Cell Phone with Data Plan Cape Town

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Jun 11th, 2015, 11:29 AM
  #1
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Cell Phone with Data Plan Cape Town

Hello: Not sure if this is a good place to ask this question, but I'll give it a try. My daughter will be spending a semester abroad studying at the University of Cape Town. She will be there from July through December 2015. She will need a cell phone with a data plan while she is there. I've done a bit of research online, but I can't get a good feel for which company has the best reception/coverage in the Cape Town area.

Any suggestions on which provider offers the best reception? Also can anyone suggest the best place to go to purchase a phone and data plan once she arrives?

Thank you for any and all suggestions.
1994 is offline  
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Jun 11th, 2015, 01:10 PM
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You would be pleasantly surprised by the good cell service in S Africa. It's not like the U.S. - all companies use the same technology. Unlike here where ATT uses GSM, Verizon is CDMA and Spint is something else, they all use GSM in SA (like Europe). They also don't have as much landline infrastructure, so the cell service is all they have in many (most?) areas. Wifi is not as common as here and is s-l-o-w and expensive. Anyway, any of the local phone cos are fine for calls (does anyone talk on a phone anymore?) and data. I would ask the university. I'm sure it's a common question - and they might have a discounted service deal. She has to get it once she gets there - a valid ID, passport #, all sorts of info required, but necessary.

I'm jealous. What a great opportunity! Go visit!
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Jun 11th, 2015, 01:33 PM
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Thank you Christabir for the reply. Great information. Her accommodations do have Wifi. I guess she'll find out what that's like when she gets there.

I will suggest she ask the school about cell plans during the two Orientation days. Hadn't thought there might be a discount for students. Worth asking.

She's excited, though a bit nervous. I'd love to visit, but the price of the airline ticket nearly gave me a heart attack, so I don't think we parents will be able to afford the travel.
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Jun 11th, 2015, 02:02 PM
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Hi 1994!

I found this online. Perhaps there's some good info for you...

http://www.studyabroad.com/pages/sit...uide_cell.aspx

Great opportunity for your daughter!

Best
Dianne
Africa Direct USA
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Jun 11th, 2015, 02:17 PM
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Happy to help. I'm sure the wifi on campus will be similar to what we are used to.

She can get an unlocked gsm phone here and get SIM cards (same ID issues as buying a phone) when she gets there. It might be the best way to go if she wants an iPhone, but not sure how the SIM card works. Google might be helpful to find out.

I just checked flights on Tuesday (always dreaming of going back). They are less than $1000 from NY through September - it's $1400 to go to Paris or Rome. It's $500 to go to Omaha! I think the flight to S Africa is a bargain! Go. Really. GO!!

I understand her apprehension. But she's going to LOVE it!!
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Jun 11th, 2015, 02:33 PM
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Thank you Dianne. I had found that website and it is helpful but doesn't really cover the data issue; just the cell phone info. But it was good overall information.

Christabir - she needs to leave around July 8th as students are advised to arrive on July 9 or 10 to get to their accommodations and be ready for Orientation which starts on July 12. Plus, she is departing from Greensboro, NC, needs a ticket with that starting and returning location. I don't want to book separate tickets for her. We think having her fly from the U.S. to Europe (where there is a long layover - 20 hours or so) would allow her to sleep at an airport hotel and then complete her journey to Cape Town the next day.

Even looking at NY to Cape Town on July 8th, the cheapest flight is $1500. The cheapest flight from Greensboro to Cape town on July 8 with a return on December 15 is $2200. Quite pricey !
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Jun 11th, 2015, 03:54 PM
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The dates for your daughter are entirely different than going for ten days - those are still cheap-ish,

Most flights us-Europe and Europe-CPT are overnight. Her layover is most likely all day, not overnight. Or she could stay a couple of days for no extra cost with British Airways.

How about Greensboro to ATL to JNB (nonstop) to CPT? Or Greensboro to NYC or Dulles to CPT for your daughter? I use kayak and use +/- 3 days to get the best options. If she gets there a couple of days early, would that be ok?

So the only thing that's "cheap" in ny is flying to SA? Woo hoo!
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Jun 12th, 2015, 12:26 PM
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Thanks for that Christabir. I'm trying to stick to a flight directly into Cape Town (from Europe). I've actually played with the dates, but I get very little price change.

I have found flights that arrive to Europe (various countries) in the afternoon and have 20 hour layovers before the flight out to Cape Town, so that is what I'll probably book. This would allow her to stay at an airport hotel overnight and make the journey a slight bit less hard on a body. Prices are high no matter what days I choose and I'm sure you are right, it is due to the fact that she will be there for nearly six months.

We've secured her housing starting July 1, so arriving early is not a problem.
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