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How to Keep your MTN, Glo, Airtel or 9Mobile Number When you Travel Abroad 2024

By Oluchukwu Ikemefuna

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How to keep your MTN SIM number active when travelling abroad is a crucial concern for Nigerian travellers venturing beyond the borders in 2024.

Not just MTN, but also other network providers in Nigeria like Airtel, GLO, and 9Mobile. 

Traveling abroad is always an exciting adventure, but it can come with its fair share of challenges, especially when it comes to staying connected.

As the lifeline to communication and essential services, maintaining connectivity through your trusted SIM cards becomes important while travelling to international destinations.

Whether it’s for keeping in touch with loved ones back home, or for managing important financial and business matters, maintaining your Nigerian mobile number is crucial.  

In this article, we’ll be reviewing the following questions: how to keep your MTN Sim number, how to keep your GLO Sim number , how to keep your Airtel Sim number and how to keep your 9Mobile Sim number. 

Also, we’ll be seeing different effective strategies and practical tips to ensure your SIM remains active and accessible throughout your travels abroad, empowering you to stay connected effortlessly.

How to keep your MTN SIM Number.

You can keep your MTN SIM number by using the MTN KMN service.

The KMN (Keep My Number) service from MTN is a unique offering that caters to the needs of customers who might be travelling or taking an extended break from using their mobile phone, and don’t want to lose their number in the process. 

It is not uncommon for people to spend time away from their regular phone usage due to various reasons, such as travel, work, or personal commitments.

This service ensures that their MTN number remains active and reserved for a certain period, as per their choice.

Here’s a step-by-step process for how the service works:

  • Duration and Cost:

The KMN service is available for 1, 2, or 3 years. Each subscription option comes at a different cost: ₦‎511 for 1 year, ₦‎819 for 2 years, and ₦‎1228 for 3 years. Customers can choose the duration that best suits their needs and budget.

  • Activation:

To activate the service, customers need to recharge their MTN line with the appropriate amount based on their desired duration.

  • Subscription Activation:

After recharging, customers can activate their preferred subscription by dialling the respective USSD code or sending an SMS. For example:

   – To subscribe for 1 year, dial *365*1# or send “KMN1” to 36500.

   – For 2 years, dial *365*2# or send “KMN2” to 36500.

   – For 3 years, dial *365*3# or send “KMN3” to 36500.

  • Confirmation:

Once the subscription is activated, the customer will receive a confirmation text from MTN. This message will include details about the expiration date of the reservation. It’s important to note that the reservation duration starts from the date of activation.

  • Expiration:

The number remains reserved for the chosen duration. After the reservation period ends, the number will no longer be reserved, and it may be allocated to another customer.

The KMN service offers several benefits to customers. It ensures that their number remains active and available for use even if they are not actively using it. This is particularly useful for individuals who travel frequently or for extended periods of time.

Additionally, it prevents the hassle of having to obtain a new number or losing contact with friends, family, and business associates due to a change in phone number.

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How to keep your 9Mobile Sim Number

To prevent the loss of your phone number when your SIM card remains inactive for up to 90 days, 9Mobile has introduced the Extended SIM Validity service.

By subscribing to this service for ₦500, you can extend the validity of your number for a year. This service is available to all 9Mobile prepaid and postpaid subscribers, including both new and existing users.

To activate the Extended SIM Validity service, follow these steps:

  • Recharge your 9Mobile line according to your needs.
  • Dial *539*1# from your 9Mobile line, or text “1” to 539 to subscribe.
  • To check your subscription status, dial *539#.

This service is designed to ensure that you can retain your phone number, even if your SIM card is not actively used for an extended period.

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How to keep your GLO Sim Number

Here’s how to keep your GLO SIM Number when you travel abroad: Globacom’s Keep My Number (KMN) Service, also known as the Glo ALWAYS ON plan, is a convenient service for customers who wish to retain their phone numbers even when they’re not actively using them, such as during travel or extended periods of inactivity.

To activate the KMN service, you simply need to dial *777# from your Globacom line and follow the prompts to activate the Glo ALWAYS ON plan. 

This plan essentially guarantees that your phone number will remain active and available for use, even if you don’t make or receive calls or messages for more than 90 days. This 90-day period is typically the standard deactivation tenure for unused numbers.

It’s important to note that this service does come with a one-time charge of N500 for 365 days. This means that once you’ve paid this fee, your number will remain active and available for use for a full year.

If you wish to retain the number for a longer period, you will need to renew the service after the 365-day period has expired.

Also, it’s important to ensure that your account is adequately funded at all times, as the service fee will be deducted from your account balance. If your account balance is insufficient to cover the cost of the service, your number may be deactivated.

By using the KMN service, Globacom customers can enjoy the convenience and peace of mind of knowing that their phone numbers will remain accessible, even during extended periods of inactivity.

This can be particularly beneficial for frequent travellers, individuals with multiple SIM cards, or those who simply want to ensure that their number remains available for use whenever they need it.

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How to keep your Airtel Number.

