boy this one is going to be quick. SO EASY.
as you enter the baggage claim area at Tunis Airport (ok, officially Tunis-Carthage International Airport), you are greeted by a pop-up Orange booth where they literally hand out SIM cards “as a gift”. OK yes, that sounds sketch, but so far it’s real. you hand them your passport and they take a picture of it with the SIM card (which originally had a sticker with the IMEI number and what not on it, which is why there’s residue above).
the card isn’t activated yet — you have to go outside to the Orange store in the arrivals hall to do that. (there are other stores out there as well, Ooredoo and Tunisie Telecom. i would assume prices are similar.) before i handed over my passport to the camera guy (they use a pretty cool digital camera setup) i asked them how much data costs — 10 dinars for 1 GB. that’s about $5!
once i got to the Orange booth, i handed them my card and phone (by the way, everyone spoke great English, but for getting around Tunisia it’s super handy if you know French — thanks mom for making me take it as a kid!). the lady popped out the SIM, cut it down to nano size, and activated my account with some credit for local calls (i added another 10 dinars, although that was probably too much since i only need to call my Airbnb host, but oh well).
total cost: 20 dinars ($10.36 says my pending credit card transactions list). total time spent getting SIM card: 3 minutes. total time until activation: immediate. forms to fill out: 0.
i’ve gotten pretty good 3G speeds so far around town, although at one point my phone stopped loading twitter images. a restart fixed that.