WIFI, Mobile Data and Connectivity

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WIFI, Mobile Data and Connectivity

WiFi Availability in South Africa

In South Africa, you can typically find WiFi connectivity in your accommodations and at your internship site. Many coffee shops, some restaurants, and pubs also offer WiFi access. However, WiFi is generally not available on public transportation and is not widespread in most public spaces. While Cape Town is making significant improvements to its internet infrastructure, including extensive deployment of fiber optics, WiFi availability in South Africa may not be as extensive as in the United States or Europe.

To ensure you stay connected throughout your stay, we strongly recommend using the local South African SIM card provided in your VACorps welcome pack. This will help you avoid situations where you can’t order an Uber, contact the VACorps Safety Officer, or stay connected during outdoor activities.

Using Your Home Network SIM Card

If you haven’t activated international roaming (which can be costly), your home network SIM card will not function for calls, texts, or mobile data once you leave your home country. However, you can still connect to WiFi networks anywhere in the world. This allows you to keep in touch with family and friends during airport layovers and use your phone for Uber, Facebook, email, WhatsApp, and more while in South Africa, but only when connected to a WiFi network. Without a local network provider, you won’t have access to mobile data, and you won’t be able to make calls or send texts outside of WiFi range.

Therefore, we highly recommend using your South African SIM card. More information on this is provided below.

Using Your South African SIM Card

Upon your arrival at the airport, you will receive a local South African SIM card along with detailed instructions on how to use it in your welcome pack. After inserting your South African SIM card, your WhatsApp and FaceTime contact numbers will remain the same. However, anyone trying to call or text you on your home country number will not be successful, as you will now be connected to the South African network. To receive calls and texts, you must provide your family and friends with your new South African number (with the dialing code +27). Your original number will continue to work for all services that rely on data or WiFi, such as email, WhatsApp, FaceTime, Skype, and more.

Using a South African SIM card in your phone will not have any lasting impact on your device. Once you leave South Africa, simply remove the South African SIM card and replace it with your home network SIM card to reconnect with your home network.