Malawi Internet Packages & Data Plan of 2024

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A Complete Guide to Travellers SIM Cards in Malawi

When traveling to Malawi, staying connected with the world is crucial for safety, navigation, and keeping in touch with loved ones. Acquiring a local SIM card can be the most economical and efficient way to have mobile service during your visit. This guide provides comprehensive information on the options available for travelers seeking SIM cards in Malawi.

1. Know the Mobile Operators in Malawi
Malawi has three main mobile operators:

  • Airtel Malawi: The leading provider with extensive coverage, offering various data packages.
  • TNM (Telekom Networks Malawi): The first and oldest telecom company in Malawi, with a considerable user base.
  • Access: A smaller operator focusing mainly on internet services.

2. Consider Network Coverage
Before purchasing a SIM card, it’s essential to consider the network coverage of the operators, especially if you’ll be traveling to remote areas:

  • Airtel and TNM have the broadest network coverage, covering most areas, including rural ones.
  • Access has more limited coverage and is better suited for urban areas.

3. Legal Requirements
To buy a SIM card in Malawi, you must comply with the legal requirements that include:

  • Presenting a valid passport for registration.
  • Having a SIM card registered in your name before it can be activated.

4. Where to Buy
SIM cards can be purchased at:

  • The airport upon arrival.
  • Branded shops or authorized resellers in cities and towns.
  • Convenient stores or roadside vendors, although official outlets are recommended for reliable registration.

5. Cost and Top-Up
The cost of SIM cards and top-up options:

  • SIM cards are relatively inexpensive, often around MWK 500 – MWK 1,000.
  • Top-up vouchers or airtime are widely available in varying denominations from MWK 100 upwards.
  • Electronic top-up through mobile money is also an option if you have set up a mobile money account.

6. Data Packages and Prices
Both Airtel and TNM offer various data packages:

  • Daily, weekly, and monthly bundles are available.
  • Data prices can range anywhere from MWK 250 for 20MB to MWK 20,000 for 10GB.
  • Packages are usually activated by USSD codes or via the operator’s mobile app.

7. International Calling and Roaming
If you plan to make international calls or use your SIM card outside Malawi:

  • Check the international calling rates which can be higher.
  • Roaming services are available but may incur hefty charges; always verify with the operator.

8. Mobile Internet and Hotspots
Depending on your data needs:

  • You can purchase dedicated internet SIM cards for hotspot devices.
  • Alternatively, use your smartphone as a hotspot with your regular SIM card and data plan.

9. Customer Support
In case you encounter issues:

  • Customer service centers are located in major towns.
  • You can also call helplines, typically available in English and local languages.

10. Consider a Dual-SIM Handset
If you must be available on your regular number, carrying a dual-SIM handset can be beneficial:

  • Use one slot for your Malawian SIM and the other for your home country’s SIM.
  • This allows you to enjoy local rates while still being reachable internationally.

Here is a summary table for quick reference:

FeatureAirtel MalawiTNMAccess
Network CoverageExtensiveExtensiveLimited (Urban)
Cost of SIM CardMWK 500 – MWK 1,000MWK 500 – MWK 1,000MWK 500 – MWK 1,000
Data Bundle PricesMWK 250 – MWK 20,000MWK 250 – MWK 20,000Varies
International CallingAvailableAvailableAvailable
Customer SupportGoodGoodLimited

Airtel Data Packages

15 MB1 dayK 100*301*100#
30 MBK 150*301*101#
175 MBK 500*301*128#
1 GBK 1800*301*129#
50 MB7 daysK 300*301*110#
150 MBK 600*301*130#
300 MBK 1000*301*131#
1 GBK 2500*301*111#
1.2 GB30 daysK 3500*301*120#
2 GBK 5000*301*121#
3.5 GBK 7000*301*132#
6 GBK 10,500*301*123#
10 GBK 15,500*301*124#
15 GBK 19,000*301*125#
40 GBK 40,000*301*126#

TNM Data Packages

15 MB1 dayK 100*200*7#
30 MB1 dayK 150*200*9#
1 GB1 dayK 1800*200*5#
140 MB7 daysK 1200*200*44#
1 GB7 daysK 2500*200*55#
100 MB15 daysK 680*200*10#
600 MB31 daysK 3000*200*444#
1 GB31 daysK 4800*200*12#
2 GB31 daysK 7000*200*13#
4 GB31 daysK 10 500*200*14#
10 GB31 daysK 23 000*200*16#
20 GB31 daysK 40 000*200*17#


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