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-   -   Cell Phone - SIMs and Phones (https://www.fodors.com/community/africa-and-the-middle-east/cell-phone-sims-and-phones-673560/)

tuckeg Jan 27th, 2007 11:00 AM

Don't know if I missed this but one thing to consider is where in SA you will be traveling. Coverages by the various SIM providers varies quite a bit. If you post where you will be, I will try to check with my SA friends and get some carrier advice for you.

Favor Jan 27th, 2007 01:04 PM

If you've been with a carrier for a while and explain you're traveling out of the country - they will unlock the phone for free.

I've done this with ATT and Cingular. Check your carrier first before buying an additional phone.

ArthurSA Jan 29th, 2007 03:23 AM

If you're in the main centres or travelling the main routes, and looking for just GSM or GPRS, there is effectively the same coverage by all three operators. And for all three it's mostly the Northern Cape that has no coverage.

Here are the coverage maps:

Vodacom: http://168.210.128.68/3G/ (You need to select GPRS/GSM to see the standard coverage.)

MTN: www.mtn.co.za/?pid=11789&mid=287220

Cell C: www.cellc.co.za/content/coverage/map.asp (I found this painfully and unnecessarily slow, and badly designed. Unless I missed something and tried to go in the wrong directions. I eventually went through the "navigation" menu.)

kevmag Feb 5th, 2007 03:18 PM

Hello all, I figured I would update with the latest.
I contacted Tmobile with my tale of woe, the first person I spoke to said they could not under any circumstances unlock the phone earlier than 90 days. I begged some more and they put me in touch with the contracts group, who told me they could make an exception. I was told I would get an email in a few days with an unlock code.
Sure enough, the email came in 2 days, but with a generic "unlock request denied" message.

I ended up at my friendly neighborhood NYC camera/phone/electronic store (West 84th and Amsterdam on the upper west side of Manhattan). I left the phone for half an hour, and ($30 later) it was unlocked. (I tested it with another SIM chip in the store).

The phone is now with the student in Jonannesburg, and when he gets to Cape Town in a few days, he is going to get a SIM there. To be continued....thanks for all the advice.

tuckeg Feb 5th, 2007 06:28 PM

Coverage maps do not give an accurate picture of the real world. We first got an MTN SIM at JNB when we arrived but found coverage was not good towards the northern Kruger and switched to Vodacom (on the advice of friends living in the area) and had a much better experience. I would check with someone locally before I purchased to find the best provider for the area you will be visiting.


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