To get connected in SA, a fekkin’ nightmare

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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.

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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.

Fekkin' ridiculous.

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One Reply to “Life is travel, the case for the patron saint of walkers”

  1. […] Babak is one of the three founders of walk · listen · create. He maintains a few apps that help people to get lost, including Dérive app, inspired by the ideals of the The Situationists. The article below, making the case that Saint Augustine should be the patron saint of walkers, was first published on his website. […]

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