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.
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