

Telecom Providers in Zambia

There are 3 telecom providers in Zambia:

  • MTN Zambia
  • Airtel Zambia
  • Zamtel

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

What SIM card should you buy when visiting Zambia? If you want to buy a SIM card in Zambia, I would recommend going with either MTN or Airtel. MTN has the best coverage and the fastest speeds throughout the country, but they are the most expensive. Airtel’s coverage is slightly worse than the one of MTN, but they are cheaper than MTN.

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Like most countries in East Africa, and Africa in general, you have to register yourself when buying a SIM card in Zambia. Additionally, fingerprints will be taken as of 2020.

Be aware that Zambia has a VoIP tax, which applies to voice and video calls with apps like WhatsApp, Viber, Skype, Facebook Messenger, etc. You will be charged 0.30 ZMK ($0.015) per day when using VoIP services.

With that being said, let’s see what Zambia has to offer to us.

MTN Zambia

MTN Logo

MTN Zambia, just MTN, is the largest operator in Zambia. With a market share of more than 40%, the fastest speeds, and having the best coverage, MTN is popular by Zambians. However, Airtel Zambia is a close second.

MTN SIM cards are sold for 5 ZMK in MTN Connect stores. You can also get your MTN SIM card at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (Lusaka Airport). Top-up vouchers are sold everywhere. To top-up, dial *113*VoucherCode#. For example, if your voucher code is 123456, you would dial *113*123456#. Dial *144# to check your MTN balance.

MTN offers several plans that feature data, which are:

  • MTN Spaka Bundles
  • MTN Freedom Bundles
  • MTN Internet Bundles

Let’s go through each of them.

MTN Spaka Bundles

Spaka Bundles are combo plans that come with data, on-net minutes, SMS, and, for some plans, a nighttime call balance for calls between 12 AM and 5 AM. There are 16 Spaka Bundles, split into daily, weekly, and monthly bundles. All Spaka Bundles can be activated by dialing *122#.

Spaka Daily Bundles

The following 5 Daily Spaka bundles are available:

  • 2 ZMK: 10 MB, 11 on-net minutes, and 100 SMS
  • 3 ZMK: 15 MB, 20 on-net minutes, and 200 SMS
  • 5 ZMK: 25 MB, 35 on-net minutes, and 200 SMS
  • 10 ZMK: 25 MB, 75 on-net minutes, and 200 SMS
  • 15 ZMK: 50 MB, 120 on-net minutes, and 200 SMS
Spaka Weekly Bundles

The following 6 Weekly Spaka bundles are available:

  • 5 ZMK: 25 MB, 25 on-net minutes, 120 night calling minutes, and 200 SMS
  • 10 ZMK: 50 MB, 60 on-net minutes, 120 night calling minutes, and 200 SMS
  • 15 ZMK: 100 MB, 95 on-net minutes, 120 night calling minutes, and 200 SMS
  • 25 ZMK: 100 MB, 184 on-net minutes, 120 night calling minutes, and 400 SMS
  • 45 ZMK: 150 MB, 281 on-net minutes, 120 night calling minutes, and 400 SMS
  • 75 ZMK: 150 MB, 480 on-et minutes, 120 night calling minutes, and 400 SMS
Spaka Monthly Bundles

The following 5 Monthly Spaka bundles are available:

  • 60 ZMK: 250 MB, 465 on-net minutes, 120 night calling minutes, and 1000 SMS
  • 100 ZMK: 512 MB, 690 on-net minutes, 120 night calling minutes, and 1000 SMS
  • 150 ZMK: 512 MB, 1005 on-net minutes, 120 night calling minutes, and 1000 SMS
  • 200 ZMK: 1 GB, 1392 on-net minutes, 120 night calling minutes, and 1000 SMS
  • 500 ZMK: 1 GB, 3822 on-net minutes, 120 night calling minutes, and 1000 SMS

MTN Freedom Bundles

Freedom Bundles are data-only bundles that do not expire, meaning that you can use your data as long as your SIM card is valid. Do note that, compared to the Internet Bundles, Freedom Bundles are expensive. There are 9 Freedom Bundles, which can be activated by dialing *335# or *111# (both codes are valid):

  • 45 ZMK: 500 MB
  • 90 ZMK: 1 GB
  • 130 ZMK: 1.5 GB
  • 410 ZMK: 5 GB
  • 820 ZMK: 12 GB
  • 1650 ZMK: 25 GB
  • 2300 ZMK: 35 GB
  • 3200 ZMK: 50 GB
  • 6000 ZMK: 100 GB

MTN Internet Bundles

Internet Bundles are data-only bundles that are, compared to the Freedom Bundles, do have an expiry but are cheaper. There are Standard Bundles, Extended Validity Bundles, and Night & Weekend Bundles. All of these plans will be listed below, and they all can be activated by dialing *335#:

MTN Hourly Internet Bundle

MTH has an Hourly Internet Bundle, which is sold for 0.55 ZMK and comes with 5 MB for 1 hour.

