Cell Phone Rental and Usage

Discussion in 'Before & After the Hunt' started by Cliffy, Dec 16, 2012.

  1. Cliffy

    Cliffy AH Elite

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    Has anyone rented or used cell phones in either South Africa or Namibia recently?

    I need information on that and any Wifi/Surfing availability in either country.
    I want to get current and accurate information for my seminar at DSC
    Any help would be appriciated as I am not smart enough to own a Smartphone :)
  2. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Latest I had was 2011
    Namibia:
    I rented a phone and "rocket stick" for the computer and used prepaid minutes for surfing the web. I used it for email.
    Took a while to get someone to do the job in downtown Windhoek. Nothing in the airport when I was last there.

    Coverage in rural areas can be an issue.
    I only had reflected signal on the farm I hunted. So it was intermittent but it was the African bush. what do you expect.
    SMS or Text was readily available.

    RSA:
    I pre-booked a sim card for the by Blackberry. All of this was done by email.
    I wanted my contacts in my own phone, so I took my unlocked BB.
    The provider is right in OR Tambo.
    Used it as a local number throughout my time in RSA and it was just like being at home.
    Beyond some initial issues of setup, it was good service/reception in most places.
    Catching on to the number syntax took a while.
    "#" hash vs pound etc.

    It costed a lot less than using my local phone over seas for sure.

    I'll be doing it again in RSA and Botswana on the next trip.
    You need to sign up within each country with a local provider (no shock)

    There are "World" phones.
    Some travel enough to make this a viable option (business, etc.)

    If you just absolutely HAVE to be in contact get a sat phone from home.

    Hope that helps.

    All depends how long you re going to be in the country.
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2012
  3. TOM

    TOM AH Elite

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    I've done all of the above. I've purchased a "pay as you go" phone in the airport in Joberg. It worked well and was fairly easy to call in and "recharge" the minutes.

    I've rented a satellite phone for a more extensive trip. It was costly and honestly rather bulky to mess with. It was nice piece of mind.

    Several of the camps I have been to lately have WIFI free for clients. This is very nice as it allows you to SKYPE with family and work at home. Super stuff really.

    Lastly, I have borrowed the PH's cell phone numerous times to call home. At the end of the trip, I merely add a little extra to the tip for his cell phone minutes.

    I honestly think that a lot of Southern Africa operators will have WIFI or internet access for their clients. Most will not have any issue loaning a cell phone or having a prepaid phone in camp for those that are interested.

    Knock em' dead in your presentation!
  4. Cliffy

    Cliffy AH Elite

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    Thanks guys! And please keep it coming as I have a lot to learn on this subject. I've had one phone for 7 or 8 years. I do text, I just learned how to Skype at home and my son says I'm WAY behind the times when it comes to communication.
    Pre booked a SIM card, unlocked BB, SMS?????????????? I got a lot to learn in a short period of time.
  5. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Pre-order: You let the provider know your exact model so they know what service to set you up with. It is ready to go at the counter when you get there.

    SIM CARD: The computer communication chip that actually determines how you connect to the specific network. Every cell phone /mobile has one.

    Locked vs Unlocked: A locked phone can't use an alternate card, You are locked to a particular network or provider.
    (The choice method of screwing you)
    ie. A locked phone on T-mobile leaves you on T-mobile and you can not change the card out and use Vodacom in Africa. It will be as good as a rock.
    Unlocked you can get a SIM card for a few bucks and go with a new network. Get another card and you access another network.

    BB: Blackberry

    BBM: Blackberry Messenger

    SMS: SMS (Short Message Service) is a form of text messaging communication on phones and mobile phones.
    The term used most often in Africa to refer to "TEXT" messaging. Say text to some folks and they look at you like you have two heads.

    We'll drag you kicking and screaming into the future. :)
  6. spike.t

    spike.t GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    the phone company i use here in jersey has deals with sa and namibian phone companies so my phone works there. in zambia they have just done a deal so my phone works their but i dont use it as most of my calls are local and i am sure the cost would be interesting. instead i buy a pay as you go sim which you can buy at lusaka airport either in the small newsagent or directly outside of arrivals in the airtel cellphone shop. you can buy top up scratch cards there as well. its kwacha 5,000.00 for a sim which is about just over $1.00 us dollar. i use it to call home as the charges are cheap these days with all the competition. the biggest top up is kwacha 50,000.00 then 20,000.00, 10,000.00 and 5,000.00. they are widely available. coverage is pretty good in the towns and main roads with new phone towers being put up all the time. it is amazing how the locals in an area find a spot where there is just enough signal to txt/sms from. it can be an anthill or a tree. on our reserve there is an ant hill in the middle of a dambo where txts come through and thats it. we found out totally by accident when someone had their phone on and the vehicle stopped so that some animals could be checked out and txts started coming through!! at international airports there is usually a mobile phone shop and you can buy a cheap unlocked phone there and then buy a local pay as you go sim for whichever country you are visiting on arrival.
  7. Cliffy

