Question about buying local SIM cards in Africa

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Apr 8th, 2007, 03:08 PM
  #1
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Question about buying local SIM cards in Africa

If I unlock my cell phone and use locally-purchased SIM cards while traveling in Africa, will I retain my same cell phone number or will people from home need to call me at a new number? Also, will they be paying int'l rates to call, or regular domestic rates?

Thanks!
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Apr 8th, 2007, 03:45 PM
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You'll have a new number of whatever country issues the SIM. Anyone calling you will pay long distance on their end. Usually, incoming calls will be free for you.
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Apr 8th, 2007, 04:15 PM
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Thanks Patty!
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Apr 8th, 2007, 04:30 PM
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One more question - is there generally a consensus that this (buying local SIM cards for your unlocked phone from home) is cheaper than buying a local phone for each country you visit (I'll be visiting 6 or 7)?
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Apr 9th, 2007, 05:36 AM
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Your SIM card is very inexpensive in Tz and the top off charges can be bought in as little as 5,000 to 50,000 Tz schillings cards.
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Apr 9th, 2007, 04:34 PM
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FYI - I just got my Cingular wireless bill for the time we were in Botswana & Vic Falls. We made two calls from Chobe - the roaming charge was just over $3US a minute. From Vic Falls it was just under $3US a minute. And those were the only long distance charges on the bill.
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Apr 9th, 2007, 05:13 PM
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I have the cheap "pay as you go" phone as no reception at my house. it does have a sim card but do I need anything else besides the phone? or can you rent in South Africa the whole phone and sim card? Will be driving through Kruger for 8 days and just in case think I should have a phone.
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Apr 10th, 2007, 12:23 PM
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All countries in Africa use the GSM standard for phones so you must have a GSM unblocked phone with tri or quad bands, as some North American networks are on a frequency not commonly used in Africa or Europe. If you have the above then your phone will work. The new SIMM card will be cheap to buy and the call charges reasonable for local calls or receiving calls will be free. However if you cross a border (except in E. Africa) then your SIMM will probably not work unless you set up roaming on it before changing country. Also the top up's in the new country will not work using another coutries SIMM card.

If you set up roaming before you leave on your normal number local calls in any country you travel in will be cost plus 10%. However incoming calls will be local to the caller and you will pay the international leg. International calls made in Africa will be local cell phone rate, plus international plus 10% so can be expensive. Easy is to roam using your normal number. Cheap involves some pain.
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Apr 10th, 2007, 03:44 PM
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mp413,
I don't know about other countries, but SIMs in Kenya and Tanzania are very cheap, so I don't think it would make sense to buy a new phone in every country, just buy the SIM (is that what you were asking?).

Dennis,
Does your phone have GSM 900/1800 frequencies and is it unlocked? If so, then you're good to go. Just pick up a local SA SIM on arrival. You can google your phone model to see what frequencies it operates on and try inserting a different provider's SIM to see if it's unlocked.
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