Roaming? use Voicemail 2SMS or 2email

International travellers – don’t clock up expensive bills listening to voicemail when abroad!

Missed calls that are diverted to your Voicemail are billed as two international calls: one to your phone and the second for diverting to your Voicemail (back in South Africa)! Accessing your Voicemail while abroad (even short codes like 121) is also not free and is charged as an international roaming call to South Africa. Vodacom customers in Europe pay R23/min while Vodacom Passport customers’ are only slightly better off as calls to South Africa incur a once-off connection fee (R17.50) plus the per unit peak, non-Vodacom, mobile rate applicable to their contract – or at least R20 for the first minute! MTN costs are similar for using the international mailbox number, however customers can elect to have their voicemail call them back and pay roaming receiving call charges. However all are expensive options.

Vodacom Voicemail 2 SMS allows you to receive your English voicemail messages in the form of text messages. Messages are delivered via SMS but you can still dial into the voicemail service on 121 to listen to messages if needed. Receiving an SMS when abroad is free. Use Voicemail 2 SMS to receive & screen Voicemail but ensure you have diverted all incoming calls to Voicemail by setting up an unconditional divert – use **21*082131 (last 7 digits of your mobile number # and dial.) or use your phone’s menu. There is no limit to the number of messages converted in a month and the service is fairly priced – subscription fee of R35.00 (incl. VAT) per month applies. Simply SMS ‘MAIL’ to 31118 or contact your Service Provider.

Alternative providers such as Voicecloud offer other Voicemail 2 email options ( if translation is problematic! Voicecloud offer voicemail messages sent to your email as audio mp3 files ($9.95pm), automatic transcription (50-60% accuracy for $19.95) or human assisted (99% accuracy for $29.95). All are emails and require data bandwidth to download.

Using MTN’s free iMail web service, you can read your messages on the web or set up your VoiceMail messages to be sent to you as an MMS or an email attachment. Unconditional divert to voicemail can be done by entering +27 83 14 (last nine (9) digits of your mobile number). Again, a low cost data connection is required to prevent data roaming cost shocks on your mobile – audio files and MMS both use cellular data, so a low cost (Wi-Fi) connection is essential.


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