    Cliffy AH Elite

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    So one can preorder with say Vodaphone (I assume by internet) and the "chip" is waiting at the counter in Joberg Airport when you arrive, you swap out your chip for theirs and wha-la it's just like having your own phone here in the states? If that's how it works- COOL NOW what about making and receiving calls from the USA?
    In researching I find a company called "Cellomobil" and it looks like they hook you up with a cellphone that they ship to you before you leave and you mail it back when you return. It looks cheaper than standard one of renting one in the airport at Joberg and most countries are available.
    I'm going to presume also that smart phones can get 3G (?) and/or internet in lots of places around SA and Namib?
    Also, as I'm not a phone junkie (that seems redundant right now), I didn't pay attention at the airport in Windhoek when I was just there a few months ago to see if phone rental was available there. My PH (Jamy Traut) used his phone a lot while traveling so it looks like service is probably good in that country (my seminar focuses on SA and Namibia ).
    I'm learning fast with your help guys, Thanks BUT I AM KICKING AND SCREAMING :) Bring back dial phones!!!!
    And to think I was rated as Capt in a Boeing 757 at one time with 356 computers on board to make it fly!
    A short story. I once had a crew in which 2 of the stews (opps sorry, not PC) 2 of the FAs where talking to each other on their cell phones (while at the gate) from front galley to rear gally and texting some one else each on another device at the same time. Gadds!
    Things that I don't care about (like phones) I guess, are lifelines to others. What ever happened to the CB radio craze? That was fun.
    Just found a cell phone coverage map of southern Africa that I dropped into a PP slide.
  8. Cliffy

    Cliffy AH Elite

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    Forgot- preorder if one has an unlocked phone otherwise you need to rent one for that system one way or another-correct?
  9. spike.t

    spike.t GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    check the websites of the usa mobile phone companies and they will show you the phone companies in the different countries that they have usage agreements with ,and what steps you need to take to be able to use your phone internationally in these countries.for the small amount of time people are overseas and the amount they will use their phone it is probably easiest if you can use your own one. mine works in most countries ranging in the alphabet from afghanistan to zimbabwe . all i do is turn it on after arrival and off you go.
  10. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Yes.
    For most folks it will be easiest to show up and rent a phone if they really want one.
  11. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    You just pay for them just like at home.
    Dialing to USA etc. is international dialing protocol.

    If it works for you use it.


    I know RSA has 3G in lots of places.
    I chose Vodacom because of the coverage map in my areas I was visiting and they supported my BB.

    This was the person who helped set me up.

    View attachment 15250
  12. Cliffy

    Cliffy AH Elite

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    Found a cell phone coverage map for SA and incorporated it into the extra slides I've added for internet and phone use in the seminar. Still learning but thanks for all the help guys.
  13. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH Legend

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    On my first trip to RSA, I paid the extra few bucks per month to be able to make and receive international calls. I did make just a couple and it really wasn't a big bill, quite reasonable in fact. But I only made a couple of short calls to check on the kids and my mom who was keeping them for us.

    Next year it will be just my son and I. One of the nice features of the iPhone is the Facetime app. You make calls via internet and the camera on the phone puts your face up on the phone of the person you're calling and vice versa. Hopefully Jacques has wireless service at his lodge and I will be able to call my wife this way for free.

    Just another option if you have an iPhone and wireless service nearby. I don't know that there's a difference in wireless in RSA. I remember using my laptop at Afton on their wireless service.
  14. James.Grage

    James.Grage GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    my cell phone has Internationale abilities.

    I call Verizon and have my phone activated for the countries that i will be in and for the days i will be in each country.

    My phone worked in Joberg and Durban.

    The phone company will give you a map of coverage for you.

    Worked very slick...They e mailed me the how to make phone calls sheet and i was good to go.

    Worked in Tanzania also.

    Charges were on a per minute basis and not to over board.

    My sister had her smart phone and i also worked in Joberg this year.
  15. bluey

    bluey GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    my phone was the same as james s at the telstra shop (telstra being the network ) i just go in to the shop and tell them where im going to be and they set it up on world wide roaming and away i go .
    the only difference that every number that calls me has the country code in front of the number.ie;south african numbers have 27 then the number when i call say home i just dial and every number i have stored in my contacts just slides straight through to who ever im calling no international code so far its worked in south africa ,canada and new zealand as james said its charged by the minute . when over seas my plan in australia is viod
  16. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Your local provider may have some great options for you, like James and bluey say. You may have better options at home.
    Check it out.

    If I used my Canadian cell phone in Africa I could pay for the trophy shipment. How would you like a $1500 phone bill upon your return?

    For me, it is worth having the local number and paying local rates.

    If all you are doing is going to a lodge for a week, I would use the PH's or lodges phone.
  17. Cliffy

    Cliffy AH Elite

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    Thanks to all the help here I have most all of my comments lined out. Steep learning curve but I think I'll get a B for a grade anyway.

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