Sunday, 6 September 2009

International calling from your South African PrePaid cell phone: if you’re with Vodacom, then you’re getting ripped off!

If you have a Vodacom PrePaid cell phone, then here are some tips to avoid the very high Vodacom call charges (R10 per minute).  One could use an MTN SIM card and save over R6.51 per minute!  Or dial a local CellC number and save over R6.40 per minute – here’s how:

A friend asked me how much it was to call Italy from his MTN Prepaid cell phone – here are the outcomes from my investigations:
Vodacom PrePaid cell phone to Italy from a PayAsYouGo phone is R10 per minute.

{If you had a contract: Vodacom Talk120: International Calls (Per minute):
Off Peak: 0.99 + Telkom Off-peak (landline = 0.83; mobile = 2.82) ===> Off peak to a landline: R1.82 per minute; Off peak to a mobile: R3.81 per minute.
Peak: 2.10 + Telkom Peak (landline = 0.99; mobile = 3.19) ===> Peak to a landline: R3.09 per minute; Peak to a mobile: R5.29 per minute.

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For MTN PrePaid Classic: it costs (per minute) R3.49 to dial a mobile phone directly in Italy, and R2.90 to a landline in Italy (billed on a per second basis). 

Wow, seems like MTN is MUCH cheaper than Vodacom…. But still, VoipBuster to Italy landline is free for 120 days!  See here for more details:

You could also dial this CellC number (084 198 0001) and speak to over 60 international countries for no extra cost: . This works for landlines only in Italy.
{Works for cell phones in these countries: USA (most networks); Canada; China; Singapore; Hong Kong.}

Costs of calls to CellC:
For Vodacom pre-paid Vodago to CellC: to Value-Added Services Off-Peak: R1.08; Peak: R3.60

For Vodacom contract Talk 240 to CellC: Value-Added Services Off-Peak: R0.98; Peak: R1.88

For MTN PayG Classic to CellC: Peak: R2.85; Off peak: R1.60 per minute.

See here for details of MTN’s peak and off peak calling times:

So, HTT’s verdict:  since my friend was already with MTN (whew), his cheapest option to call a landline in Italy @off peak times is to dial the local CellC number which would cost R1.60 per minute. 
At peak times he should rather dial direct (ie: MTN call) @R2.90 per minute (the CellC number’s cost is R2.85 but the call setup time (while you’re keying in the international number on the CellC call) will use up time and nullify the 5c per minute savings).
If he needed to call a cell phone in Italy (the CellC number doesn’t cover cell phones in Italy yet) then he would need to dial directly @R3.49 per minute.

HTT’s verdict for other Vodacom PrePaid users: rather than paying the R10 per minute, get an MTN SIM card for your international calls.

But, for all of you that read this far… these costs can be slashed further if you use VOIP – even on your cell phone.  Install NimBuzz and configure a SIP connection using your VoipBuster account.  Then for the 1st 120 days you’ll pay nothing for landline calls to major international cities except for the data costs (R2 per MB on prepaid if you don’t have a data bundle). See here for more info:  VoipBuster over SkypeOut: the verdict? Read this for hands on tips on saving on your phone bill

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