It’s said that the biggest fear one has it that of public peaking. For me, my biggest fear is not having cellular service, and not being able to connect while on the go.

So, how does one connect while in Ethiopia

Some quick tips to staying connected while on the go:
Telephone The country code for calling Ethiopia is 251. The Ethiopian dialing plan changed on September 17, 2005, such that the two-digit city code changed to three digits (or, from outside the country, one to two digits) and six-digit telephone numbers changed to seven digits. The city code for Addis Ababa, as of 17 Sep 2005, is 011 (or 11 from outside Ethiopia).

An on-line telephone number converter, which will convert an old number to the new number, is available here: . Mobile Ethiopia uses GSM (as in Europe/Africa), operated by Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation (ETC) and limited 3G. Currently there are decent coverage around big cities such as Addis Ababa, Dire Dawa, Adama, Bahir Dar, Awasa, Harar, Dese, Gonder, Mekele, and Nekemete. It is expanding into small cities. For all travelers, having a mobile phone is a must. It is cheap and easily available.

There are only few stores rent SIM cards: you can rent SIM card and phone inside Addis Ababa Sheraton hotel but is it very expensive. Your best option is to a rent SIM card and mobile phone from a local store. You can also buy a SIM card from many local stores (try anywhere that sells phones). You will have to give the seller a copy of your passport ID page, 2 passport style pictures, and 40 birr (as of 20/03/2010). You’ll have to sign an agreement that you will not commit any crimes with your phone.

mobile phones photo

Photo by believekevin

All local stores will have calling cards you can purchase to call internationally. Other places to rent SIM cards or phones include ArifMobile which offers additional services with their SIMs. Roaming charges are very steep. For a short visit, your best option for mobile access is to rent a SIM card with a phone . While roaming arrangements are said to be in place in practice you may find it impossible to get a connection that works reliably, or at all.

Other tips on staying connected while in Ethiopia? Please add your comments and tips.