Renting a cell phone in Johannesburg aiport

Old Aug 29th, 2015, 09:09 AM
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Renting a cell phone in Johannesburg aiport

I would like to rent a cell phone at the OR Tambo airport for local calls. I have a IPhone 6 Plus. Presume I should get an international plan in case I have to call the U.S. Any ideas as the costs associated with these phones. What should I know. Leaving in a couple of days. Any help will be appreciated.
Wandy1 is offline  
Old Aug 29th, 2015, 09:29 AM
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I'm not sure how these sim cards work either. advice please
Wandy1 is offline  
Old Aug 29th, 2015, 11:29 AM
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All iPhones are not created equal. Verizon and Sprint iPhones won't work in SA (or anywhere outside the U.S.) because they all use GSM. VZ and S don't. Definitely call if you use ATT and add the international calling feature. Texting is the least expensive option when using your phone. The cell service is much better in SA than here (because all carriers use gsm and don't have competing tech. Our system is so stupid!). You will be pleasantly surprised (or horrified that you can get service everywhere). Make sure to know how to use your iPhone before you leave - get international calling codes, figure their use out.

Why are you making local calls? We thought we would need a cell phone, too, but it turns out we needed one once - in four long trips, two being self driving. Turns out to be unnecessary, but I'm not a big cell phone user. Calls at hotels are super cheap - I called home for less than $2. Local calls in hotels are generally free. We used calling cards for use in pay phones when on the road and they are ridiculously cheap. Paid R50 for a card that we used to call home 8 times! We texted a few times to get gates opened at b&b's.

If you insist on a local phone, just buy one at the airport. Unless you "need" a smartphone, they are cheap. You have to go through the ID issues - they will want to know everything about you to get a phone. Get an unlocked one so you can use it every time you travel. They include a few minutes, but get extra if you think you'll use them. Make sure you get instructions on how to load minutes at the store - each can be different, so ask. For us, it was just cheaper and easier to use our iPhone for emergencies - we spent maybe $10 for the very few calls/texts we've ever made. We did use it to call our bank when our atm didn't work - it cost over $300 for two long stupid calls that was reimbursed within minutes when we got home and submitted the bill to the bank (and threatened to take our business elsewhere). Don't use your iPhone unless in an emergency.

Just remember everything you buy in Rands will be cheaper than ever with the exchange rate of R13/USD. I hope you have a Capital One, AMEX or Signature Visa credit card so you don't pay foreign transaction fees. Call all banks and credit card cos so they know you are traveling to SA. Call again, and then call for a last reminder right before you leave. We have had cc/atm problems because the banking system is SA has problems - I don't know, corruption, drugs, incompetence? Just make sure your cards will work.

I am not tethered to a cell phone and feel perfectly fine having an iPhone for emergencies. We don't travel with others who we need to contact and we used hotels/lodges that would make calls for taxis if necessary. The drivers we used called the front desk at the lodges to give them the arrival time - we were never aware those arrangements were discussed.

Have fun. Call your banks.
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Old Aug 29th, 2015, 12:06 PM
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Perhaps you will find some good info in this TA thread for you:

Africa Direct USA
diannelovestravel is offline  
Old Aug 29th, 2015, 09:10 PM
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Actually, Chrisabir, a lot of Verizon phones are both CDMA and GSM. That includes the iPhone 6 Plus. The OP needs to contact Verizon and get their phone set up for overseas use. Texting is much cheaper than calls, BTW.
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Old Aug 31st, 2015, 12:09 AM
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I buy a vodacom SIM card on arrival but I don't need to make international calls once in ZA. I do make local calls though, to restaurants, hotels, car rental company when we had a problem with the rental car and another called the Rangers at pilanesberg to come out and restart our rental car when it had a flat battery. I personally prefer to have a local SIM in ZA, it has come in useful many times especially for data, for international I use whatsapp or email to keep in contact.
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