Botswana has three mobile networks:
- Mascom Wireless
- Orange Botswana
- BTC mobile (be Mobile)
It has a fairly good coverage and speeds for African standards. 2G is mainly on 900 and some 1800 MHz, 3G/UMTS on 2100 MHz and 4G/LTE has started on 1800 MHz (band 3) with all 3 providers.
Wide areas of the country are not covered by the mobile network, in towns and villages you can expect some coverage. The map for the two main providers is improving each year, but when deciding whether to get a local SIM card, remember that there’s simply no mobile coverage across large parts of the country (including much of the Kalahari and Okavango Delta). That said, the main highway system is generally covered.
Since 2008 all SIM cards need to be registered. So be prepared to show a photo ID for purchase. Nano SIM cards may need to be cut to size if not available.
Beginning in 2017, strict registration laws have been set place. Data services, and outgoing calls and SMS will not take place without physically going to an Orange shop with an identification (e.g passport) and registering your SIM card though incoming calls and SMS work without registration.
Mascom Wireless Edit
Mascom Wireless, a private Botswanan mobile company controlled by Portugal Telecom is the market leader in the country. It has the best 3G coverage and in 2014 their 3G covered 70% of the population. In 2015 Mascom started with 4G/LTE in Gaborone.
Their prepaid SIM card is called 'Flexi Plan'. It is sold on the streets, but for registration you should better go to one of their shops (list). Top-up vouchers you can find everywhere in the country.
Data feature packages Edit
Default rate outside packages is P 1.05 per MB. They offer these data bundles:
- My Mix bundles (volume based):
- 10 MB for 1 day: P 2
- 30 MB for 1 day: P 5
- 150 MB for 2 days: P 20
- 500 MB for 14 days: P 69
- 1 GB for 30 days: P 129
- 2 GB for 30 days: P 199
- My Meg bundles (volume based):
- 14 MB for 14 days: P 9.50
- 30 MB for 14 days: P 19.50
- 70 MB for 30 days: P 45
- 130 MB for 30 days: P 80
- 250 MB for 45 days: P 150
- 500 MB for 60 days: P 300
- 1.2 GB for 60 days: P 600
- My Time bundles (time based, valid for 30 days):
- 1 hour: P 10
- 5 hours: P 50
- 10 hours: P 100
- Night bundle: unlimited data from midnight to 5am, per night: P 10
- MySocial bundle (application based - WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter - VoIP blocked- FUP of 200MB applies)
- 1 day, P 5
- 1 week, P 15
- 1 month, P 60
All bundles can be activated by *123# <call> and choosing the appropriate bundle. This is how to check data credit too.
More info Edit
- APN: internet.mascom
- Website: http://www.mascom.bw
Orange BotswanaEditOrange by French Télécom is the second operator in the country with a 27% market share. It has a lower coverage, but they were the first to start with 4G/LTE on 1800 MHz to be available in Gaborone and some other towns in 2015: 2G/3G/4G coverage map.
Their prepaid starter kit is sold for P 9.90 and including P5.00 cross-net and P5.00 on-net worth of airtime plus 10 domestic SMS. You can get it on the street or in their shops (list) for registration.
Top-ups can be made by scratch cards sold all over the country for P10, P20, P50 (+ 10% bonus) and P100 (+ 20% bonus). The bonus is only valid for 14 days but can be used to buy packages. To top-up type *155*<card PIN># <call>, check balance by *155#<call>
Data feature packsEdit
Data outside of bundles is P 0.95 per MB. These bundles are offered:
|10 MB||1 day||P 2|
|15 MB||15 days||P 9.50|
|30 MB||15 days||P 18|
|60 MB||1 day||P 10|
|75 MB||15 days||P 45|
|150 MB||2 days||P 20|
|150 MB||15 days||P 85|
|300 MB||15 days||P 170|
|550 MB||30 days||P 299|
|1 GB||14 days||P 79|
|2 GB||30 days||P 149|
|2 GB||60 days||P 399|
|5 GB||60 days||P 799|
|10 GB||60 days||P 1399|
All My Friends bundes for social media (WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Linkedin) are given out. VoIP calls are not blocked thorugh the bundle. A FUP of 200 MB per day applies:
- for 1 day: P 5
- for 1 week: P 20
- for 1 month: P 60
For all offers to activate, type *148# and choose the bundle.
- APN: internet.orange.co.bw
- Website: http://www.orange.co.bw
BTC Mobile Edit
BTC Mobile (rebranded from be Mobile) is the brand name of the state-owned Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC), that combines the operations of fixed line operator BTCL and wireless operator be Mobile. It's the third operator with 16% market share. 4G/LTE has started in 2016 in Gaborone, is rolled out in the country and it claims the best 4G coverage right now (coverage map).
Their prepaid starter set called SIM+ can be found in their shops (list) for P 10. It contains P 10 airtime, 10 MB data per month and 10 SMS per month both valid for 6 months.
Data feature packsEdit
Out of bundle rate is P 0.99 per MB. These bundles are offered:
|P 2||12 MB||1 day|
|P 5||30 MB||1 day|
|P 20||150 MB||2 days|
|P 65||500 MB||14 days|
|P 125||1 GB||30 days|
|P 190||2 GB||30 days|
For activation type code *180#. Bonus data stays always valid for 1 month.
- APN: internet.be
- Website: http://www.btclmobile.co.bw/