Phone numbers in South Africa include useful information such as the source location of a call or to which mobile network a phone number is subscribed.
South Africa’s telecoms numbers are assigned to telecoms licencees according to ICASA’s National Numbering Plan Regulations of 2016.
With the exception of short codes and machine-related numbers, like those used in point-of-sale (POS) devices, telecoms numbers in South Africa contain 10 digits.
These numbers are divided into two main categories – geographic and non-geographic.
Fixed services – such as copper telephone lines – are allocated with geographic numbers, with the three first digits starting between 010 and 058.
These numbers indicates the geographic location of the phone line.
For example, the 011 number is designated for telephone numbers located in the Greater Johannesburg region, while 021 is for the Cape Town metro and surrounding towns.
The table below shows the geographic numbers for different regions in South Africa.
|Telephone numbers – Geographic|
|Starting number||General area||Prominent towns and cities|
|01 – Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West|
|010||Greater Johannesburg region||Johannesburg, Krugersdorp, Boksburg, Midrand|
|012||Tshwane region||Pretoria, Brits|
|013||Northern and western Mpumalanga||Middelburg, Witbank, Nelspruit|
|014||Northern North West and Southwestern Limpopo||Rustenburg, Modimolle|
|015||Northern and Eastern Limpopo||Polokwane|
|016||Vaal Triangle||Vereeniging, Vanderbiljpark, Sasolburg|
|018||Southern North West||Lichtenburg, Potchefstroom, Klerksdorp|
|02 – Western and Northern Cape|
|021||Cape Town metropole and surrounds||Cape Town, Stellenbosch, Somerset West, Gordon’s Bay|
|022||Boland and West Coast||Malmesbury|
|023||Karoo||Worcester, Beaufort West|
|027||Namaqualand||Vredendal, Calvinia, Clanwilliam, Springbok, Alexander Bay|
|028||Southern coast of Western Cape||Swellendam, Caledon, Hermanus|
|03 – KwaZulu-Natal|
|032||KwaZulu-Natal central coast||Stanger|
|034||Northern KwaZulu-Natal||Vryheid, Newcastle|
|035||Zululand||St. Lucia and Richard’s Bay|
|039||Easter Pondoland and southern coast of KwaZulu-Natal||Port Shepstone|
|04 – Eastern Cape and eastern parts of Western Cape|
|041||Port Elizabeth region||Port Elizabeth, Uitenhage|
|042||Southern and central parts of Eastern Cape||Humansdorp|
|043||East London region||East London|
|044||Garden Route||Oudtshoorn, Knysna, Plettenberg Bay, Mossel Bay, George|
|045||Northern and eastern parts of Eastern Cape||Queenstown|
|046||Southern and easter parts of Eastern Cape||Grahamstown|
|047||Eastern part of Eastern Cape||Mthatha|
|048||Northern part of Eastern Cape||Steynsburg|
|049||Western part of Eastern Cape||Graaff-Reinet|
|04 – Free State and Northern Cape|
|051||Southern and central parts of Free State and far eastern part of Eastern Cape||Bloemfontein, Aliwal North|
|053||Eastern part of Northern Cape||Kimberley|
|056||Northern part of Free State||Kroonstad|
|057||Free State Goldfields||Welkom|
|058||Eastern part of Free State||Bethlehem|
Non-geographic numbers are used for cellular services and other numbers typically used by companies and government.
These run from 060 to 099, and may be for mobile services, toll-free services, VoIP services, mass calling services, machine-related services, or premium rated services.
The 060 to 084 numbers are used by mobile network operators and mobile virtual network operators.
Each of these networks have set ranges within which they are allocated phone numbers. These number ranges provide them with millions of numbers to assign to customers.
MTN, for example, is currently assigned 55 million numbers to service its 32 million subscribers.
Numbers starting with 072 and 082 are designated for Vodacom, 073 and 083 are for MTN, and 074 and 084 are for Cell C.
The remaining allocation – and in particular those starting with 06 – are more complex.
For example, while Cell C gets numbers starting between 0610 and 0613, Telkom numbers can start with 0614.
The table below shows which mobile number ranges are allocated to each mobile network operator.
|Mobile numbers – Non-geographic|
|0603 – 0605||MTN|
|0606 – 0609||Vodacom|
|0610 – 0613||Cell C|
|0615 – 0619||Cell C|
|063 – 0635||MTN|
|0636 – 0637||Vodacom|
|0641- 0645||Cell C|
|0650 – 0653||Cell C|
|0654||Lycamobile (Cell C roaming)|
|0655 – 0657||MTN|
|0658 – 0659||Telkom|
|0660 – 0665||Vodacom|
|0670 – 0672||Telkom|
|0673 – 0675||Vodacom|
|0676 – 0679||Telkom|
|0680 – 0685||Telkom|
|0711 – 0716||Vodacom|
|0717 – 0719||MTN|
|0811 – 0815||Telkom|
Figuring out from which network a mobile number could be is more difficult than simply considering these prefixes, however.
Mobile customers have the option of porting to other networks, while keeping their number.
This means a number which was originally assigned within the ranges of Vodacom may now belong to an MTN customer, or vice-versa.
However, other non-geographic numbers, such as toll-free, shared-cost, premium rate and general voice services numbers starting with 0800, 0860, 0861, 0862, 087 are not currently portable.
This means that companies with one of these numbers would have to change them when they switch service provider.
ICASA in 2018 published new number portability regulations that provide for the porting of these non-geographic numbers.
Multiple mobile operators – including Vodacom, MTN, Cell C – told MyBroadband they supported this initiative, while Telkom said it would adhere by the new rules.
Other non-geographic numbers
The table below shows the other non-geographic numbers which are not used for general mobile services to everyday users, but typically used by companies.
|Other non-geographic numbers|
|089||Mass calling services|
|090||Premium rate services|
|090||Premium rate services|
|091||Premium rate services|
|092||Premium rate services|