MTN Night Internet Bundles

There are 3 Night Internet Bundles available, which are valid between 12 AM and 5 AM:

  • 7.69 ZMK: 1.5 GB
  • 23.63 ZMK: 4.5 GB
  • 41 ZMK: 5 GB
MTN Daily Internet Bundles

Need internet for a day? Consider one of these 6 Daily Internet bundles:

  • 2 ZMK: 20 MB
  • 3 ZMK: 60 MB
  • 5 ZMK: 200 MB
  • 7 ZMK: 350 MB
  • 10 ZMK: 700 MB
  • 25 ZMK: 2 GB
MTN Sunday Internet Bundles

In search of an Internet Bundle that is valid for a Sunday? You have these 2 options:

  • 25 ZMK: 2 GB
  • 40 ZMK: 4 GB
MTN Weekend Internet Bundle

Need a lot of data for a weekend? MTN has a Weekend Internet Bundle that comes with 4.5 GB for a weekend for 61.5 ZMK.

MTN Weekly Internet Bundles

Staying in Zambia for a week? MTN has 4 Weekly Internet Bundles:

  • 25 ZMK: 1 GB
  • 50 ZMK: 2.5 GB
  • 100 ZMK: 6 GB
  • 150 ZMK: 10 GB
MTN Monthly Internet Bundles

Exploring Zambia for a month? You have these 4 MTN Monthly Internet Bundles:

  • 50 ZMK: 1.5 GB
  • 100 ZMK: 5 GB
  • 200 ZMK: 12 GB
  • 400 ZMK: 25 GB
MTN 60 Days Internet Bundles:

Need data for 2 months? MTN has 3 60-Days Internet Bundles:

  • 700 ZMK: 35 GB
  • 900 ZMK: 50 GB
  • 1500 ZMK: 100 GB
MTN 3 Months Internet Bundles

There are 8 3-Months Internet Bundles available:

  • 55 ZMK: 1 GB
  • 75 ZMK: 1.5 GB
  • 150 ZMK: 5 GB
  • 300 ZMK: 12 GB
  • 600 ZMK: 25 GB
  • 1050 ZMK: 35 GB
  • 1450 ZMK: 50 GB
  • 2250 ZMK: 100 GB
MTN 6 Months Internet Bundles

There are 8 6-Months Internet Bundles available:

  • 70 ZMK: 1 GB
  • 100 ZMK: 1.5 GB
  • 200 ZMK: 5 GB
  • 400 ZMK: 12 GB
  • 800 ZMK: 25 GB
  • 1400 ZMK: 35 GB
  • 1800 ZMK: 50 GB
  • 3000 ZMK: 100 GB
MTN 12 Months Internet Bundles

There are 8 12-Months Internet Bundles available:

  • 140 ZMK: 1 GB
  • 200 ZMK: 1.5 GB
  • 400 ZMK: 5 GB
  • 800 ZMK: 12 GB
  • 1600 ZMK: 25 GB
  • 2800 ZMK: 35 GB
  • 3600 ZMK: 50 GB
  • 6000 ZMK: 100 GB

Airtel Zambia

Airtel Logo

Airtel Zambia, just Airtel, is MTN’s largest rival. Airtel has a market share of around 40%, which means that they are closely behind MTN. Airtel’s coverage is good, but not as good as the one of MTN. However, Airtel can be much cheaper than MTN.  

Airtel SIM cards are sold for 5 ZMK in Airtel stores. They also have a booth at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (Lusaka Airport). Recharge cards are sold everywhere. To top-up, dial *113*VoucherCode#. For example, if your voucher code is 123456, you would dial *113*123456#. Dial *114# to check your Airtel balance.

Airtel has a combo plan called Chaopena Na So Che, which includes data, minutes, and SMS. They come in daily, weekly, and monthly variants. Be aware that there is a distinction between on-net minutes packs (Airtel to Airtel Packs) and off-net minutes packs (All Networks Packs). The Airtel to Airtel Packs are cheaper than the All Networks Packs.

