Mobile telephone use is high which is no surprise seeing as landlines are notoriously unreliable. This makes it a “must bring along” item. However, there are cheap handset which can be purchased locally.
Tip: Providers like Orange and Africell offer cheap handsets that you can purchase in country if you do not want to bring your regular phone or just want to keep it on for roaming purposes.
There are currently 4 mobile phone operators in Sierra Leone: Orange, Africell, Sierratel and QCell. They offer GSM services, which work on a prepaid basis. Prepaid cards can be purchased throughout the city and in many provincial towns. In addition to prepaid, some companies offer post-paid service (contracts), but it is unlikely you can set this up if you will only be in country for a short period. SIM cards can also be purchased for use with your own mobile phone on arrival at the airport and it is advisable that you do this as they usually have some free minutes which you can use immediately to make any calls.
Remember, it is a good idea to:
Once you have the appropriate phone, you can either purchase a local sim card (recommended) or activate International Roaming.
Make sure that your phone is unlocked. If you have a contract line with your phone provider in your home country it may be locked which means that you cannot simply insert another sim card of a competitor. Some phones can be unlocked in Sierra Leone, but it may be cheaper and more reliable to have it unlocked by your provider and tested before you leave.
Insert the local sim card into your phone and you should be good to go.
You will receive a local number which you can use to call and send texts home. Sometimes, international texting is a bit hit and miss with the networks. If you have the time, check with the operator about sending and receiving international text messages. Otherwise, Orange has proven to be more reliable in this regard.
Sierra Leone mobile phone prefix:
+232 73 – Orange
+232 75 – Orange
+232 76 – Orange
+232 78 – Orange
+232 79 – Orange
+232 30 – Africell
+232 33 – Africell
+232 77 – Africell
+232 88 – Africell
+232 25 – Sierratel
+232 31 – QCell
The Sierra Leone International Dial Code for land lines is 00232 22 and 00232 25
The network service that allows you to use your home country’s mobile telephone abroad is called international roaming. Use the following tips to be well prepared.
Please note: Not all foreign networks will roam in Sierra Leone. Please check with your provider in your home country about roaming in Sierra Leone and charges.