Stories and Traveltips

ID #1279

Telecommunications, South Africa.

A direct-dialling service connects all centres except for villages in remote rural areas. Three mobile telephone services (cellphones) have circumvented these difficulties to some extent, particularly in areas close to national highways. An international telephone service links the region with other countries around the world.  Calls from hotels generally carry a surcharge. Many now hire cellphones on arrival at Johannesburg International to maintain contact during their holiday. One can hire cellphones (mobile phones) at most major airports.

All numbers quoted here have been entered in a particular format. Assume that one is trying to contact the number +27 (11) 463 2987+27 (11) 463 2987. Note the following:

•    The + sign implies that you are dialling from overseas. One must use the correct international dialling code, which varies from country to country. 
•    27 is the dialling code for South Africa.  The dialling codes for other countries in the region are

Lesotho        266
Swaziland        268
Namibia        264
Botswana        267
Zimbabwe        263
Mozambique    258
Zambia        260
Tanzania        255
Kenya        254

•    When dialling a number from within South Africa, one replaces the +27 with a 0 (zero). So the number dialled would be 011 463 2987011 463 2987.
•    When the area code is either 73, 82, 83 or 84, it implies that the number being dialled is on one of the cellphone networks (Vodacom, MTN or Cell-C).
•   The system was changed recently and one must now use the area code irrespective of whether or not one is within the area or not. Applicable to both landlines and cellphones.
•    When the number quoted is followed by the words “ask for XXX”, it implies that the subscriber is not part of an automatic telephone exchange. You will need to request assistance from the operator in question. This is only applicable in rural communities.

One can use a number of systems to make international calls (see AT&T).

Telephone cards are obtainable at post offices, airports and branches of the CNA, among others. They are sold in denominations of R10.00. They can be used at green public telephones. They can however only be used for calls within South Africa.

Use of the internet and e-mail is widespread and growing rapidly. Many have both. The majority however have neither or one of the two. Telephone numbers are notoriously changeable or misquoted. Please let us know of any changes in such information. We are an e-mail message away and will act promptly to update the record in question. This will assist us to maintain the integrity of the available information.

Fortunately, there is a solution to this difficulty. When in South Africa, dial directory enquiries (dial 1023), supply the name and region and you will usually be able to find the right number with a minute or two. ATTratel

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Last update: 2014-03-28 08:05
Author: Alan McIver
Revision: 1.2

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