Why your mobile data doesn’t work on “TelkomSA-R”

Telkom has been in the process of switching roaming partners since the beginning of 2019, and as of 1 July, it has successfully moved its roaming traffic over to Vodacom.

The company signed a major roaming agreement with Vodacom last year which would allow its mobile customers to roam on Vodacom’s 2G, 3G, and 4G infrastructure with seamless handover.

Seamless handover means that Telkom customers shouldn’t experience any dropped calls or other interruptions when moving between networks.

The implementation of the roaming agreement has created some friction, however, with the initial switchover causing some problems for users.

Telkom subscribers reported that they were being connected to Telkom’s virtual roaming network (TelkomSA-R) on Vodacom’s infrastructure when standard Telkom connectivity was available.

This was a problem, as Telkom offers both Telkom LTE and All-Net data bundles, only the latter of which can be used on Vodacom’s infrastructure.

User frustration

Users have taken to social media to express their frustration over the All-Net data depletion while roaming, as well as data depletion notifications sent via SMS when they connect to Vodacom infrastructure with All-Net data available.

The reason these users are experiencing issues when connecting to Vodacom infrastructure is that they only have Telkom LTE data available with no All-Net data balance.

Telkom’s once-off All-Net data bundles are available for purchase through the mobile operator’s *180# USSD menu, along with Telkom-only LTE bundles which start at 10GB in size, and FreeMe and IDOLS bundles which include All-Net data along with added features.

While users can purchase Telkom-only LTE data through this USSD menu, the most common source of this network-exclusive data is Telkom’s Mo’Nice promotions, which offer a random selection of data deals which periodically refresh.

These deals can include either Telkom LTE or All-Net data, with the former being considerably less expensive and subsequently more attractive to customers.

The solution

If you are experiencing issues in areas where you used to have good Telkom coverage but are now automatically connected to Vodacom, or if you are receiving messages constantly warning you of having no All-Net data, there is an easy fix.

The best option is to purchase some All-Net data to use on Vodacom and Telkom’s networks, although this may prove more expensive than Telkom-only Mo’ Nice deals.

Another option is to simply disable roaming to only connect to Telkom’s network and use Telkom LTE data.

In a response provided to various customers on social media, Telkom outlined the following solution to users who were encountering problems with their data connection:

We recently changed roaming partners to enhance your network experience where you don’t have Telkom coverage. Where you see TelkomSA-R at the top of your phone screen, we advise that you purchase All-Net bundles instead of Telkom bundles.

Telkom bundles will work great where you don’t see an ‘R’. To achieve this you will need to change your settings by removing the roaming option. If you prefer roaming please leave it enabled.

Some users have reported issues when switching between Vodacom and Telkom infrastructure, but these problems could have been caused by instability due to the implementation of the roaming deal, as cited by Telkom on Twitter.

As the system stands, you will need to make sure that you have enough All-Net Telkom data to take advantage of the mobile operator’s roaming deal with Vodacom.

If you would rather just buy cheaper Telkom-only data and not roam on Vodacom, you should simply turn off roaming in your smartphone settings.

Now read: How much it costs to cancel your cellphone contract – MTN vs Vodacom

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Why your mobile data doesn’t work on “TelkomSA-R”