Vodacom announced today (22 December 2011) the launch of their Roaming Tariff Information (RTI) SMS which proactively informs customers via SMS about the roaming rates that are applicable in the foreign countries they travel into.
“The RTI SMS service will notify customers on arrival at their international destination that they are in the coverage area of a foreign network; and it will specify the exact roaming rates customers are going to pay on a particular foreign network,” Vodacom explains.
“The service is going to help customers avoid roaming bill shock,” Vodacom said in a press statement.
Vodacom highlights that customers should take note of the rates in the RTI SMS, and be aware that roaming is more expensive than using the same services back home.
When travelling internationally, Vodacom suggests the following tips to help customers manage their roaming bill.
Data Roaming Tips
- If a customer uses a smartphone or a tablet, they must ensure that only essential data related activities on their device are enabled to avoid using large volumes of data. Receiving email, browsing the web, using instant messaging services and other applications should only be activated when necessary to avoid using large volumes of data and accumulating a high bill.
- It is also important to note that using a handset to check email, browse the web, use instant messaging or other applications, is not free when roaming regardless of whether these are available for free in South Africa; and will be billed at the applicable Vodafone world rate for data roaming.
- Accessing Vodafone Live! is also not free when roaming as it is in South Africa and will also be billed at the applicable Vodafone World rate for data roaming.
- Customers should set up their email client to download the header of new emails only. Once they receive the headers of new emails, they can then manually select which emails should be downloaded in full to prevent large downloads. Try to avoid downloading emails with large attachments to prevent high bills.
- Streaming video, person to person file sharing or any other type of file download is extremely data intensive and can result in extremely high bills.
- When using data roaming on the laptop abroad, customers must remember to disable all automatic download activity which happens in the background, like operating system updates or software/app updates.
- Customers should disable their smartphone or tablet from performing automatic app refreshes or automatic software updates when abroad to prevent large data downloads.
- When using data roaming, where possible customers must always roam on selected partner networks to qualify for the Super Saver data rate which is lower than the standard data roaming rates in a specific country. Devices should be manually set to only roam on networks which qualify for the Super Saver data rate.
- If customers do not want to use data roaming at all, they must turn Data Roaming off on their device: select ‘Settings’ > ‘General’ > ‘Network’ > ‘Data Roaming’ or consult your device manual for more information.
Voice roaming tips
- Contract customers, who make calls of long duration, can activate Vodafone Passport to save costs. Vodafone Passport allows customers to use their home rate, allowing them to talk longer for less. For example, a customer who is roaming on the Vodafone UK network with Vodafone Passport activated on a Talk 130 tariff plan can save up to 83% of what he or she would have had to pay normally without Passport.
- Retrieving voicemail messages, by dialling 121 and calling Vodacom’s dedicated Customer Contact Centre on 111 from a Vodacom cellphone attracts the applicable roaming rate as a call back to South Africa based on the roaming option a customer has chosen (either Vodafone World or Vodafone Passport).
- Receiving a call while travelling internationally is not free – customers will be charged at the applicable roaming rate based on the roaming option they have chosen; either Vodafone World or Vodafone Passport.
- Divert incoming calls unconditionally to voicemail prior to leaving South Africa to control costs. All incoming calls are diverted to customer’s voicemail service, but they will still be able to make calls. To activate unconditional diverts: Dial **21*08214 and the last nine digits of their cellphone number, followed by the # key and press the send / dial button.