South Africa uses GSM technology for mobile phones and internet access.
In the larger cities 4G data networks are available and along the highways and all other cities you should be able to get at least 3G data networks. Only in some remote areas (like when hunting on a remote farm) is coverage a problem and will you sometimes struggle to get access to a data network and in some cases even cellular network.
There are three main suppliers of telecommunication: Vodacom, MTN and Cell C. For the most part, short term travellers will find any of the aforementioned providers will be good to work with your provider whilst on holiday.
Staying in touch while on holiday in South Africa is far less complicated than it use to be, however international roaming is expensive. It is important if you are going to be using your phone that your cellular provider allows you to use your mobile device overseas and what costs are involved. So check with your service provider.
Rent a sim with prepaid voice/data and a smart phone.
The best solution if you want to be in contact the most cost effective way is that you opt to purchase a package that suits your needs best through B4IGO. This service allows you to purchase a SIM and airtime/data bundle of your choice before you even leave your home country.
That way, you get your number beforehand to give to family/friends and/or your office, and since you pick up your pre-ordered SIM at any international South African airport upon arrival it makes this options one of the best.
Getting data as part of your package will also allow you to check emails, update your status/upload pictures on Facebook or even tweet about your amazing holiday.
Family and Friends or the office phoning you:
Having a local number allows your family and friends or the office to use internet phoning providers to phone your South African mobile phone at very cheap rates.
An example of such provider is KeepCalling where family and friends can buy prepaid airtime and phone your local number.
Whatsapp or Facetime
If you have opted for the local data bundles option then phoning over the internet using WhatsApp or FaceTime Audio is also an option
With todays smartphones it is ever easier to make voice calls over various apps as long as the other person also has the same apps and this is of course dependant on that both persons at least have 3G network, but we have found this option to also work well and the cost of the data is much lower than international roaming rates
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