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Just because you're out of the country doesn't mean you want to be out of touch. But international roaming options can be confusing and a bit terrifying – after all, who doesn't know someone who has been greeted with a massive phone bill upon their return from holiday?

Of course, using your phone, and especially consuming data, overseas is much more expensive than at home. The key to avoiding a large bill is to understand the charges you will incur. 

If you are happy to skip voice calls and data, you can choose to use just SMS Roaming and disable other options. But if you need to keep connected throughout your travels, you may want to subscribe to Travel Saver – for R30 per day subscription, you get the best rates for calls and roaming.

Stay in the loop when you choose the Vodacom roaming option that's right for you. 

Vodafone World 

Cost: No subscription. Pay as you use, according to which zone you’re in.

Coverage: Vodacom and Vodafone participating networks.

Advantages: 

  • The world is divided into three zones for easy pricing: Neighbouring, Sub-Saharan countries and Rest of the World. Prices are determined according to zone.
  • If you roam on selected Vodacom and Vodafone partner networks, you qualify for Super-Saver data rates of only R17.50 per MB (rather than up to R128 per MB!).

Activate: If you have activated International Roaming, you get Vodafone World as their default option. Contract customers should call 082 135 from their Vodacom cellphone to activate, while Prepaid customers can SMS ‘TRAVELON’ to 123. Top Up customers need not activate Vodafone World.

For: Vodacom Prepaid, Top Up and Contract customers. Data roaming is only available to Contract customers.

Travel Saver  

Cost: Subscription: R30 per day. You will only be charged when you are roaming and using services. Calls made/received: R2.50 per minute; SMSs sent: 80c per SMS; Data used: R2 per MB.

Coverage: 27 countries, including Australia, the US, the UK and neighbouring countries including Lesotho and Mozambique.

Advantages: 

  • Get the best-value roaming options on any network.
  • Make and receive calls, send SMSs and use data at a discounted rate. 

 

Activate: SMS ‘SAVE’ to 123 or call 082 135 (the call is free from a Vodacom cell, even while roaming). To deactivate, SMS ‘SAVEOFF’ to 123.

For: Contact customers.

SMS Roamer 

Cost: No subscription

SMSs sent: R2.75. SMSs received: Free

Coverage: All Vodacom’s partner countries.

Advantage: All voice and data functions on your phone are disabled – which means no unexpected bills!

Activate: SMS ‘ROAMON’ to 123. To deactivate, SMS ‘ROAMOFF’ to 123.

For: Contract, Top Up and Prepaid customers

Data Roamer 

Cost: View roaming rates for all participating countries.

Coverage: Vodacom and Vodafone networks globally

Advantages: 

  • Fastest data speeds with LTE roaming on selected Vodafone networks in countries including Ireland, the UK and New Zealand. No additional costs apply for LTE roaming.
  • Save money by taking advantage of Super-Saver and Africa data rates when you roam on selected Vodafone partner networks.
  • Avoid surprises – you’ll get a data spend alert SMS when your data spend hits R2 000.

 

Activate: Call 082 135 from a Vodacom phone to activate basic roaming.

For: Contract customers only.

Important tips

  • Remember even if you don’t browse or check emails, data could still be used on your phone by apps updating in the background. Make sure you close all unused apps.
  • Data usage is billed in increments of 10KB.
  • Services that are free in South Africa – such as 121 – are not free when you are overseas.
  • You are charged for incoming and outgoing calls while roaming.
  • All prices exclude calls and SMSs to premium numbers.
  • Avoid surprises by reading Vodacom’s terms and conditions for International Roaming.

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