First, I will list the Airtel to Airtel Packs, then the All Networks Packs. All Chaopena Na So Che plans can be activated by dialing *140#, and you can check your Chaopena Na So Che balance by dialing *140*14#:

Chaopena Na So Che Daily Airtel to Airtel Packs

There are 5 Daily Airtel to Airtel Packs to choose from, but only 4 of them include data:

  • 3 ZMK: 15 MB, 20 minutes, and 200 SMS
  • 5 ZMK: 25 MB, 35 minutes, and 200 SMS
  • 10 ZMK: 50 MB, 75 minutes, and 200 SMS
  • 15 ZMK: 50 MB, 120 minutes, and 200 SMS

Chaopena Na So Che Weekly Airtel to Airtel Packs

The weekly Airtel to Airtel variant has 3 options, but only 2 of them include data:

  • 10 ZMK: 75 MB, 60 minutes, and 200 SMS
  • 20 ZMK: 200 MB, 20 minutes, and 500 SMS

Chaopena Na So Che Monthly Airtel to Airtel Packs

There are 3 monthly Airtel to Airtel Packs to select from:

  • 50 ZMK: 250 MB, 300 minutes, and 500 SMS
  • 100 ZMK: 1 GB, 800 minutes, and 1000 SMS
  • 200 ZMK: 3 GB, 2000 minutes, and 2000 SMS

Chaopena Na So Che Daily All Networks Packs

There are 6 Daily All Networks Packs to choose from, but only 5 of them include data:

  • 4 ZMK: 15 MB, 15 minutes, and 100 SMS
  • 5 ZMK: 25 MB, 21 minutes, and 100 SMS
  • 6 ZMK: 25 MB, 26 minutes, and 100 SMS
  • 10 ZMK: 50 MB, 45 minutes, and 100 SMS
  • 15 ZMK: 50 MB, 70 minutes, and 100 SMS

Chaopena Na So Che Weekly All Networks Packs

The weekly All Networks variant has 6 options, but only 5 of them include data:

  • 10 ZMK: 50 MB, 35 minutes, and 100 SMS
  • 15 ZMK: 100 MB, 55 minutes, and 100 SMS
  • 30 ZKK: 150 MB, 120 minutes, and 200 SMS
  • 50 ZMK: 210 MB, 150 minutes, and 200 SMS
  • 75 ZMK: 150 MB, 328 minutes, and 200 SMS

Chaopena Na So Che Monthly All Networks Packs

There are 5 monthly All Networks Packs to select from:

  • 100 ZMK: 250 MB, 450 minutes, and 500 SMS
  • 150 ZMK: 250 MB, 725 minutes, and 500 SMS
  • 200 ZMK: 250 MB, 1000 minutes, and 500 SMS
  • 360 ZMK: 250 MB, 1900 minutes, and 500 SMS
  • 500 ZMK: 250 MB, 2800 minutes, and 500 SMS
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Zamtel

Zamtel Logo

Zamtel is the smallest operator in Zambia and is government-owned. They also have the worst coverage throughout Zambia. Locals informed me that dealing with Zamtel agents can unpleasant and that the network quality is OK. However, they can be a cheap option for those staying in the cities, but they are not recommended for those going to rural Zambia.

Zamtel SIM cards are sold for 5 ZMK in Zamtel stores. Top-up vouchers can be purchased there too. Dial *113# to check your Zamtel balance.

Zamtel has several plans that come with data:

  • Zamtel Chabeba Offers (on-net)
  • Zamtel All Networks Offers
  • Zamtel Mobile Internet
  • Zamtel Social Packs
  • Zamtel LTE Packages

Even though the social packs offer implies that these are social media packs, they come with regular data, unlimited WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook, on-net minutes, and on-net SMS.

Let’s go through each plan.

Zamtel Chabeba Offers

The Chabebe Offers are combo plans that come with data and minutes and SMS for on-net use only. Moreover, all plans come with Free Night Calling, which allows you to make unlimited on-net calls between 12 AM and 5 PM.

Chabeba Offers are sold in midnight, daily, weekly, and monthly variants. The midnight offers do not come with data and will not be listed. All Chabeba Offers can be activated by dialing *422# and select option 1. Dial *422# and choose option 5 to see your Chebaba Offer balance.

