To get connected in SA, a fekkin’ nightmare
It's a pain to get mobile internet access in almost any country, but my experience in South Africa this week was one of the worst ever.
On the day of my arrival, I walked into the Vodacom store at the airport. They wanted 20 euros for a sim card. The next door MTN only wanted 6, but their system was down, meaning they wouldn't be able to register the card.
The next day, a Sunday, I wanted to visit a Cell C store, who offer the cheapest Internet in the country. The store was closed, but a nearby Vodacom store was open, where sim cards were being sold for forty cents. Only drawback, just like in most other African countries, you now need to register a new sim card with your passport if you are buying a new line, even if you're getting a prepaid card. And I wasn't carrying mine.
The next day, at the Joburg train station, I walked into a third party Vodacom store, who wanted four euros for the sim. A store on the other side of the isle wanted 3, and a store 20 meters away was giving them away for free. I registered the sim and got some airtime.
Then for my microsim, to be used inside my iPad. The same shop sold microsims for 1 euro (really only the charge for not having to cut the card up yourself), registered it, but discovered the sim didn't work. Being a reseller, the clerk advised me to go to a proper Vodacom shop. Which I did, later in the day, where they told me the line had to be registered on the network through a phone. I tried, using an adapter for the microsim inside my own phone, but to no avail.
I was told to go to a Vodacare shop. Which I did, where I was told I had to get a sim from the shop next door, for 5 cents, register that sim, and then do a sim swap. Which I also did, only to be told thee sim swap wouldn't be finished within two hours, after the shop's closing time.
And how to load the dataplan? I would have to come back to the store and have staff load a dataplan upon my payment in cash.
So I came back the next day, bought the plan and had staff load it onto the sim. Only for it to still not work. Settings needed to be entered, for which I had to stand in line for half an hour, as only one individual in the store knew the right settings, and he was helping a stupified BlackBerry user.