How and where to buy a SIM card in Tunisia
The problem of connection with the motherland for tourists in Tunisia is very acute, the prices for calls and the Internet in roaming are very high, as we discussed in detail in the article " How to call from Tunisia cheaply ."
The cheapest way to communicate with family and friends at home is to buy a local SIM card in Tunisia. In this article we will tell you in detail how to do this, which Tunisian operator to choose, how much communication services cost and how to replenish the account.
Three operators - which one to choose?
In Tunisia, there are three major telecom operators (large by Tunisian standards): Tunisia Telecom, Ooredoo Tunisia and Orange Tunisia.
Tunisia Telecom is a local operator. Ooredoo Tunisia is the "daughter" of Ooredoo company from Qatar (formerly called Qtel). Orange Tunisia is the daughter of the largest French telecommunications company Orange SA.
For the price of calls and Internet traffic, there is not much difference between the three operators. For example, a call to Russia for all costs 0.540 Tunisian dinars.
As of 2016, Ooredoo is the leader, 5.9 million subscribers, followed by Tunisia Telecom with 4.94 million and Orange third with 3.7 million. These are figures from Instance Nationale des Telecommunications (the regulator of the telecommunications market in Tunisia).
Ooredoo is not only the leader in terms of subscriber numbers. They were the first to launch a 4G network in Tunis in late 2015, they have the best coverage. Ooredoo takes a very active position in the market - it holds promotions, actively advertises its services, introduces new tariffs, options, discounts. Shields with their ads are found constantly, in the photo below, click on the photo to enlarge.
Of the 20 tourists in Tunisia who buy SIM cards, 19 choose Ooredoo. The fact is that their SIM card is easier to buy. Ooredoo sellers work at airports, train stations, shopping malls and other places where there are large flows of people. Ooredoo's small offices are often found, where you can buy a SIM or consult about services and discounts.
Orange and Tunisia Telecom, on the contrary, behave extremely passively. In this situation, Ooredoo has every chance to ruin competitors in 5-6 years. It is for the reason of availability that we will talk about Ooredoo SIM-cards in this article.
SIM cost and purchase features
SIM-card Ooredoo costs 3 Tunisian dinars. On the account at the same time there will be 0. That is, to the SIM-card it is necessary to buy several cards of replenishment of the account. About these cards and other ways of replenishing the account, we'll talk at the end of this article. Note that 3 dinars is the price in 2017. Probably, the price will decrease or SIM-cards will be issued free of charge.
To buy a SIM card you need a passport! We pay special attention to this, as all hotel guides advise not to take a passport with you outside the hotel and dispense exclusively with the hotel voucher. The SIM card will not be sold on the hotel voucher, you need a passport.
The cards are sold in NANO-SIM format complete with micro and mini adapters . That is, such a SIM-card will fit any mobile phone, smartphone or tablet. See the photo on the right, click on the photo to enlarge.
Important advice! Immediately after the purchase, do not depart from the seller, insert the SIM-card into the phone, replenish the balance and dial the Russian number. If the hooters do not go, then contact the seller with the claims, let him set up international calls.
Cost of calls and Internet
- Cost of a minute of conversation - 0,540 Tunisian dinar;
- The cost of SMS to Russia is 0.150 dinars;
- Internet with FLEXI rate - 1 dinar per day, includes 250 megabytes of traffic;
- Internet with a FLEXI MINI rate - 0,500 dinars per day, including 125 megabytes of traffic;
The current rate of the Tunisian currency can be found in our article " Tunisian Dinar ".
How to call and dialing rules
To call or send SMS, dial the phone in the international format: +7, then without spaces CODE, then without spaces. NUMBER. For example: +74959528833 or +79168716715.
Internet connection is more difficult, mobile Internet on new Ooredoo SIM-cards is disabled by default, you need to choose a tariff and options. This is described in detail in the article " Mobile Internet in Tunisia ".
The quality of communication with conventional calls from Ooredoo to Russia can be characterized by the word "acceptable". Many tourists notice that for the first 3-5 seconds of conversation there is no communication at all, subscribers do not hear each other, then communication is being adjusted. SMS messages reach almost instantly.
The quality of the mobile Internet is good, much better than any WiFi in the hotel. With Ooredoo mobile Internet you can watch YouTube, Facebook pages are downloading normally, VKontakte, Odnoklassniki.
As for calls via Skype, WhatsApp or Viber, how lucky. It happens that the connection is good. It happens that nothing is heard, or the signal comes with a big delay.
Option 1 - buy a SIM from the hotel guide
The first option to buy a SIM - is to contact your hotel guide (in case you came to Tunisia package tour). Of course, in this case, you have to overpay, because hotel guides earn on tourists. However, they earn a little, the guides have a SIM-card costs 5 dinars.
Option 2 - buy at the airport
Many tourists want to buy SIM immediately at the airport to call their relatives and say that they have successfully flown.
Some SIM vendors take dollars and euro from tourists, although this is against the law. It is always easier to go to the airport exchange office and change at least $ 5 for Tunisian dinars. With this money you buy a SIM and one prepaid card for 5 dinars. On the exchange of money read our article " Currency exchange in Tunisia ."
Option 3 - in any city with any Ooredoo seller
Look for mini-offices or Ooredoo trays in crowded places: in large stores and shopping centers, at train stations, in public squares. The points of sale are easily identified by the Ooredoo logo, see the photo on the right, click on the photo to enlarge.
How and where to refill the account
Prepaid cards are the most affordable and popular way of replenishing a mobile phone account in Tunisia. For the tourist these cards are most convenient. There are no payment terminals, like QIWI or Eleksnet, in Tunisia.
Prepaid cards are sold everywhere - in supermarkets, grocery stores, souvenir shops. It even happens that cards are sold in cafes, restaurants and fast food.
Theoretically, cards are on 5, 10, 25, 50 dinars. In fact, everywhere only cards with a face value of 5 dinars are sold, see the photo below, click on the photo to enlarge.
A card for 5 dinar accounts is always worth 5 dinars. If you sell more, then try to earn more on the client.
You can replenish your credit card account at www.ooredoo.tn, but for tourists it is very inconvenient. Firstly, the site is only in French, there is no version in English, especially in Russian. Secondly, with the Russian credit card the money is converted at a very unprofitable rate. Thirdly, if there are problems with payment, they will be very difficult to solve, because Ooredoo support works only in Arabic and French.
Attention! We strongly do not recommend trying to replenish the account through any Internet services, which are now dozens on the Internet. Great chances to become a victim of scammers. About other dangers read our article " What not to do to tourists in Tunisia ."
Instruction - how to replenish an account with a card
Erase the metal strip, you will see a code of 15 digits (in the photo below, click on the photo to enlarge). On the phone dial * 101 * CODE #, see the inscription "Succes recharge".
Balance check - * 100 #.
Option - favorite number
You can make international calls even cheaper. To do this, Ooredoo has the option "Appels sans frontieres", translated from the French "Calls Without Borders".
The option price is 1,500 dinars a week. Extension of the option after a week of work is automatic. The price of an international call to a certain number is reduced by 30%. You can connect up to three of these numbers.
To connect, dial * 125 #, select "ajouter" in the menu, then enter the Russian number in the international format "+ 7 .......". From this moment 1.5 dinars will be written off from the account, and the call to this number will cost 0.378 dinars per minute. This becomes profitable already in the 10th minute of the conversation with the selected subscriber.
To manage services, Ooredoo has an app for iOS and Android, but this application is only available in French. If you know French, use it, it is very convenient.
A good connection in Tunisia, and read other interesting and useful for tourists articles about this country on our website ( links below ).
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