MTN is one of the leading telecommunications providers in Nigeria, offering cell phone and data services to millions of customers across the country. As a tourist visiting Nigeria, getting connected with an MTN SIM cards or eSIM allows you to stay in touch affordably and explore freely with strong nationwide coverage.


I. Quick Facts about MTN

  • Founded: MTN Nigeria commenced operations in 2001
  • Company Name: MTN Nigeria Communications Limited
  • Services Provided: 2G, 3G, and 4G/LTE cell phone and mobile data, SMS, Mobile Money services, Roaming for international travelers, Corporate data solutions
  • Number of Subscribers: Over 68 million customers (November 2023)
  • Coverage: Over 90% population coverage across Nigeria, Over 15,000 network coverage in 1683 towns and cities
  • Network Access Points: Over 100,000 2G base stations, Over 30,000 3G base stations, Over 12,000 4G base stations

II. Why MTN When You’re Exploring Nigeria – Coverage and Speed

1. MTN Network Coverage in Nigeria

MTN Network Coverage in Nigeria
MTN Network Coverage in Nigeria. Source

MTN ranks as the leading network in Nigeria in terms of coverage and general availability. The operator focuses coverage across all 36 states and the capital region to ensure service availability nationwide.

Key coverage stats:

  • 2G: Covers 98% of over 1000 towns and cities
  • 3G: 90% of Nigeria's population
  • 4G: Over 1683 towns and cities served

MTN’s widespread coverage becomes important when visiting remote, rural or less developed parts of Nigeria where connectivity can still be limited. As such, the operator serves as the network-of-choice to stay conveniently connected during cross country trips or rural village visits.

2. MTN Speed

MTN Speed

In addition to coverage depth, MTN also offers some of the fastest data speeds in the country based on real-world analysis of mobile metrics.

Average download speeds on MTN (Q2 2022):

  • 4G/LTE services: 33.61 Mbps
  • 3G service: 9.10 Mbps Latency rates when browsing, streaming or accessing online apps and sites also remain fairly minimal on MTNs modern network infrastructure resulting in a smoother overall mobile internet experience.

III. MTN Connectivity Options for Travelers to Nigeria

MTN Connectivity Option Pros Cons
MTN SIM Card - Local phone number - Cheap calls within Nigeri - Ability to receive calls/texts - Requires paperwork/identification - Need compatible phone
MTN Internet Starter Bundle - Mobile data for browsing/messaging - Can use WhatsApp/ email - Limited data allowance - Expensive for heavy usage
MTN Global SIM Card - Works internationally - No paperwork needed - More expensive calls/texts than local SIM
MTN WiFi On-the-Go Bundle - Internet access anywhere - No changing SIM cards - Limited daily data cap - Can't make/receive calls

In summary: Each option has pros and cons in terms of features, flexibility, documentation requirements, pricing and suitability for different travel needs. Reviewing this table can help travelers quickly weigh the advantages and disadvantages of different connectivity solutions on MTN's network in Nigeria.

IV. Best MTN SIM Cards for Tourists & Cost

MTN’s prepaid SIM card options provide the best means for short term visitors to control spending based on individual needs. Available card types include:

Plan Price (USD) Validity Data Voice Minutes SMS
MTN FreeMe 1 $0.50 30 days 100MB + 100MB bonus data 100 minutes any network 100 SMS
MTN Flexi 500 $1.70 30 days 500MB + 500MB bonus data 500 minutes any network 500 SMS
MTN Mega 1GB $5 30 days 1GB + 1GB bonus data 1000 minutes any network 1000 SMS
MTN Mega 3GB $12 30 days 3GB + 3GB bonus data 3000 minutes any network 3000 SMS
MTN Mega 6GB $21 30 days 6GB + 6GB bonus data 6000 minutes any network 6000 SMS
MTN Mega 12GB $37 30 days 12GB + 12GB bonus data 12000 minutes any network 12000 SMS

Compared to alternatives from other Nigerian providers. MTN generally offers better rates and incentives for foreign visitors who require both domestic voice/text allowances as well as mobile data during their trip.

V. Does MTN Support eSIM in Nigeria?

Yes, MTN launched eSIM support in October 2021 for compatible iOS and Android devices in Nigeria.

To activate an eSIM profile:

  1. Verify your device supports cellular eSIM activation
  2. Purchase an eSIM voucher from select MTN stores
  3. Scan voucher barcode to install the MTN eSIM profile and number

With eSIM enabled on your device, you can use MTN’s network without needing to insert a physical SIM card.

If you’re looking for an alternative to using the MTN network, by GIGAGO also offers some very convenient eSIM options to consider. has a variety of affordable eSIM plans for Nigeria.

Plan that may interest you

Nigeria eSIM 7 Days Plan
Nigeria eSIM 7 Days Plan
From $9.50
Nigeria eSIM 15 Days Plan
Nigeria eSIM 15 Days Plan
From $17.50
Nigeria eSIM 30 Days Plan
Nigeria eSIM 30 Days Plan
From $24.50

VI. Where can You Buy an MTN SIM card and eSIM?

Both MTN SIM cards and eSIM vouchers are available widely across Nigeria from official stores, dealers and retail partners.