Chabeba Daily (24 Hours) Offers

There are 7 Chebaba Daily Offers to choose from:

  • 1 ZMK: 10 MB and 8 minutes
  • 2 ZMK: 25 MB, 12 SMS, and 600 SMS
  • 3 ZMK: 30 MB, 25 minutes, and 1200 SMS
  • 4 ZMK: 50 MB, 30 minutes, and 1200 SMS
  • 5 ZMK: 105 MB, 37 minutes, and 1200 SMS
  • 10 ZMK: 105 MB, 80 minutes, and 1200 SMS
  • 15 ZMK:  105 MB, 125 minutes, and 1200 SMS
Chabeba Weekly Offers

There are 6 Chebaba Weekly Offers to choose from:

  • 5 ZMK: 150 MB, 27 minutes, and 1200 SMS
  • 10 ZMK: 200 MB, 65 minutes, and 1200 SMS
  • 15 ZMK: 250 MB, 100 minutes, and 3600 SMS
  • 30 ZMK: 500 MB, 225 minutes, and 3600 SMS
  • 50 ZMK: 500 MB, 380 minutes, and 3600 SMS
  • 75 ZMK: 500 MB, 485 minutes, and 3600 SMS
Chabeba Monthly Offers

There are 6 Chebaba Monthly Offers to choose from:

  • 65 ZMK: 1 GB, 450 minutes, and 3600 SMS
  • 100 ZMK: 1.2 GB, 700 minutes, and 5500 SMS
  • 110 ZMK: 1.2 GB, 765 minutes, and 5500 SMS
  • 160 ZMK: 1.2 GB, 1120 minutes, and 5500 SMS
  • 210 ZMK: 2.2 GB, 1520 minutes, and 5500 SMS
  • 400 ZMK:  2.2 GB, 3110 minutes, and 5500 SMS

Zamtel All Networks Offers

The All Networks Offers come with data, minutes for all networks, on-net SMS, and all-net SMS. These offers come in daily, weekly, and monthly variants. All Networks Offers can be activated by dialing *422#. These offers auto-renew.  Dial *422# and select option 4 to unsubscribe from an All Networks offer:

All Networks Daily Offers

There are 5 Daily All Network Offers to choose from:

  • 1 ZMK: 5 MB, 4 minutes, and 500 on-net SMS
  • 2 ZMK: 30 MB, 9 minutes, and 500 on-net SMS
  • 4 ZMK: 50 MB, 17 minutes, and 500 on-net SMS
  • 5 ZMK: 75 MB, 24 minutes, and 1000 on-net SMS
  • 10 ZMK: 80 MB, 48 minutes, and 1000 on-net SMS
All Networks Weekly Offers

There are 5 Weekly All Network Offers to choose from:

  • 5 ZMK: 100 MB, 20 minutes, 1000 on-net SMS, and 10 all-net SMS
  • 10 ZMK: 175 MB, 40 minutes, 3000 on-net SMS, and 10 all-net SMS
  • 20 ZMK: 225 MB, 102 minutes, 3000 on-net SMS, and 10 all-net SMS
  • 30 ZMK: 350 MB, 130 minutes, 3000 on-net SMS, and 10 all-net SMS
  • 50 ZMK: 350 MB, 212 minutes, 3000 on-net SMS, and 10 all-net SMS
All Networks Monthly Offers

There are 5 Weekly All Network Offers to choose from:

  • 50 ZMK: 500 MB, 200 minutes, 3000 on-net SMS, and 10 all-net SMS
  • 75 ZMK: 500 MB, 300 minutes, 3600 on-net SMS, and 10 all-net SMS
  • 100 ZMK: 700 MB, 460 minutes, 5000 on-net SMS, and 10 all-net SMS
  • 200 ZMK: 700 MB, 1010 minutes, 5000 on-net SMS, and 10 all-net SMS
  • 500 ZMK: 700 MB, 2810 minutes, 5000 on-net SMS, and 10 all-net SMS

Zamtel Mobile Internet

The Mobile plans are simple data-only plans. They are sold in nightly, daily, weekly, monthly, 2-months, and 3-months variants. Dial *355# to activate a Mobile Internet plan.

Mobile Internet – Night

There are 3 Mobile Internet plans that can be used between 10:30 PM and 5:30 AM:

  • 4.61 ZMK: 1 GB
  • 9.23 ZMK: 2 GB
  • 36.9 ZMK: 5 GB
Mobile Internet – Day

There are 6 Daily Mobile Internet plans to choose from, which are valid for 24 hours:

  • 1 ZMK: 50 MB
  • 2 ZMK: 100 MB
  • 3 ZMK: 300 MB
  • 5 ZMK: 500 MB
  • 7 ZMK: 1 GB
  • 15 ZMK: 2 GB
Mobile Internet – Week

There are 5 Weekly Mobile Internet plans to choose from:

  • 5 ZMK: 500 MB
  • 10 ZMK: 1.5 GB
  • 25 ZMK: 2.5 GB
  • 70 ZMK: 6 GB
  • 105 ZMK: 10 GB
Mobile Internet – Month

There are 3 Monthly Mobile Internet plans to choose from:

  • 35 ZMK: 1.5 GB
  • 100 ZMK: 5 GB
  • 175 ZMK: 10 GB
Mobile Internet – 2 Months

There is 1 2-Months Mobile Internet plan that costs 350 ZMK and comes with 10 GB.