Here’s how to keep your Airtel SimNumber when you travel abroad: To keep your Airtel SIM number while travelling, you can use international roaming. This means when you travel to another country, you can still use your Airtel SIM and your regular number. 

This happens because different countries have networks that work together. This means you can use your SIM the same way you do at home and people can reach you at your regular number when you’re abroad.

For this to work, the two countries need to sign an agreement. Airtel Nigeria has such agreements with over 527 operators in more than 190 countries.

This makes it easier for you to stay connected with family, friends, and business contacts wherever you are.When you buy an Airtel international roaming pack, your Airtel SIM gets activated as soon as you land.

There are many prepaid and postpaid plans available, including short-term and long-term options. This means you can choose the best IR pack for your trip.

If you’re not already an Airtel customer but want to use their international roaming packs, you can switch to Airtel by porting your number. This means you keep your number but switch to Airtel’s network, giving you access to all their IR pack plans.

You can also port to Airtel if you’re using an eSIM card. Overall, choosing Airtel makes it easy to stay in touch with loved ones while you’re away from home.

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Close up of a man hands putting the sim card on the phone on a table

Sometime in 2020, there was a big fuss about a SIM card that belonged to someone else but was being used by the daughter of a well-known person in Nigeria.

This caused a lot of trouble, including getting the attention of the secret service and ending up in court. The court decided that the person using the SIM card without permission should pay a fine of N10 million.

Now, the interesting thing is, recycling SIM cards is actually legal in Nigeria. This means that if you don’t use your SIM card for some time, the phone company can sell it to someone else.

The director of public affairs for the Nigerian Communications Commission, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, even confirmed that a SIM card left unused for a year can be sold to a new user.

Knowing this, fraudsters have been targeting bank accounts linked to these recycled phone numbers. This has led to people losing money from their accounts because the new users get access to their financial information, like getting alerts for debit transactions.

To make sure you don’t lose your phone number, especially when you’re travelling outside Nigeria, the NCC has made it mandatory for phone companies to let people keep their numbers even when they’re away for a long time.

This is called the Keep My Number (KMN) service, and it’s already in place. The best part is, some networks let you keep your number for up to 3 years with this service!

Now, with the above simple steps you can keep your number when travelling out of Nigeria and not using your phone.


Can I receive SMS messages on my Nigerian mobile number while abroad?

Yes, you should be able to receive SMS messages on your Nigerian mobile number while abroad, but this may depend on your mobile provider’s roaming agreements and the country you’re visiting.

How Can i keep My MTN Sim Number active without using it while abroad?

MTN requires using the ‘Keep My Number’ service to retain your mobile number.
To subscribe for 1 year, dial *365*1# or send “KMN1” to 36500.
   – For 2 years, dial *365*2# or send “KMN2” to 36500.
   – For 3 years, dial *365*3# or send “KMN3” to 36500.

How Can i keep My Glo Sim Number active without using it while abroad?

Glo”ALWAYS ON” plan allows a year of inactivity.dial *777# from your Globacom line and follow the prompts to activate the Glo ALWAYS ON plan.

How Can i keep My Airtel Sim Number active without using it while abroad?

For Airtel, the International roaming pack services enables you to use your number while abroad.

How Can i keep My 9Mobile Sim Number active without using it while abroad?

Also 9Mobile’s deactivation time may vary but regular top-ups are recommended.Dial *539*1# from your 9Mobile line, or text “1” to 539 to subscribe.

What are the best ways to avoid high roaming charges?

-Use Wi-Fi calling or messaging apps:These options are often free when connected to Wi-Fi.
-Purchase a local SIM card:This can be cost-effective for frequent calls and data usage in your destination country.
-Contact your network provider:Discuss options like roaming packages or data add-ons that might be more affordable than standard roaming rates.

Can I activate any of these services while already abroad?

It depends on the specific service and your network provider. It’s best to contact them beforehand to confirm activation options.

What if I lose my phone while abroad?

Contact your network provider immediately to report it lost or stolen. They can help deactivate your SIM to prevent unauthorised use.

Are there any additional fees for using these services?

Some services may incur additional charges. Always check with your network provider for specific fees associated with each option.


Keeping your MTN, Airtel ,9Mobile or GLO SIM number active while travelling abroad in 2024 is not only a matter of convenience but also a necessity for staying connected and managing important matters back home. 

Whether you choose international roaming, local SIM cards, or WiFi calling and messaging apps, there are various options available to suit your needs and preferences.

However, it’s important to stay informed about the costs and limitations of each method and to monitor your usage to avoid unexpected charges.

By following the tips and methods outlined in this article, you can ensure a smooth and hassle-free experience while abroad, allowing you to focus on enjoying your travels. Safe travels and stay connected!


  • www.airtel.in – Stay Connected Abroad. Roam with Airtel
  • Individual network websites.
  • theexclusiveafrica.net – How to Retain Your Mtn, Glo, and 9MOBILE Phone Number When You Travel Abroad.


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Blessing Ukibe
Blessing Ukibe

Medical Student at Nnamdi Azikiwe University|Tech content expert at Silicon Africa Technology|Lover of fun books and fun fun ☺️

Articles: 148

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