Egypt is the biggest mobile phone market in Africa and has 3, probably soon 4 network providers:
- Vodafone Egypt
- Orange (formerly: Mobinil)
- [Telecom Egypt (soon to be established)]
All three existing providers have a similar footprint and 2G and 3G in the populated areas. Orange, once called Mobinil used to be market leader, but lost this position in recent years to Vodafone. Etisalat is the newest arrival, but almost on par in coverage now. So speed and coverage depend heavily on your local position to the closest antenna.
- 2G is on 900 MHz (and 1800 Mhz on Etisalat only), 3G up to HSPA+ speed on 2100 MHz.
In 2016 landline operator Telecom Egypt became the first operator to acquire a 4G/LTE concession. It will start with trials by the end of the year. Reportedly, it'll offer 2G and 3G services via other carriers’ networks. That will most likely be Vodafone of which it owns a 43% share. The other providers also received licenses for 4G/LTE.
For 4G/LTE trials started in 2016 on the rather unusual 900 MHz and 2100 MHz bands. These same bands are used for 2G and 3G too what has affected the 2G/3G service. So as of 2017 there is no official 4G/LTE yet.
For buying a prepaid SIM card, you have to visit one of the shops of the providers, show your passport and give them a local address (like your hotel address).
VoIP block Edit
In 2015 operators confirmed reports that the national regulator NTRA had blocked VoIP services on all mobile networks, although this was denied by the regulator. It's technically prohibited to make international calls from mobile networks under Article 72 of the Telecommunications Law, which forbids the “by-passing [of] international telephone calls by any means whatsoever.”
The blocking of VoIP makes international calls from Egypt very expensive. For now, all mobile operators, but not all landline/ADSL providers block VoIP. That's why there might be still a chance to use it on a WiFi, or elsewhere through a VPN tunnel.
Stamp Tax Edit
The Egyptian Stamp Tax is a tax collected for the Egyptian Tax Authority by the providers. It's set at EGP 6.10 annually and imposed on every subscriber. From 2012 every mobile user has to pay this tax. It's divided by 12 months and EGP 0.51 charged monthly on every local prepaid account too.
Vodafone Egypt EditVodafone Egypt, half owned by Telecom Egypt, has become the biggest provider in Egypt with a 44% share of the market. It overtook Mobinil (now branded Orange) in 2011 and offers a good coverage at pretty high rates. For 4G/LTE Vodafone only acquired spectrum on the rather unusual 2100 MHz frequency and is about to start.
Voice and data planEdit
Vodafone in Egypt has a broad variety of different voice prepaid SIM cards called el-kart with various start-up prices, validities and voice and text rates. They are called Worry free, 14 Piasters, Maret 10 pt and per Second. Sales price is LE 20-25 with some credits. Not all brands may be on offer in every store (locator). No data is included in any starter pack, so for data it doesn't matter which plan to choose. A Stamp Tax of LE 0.51 per month applies to every plan
You can top-up by scratch cards sold in 7,000 outlets throughout the country or using a credit card online on your profile.
Tourist SIM Edit
Tourists may prefer their "Holiday SIM" which is sold for fixed LE 20 including LE 5 credit pre-loaded in their stores. They have a validity of 40 days. Top-ups don't prolong this, you have to buy a pricey validity extension. Data is by default at LE 1 per MB on the tourist SIM. You can add the same packages as below. This plan is only recommended when you buy packages and stay for less than 40 days.
Data feature packsEdit
Default rate outside of bundles is LE 0.25 per MB on most local SIM cards. Vodafone offers the following monthly data packages as add-ons to all of their prepaid lines:
|LE 0.75||10 MB||1 hour||*2000*01#|
|LE 1.50||30 MB||3 hours||*2000*03#|
|LE 2.50||60 MB||6 hours||*2000*06#|
|LE 2||50 MB||7 days||*2000*72#|
|LE 3||100 MB||*2000*73#|
|LE 7||350 MB||*2000*77#|
|LE 5||150 MB||30 days||*2000*5#|
|LE 10||400 MB||*2000*10#|
|LE 25||1.25 GB||*2000*25#|
|LE 60||3.5 GB||*2000*60#|
|LE 100||7 GB||*2000*100#|
|LE 150||12 GB||*2000*150#|
|LE 250||20 GB||*2000*200#|
Activation is online or by calling *2000#. After consuming the bundle quota, your internet access will be blocked. To add more data on monthly bunfles, you can choose between the different add-ons or paying the default rate.
- LE 5: 150 MB, activation: *2000*105#
- LE 20: 1 GB, activation: *2000*1020#
- LE 10: no cut-off, but throttled to 32 kbps
For activation dial *2000# or logon your account.
More information Edit
- APN: internet.vodafone.net
- Password and Username: internet
- Vodafone Egypt website in English: http://www.vodafone.com.eg/vodafoneportalWeb/en/myWorld_mainPage
Orange (formerly: Mobinil) Edit
Orange used to be the biggest mobile provider in Egypt when it was called Mobinil. In 2016 they were rebranded to the Orange label. All stores and products are now called Orange. They compete with Vodafone, but are at no.2 position with 33% of customers and a good coverage in the country. LTE is scheduled to start in 2017 on 900 and 2100 MHz and is already marketed.
