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Free incoming calls, SMS, for MTN in SE Africa

Prepaid and postpaid MTN customers now no longer have to pay incoming SMS and call chargers while traveling in the South and East Africa region.

MTN South Africa has eliminated charges for incoming calls and SMS for both postpaid and prepaid customers travelling in the South and East Africa (SEA) region.

‚We realise our customers sometimes do not want to roam or even receive incoming calls due to the costs associated with doing so. Now, with free incoming calls on offer, MTN is empowering its customers to roam with ease,‚ says Serame Taukobong, Chief Marketing Officer at MTN South Africa.

Historically, roaming charges have presented pricing challenges, with customers accumulating exorbitant monthly bills due to a lack of knowledge about pricing structures and varying tariffs per country.

The MTN customer experience is now world-class since all roaming prepaid customers will be able to top-up their prepaid phones with locally purchased airtime cards, which can be bought at any of MTN’s points of sale in the above countries and topped up by simply dialling *222*Voucher-PIN#. For prepaid & top-up customers, the roaming service is automatically activated when crossing into any one of the MTN networks, with no prior registration required or sign-up fee charged. Postpaid customers need to apply to their service providers for international roaming and a deposit may be required depending on the service provider.

‚We are offering our customers another seamless way of maintaining their mobile lifestyles and encourage them to keep their phones switched on while out of the country. This will ensure they remain constantly in touch with their businesses and close contacts,‚ he says.

Calls to the SEA region countries (Botswana, Rwanda, Uganda, Swaziland and Zambia) are charged at only R5 per minute and SMSs to anywhere cost only R1.50. Calls within the country being visited are charged at R3 per minute. Data roaming in the SEA region is only available to MTN contract customers, charged at 25c per 25KB in the region.

‚This proves that roaming in countries outside of South Africa can be a cost-effective experience on the MTN world-class network when equipped with the correct voice and data tariff fees. MTN is working tirelessly in exploring the best possible way of extending a similar data offer to its prepaid customers,‚ Taukobong adds.

Six tips to save on roaming costs

There are several ways to save money while roaming that customers are not always aware of. To prevent frustration and bill shock upon returning to South Africa, MTN advises its customers to use the tips below:

Use SMS roaming ONLY while away. Simply dial *111*14# to activate SMS roaming. Once activated, all voice and data capabilities on your phone will be switched off and you will only be able to send and receive SMS while roaming.iMail (not currently available to MTN PAYG and TopUp customers)

Customers can go to, register on the website for MTN iMail and log in at any time to listen to messages on the internet instead of on your phone! Here is a scenario of how it could work:

Before Joe left for India, he diverted all his calls directly to voicemail. This means Joe cannot receive any calls while he is overseas. Knowing that he must have many voicemail messages, he logs onto from the computer in his hotel room. He logs into iMail and listens to his messages by simply clicking on them.

Voicemail Callback (not currently available to MTN PAYG and TopUp customers)

While overseas, you can simply dial the roaming shortcut code of *111*100#, navigate through the menu options and select Voicemail Callback. Voicemail will then call you from South Africa so that you do not have to pay for an outgoing call from the country you are in. Did you know that while roaming, you have to dial +2783 1000 000 to listen to your voicemail where you will pay for an outgoing call from the country you are in at international voice rates? Customers are advised to use the shortcut code of *111*100# to save money.

Divert all your calls unconditionally to voicemail

Before you leave South Africa, you can divert all calls to go to voicemail (Unconditional Diverts) in the settings on your device. This means that whenever someone calls you, the call will be diverted straight to voicemail. That way you don’t have to pay for an incoming call while roaming. Remember you can still register for MTN iMail and listen to your messages on the internet. SEA region incoming calls and SMSs are free.

Make 100% sure you know what the data rates are

If you are going to take your MTN data card (F@stLink) with or use the internet on your phone, go to the MTN website and make 100% sure you know what the data rates are in the country you are travelling to. Some countries charge for data in increments of 25KB at rates much higher that MTN charges in South Africa. Using data while roaming can cost you up to R150 per MB.

Switch off all automatic updates on your device and computer

Did you know that your phone/device/laptop does automatic updates in the background while connected to the internet? For example: While Joe is in India working on his laptop with his MTN F@stLink data card, his laptop’s antivirus program updates itself and uses 5MB of data. Customers must ensure they have switched off all automatic updates on their phones, devices and laptops when roaming.

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