1. Where to Buy MTN SIM cards in Nigeria

  • MTN Service Stores/Centres (over 100 branches nationwide)
  • Approved MTN dealers inside major malls and airports
  • Select individual MTN SIM retail agents

When purchasing your tourist SIM, remember to carry your passport as ID verification is required during new activations.

Buy MTN SIM cards in Nigeria
Buy MTN SIM cards in Nigeria. Source

2. Where to Buy MTN eSIM in Nigeria

At launch, eSIM vouchers are sold through MTN’s Service Centres located in state capitals and major towns including Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt.

Note: Verify MTN eSIM availability at a particular store online or via call support before visiting. Bring along original passport or valid Nigerian ID when buying an MTN eSIM voucher.

VII. How to Activate MTN SIM cards/eSIM in Nigeria?

Activating a new MTN SIM cards or eSIM profile is designed to be hassle-free for visitors with just a few steps for self-service setup.

1. How to Use MTN SIM Cards in Nigeria

To start using your MTN SIM cards:

  1. Insert SIM and turn on device
  2. Select preferred language
  3. Accept Terms & Conditions
  4. Enter personal details for verification
  5. Set-up phone security for self-care access
  6. Restart device

After reboot, your MTN cell number is active for calling, texting and mobile data in Nigeria.

2. How to Activate MTN eSIM

Activating an eSIM voucher involves scanning the digital barcode:

  1. Purchase eSIM voucher from MTN store
  2. Open your phone’s camera and scan voucher barcode
  3. Accept eSIM Terms & Conditions
  4. Enter your device verification code
  5. Profile installs automatically
  6. Restart your phone
  7. Enjoy MTN’s connectivity via eSIM

VIII. MTN Call & SMS Rates

VIII. MTN Call & SMS Rates

MTN Call Plan Call Rates (MTN) Call Rates (Other Networks) SMS Rates (Local) SMS Rates (International)
Pulse $0.002/sec $0.003/sec $0.008/SMS $0.03/SMS
BetaTalk $0.008/sec $0.008/sec $0.008/SMS $0.03/SMS
XtraValue $0.002/sec $0.002/sec $0.008/SMS $0.03/SMS
TruTalk+ $0.002/sec $0.002/sec $0.008/SMS $0.03/SMS
SuperSaver Plus $0.002/sec $0.002/sec $0.008/SMS $0.03/SMS

The table shows that while call rates within MTN networks vary between plans, SMS rates are consistent across key MTN plans at $0.008 per local SMS and $0.03 per international SMS. Pulse and TruTalk+ offer the most affordable call rates to other networks at $0.003/sec and $0.002/sec respectively.

IX. Useful USSD Codes for MTN SIM/eSIM

USSD codes provide a quick way to self-manage your MTN SIM cards or eSIM profile.

Key USSD functions include:

  • *136# – Check SIM status
  • *555# – Check airtime balance
  • *556# – Get account/data bundle info
  • *139# – Transfer/share credit
  • *131# – Activate data plans and bundles

X. How to Top-up MTN SIM/eSIM

You can add talk-time credit or extend data allowances using various recharge options:

Airtime Top-Up

  • Recharge cards available across ~100,000 agents
  • Self-service via MyMTN app
  • Direct top-up from debit/credit card

Data Bundles

  • Purchase via MyMTN app
  • Dial *131# and select bundle amount
  • Visit MTN store and recharge in-person

Upon payment confirmation, talk-time or data balance is instantly added to your MTN SIM or eSIM account.

XI. Alternatives to MTN

1. Other Main Local Mobile Operators

While MTN makes for a smart choice for cell phone connectivity in Nigeria, alternatives operators worth considering for tourists include:

  • Glo – Offers cheaper data packs
  • Airtel – Solid coverage and LTE speeds

However none match MTN’s balance of nationwide presence, reliability and availability of tourist SIM card plans.

2. Buy an eSIM from eSIM provider like

A more convenient option is to buy an eSIM plan from, which is Nigeria’s leading eSIM provider powered by GIGAGO. They offer affordable data packages on reliable networks without any contracts or deposits. After purchasing a plan, you will receive an activation QR code via email, which you can scan on your device to connect instantly to GIGAGO’s high-speed network.

These providers can serve as alternatives if you need more specific roaming capabilities or have issues getting data service from certain carriers in certain regions of Nigeria during your visit.

GiGaGo Partner & Enjoy your Benefit

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XII. FAQs about MTN

Does MTN offer WiFi hotspot devices for tourists?

Yes. You can hire 4G MiFi units or wireless routers on a weekly or monthly basis from MTN service centres to create a portable WiFi zone when travelling.

Where can I find MTN’s latest roaming rates?

Check for the newest international roaming rates by country and network partnerships. Discounted bundles available.

What MTN stores accept international credit/debit cards?

Selected MTN stores catering to corporate clients and travelling foreigners accept Visa and Mastercard payments for SIM packs, eSIM vouchers and device rentals. Verify ahead by contacting MTN call support.

Can I reuse my MTN SIM or eSIM on a future Nigeria visit?

Prepaid SIM cards or eSIM profiles remain active for up to 90 days from last recharge. To resume usage after the validity period, you may incur a small admin fee at MTN centres to reactivate the old number.

Final Words

An MTN SIM card or eSIM makes exploring Nigeria more enjoyable with readily available connectivity across cities and rural destinations. Both tourists and corporate travellers can activate and recharge MTN services conveniently during short term visits.