Swaziland, officially and now renamed as the Kingdom of eSwatini; sometimes also called kaNgwane or eSwatini, is a sovereign state in Southern Africa, neighboured by Mozambique and the Republic of South Africa. It's a landlocked country of 17,000 km2 and 1.2 million inhabitants. Swaziland has now two mobile network providers:
- MTN Swaziland
- Swazi Mobile
Swaziland was one of the last countries in the world to abolish an almost complete monopoly in all sectors of its telecommunications market. Until 2011 the state-owned posts and telecommunications operator SPTC also acted as the industry regulator and had a stake in the country’s sole mobile network, in an uneasy partnership with South Africa’s MTN.
A new independent regulatory authority was established in 2013 and has since embarked on radical changes to the telecom sector. SPTC temporarily entered the mobile market independently, but was challenged about this by MTN in the courts and had to close down again. Now Swaziland has released a 2nd mobile license to locally owned Swazi Mobile which has started in 2017.
Note that very few operators actually offer international roaming in Swaziland. Not even all South African providers, but only MTN for a surcharge. As Swaziland is landlocked, the country depends on neighbouring countries for international fibre bandwidth. This means that access pricing was high for many years, though prices have fallen more recently in line with greater bandwidth availability resulting from several new submarine fibre-optic cable systems, that have reached the region.
From 2018 on all SIM cards need to be registered by law. Users face being de-activated if they fail to register their SIM cards by April 1, 2019.
The currency given in this article is lilangeni (plural: emalangeni, code SZL), the national currency of Swaziland. It's pegged 1:1 to the South African rand (ZAR).
MTN Swaziland Edit
Up to 2017 MTN Swaziland, also called MTN Swazi, was the only provider in the country. It has a quite good coverage up to 4G/LTE at rather high prices. That's why many local people complain about rates higher than in South Africa.
2G is up to EDGE on 900 MHz, 3G started in 2011 on 2100 MHz and 4G/LTE was added in 2014 on 1800 MHz (band 3).
Finding a SIM card in Swaziland is about the equivalent of looking for a taco in Mexico. They are sold in MTN stores (list) and everywhere for about SZL 10 without credit. Prepaid is called PayAsYouGo like in the UK.
So you need to top-up at the start. MTN vouchers can be bought from most major retail stores across the country in the form of scratch cards or till slips. Each voucher has a unique PIN code printed on it. In order to load the indicated amount of MTN airtime onto your phone, simply dial *141*<voucher PIN>#.
To check balance dial *556# or *557#.
Data feature packages Edit
Out-of-bundle rate is SZL 1.14 per MB. All of their bundles are valid for 30 days:
|2 MB||SZL 2.10|
|5 MB||SZL 4.99|
|10 MB||SZL 9.75|
|50 MB||SZL 39|
|75 MB||SZL 49|
|150 MB||SZL 89|
|300 MB||SZL 149|
|500 MB||SZL 229|
|1.5 GB||SZL 399|
|2.5 GB||SZL 699|
|3.5 GB||SZL 849|
|5 GB||SZL 1149|
|7 GB||SZL 1499|
|10 GB||SZL 1999|
For activation dial *686*1# and select your bundle. There are two other ways:
- MTN DataShare: allows you to share data bundles with another MTN customer. To do so, dial *565*<bundle size>*<number>#. You can share up to 30 MB per day.
- Me2UData: allows you to buy internet bundles for another MTN customer. To do so, dial *567*<number>*<bundle size># and a message will be sent notifying that he or she has received a bundle from you.
International roaming Edit
MTN has introduced "Roam like Home" in South Africa, Uganda, Zambia, Rwanda (all on MTN), Lesotho and Zimbabwe (Econet) and Botswana (Mascom). To activate, dial *170# and choose option 1. Data is charged at SZL 2 per MB using these networks.
More infomation Edit
- APN: mymtn.co.sz
- Website: http://www.mtn.co.sz
Swazi Mobile Edit
Newly licensed operator Swazi Mobile broke the monopoly of MTN in the country when it launched on 28/7/2017. It shares tower infrastructure with incumbent MTN Swaziland. The operator has disclosed plans to invest SZL 600 million (US$ 44.8 million) in its network over the course of the next 5 years.
The newcomer is headed by local tycoon Victor Gamedze and was awarded a concession in December 2016, fending off competition from locally-owned SDnet and international providers Viettel and Orange.
The network is now live in Mbabane, Ezulwini, Matsapha, Manzini and 24 other towns (see list). Their service is to cover 80% of the population by Oct 2017. All sites have 4G/3G/2G voice and data services. Other population centres will be covered by Dec 2017.
The SIM cards, which are in high demand, are now officially available. They each sell at E 50 and come with already loaded airtime.
Vouchers for top-ups are sold in their stores and on the streets. To top-up enter *200*<voucher PIN>#. Check balance by *202#.
Data options Edit
Standard data rate is SZL 0.80 per MB. These packages are sold: