There are three mobile operators in Burkina Faso:
- Telmob (by ONATEL)
- Orange Burkina Faso (by France Télécom)
- Telecel Faso (2G-only)
Only 1 out of 3 inhabitants has a mobile phone, and Telmob and Orange are fighting to be largest operator in the country, both having 2G and 3G available, no 4G/LTE yet. Telmob on top also has a CDMA network for "fixed lines" for which no prepaid scheme exists. Telecel is the smallest provider and being only on 2G, they can't be recommended for data user or travellers so far.
Mobile phone coverage for voice in the country is excellent and cheap, but data speeds can be slow and 3G is still limited to major towns. As coverage varies on the countryside and cross-network rates are more expensive, many locals have 2 or 3 SIM cards. When buying a SIM card bring a valid ID document for registration as from 2012 registration is mandatory. Scratch cards for top-ups are sold by hawkers on every street corner.
In 2016 the telecom regulators of Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea, Mali and Senegal later added by Togo signed an agreement to abolish roaming charges between these countries. This regulation only is about voice calls and doesn't include data, hence it's still advisable to buy a local prepaid SIM for data.
Telmob (by Onatel) EditTelmob is the mobile telephony branch of partially state-owned ONATEL, but for 51% owned by Maroc-Telecom. For "fixed" lines they broadcast on 2000 MHz CDMA for which no prepaid packages are available and hence not mentioned further. The GSM signals are broadcast in the 900 MHz band for 2G and 2100 MHz for 3G. It's the market leader in the country with 44% customer share.
SIM cards are available in Telmob and in ONATEL shops for 500 CFA.
Recharge cards are called Nanan and available in the denominations between 200 and 50,000 CFA, and depending on the recharge value, they add 60, 90, 120, or 180 days validity to the account. There is another grace period of 180 days where only calls can be received and recharges can be made before the account will be terminated.
To recharge by voucher enter *100*<voucher code>#. To check balance use *100#.
Data feature packages Edit
Forfaits Connect Edit
Forfaits Connect are packages for Facebook and WhatsApp only permitting the user 1 day access to social media with a FUP of 100 MB per day, after that the speed will be throttled to 128 kbps. Each package costs 300 CFA and can be activated by *146*2# for Facebook and *146*3# for WhatsApp.
Libertis Packages Edit
Libertis packages are combo packs of domestic calls, 200 SMS and data valid for 30 days. These packages are only worth it if you plan on having many domestic calls as well.
|60 mins||500 MB||4200 CFA||*146*11#|
|300 mins||1 GB||21000 CFA||*146*55#|
|600 mins||1 GB||42000 CFA||*146*1010#|
Data only packages Edit
The data packages shown below are all valid for one month.
|5 MB||200 CFA||*146*5#|
|10 MB||250 CFA||*146*10#|
|20 MB||400 CFA||*146*20#|
|50 MB||1000 CFA||*146*50#|
|100 MB||1500 CFA||*146*100#|
|500 MB||3000 CFA||*146*500#|
|1 GB||5000 CFA||*146*1000#|
|2 GB||7000 CFA||*146*2000#|
|3 GB||8500 CFA||*146*3000#|
|5 GB||10000 CFA||*146*5000#|
To check remaining data allowance use *146#.
Orange Burkina Faso (formerly Airtel) Edit
Orange, formerly Airtel Burkina, is broadcasting 2G on 900 MHz and 3G on 2100 MHz bands with good coverage in the country (coverage map). The company has been acquired by France Télécom in 2016 from Bharti Airtel, and rebranded it to Orange in 2017. It's the second provider with 37% of all customers, but with more data users.
SIM Sons'yam is the name of the prepaid offer and costs 250 CFA and includes 300 CFA credit. As initial bonus, you get 300% extra credit for the first recharge valid for 30 days as well as 10 MB of data. The SIM cards are available from their shops and from their resellers.
Recharge vouchers (called SapSap) exist in the denominations of 200, 500, 1.000, 2.000, 5.000 and 10.000 CFA, are valid for 90 days and are also sold in gas stations, telecom shops and supermarkets. To recharge you use *130*<voucher code>#. Via *160# you can check the remaining balance.
Data feature packagesEdit
The base rate for data is 50 CFA per MB. Data while roaming in neighboring countries costs 281 CFA per MB. These bundles are sold for Burkina Faso:
|5 MB||100 CFA||1 day|
|20 MB||225 CFA||2 days|
|100 MB||525 CFA||2 days|
|500 MB||1025 CFA||2 days|
|5 MB||200 CFA||7 days|
|10 MB||250 CFA||7 days|
|30 MB||500 CFA||7 days|
|65 MB||1000 CFA||15 days|
|100 MB||1500 CFA||30 days|
|150 MB||2000 CFA||30 days|
|400 MB||2025 CFA||30 days|
|1 GB||5000 CFA||30 days|
|2 GB||7000 CFA||30 days|
|5 GB||10000 CFA||30 days|
|10 GB||19000 CFA||60 days|
|20 GB||30000 CFA||90 days|
|30 GB||54000 CFA||6 months|
|60 GB||100000 CFA||1 year|
To activate data packages enter *103*<price># in which <price> is the cost of the package in CFA in numbers only.
Additionally Orange offers data packages available for use between midnight and 5am valid for that one night only. These can be activated with *506*<price># in which the <price> is the cost of the package in numbers:
- 500 MB: 500 CFA
- 1 GB: 1000 CFA
- APN: internet
- Website in French: orange.bf
Telecel Faso Edit
Telecel Faso is member of the Telecel group owned by Planor Afrique active in many West-African countries. They broadcast on 900 MHz band with 2G/GPRS and EDGE only. Since 2015 they talk about 3G in the capital, but haven't started yet. That's why they can't be recommended for data use. They are the smallest provider with only 19% share.
SIM cards are sold in their stores and outlets.
Recharge vouchers are called "mangos" and available in values from 500 to 20,000 CFA. Depending on the voucher used, the validity of the account will be extended by 30 to 120 days. To consult the remaining balance type *110#.
Data feature packagesEdit
Data packages are available for a day, a week or a month (= 31 days) by texting 'navitel' to matching number. These packages are for GPRS/EDGE speed.
- for 1 day: 300 CFA, activation: text to 160
- for 1 week: 2000 CFA, activation: text to 161
- for 1 month: 7000 CFA, activation: text to 162
- APN: wap.telecelfaso.bf
- Username: wap
- Password: miep
- Proxy: 172.18.3.65
- Port: 8080 or 9201
- Website in French: telecelfaso.bf