Joburg cell phone

Old Nov 13th, 2008, 02:54 AM
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Joburg cell phone

We are flying into JNB from US and our daughter is flying into JNB from Lesotho. She will arrive first and wait for us. My question is about having a working cell phone before we leave. Our trip is in Dec.
My concern is that her flight might be delayed and she would need to be able to contact us to let us know or vice versa if we have delays.
She has a Vodacom phone w/SA number which she purchased during a previous trip she made to SA from Lesotho. Should we buy/rent a Vodacom phone? Can we do that before we leave?
I've been reading about tri-band phones and a Sim card, but really don't understand. Our current cell phone service is with Verizon and my understanding is that it won't work in SA. Sorry to be so clueless. This is our first international trip and it has been a learning experience, for sure!!!
What do we need that will really work? It doesn't necessarily have to be the cheapest, just want to be sure it will work!
Can we make/receive calls while in flight, other than during take-off and right before landing?
Many thanks for any info you can provide.
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Old Nov 13th, 2008, 03:29 AM
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With Verizon, you can't replace a sim card. In the US, you can do this with ATT and T mobile only.

I would see if you can buy an unlocked cheap cell phone on the internet like ebay, and then buy a sim card at the airport. I paid about $6.00 for a card and a few minutes of air time. You can then top off the air time with "pay as you go" type service in SA. For emergencies, I always travel with a cell phone for those wonderful times you need help fast or to contact other people or get directions to places.

You can also rent a phone at the airport but I think it probably cheaper for you to buy a cheap phone here or even in SA. With the rental, they charge you a bit more for airtime than you would with your own sim card.

Any questions email me at [email protected]

kim

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Old Nov 13th, 2008, 03:30 AM
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And you can only make calls while on the ground, not while the plane is in the air.
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Old Nov 13th, 2008, 05:36 AM
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If you get an "unlocked" tri-band phone before you go, you can also rent a SIM card at the airport. It's also cheap, around a dollar a day.
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Old Nov 13th, 2008, 06:59 AM
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Verizon does sell a few phones that are both CDMA and GSM http://b2b.vzw.com/international/Glo...one/index.html

If you don't have one of the phones listed above, they have a program for short term travelers though no specific details are provided on the website http://b2b.vzw.com/international/Glo...vel/index.html It would not be the cheapest option but may be the most convenient if you only want to use it for emergencies. You would keep your US number.

If you decide to buy an unlocked GSM phone, try to get one with both 900 and 1800 bands. Many tribands sold in the US have only one or the other and not both as the US uses GSM 850 and 1900. Or get a quadband which is probably not that much more.
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Old Nov 15th, 2008, 06:06 PM
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Many thanks for all the great information!!
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Old Nov 17th, 2008, 02:07 PM
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Get an unlocked phone on ebay, tigerdirect, bestbuy, etc. You can get one thrt will work there for about $60. get to SA and purchase a local sim card. They are quite cheap. You can also search this forum or the Europe forum for "mobile phone" Tons of information.

PS. In the europe forum there is a post from a lady about how having a mobile phone saved her trip. Her son arrived in Spain from US on a different flight from theirs, and the Spain authorities would not let him in because of his passport. Thank god she had a mobile for the trip.
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