Travelstart’s recent report “Cellphones in Travel” highlights what South Africans have been very concerned about ever since the cell phone was invented; that they are paying extortionate amounts for using their phones abroad. Compared to passengers flying out of the European Union, South Africans pay 5 times as much in roaming charges. Global communications company WorldSIM, offers a global roaming SIM card (amongst many other products) that work in over 195 countries and can be purchased with a South African number. This means customers going abroad can quickly and easily divert their South African mobile number to a WorldSIM number and therefore make and receive calls as normal for a minimal cost.

Orbit Phone-Display-Front&Left hi res
Orbit Phone-Display-Front&Left hi res

This smart substitute can bring substantial reductions in international roaming and data roaming bills down from a whopping *average of ZAR 5489, to just a meagre ZAR 119.69 – giving users an average saving of ZAR 5369.31 per person, per each trip. This is the equivalent of nearly 85% less.

WorldSIM spokesperson, Andrea Crome commented “Travellers need to get more savvy with their roaming costs as international roaming bills can easily be reduced quite considerably, with very little action required. This will enable travellers to talk, text and browse to their hearts content while they are away, without the fear of a shocking roaming bill when they get home.”

She continued to say “By making a few simple adjustments to their phone settings users can save about 50% on roaming charges alone, then if they additionally use a WorldSIM SIM card they can slash these costs even further – by up to 85% making roaming easily affordable to everyone, whilst still sting being able to stay in touch on their existing contact number. I tested this this for myself and took my WorldSIM to India for an 8 day trip and while my friend spent over ZAR 7,201 on roaming using her existing mobile operators add ons, I used my phone just as I would have whilst at home (I even accidently left data roaming on for 2 days) and my WorldSIM bill came to just over ZAR 540 – much less than using my regular mobile network would have charged me.”

It seems an increasing amount of passengers are unaware of solutions to the extortionate costs of international roaming and data roaming and so 2% switch their phone off and keep it off while, 28% switch to flight mode for the duration of the trip. These travellers therefore miss out on staying connected through social media channels, using Google maps, receiving and making calls to making changes to last minute travel plans, thus making their journeys more stressful and reducing their effectiveness. If travellers increased their education on the available roaming solutions and better understood their data consumption, they can benefit from roaming costs that are only marginally more that they would expect to pay at home.


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*Based on an average usage on a 1 week trip from South Africa to the UK that includes 6 minutes of incoming calls, 7 minutes of outgoing international calls, 4 minutes of local callas, 30 x SMS messages and 40MB of data, comparing Vodacom to WorldSIM.