Can you use your Nigerian number abroad? As an international traveller, it will interest you to know that you can keep using your Nigerian mobile number anywhere outside the country. You don’t have to exchange your local SIM card for a foreign SIM and mobile number. This is the whole concept of ‘roaming’. You can roam your mobile number when traveling out of Nigeria, and still retain that mobile number.
It used to be a tedious process getting activated to roam and use your Nigerian number abroad when traveling out of the country, regardless of the mobile network you use. Thankfully, this has changed a lot and it is much easier to do now.
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What is Roaming?
‘Roaming’ or “international roaming” is a telecommunication service, built on an agreement between two countries that comply with the global GSM standards. The global GSM standards require that telecom networks using the GSM technology must be compatible with one another.
The ctia.org website defines roaming in a more simplified and direct way as follows:
“Roaming lets you talk, text and go online when you’re outside of your wireless (telecom) provider’s coverage area. With roaming, your data can travel on the network of another (telecom) provider to give you the wireless connectivity you want.”
So a Globacom or Airtel subscriber from Nigeria can communicate globally using his/her original phone number, through roaming. This is because the Nigerian subscriber can connect to a foreign telecom network, and use it due to GSM compatibility. There may be additional costs because of this, but you stay connected to both your local network and the foreign network. And you do not lose your SIM number due to inactivity.
The Nigerian Telecommunication Commission (NCC) stipulates that a phone number that has remained inactive or dormant for up to a year can be recycled. Thus, the phone number is withdrawn and sold to another subscriber using a different SIM. To prevent this from happening, you can choose to roam your mobile number when traveling out of Nigeria.
An additional advantage of roaming is that your number will not fall into criminal hands due to recycling, as stated above. There have been reported cases of scammers who connect to the bank accounts of the previous owner of a recycled SIM card. And they steal such money without a trace.
To use your Nigerian number abroad when traveling out of Nigeria is quite easy. Here are the details for each of the mobile networks.
How to use your Nigerian number abroad
9mobile Prepaid Roaming
9mobile has requires no activation or processing for you to be able to use your prepaid Nigerian number abroad. Just get in the plane and go, and use your Nigerian number abroad wherever you go.
Do note that international roaming rates are higher than the local tariffs you have been comfortable with. 9mobile also lets you receive incoming calls for free on 10 select networks while roaming if you load a minimum of ₦5,000 monthly.
The MTN TravelPass plan is a subscription-based roaming plan which offers unlimited calls, SMS, and 1GB of data to be used across 40+ countries and destinations. With unlimited calling and texting, you can use your MTN Nigerian number abroad while travelling, as you would at home in Nigeria.
There are three different TravelPass plans to pick from.
To activate roaming on your MTN line via a TravelPass subscription, dial Dial *312*6# and complete the process. You can do this while still in Nigeria before travelling or even after you have arrived in your destination country.
Glo’s prepaid romaing service allows you use your Glo number while abroad. In addition, the company offers data roaming bundles for travellers.
To get started, dial the old *777# or the newer *312# on your phone. Select the data roaming plan of your choice, subscribe, and you are good to go.
You can subscribe to a Glo data roaming plan before you travel out or even after you are already away on your trip.
Airtel Voice and Data Roaming
Airtel has international roaming agreements with each of over 927 mobile network providers across 190 countries. So when you are in a foreign country, you need to check manually on your phone and connect to a mobile network compatible with your Airtel SIM card.
To activate the service, perform the following:
- Open the Settings app on your phone.
- Select Network & Internet > Mobile Networks > Network > Choose (manual) Network.
- Allow the phone to scan for available networks. They will be displayed in a short while.
- Choose the preferred network.
Take note that the cost of the Airtel roaming service is decided by the foreign network you choose to connect to. Rates depend on the mobile network provider and what they offer for text, data, and call services. You can check for these international roaming fees for the Airtel network by clicking THIS LINK.