Planning to Egypt? Consider to have reliable internet access for navigation, looking up information, and staying in touch with loved ones back home. This guide will provide an in-depth look at using Etisalat SIM cards plans as a tourist in Egypt.

Etisalat SIM Cards and eSIM

I. Quick Facts about Etisalat

Etisalat- On Top Mobile Operators in Egypt
Etisalat Egypt

Here are some key facts about Etisalat Egypt:

  • Founded: 2007
  • Services: 2G, 3G, 4G/LTE mobile networks, fixed broadband, IPTV, enterprise solutions
  • Subscribers: Over 28 million (2022 estimate)
  • Network coverage: 99% population coverage
  • Stores and outlets: Over 425 owned stores and franchise outlets
  • Customer support: 24/7 call center, online chat, social media support in English and Arabic
  • Awards: Fastest Mobile Network in Egypt (Ookla 2022), Best Telecom Service (World Communication Awards 2021)

Over the past 15 years, Etisalat Egypt has built a robust network across the country covering urban metropolises as well as rural villages. It provides prepaid and postpaid mobile plans as well as fixed home broadband services.

II. Etisalat Coverage and Speeds in Egypt

1. Etisalat coverage in Egypt

Etisalat- Coverage maps
Etisalat- Coverage maps. Source: nperf

Etisalat claims to cover 99% of Egypt’s population with its 4G/LTE network. Independent tests by agencies like have found Etisalat’s coverage and speeds to be excellent across Cairo, Alexandria, Luxor, Aswan, Hurghada and other major tourist destinations.

However, it shows weaker coverage in certain remote parts of the Sinai and Western deserts. As a tourist, you’re likely to get excellent coverage and speeds in major cities and tourist sites. But connectivity could be spotty in very remote areas.

2. Etisalat speed

Etisalat 4G Download Speed
Etisalat 4G Download Speed. Source: Opensignal

In terms of speeds, OpenSignal’s latest report found Etisalat’s average 4G download speed to be 22.3 Mbps.

So Etisalat generally provides fast, reliable mobile internet across Egypt’s tourist destinations and urban centers. But travelers going deep into the deserts may face occasional weak spots.

III. Connectivity Options for Travelers in Egypt

As a tourist visiting Egypt, you have a few options to get connected on Etisalat’s network:

Connectivity Options

Option Pros Cons
Prepaid SIM Card Easy to purchase at airports/shops Need to swap SIM cards
Risk of losing physical SIM
Pocket Wifi No SIM swapping needed Limited device compatibility
Instant activation Internet needed for setup
Roaming on home SIM Keep existing number High roaming rates
No need to purchase local SIM Potential for excess roaming charges

For most tourists, getting a local Etisalat SIM card is the best option for affordable rates and reliable coverage across Egypt. Let’s look at the top Etisalat prepaid plans for visitors.

IV. Best Etisalat SIM card Plans for Tourists

Here are the best Etisalat prepaid plans for tourists:

Plan Price Data Validity
Tourist SIM Basic 100 EGP (~$5) 1 GB 15 days
Tourist SIM Extra 150 EGP (~$8) 3 GB 30 days
Tourist SIM Max 250 EGP (~$13) 12 GB 90 days

The Tourist SIM Max plan provides an excellent 12GB data allowance valid for 90 days. This should cover most tourists’ data needs during their entire trip to Egypt.

V. Using eSIM on Etisalat Egypt

Yes, Etisalat Egypt provides eSIM service for postpaid customers as a digital SIM alternative on supported Apple and Samsung devices.

The benefits of eSIM include:

  • No need to swap physical SIM cards
  • Ability to digitally switch between plans
  • Run dual SIMs on single-SIM phones

Hopefully Etisalat Egypt will expand eSIM support for prepaid tourists in the future. For now, visitors will need to use the standard physical nano-SIM cards.

VI. Where To Buy an Etisalat SIM Card in Egypt

1. Upon Airport Arrival

  • Cairo International Airport – Etisalat desk in Arrivals area
  • Hurghada International Airport – Vodafone and Orange outlets in Arrivals hall
  • Luxor International Airport – No Etisalat outlet, buy from downtown stores

Bring a photocopy of your passport and ensure your phone is unlocked to use the SIM card.

