Otherwise, you may find you cannot use your smartphone in South Africa. In this day and age, getting a South African mobile phone could be seen to be of equal importance to setting up utilities such as water and gas. To help you, international sim card provider Sim Options has put together this guide which explains everything you need to know about using a mobile phone in South Africa, including how to buy a South African SIM card , deals for cell phones in South Africa and which companies offer the cheapest mobile data in South Africa. Benefit from the lowest rates for internet data, calls and SMS during your next trip abroad.
They offer SIM Cards in all formats: normal, micro and nano sizes, as well as mobile phones and travel accessories so you can stay connected throughout your trip. The first step to getting set up with a South African SIM card or mobile phone is choosing a mobile phone operator. Coverage and reception are excellent countrywide, particularly in urban areas. If you do plan to venture from the beaten track, you may not be able to get a signal, but in general, connectivity is very good. The first one is with a company called B4I Travel which has deals with Vodacom.
There are several cell phone deals available all of which include international calls. This option enables you to receive a South African mobile number to give to friends and family before your travel. However, you will not get the SIM beforehand. You have to collect it from the airport upon arrival.
Getting a South African SIM card or mobile phone
Your other option is to rent a phone from the airport — also in a Vodacom or Cell C network. Rentals include day bundles on iPhone handsets for reasonable rates and are the better option if you do not intend to make international calls.
Mobile networks in South Africa typically offer free smartphones when you sign up to a contract. However, the majority of South Africans prefer prepaid SIM cards and take advantage of free messaging services to contact friends and family. In a survey to determine which mobile phone operators offer the best cell phone deals in South Africa, Cell C and Telkom Mobile came out on top whilst Vodacom — the biggest mobile network in South Africa — were among the worst providers.
As in other countries, mobile operators in South Africa offer airtime deals and data bundles on the prepaid SIM cards and contracts. Prepaid SIM cards have limited data usage, but for travellers that do not intend to use your mobile phone a great deal whilst in South Africa can benefit by using data usage often offered for free in hotels.
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If your phone is not compatible with a GSM network, you will need to buy a new handset once you arrive in the country. Cell phone prices in South Africa are pretty reasonable if you are happy to use a low-budget phone. If you are on an existing mobile phone contract, it is advisable to check with your mobile phone company about their unlocking policy. You can buy South African SIM cards from convenience stores, supermarkets, mobile phone shops or online directly from the mobile phone operator of your choice. You, therefore, have to provide a form of valid identification ID such as your passport or National ID card together with the address where you are staying in South Africa on a formal sheet of paper with the hotel logo.
If you are staying in private accommodation you will need your contract and if you are staying with a friend you will need an affidavit from the owner or tenant declaring that you are staying at the address on a temporary basis. These services may be a little more expensive but are still very affordable if you are only staying for a short visit and do not intend to use your mobile phone that much whilst in South Africa. Almost 90 percent of new business is pay-as-you-go.
Both airtime and data bundles are available and top-up cards are readily available from mobile shops, convenience stores, supermarkets and airports. One thing to watch out for with prepaid SIM cards is that your credits expire after 30 days of purchase whether you have used them all or not. Phone calls between mobile owners on the same network are generally cheaper. If you are a heavy internet user on your mobile phone, a mobile plan offering unlimited data is your best option. If you also purchase a mobile phone handset, the cost of the phone is included in your monthly payments.
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This is the best way to get the cheapest smartphones in South Africa. Mobile phone contracts in South Africa are limited to 24 months. It is also not unusual for mobile phone operators in South Africa to state somewhere in the contract that monthly charges may increase at any time. Although mobile phone rates are not increased very often, there is a good chance that at some point during your month term that mobile phone charges will go up and you suddenly find yourself paying an extra R20 or more a month on your mobile contract.
Unlike most countries, the tariffs on cell phone contracts in South Africa are more expensive than prepaid SIM cards. For the latest deals on cellphone contracts in South Africa, check out this comparison website.
Because RICA has such strict rules about purchasing South African SIM cards — particularly if you do not have a permanent address yet — the easiest option to get hooked up to a mobile operator in South Africa is to rent a handset. There are several mobile rental shops throughout the country. More Speed. More Storage. All Business.
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