Telecom Egypt’s TE Data (LINK) is the main provider of wired and wireless internet connections in Egypt.
In order to arrange to have an internet connection installed in your home or flat, contact TE and arrange an appointment for the installation of a connection of the desired capacity. Do not expect this to occur immediately, and do not be surprised to find that installation requires multiple appointments. The time it takes for a connection to be installed can range from several days to several weeks. Make sure to have your passport to hand when doing so.
Egypt’s mobile phone operators offer USB modems that allow you to access the internet from anywhere, so long as you are within the provider’s mobile service area. They are available on both a pre-paid and monthly plan basis, and billing is generally done according to the amount of data sent. You may credit a few hundred megabytes or several gigabytes to your account, for example, and then pay again when you run out.
Conversely, you can sign up for an “unlimited plan” that will give you several gigabytes of data per month at high speed, and then drastically reduce your connection speed (while still providing you with access) if you go over that limit.
The chief advantages of a USB modem are a generally fast connection speed and internet access anywhere you can take a laptop. USB modems are less-than-ideal if you have multiple, frequent internet users under the same roof, however. Because it must be physically plugged into the computer’s USB port, a USB modem can only provide access to one user at a time.
You can purchase a USB modem from any of the mobile providers. Enter your store of choice and a salesperson will walk you through the process. As usual, have your passport with you in case someone requests to see it during the transaction.
Egyptian Internet cafes
There are internet cafes in major cities such as Cairo and Alexandria. These generally offer about an hour of internet access for LE10 (about USD2).
Internet cafes are excellent options for cheap access in a jam, or to kill time while travelling. They are less-than-ideal as a long-term source of internet access, however, as privacy is limited and your information is not necessarily secure. It is not a particularly good idea to access your bank account from a crowded internet café if you can at all avoid it.
Up-scale coffee shop chains such as Costa Coffee and the Coffee Bean also offer wireless access than can be purchased by the hour. It is more expensive than a traditional internet café but these coffee shops are generally cleaner and they offer the added bonus of readily-available coffee, smoothies and snacks. This can be a good option for a lazy couple of hours sending emails or doing a little work away from the office.
If you find yourself in downtown Cairo, the Pottery Cafe off Tahrir Square (near the old American University campus) offers fast, free internet access as well as a pleasant, air-conditioned environment and an extensive food and drink menu. The football-themed cafe Goal in Zamelek also offers free wireless internet access, and at blistering speeds to boot.