Buy Etisalat SIM card at Airport kiosk
Buy Etisalat SIM card at Airport kiosk

2. Etisalat Company Stores

There are over 425 company-owned Etisalat stores located across Egypt. Stores can be found in all major cities including Cairo, Giza, Alexandria, Luxor, and Aswan.

Visit the Store Locator on Etisalat’s website to find a store near your hotel or destination.

Buy Egypt SIM Cards at Store
Etisalat Store

3. Authorized Dealers

Etisalat SIM cards are also available at authorized dealers across Egypt. Look for smaller Etisalat vendor shops and electronics stores selling vouchers and prepaid packs.

Buying directly from an official Etisalat store is recommended for guaranteed authenticity and better customer service.

VII. Activating and Using Etisalat SIM Card

0Activating and using an Etisalat SIM in Egypt is fairly simple:

  1. Insert the SIM into your unlocked phone’s SIM tray.
  2. Power on your device and wait for the SIM to be detected.
  3. Select Etisalat network if prompted to choose a carrier.
  4. The SIM is pre-activated with basic connectivity out of the box.
  5. Top-up your SIM via vouchers or mobile money to add data packs and calling credit.
  6. Set the APN as etisalat if you face connectivity issues.

Once configured, you can start using mobile data and make calls as per your plan’s benefits.

VIII. Etisalat Call & SMS Rates

Here are the standard voice call and SMS rates when using an Etisalat prepaid SIM:

Call & SMS Rates

Call/SMS Type Rate (USD)
Calls to Etisalat numbers (Local/National) $0.003/minute
Calls to other networks (Local/National) $0.006/minute
International calls $0.010-0.015/minute
Local SMS $0.005/SMS
National SMS $0.005/SMS
International SMS $0.015/SMS

*International call rates vary based on destination. Check with customer care.

IX. Useful USSD Codes for Etisalat Egypt

Here are some useful USSD codes to check your account balance and other details on Etisalat:

USSD Codes

USSD Code Description
*100# Check account balance
*111# Check voice balance
*121# Check SMS balance
1231# Check data bundle balance
1232# Activate data bundle
1233# Suspend data bundle
1234# Buy new data package
*555# Activate call forwarding
*335# Activate call barring
*135# Check account expiry date
*121# Call Etisalat hotline
*123# Check tariff plans
*199# Request PUK code

Dial these codes directly on your phone’s dial pad to check your Etisalat prepaid account status.

X. Top Up Your Etisalat SIM card

You can easily top-up or recharge your Etisalat prepaid SIM using vouchers and mobile money:

Via Vouchers

Buy top-up vouchers from Etisalat stores, dealers, and retail outlets across Egypt. Vouchers come in denominations from 10 EGP to 300 EGP.

To redeem, dial *135*Voucher Code# and press call. The voucher value will be added to your account.

Via Mobile Money

Log into your Etisalat My Account app → Payments → Mobile Recharge to make payments and top-up your SIM.

Alternatively, you can also recharge at Etisalat stores by paying cash.

XI. Alternatives to Etisalat Egypt

The other two major operators in Egypt are Orange and Vodafone. Both offer prepaid tourist SIM cards and widespread coverage.

However, if you refer eSIM than physical SIM card, consider to Egypt eSIM from GIGAGO. They provide a good options about data and plans for tourist to Egypt. Let’s take a look at their plans:

Egypt eSIM
Egypt eSIM


Does Etisalat offer eSIM for tourists?

No, currently Etisalat only provides physical SIM cards to prepaid users. eSIM support is limited to select postpaid plans only.

Can I use Etisalat SIM card in other countries?

No, Etisalat prepaid SIMs are only valid within Egypt. They cannot be used for roaming outside.

How can I check my data usage on Etisalat?

You can check your data usage by dialing *136# on your Etisalat SIM. This USSD code will show your remaining data balance.

Are there any activation charges for Etisalat SIM card?

`No, Etisalat prepaid SIM cards come pre-activated. You can start using them immediately after purchase without any activation fee.

How long is the Etisalat Tourist SIM MAX valid for?

The Tourist SIM MAX plan has a maximum validity of 90 days from the date of activation. It offers 12GB data over this period.

XIII. Final Words

With Etisalat’s widespread 4G LTE coverage, tourists can conveniently access maps, travel info, social media, messaging, and other online services throughout their stay in Egypt. Just be prepared for the occasional weak spot when visiting extremely remote areas. If your device is eSIM-compatible, Egypt eSIM is a digital solution for a hassle-free trip in Egypt.