South African Number
South African’s will probably be reading this and thinking, what is the big problem?
However little do they know how easy it is to get a sim in a place like England.
For us they literally hand them out.
Sim Cards In The UK
There are two types of options in the UK for Sim Cards. The first being contract which is a monthly payment with a bundle package of free add ons. For example minutes, free texts and a certain amount of free data.
There is then Pay As You Go which allows the user to top up their card as they feel they need to. This also offers free minutes and SMS along with a credit of however much you topped up.
To get a Pay As You Go Sim you just have to go to their store and ask for one and they will give it to you for free.
South Africa Is Different
In South Africa however you require a bit more than this. Some may be free but for MTN and Vodacom a charge of R10 was required and your credentials.
Cost Of Texting From Abroad
Texting in South Africa on an English number is never going to be cheap as an option, however there are some packages that provide a better service.
Take for example Vodafone and their World Traveller Package. This allows you to switch your phone on, and as soon as you use it, you are charged £5 for the day and you can use your minutes, data and texts from your monthly package.
A great way to do things but at £5 a day that begins to get costly.
Hence why we recommend a South African Number.
Phone Provider Options
There are new ones coming out constantly however for us the main options were:
- Virgin Mobile
One of the requirements for MTN was bank statements, an ID book and address.
Naturally as a prepaid option (Pay As You Go), we didn’t need to provide the bank statements, however they did ask for an ID book.
Being British we did not have these which meant MTN turning us away.
We did however find out a Passport would do as proof of identification.
It is strange how this is required just to get a pay as you go sim card.
Types Of Sim
Like other countries you get your Pay As You Go Sim and also contract sims which are monthly fees.
They do however call them different names.
Prepaid – This is the equivalent to our Pay As You Go, where you must top up when you run out of credit.
Contract – These work the same as others where you pay a monthly fee and get a limit on calls, texts and data.
Who We Went With
For us on all visits we have always used MTN, for both laptop data and phone set ups.
However this time round we went with Vodacom for our mobile phone needs.
A prepaid sim was purchase as we didn’t want to commit to 12 months or more.
Out of the two, the deals were pretty similar with the cost for minutes, sms allowance and data however Vodacom seemed more efficient in their service.
The lady was willing to help more and it was a smooth transition.
We are yet to report back on Internet Speeds and signal coverage but watch this space.
So to conclude if you are looking for a quick fix with a phone we advise a Prepaid sim offering a Pay As You Go set up.
You do not need an ID book to register it, as a Passport will suffice.
We also advise you to shop around before going with the first one that stands out.