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Top ten travel tips

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With Christmas and New Years only a few days away, South Africans are beginning to hit the beach and go on holiday. Tariffic offers the top ten travel tips to avoid cellphone bill shock.

  • Not all roaming networks are created equal
  • It is important for you to research which networks will be the cheapest to roam on when you are overseas and manually connect to the cheapest networks when you land. Roaming rates in some cases vary drastically depending on which network your phone automatically connects to upon arrival in a country overseas.  For example, if Tshepo, with an MTN SIM while roaming in the United States, connects to AT&T, she’ll pay a cool R1/MB for data roaming, but if she happens to connect to the T-Mobile network, she’ll pay a massive R225/MB for data roaming!
  • Don’t use data roaming unless you absolutely have to
  • While some countries have more favourable data roaming rates, others, like Thailand will cost you anywhere between R120.27/MB on Telkom to R300.00/MB on MTN. So a couple of Instagram sessions for Howard could easily cost a few thousand rand!   It is best to rather turn off data roaming when its not 100% necessary and rather connect to WiFi networks where available.
  • Save money by buying a local SIM card when you land
  • Try buy a local prepaid SIM card when you land which will be much more affordable when making local calls and using local data while overseas.  It may be worth considering a dual SIM phone if you travel often so that you can still receive calls on your South African number but can make calls and use data with a local SIM.
  • Try not to make local calls with your South African SIM card
  • Some networks have fairly competitive rates for local calls while overseas, such as Cell C’s R1.87/min rate in the United States, but it is often very expensive to make a local call with your South African SIM card with calls in Thailand for example costing R15/min on MTN. Rather try connect to a local WiFi hotspot and make free calls using Skype, Whatsapp, or Facebook calling.
  • Beware of answering incoming calls
  • Answering calls from South Africa can become a very costly exercise while you’re traveling with rates as high as R27.64/min to receive a call in England if you’re on Cell C.  Rather notify your friends, family, and colleagues that you’ll be away and ask them to rather SMS or Whatsapp you.
  • Turn off voicemail when travelling abroad
  • Did you know that if you’re overseas and someone calls your phone and leaves a voicemail message, then you’ll pay for that call?  This becomes really expensive when you consider that you’ll pay international calling rates for that call, so if Chris is on Telkom and receives a one minute long voicemail message while he’s in Mauritius, it could cost him R14.23.
  • Save money with roaming deals
  • Many of the networks now offer roaming deals, which give you access to cheaper roaming rates in certain countries, for free or for a daily fee.  Examples of this include Vodacom’s Travel Saver and MTN’s Roam Like Home.
  • Rather receive a call from South Africa than call South Africa from overseas
  • Want to speak to loved ones in SA while you’re overseas?  It often works out much cheaper to receive a call from overseas than it is to call from overseas to South Africa.  For example, it could cost you R23.50/min to call South Africa from America on Vodacom, but will only cost R6/min to receive a call from South Africa.
  • Rather use WhatsApp on WiFi than SMS
  • SMS rates vary from country to country with MTN’s rates ranging from R1/SMS (if you’re in the US), to R7.50 (if you’re in Thailand), so a quick convo between Howard and his bae can add up pretty quickly.  Just think that a few emoticons could land up easily costing him over R100! Rather use Whatsapp than SMS.
  • Find the perfect cell phone contract based on your travels
  • If you consider yourself a global jetsetter, then get in touch with Tariffic where we can analyse how you use your phone to scientifically find the perfect cell phone package for you based on your lifestyle.  This will include the best package to make international calls based on your previous usage.  We’re saving companies and consumers up to 50% on their cell phone bills, so let us do the same for you.

Arts and Entertainment

Deezer to host Hotstix’s Mandela tribute playlist

Deezer is celebrating Nelson Mandela on the centenary of his birthday by hosting a tribute playlist created by music legend Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse.  

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Mabuse, a legendary figure in African music, first rose to prominence in the 1970s with his band Harari and later developed a name for himself as a solo artist. One of his best known songs was the global hit BurnOut in the 1980s.

The playlist takes the listener on a captivating musical journey through the life of Nelson Mandela.  It was compiled by Mabuse, who consulted with Mandela’s family and friends to ensure that the music would be relevant and accurate. The playlist also features commentary by Mabuse, which was recorded in his Soweto home.  

“I have tried to tell the story of the music that Madiba loved,” says Mabuse. “The Playlist excludes the time in prison obviously, as Madiba would not have had exposure to music in that time.  We have focused on the music we know he loved before and after that period. This recording was really an emotional journey for me, but an incredible opportunity to document these memories.”

The playlist features the music the young Mandela loved, such as The Manhattan Brothers, Solomon Linda, Brenda Fassie and Miriam Makeba.  It includes struggle songs from Chicco, Johnny Clegg, Hugh Masekela and Yvonne Chaka Chaka.  The playlist also includes Mandela by Zahara, one of the younger artists who caught Madiba’s ear.

Mabuse also offers stories of his own songs, such as Shikisha, a song greatly beloved by the former President.

“I was delighted to share my thoughts and hope the listeners enjoyed the musical journey,” says Mabuse. “Madiba did enjoy music immensely and we all have a purpose wherever we are in the world to celebrate culture and to learn from different cultures and music forms and styles.”

This playlist was inspired by the Nelson Mandela 100 campaign, calling on corporates and individuals to act as sources of inspiration and engage in conversation and action.

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Sports streaming takes off

Live streaming of sports is coming of age as a mainstream method of viewing big games, as the latest FIFA World Cup figures from the UK show. Africa isn’t yet at the same level when it comes to the adoption of sports streaming, but usage is clearly moving in the right direction.

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England’s World Cup quarter-final against Sweden was watched by just under 20 million viewers in the UK via BBC One. While this traditional broadcast audience was huge, it was streaming that broke records: the game was the BBC’s most popular online-viewed live programme ever, with 3.8 million views. In Africa, the absolute numbers are lower but the trend towards streaming major sports events on the continent is also well under way.

According to DStv, live streaming of sports dominates the usage figures for its live and recorded TV streaming app, DStv Now. The number of people using the app in June was five times higher than a year ago, with concurrent views peaking during major football and rugby games.

Since the start of the World Cup, average weekday usage of DStv Now is up 60%. The absolute peak in concurrent usage for one event was reached on 26 June, during the Nigeria vs Argentina game. The app’s biggest ever test was on 16 June with both Springbok Rugby and World Cup Football under way at the same time, resulting in concurrent in-app views seven times higher than the peaks seen in June last year.

The World Cup has also been a major reason for new users to download and try out the app. First-time app user volumes have tripled on Android and doubled on iOS since the start of the tournament.

“While we expected live sports streaming to take off, it’s also been pleasing to see that the app is really popular for watching shows on Catch Up,” says MultiChoice South Africa Chief Operating Officer Mark Rayner. “Interestingly, some of the most popular Catch Up shows are local, with Isibaya, Binnelanders, The Queen and The River all getting a significant number of views.”

With respect to app usage, the web and Android apps are the most popular way to watch DStv Now, with Android outpacing iOS by a factor of 2:1.

“We’re continuing to develop DStv Now, with 4k streaming in testing and smart TV and Apple TV apps on their way shortly,” says Rayner. “The other key priority for us is working with the telcos to deliver mobile data propositions that make watching online painless and worry-free for our customers.”

The DStv Now app is free to all 10 million DStv customers in Africa. The app streams DStv live channels as well as supplying an extended Catch Up library. Two separate streams can be watched on different devices simultaneously, and content can also be downloaded to smartphones and tablets. The content available on the app varies according to the DStv package subscribed to.

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