What you need to know about using your cellphone when out of the country

In today’s information age it is difficult to imagine being away from cellphones, tablets and computers. This is why many people take these devices with them on holiday. But there are things you need to know about data connections, roaming, cellphone charges and so on. This knowledge could save you thousands in unnecessary expenses.
This article will outline the type of costs that you can expect when using voice and data connections in Swaziland – and some tips on avoiding them.
MTN is the only cellphone service supplier in Swaziland.  MTN’s TopUp and PayAsYouGo customers are automatically on roaming for phone calls and sms’s but not data.

Note to all :- Ensure that you apply to your service provider for International Data Roaming at least 1 week before leaving South Africa. Also, check the rates you will be charged and if in doubt, pop into an outlet to ask how to turn off non-essential data downloads.

Charges and information courtesy MTN:-

  • When connected, you’ll be charged for data roaming, for the information you send and receive, in increments of 25KB (at 2014 the charge is R2.50 per 25kb)
  • Surfing the internet on your cellphone can amount to a few 100KB per day, but can require several Megabytes if rich multimedia content is accessed.
  • Data roaming can quickly exceed 10MB as downloading presentations, pictures, music and videos are typically very data-intensive. N.B. there are 1000 kb to a megabyte, so 1 meg will cost 40 x R2.50 = R100 and 10 megs will cost R1000.
  • If you have a smartphone (or any other device which uses data) and do not intend using data while roaming, disable all data-related activity before you leave. For example, stop your device from receiving email. Failing to do so will result in you being charged the minimum billing increment (25KB) each time your device connects to the mail server, even if no new mail is sent or received. Note that smartphones typically have many applications e.g. a weather app, that continuously or periodically uses a data connection. Ensure you understand how the applications on your device use data.
  • If you use a PC or laptop, please ensure that you are aware of all background download activity, such as Windows updates, anti-virus updates or any other application downloads which take place in the background. If you intend roaming for a short period only, it may be a good idea to disable updates when roaming and try to keep downloads to the essential items only.

MTN calls and sms charges (at 2014):

  • Calls inside Swaziland are charged at R5
  • Receiving calls when you are in Swaziland costs you R4
  • Making calls to South Africa from Swaziland costs R7 per call.
  • SMS’s are charged at R2

When you are at Royal Jozini Big 6, it is sometimes possible to pick up signal from South Africa, especially at the marina which is on the border. Some lodges also have wifi connections, with limited free megabytes. Please be sure to ask.

So now that you know you can stay connected and how to travel without huge data bills, isn’t it time for you to book a break at Royal Jozini Big 6 in Swaziland?   You can be in this little bit of paradise and still stay connected to the buzz of city life….but only if you want to!  Contact Lynda now to find out about tiger fishing charters and superb lodge accommodation.  bookings@royaljoziniaccommodation.co.za