Would anyone have suggestions on the best option for a prepaid cellular phone that I can use while in South Africa? I have found a couple options and have emailed them to get a quote... what I'm used to in the USA would be a company like Virgin mobile who sells a phone for about $10 USD and a pack of minutes is only 20 or 30 dollars... hoping for something like that... a phone I could basically just toss when I leave... nothing fancy needed or, a phone rental could be an option too. I will be in South Africa for about 3 weeks... not intending to use this phone for too many international calls, just in case of emergencys or directions to hotels etc etc.
Thank you in advance for any suggestions.
Feb 14, 11, 2:37 am
Are you sure you can't use your current US phone? If you have a tri or quad-band GSM phone that is unlocked it will work fine in South Africa with a South African SIM card.
Otherwise, just ask around when you land. I'm sure you can find something cheap and easy without too much trouble.
Feb 14, 11, 6:49 am
There used to be at least 3 phone sale/rental places in JNB International Arrivals. Just go and ask them for prices once you land and you'll get a much better deal than anything pre-arranged.
Feb 14, 11, 10:59 am
Somewhat covers you:
It's the same at JNB. All the major carriers have shops in international arrivals. Hiring a phone should not be an issue.
If you don't care what number you get (e.g. you don't need the number in advance of your arrival to give out to colleagues/friends prior to your trip) then my advice is to just wait until landing and get one when your get there.
IIRC, most of the phones they sell are contract phones e.g. - unlike the USA where you can buy the phone/charger with some start up airtime at a shop in a plastic package. I haven't seen the same setup in SA (but I haven't been looking for it, either).
If I were providing "quick advice" to someone, I'd say rent the phone kit on arrival -or- (as discussed in more detail in the other thread above) get a SIM unlocked phone and buy a pay as you go SIM at the airport (with the caveats re: need to provide address/ID for a pay-go now in SA).
In addition, I haven't looked at the SA rental phone mkt in a long time as I stick with pay-go on Voda, but I seem to vaguely recall (this is going back like 7 years) that the per minute rate for a rental phone v. the pay go rate per minute v. the contract rate per minute (after you used up your contract/bucket minutes) were all different (with rental being the highest and contract being the lowest), same for SMS's.
On the pre-arrangement front, don't be surprised if you hear zip back from them. Again, could have changed in recent years, but I generally found airport mobile phone shops' email addresses to be a black hole. Send email, no response.
You could try calling, but that's likely to get you nearly zero. At best, I'd recommend calling at the approximate time of your planned arrival at JNB (on the same day of the week as you plan to arrive) so you might (emphasis on might) get a person who'll be on-shift when you get there. Try and build a little rapport with them and you may get some more info/details. I did this in the past when I was renting from Voda about 3-4 times per year. I'd call and they'd set aside a number for me (e.g. a particular SIM to go in the soon-to-be rented phone) in an envelope with my name, flt arrival details, etc. on it. They'd have it there (in the super-sophisticated index card box, alphabetical system) for my arrival.