Media releases

Going on holiday overseas: Here are some roaming tips to manage your mobile bill

Friday, 21 February 2014

If you are travelling internationally and want to manage your budget and in particular your mobile phone expenses, the first step would be to ensure your data roaming capability is set appropriately to prevent bill shock. Cell C has partnered with more than 570 roaming partners in 194 countries around the world to keep you in contact wherever you go.

“The reality is you don’t want to be that person who ends up with a surprise bill that runs into thousands of rands after your trip. You want to enjoy your holiday, confident that you have turned off Apps and services that might use unnecessarydata,” says Michelle Beetar, Cell C’s Chief Customer Experience Officer.

“We have put together some tips for international travellers, to ensure your device is appropriately set up so that you can ensure that data is not the biggest expense of your holiday.”

The Data-Saving Holiday Checklist

  1. Wi-Fi Calling
    To minimize the cost of international phone calls, Cell C offers Wi-Fi Calling, which means, when you are travelling abroad, you can simply use Wi-Fi calling on any Wi-Fi network, and only get charged local rates.  Importantly, the experience is the same as a normal phone call for both parties.
  2. Data and Wi-Fi
    Turn off your data services.  These are always significantly more expensive than voice and SMS and most hotels, airports and businesses offer a guest Wi-Fi or hotspot, so you can do your syncing when connected to one of these.
  3. Apps 
    Make sure that none of your Apps will override your data roaming settings and turn your data back on. 
  4. OTT services 
    Switch off or only utilise all services that you subscribe to like WhatsApp, email, Twitter and Facebook when connected to Wi-Fi.  Automatic and service downloads that are usually cheap or free in South Africa will be charged at a per MB rate while roaming, as per foreign network charges. 
  5. Data app 
    Download a data usage monitoring App. There are many available from the App Store or Google Play Store.  This is just to confirm EARLY, that your interventions are working. 
  6. Roaming 
    To stay in communication while travelling, activate International Roaming before you travel. You can do this in 3 ways – Dial 135, go into your nearest Cell C store or email: customerservice@cellc.co.za

 This is how to turn off your data settings


  • Go to Settings > General > Network > Cellular Data Network
  • Turn off Data Roaming
  • Turn off Cellular Data 


  • To Turn off Data: Swipe down from the top of the screen > Flick the Mobile data switch from ON to OFF
  • To Turn off Data Roaming: Go to Settings > Mobile Networks > Data Roaming

 On roaming, what can I get billed for;

  • All calls made while roaming will be charged – both incoming and outgoing;
  • The rates will fluctuate from time to time due to exchange rates and foreign operator charges;
  • You will be charged for messages left on your voicemail, if you have activated the Call Forwarding Condition (eg, if not answered) and for retrieval of voicemail messages;
  • Thresholds cannot be applied while roaming;
  • It can take up to 3 months for charges incurred overseas to reflect on your statement. This is due to the time it takes to get records from foreign networks.
  • For international roaming rates per country, please click on the following link, select the country you are travelling to and the rates will come up.  https://www.cellc.co.za/cellc/international-roaming

Back to media releases