Their prepaid card is sold in their stores (Store locator) for up to EGP 30. If you don't top-up within a month, your SIM will be terminated and you lose your credit. They have different prepaid lines: "per second" is without a base rate, 'Netwawy' has 50 MB per day included for EGP 1.50 or 400 MB per week for EGP 7. A Stamp Tax of LE 0.51 per month applies to every plan.
Data feature packsEdit
All customers are on “Pay as you consume” by default. You will be granted 12 MB for EGP 1.5/ day; after which you will be charged around EGP 0.50-0.25 per MB depending on plan.
|Online 1||24 hrs||25 MB||EGP 1|
|150 MB||EGP 5|
|Online 10||400 MB||400 MB||EGP 10|
|Online 25||1.25 GB||1.25 GB||EGP 25|
|Online 50||3 GB||3 GB||EGP 50|
|Online 75||5 GB||5 GB||EGP 75|
|Online 100||7 GB||7 GB||EGP 100|
|Online 150||12 GB||12 GB||EGP 150|
|Online 250||20 GB||14 GB||EGP 250|
|Online 400||40 GB||14 GB||EGP 400|
|Online 150||1 year||500 MB/mo.||EGP 150|
After finishing the inclusive data of your package, you can choose what happens next:
- renew your package with the same price and same data volume
- purchase a package extension of 1.25 GB for EGP 25, 3 GB for EGP 50, 7 GB for EGP 100 or 15 GB for EGP 200 (each add-ons only available for original pack sizes equal or above).
- continue on the pay as you consume charging EGP 0.25-0.50/MB .
You can unsubscribe from any online package by following the same subscription steps, choose "unsubscribe" instead of "subscribe". You can change between different packages at any time by unsubscribing from the current package and subscribing to the new preferred package and the new package will be added instantly. Orange WiFi is available at these locations: list.
For an extra EGP 10 you can transform a current internet package to "unlimited". After you finish your package inclusive volume, you will still get data at a reduced speed of 64 kbps without extra cost. Activation is made online.
They offer a daily Social Media package with Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Instagram, Libon and Snapchat included only at EGP 1.
For EGP 5, you can get an additional 500 MB on top of your current package for social media. Upon finishing the extra 500 MBs, you will still be able to continue using social networks at a reduced speed of 64 Kbps with no extra cost even if you finished your main package. Activation is online or by #777#.
- APN: mobinilweb
- new Orange website in English
Etisalat EditEtisalat is the smallest of the three providers with a market share of 22%. It gives good coverage in some places, but has gaps and slow speeds in others. They combine their own hotspots in their products. You can call *233 for the nearest hotspots. Etisalat is said to have the lowest coverage, but are the only provider that publishes a 2G/3G coverage map. LTE is about to be launched in 2017 on 900 and 2100 MHz.
Etisalat has a variety of prepaid cards and start up packages. The starter pack is LE 20 with LE 10 credit preloaded in their stores (store locator). Their prepaid tariff lines are called Ahlan that come in different varieties. They are sold in their stores (locator) together with recharge cards. A Stamp Tax of LE 0.51 per month applies to every plan.
Data feature packages Edit
The default data rate is at LE 0.50 per MB on all of their prepaid products. These weekly or monthly packs can be booked on the SIM:
|Connect 5||150 MB||-||30 days||LE 5||*566*5#|
|Connect 7||350 MB||7 days||LE 7||*566*7#|
|Connect 10||400 MB||500 MB||30 days||LE 10||*566*10#|
|Connect 25||1.25 GB||1.5 GB||30 days||LE 25||*566*25#|
|Connect 50||3 GB||4 GB||30 days||LE 50||*566*50#|
|Connect 100||7 GB||7 GB||30 days||LE 100||*566*100#|
|Connect 150||12 GB||7 GB||30 days||LE 150||*566*150#|
Overuse is charged with LE 0.15 per MB. To subscribe call *566# for free. All packages auto-renew, if there is enough credit. To unsubscribe type *566# too. WiFi on Etisalad hotspots only, dial *223# to find the neares hotspot. For overuse you can buy the same package again or an add-on for the same price or surf at the default rate.
For social media they sell a Super Social Unlimited package at LE 15 with 1 GB for Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Snapchat & Instagram and 100 MB for other websites. Activation by *566*15#.
Their data-only plan is called Mongez Prepaid and for tablets, routers and modems. The following bundles are available:
|LE 25||1.25 GB||0.5 GB||1 month||131|
|LE 50||3 GB||1.5 GB||3 months||132|
|LE 100||7 GB||4 GB||3 months||133|
|LE 150||12 GB||4 GB||3 months||134|
|LE 250||25 GB||7 GB||3 months||137|
Activation is by *130# or texting '1' to the number in the table. WiFi volume applies only to Etisalat hotspots. Dial *223# to find the nearest hotspot. Bundles will renew automatically in case of sufficient balance. To inquire about your usage and renewal date send an empty SMS to 555 or dial *130# for free. In case of full bundle consumption; you will have the choice to renew your bundle, purchase an extra add-on or be charged per LE 0.25 per MB.
- APN: etisalat
- Website in English: http://www.etisalat.eg