Mobile Internet – 3 Months

There is 1 3-Months Mobile Internet plan that costs 1050 ZMK and comes with 20 GB.

Zamtel Social Packs

The social packs come with data, on-net minutes, and on-net SMS. Additionally, you get unlimited WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook with these packs. The Social Packs can be activated by dialing *422# and *355#. Check your Social Pack balance by dialing *422# and selecting option 5 or dialing *355# and selecting option 4:

  • 5 ZMK: 75 MB, 40 on-net minutes, and 100 on-net SMS for 24 hours
  • 7 ZMK: 75 MB, 70 on-net minutes, and 100 on-net SMS for 24 hours
  • 10 ZMK: 100 MB, 95 on-net minutes, and 150 on-net SMS for 24 hours
  • 32 ZMK: 150 MB, 230 on-net minutes, and 500 on-net SMS for 7 days
  • 42 ZMK: 200 MB, 300 on-net minutes, and 500 on-net SMS for 7 days
  • 60 ZMK: 300 MB, 390 on-net minutes, and 500 on-net SMS for 7 days
  • 120 ZMK: 500 MB, 750 on-net minutes, and 1000 on-net SMS for 30 days
  • 168 ZMK: 500 MB, 950 on-net minutes, and 1000 on-net SMS for 30 days
  • 240 ZMK: 500 MB, 1600 on-net minutes, and 1000 on-net SMS for 30 days

Zamtel LTE Packages

Finally, you have the Zamtel LTE Bundle offer, which can only be used on Zamtel’s 4.5G network (on 2300 MHz (Band 40)). Each package comes with unlimited Facebook, Pinterest, Wikipedia, and Twitter. However, the larger the data allowance, the more apps are included for unlimited data. All LTE packages are valid for 30 days.

  • 100 ZMK: 6 GB and unlimited Facebook, Pinterest, Wikipedia, Twitter
  • 250 ZMK: 15 GB and unlimited Facebook, Pinterest, Wikipedia, Twitter, and WhatsApp
  • 450 ZMK: 32 GB and unlimited Facebook, Pinterest, Wikipedia, Twitter, WhatsApp, and Snapchat
  • 600 ZMK: 50 GB and unlimited Facebook, Pinterest, Wikipedia, Twitter, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube, and Netflix
  • 900 ZMK: 100 GB and unlimited Facebook, Pinterest, Wikipedia, Twitter, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube, and Netflix

Other Ways to Stay Connected When Traveling in Zambia

So far, you have been informed about the SIM card options in Zambia. However, that is not the only way to be online in Zambia. 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 Zambia 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 Monaco Telecom, then you would be roaming with Monaco Telecom in Zambia.

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 Zambia, 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 Zambia, 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 Zambia

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 Zambia. 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 Zambia, you will find many hotspots.

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 Mobile Hotspot in Zambia

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 Travelwifi 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. 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.

Travelwifi banner
Skyroam banner

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 Zambia

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 Zambia. Not only that, some offer poor service as well for high rates. Some reputable companies I know are OneSimCard, SimOptions, Surfroam, BNESIM, and SimCorner.

Surfroam Banner
OneSimCard Banner

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 Zambia

Getting a SIM card from MTN or Airtel would do you well when considering a Zambian SIM card. Be sure to explore the roaming options your provider offers you, as they may offer free or cheap roaming bundles.

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You could also consider getting an international SIM card or using a portable hotspot. International SIM cards like OneSimCard, SimOptions, Surfroam, BNESIM, and SimCorner are attractive for those visiting multiple destinations at once or within a year. Portable hotspots like Skyroam, Vision Global Wireless, and Travelwifi will be useful when traveling with multiple people so that not each individual has to get a SIM card but can use the hotspot.

Going to other countries in East Africa and Southeast Africa? Check out my East Africa SIM card buying guide, covering other East African nations, such as Botswana, Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Eswatini (Swaziland) Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mayotte, Mozambique, Réunion, Rwanda, Seychelles, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.

What about other places in Africa? My Africa SIM card buying guide covers all African destinations, such as Algeria, Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Egypt, Ghana, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Sudan, and Tunisia.

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 Zambia

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 Zambia. If you are not ready to take off yet, set up flight alerts with Airfarewatchdog, and they will notify you once ticket prices to Zambia drop.

Book Your Accommodation for Zambia

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

Get Your Travel Insurance for Zambia

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 Zambia, 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 Zambian Kwacha 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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