30 October 2009

Cell phones in South Africa - frequency, SIMcards, phones etc.

South Africa has an extensive GSM network, working on the same frequency (operating on GSM 900 & GSM 1800) as the rest of Africa and Europe. Cellphones working on GSM 850 or GSM 1900 (frequencies used in the US) are not working in South Africa (as well as in all neighboring countries). The South African networks support GPRS countrywide; 3G, EDGE and HSDPA support is available in larger urban areas.

South Africa has four five cell phone providers:
Prepaid SIMCards: A South African SIMCard will require a SIM-unlocked GSM cell phone that supports the 900 frequency. SIMcards are available in almost all shops & malls and cost you between R1 to R3. This in not includung preloaded airtime obviously. So called "recharge vouchers" are available in almost all shops (checkout counter) as well. If your phone is not working on the South African GSM frequency, you can easily buy a cheap one in the shops. See the websites of the four providers for current rates. You should get a phone for around R300. As of 01 July 2009 all SIMcards in South Africa require to be registered. Click here to read what to do.

International calls: Calling overseas from your South African simcard will cost you a fortune. Rather make use of skype - it will safe you a lot!

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