Ladies and Gentlemen – we have the answer to the question which has ben bugging the International Traveller: How to user your Blackberry overseas without insane data bill ?
We have finally managed to crack the mystery of international roaming. From various sources including personal accounts and official Vodacom and MTN feedback I have compiled the following:
Before we begin, the normal disclaimer applies – this is general information that may or may not apply to you. I take no responsibility whatsoever and suggest you verify anything you do with your Service Provider. Ie. Don’t call me if things go wrong !!!
SMS whilst overseas:
From both Vodacom and MTN users there is a facility that allows you to send and receive SMS only when overseas. With this facility, all other services are cancelled and all calls go direct to Voicemail - only SMS will come through to your cell phone.
Note: The service can only be activated while you are still in South Africa.
If you are with Vodacom:
To activate: SMS ‘ROAMON’ to 123
If you are with MTN:
Blackberry Messenger (BBM) whilst overseas + Blackberry Email:
One of Blackberry’s key features is of course BBM – this makes keeping in touch a pleasure but also very expensive if you do it wrong as Data charges can be up to R150 per Megabyte !
Thankfully the clever people at Blackberry have allowed the usage of BBM and Email via the phone’s WiFi facility.
So in order to get BBM to work regardless of which cellular network you use, the steps are the same.
1. Make sure before you leave South Africa that you DO NOT have International Roaming enabled on your contract.
Suggest when you call the Customer Service to disable this that you make a note of the date, time and person you spoke to. Ask for a reference number too. This is a just-in-case you need to use it to defend an insane bill when you get home.
2. When you get to your overseas destination, find a Wi-Fi zone and connect to it. You might need to put in a password (follow the instructions as if you were connecting with your laptop)
3. Once connected, do the following:
- Click on Manage Connection >
- Click on Mobile Network Options >
- Make sure that Data Services: ON >
- Make sure that Whilst roaming: OFF.
4. It can take Blackberry a little while to logon and authenticate on the WiFi network. So don’t panic if the BBM don’t instantly flood in.
To test your connection and see if the WiFi is working: click on the Browser on your phone and make sure you can browse the internet. If you can, then it means that your WiFi is working and your BBM and Emails should also start to work now. If you can not surf the internet, it means that the WiFi isn’t working and you need to get someone to help you get connected.
5. Once you have connected to the Internet view WiFi, other applications such as WhatsApp, Gtalk etc. should also work.
Finally, don’t forget to take your charger and a local country adapter or else you will be highly irritate spending valuable holiday time going shop to shop to buy a ridiculously expensive charger you don’t need ! (been there…)
Important info links:
By the way:
As an added bonus with MTN – you can use iMail to listen to your voicemail from the website:
iMail (Not available at the moment for PAYG and TopUp customers). You can go to http://www.mtn.co.za and register on the website. Once done while on the website go through the following links: MTN Services/ My MTN/ iMail. Once you are registered for MTN iMail you can log in at any time and listen to your messages on the internet instead of on your phone! Here is a scenario on how it could work: Before Jo left for India he diverted all his calls to go directly to voicemail. This means that Jo cannot receive any calls while he is overseas. Knowing that he must have many voicemail messages he logs onto http://www.mtn.co.za from the computer in his hotel room. He logs into iMail and listens to his messages by simply clicking on them.