Mobile phones are the most used form of telecommunication in Libya with 201 percent penetration rate, as opposed to the fixed line that has only 19 percent penetration rate, and the Internet with less than 20 percent penetration rate.
Libya has 11,660,068 mobile phone subscribers with an average of 201 subscriptions per 100 people. It's very common to see people carrying two or more phones as the two main companies Libyana and Almadar have varying signal strength in different parts of the cities and also offer different services and rates. All companies provide PAYG (pay as you go) services, but proof of ID and other documentation are required to acquire a SIM card. In 2017 the mobile companies deactivated all foreigners’ mobile sim cards claiming that “it's a step intending to maintain national security” and demanding they show a valid visa and a photocopy of their passports.
Notably Libya has the lowest prices for mobile in the region. The LTT company introduced three new pay-as-you-go packages for the 4G subscribers, which are considered expensive as to subscribe to a 30 GB package it’s necessary to top up LYD (approx US$50), 20 GB come at LYD60 (approx US$40) and 10 GB at LYD35 (approx US$25). While these prices are expensive they are still much cheaper than the premium services provided by Almadar which charges LYD8 (approx US$5) for every 1 GB of data.
Libyana charges LYD0.05 (approx US$0.03) for SMS text messages with 70 Arabic characters, or 160 English characters to any network, and LYD0.25 to international numbers, while it charges calls at LYD0.06 per minute (approx US$0.04) on the same network and LYD0.09 (approx US$0.06) on other networks. International calls range from LYD0.70 (approx US$0.5) a minute to the UK and Saudi Arabia and LYD1 (approx US$0.65) a minute to Tunisia.
Almadar charges LYD0.05 (approx US$0.03) to send SMS messages to any network and LYD0.25 for international recipients, while it charges LYD0.06 (approx US0.04) for calls on the same network and LYD0.09 (approx US$0.06) a minute on other networks. International calls range from LYD0.20 (approx US$0.13) a minute to the UK, LYD0.5 (approx US$0.35$) a minute to Saudi Arabia and LYD1 (approx US$0.65) a minute to Tunisia.
Everyone has access to mobile phones. Yet ultra-conservative families view consider them as a taboo for young girls as they can be used for dating and talking to boys, which is frowned upon in conservative communities. Some of these girls own phones behind their families back.