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Cell Phone and/or Satellite Phone Coverage while in E. Africa?

Cell Phone and/or Satellite Phone Coverage while in E. Africa?

Sep 11th, 2007, 08:48 AM
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 23
I am looking at renting a phone here in the states before leaving for Kenya and Tanzania. The cost is $69 for 2 weeks, $29 for 30 minutes of outgoing minutes with incoming minutes free. I can buy add'l mins there. My regular phone is not gsm and will not work. Has anyone used this type of service lately and was it satisfactory? It is a tri band gsm phone.
cmtravels is offline  
Sep 11th, 2007, 10:11 AM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 18
Has anyone used a blackberry in east africa or rwanda? I need to receive work emails every so often so was wondering if it has worked for anyone.
skier1 is offline  
Sep 11th, 2007, 10:19 PM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 622
from my experience I have not been able to get email access on my blackberry when in Kenya or Tanzania. I have, however, had easy access to email on a Nokia 6233 with a local Celtel SIM card.
andybiggs is offline  
Sep 15th, 2007, 07:45 AM
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 23
I bought a gsm quad band unlocked phone on ebay for $39 (Motorola V188 with tmobile name on it) and will buy a sim card in Nairobi and then in Arusha. I have never used these before and am wonderng when dialing the states are there codes I have to enter like maybe 00 or 001 or 1 before I dial the area code and number? Anyone?
cmtravels is offline  
Sep 15th, 2007, 09:31 AM
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 37
I found out that MasterCard uses a service called Planetfone (planetfone.com) where they rent you a phone for your trip with the appropriate sim card and charger. The rental charge depends on your card type (Citibank World Platimum is no rental charge) others are something like $39. You have to pay them $20 for shipping (they send by Fedex with a return envelope) and the line charges are $3.50 per minute outgoing, $1.50 incoming and about $2.25 local Kenya. The charges go on your credit card. I am leaving in less than two weeks and will most likely use them for my first time. Anyone else know of them?
kenyatraveler is offline  
Sep 15th, 2007, 11:59 AM
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 23
kenyatravels, I looked at renting a phone on line that came with 30 minutes calling on it but it was $69 plus $29 airtime plus $25 to ship. Also, if you just buy a sim card in nairobi, i understand the local rates on that card are very low and you can call the states for an extremely low rate, like maybe 50 cents a minute. Can anyone confirm? I think I remember reading that somewhere here. That is why I opted to just buy this used phone on ebay and then a local sim card. I just had it checked at a store and they confirmed it was unlocked and ready to go. I figure I can use it on future trips.
cmtravels is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2007, 10:51 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 13,036
If I recall correctly, from Kenya, it's 000 + the country code (1 is the country code for the US) + area code/phone number. The last time I used a Safaricom SIM to call the US (last December), I believe it was 25 KES per minute.
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