South Africa/Nigeria travelers suffer painfully high roaming charges

Ujuh Correspondent

South African and Nigerian authorities should hang their heads in shame for allowing the ludicrously high mobile telecoms roaming charges suffered by travellers from between the two countries.

If you are not careful enough you could land a bill around the R100 000 mark for normal internet browsing when travelling between the two countries.

We were exposed to the ludicrously high charges when we landed in Lagos from Johannesburg early this week. Landing with an intention to roam throughout our scheduled two weeks stay, we had to reconsider our options on discovering the ludicrously high roaming charges.

On landing at the, Murtala Muhammed Airport, we received the following message from our South African service provider Vodacom: “You’re roaming on Vodacom Travel Saver, so you’ll save and know your spend. In Nigeria you pay only R60/day, R7.50/min for calls, R2/SMS & R7.50/MB for data. For T&Cs and qualifying countries visit www.vodacom.co.za/saver

This is a rip off which must not be tolerated in the poverty stricken African continent. A continent that wants to grow intra-trade cannot justify such high mobile roaming telecom tariffs.

In case you’re not getting our drift consider the following comparison.

We were recently exposed to roaming charges in France and Italy. On landing in Paris and subsequently Venice we received the following message:  “You’re roaming on Vodacom Travel Saver, so you’ll save and know your spend. In France/Italy you pay only R30/day, R2.50/min for calls, 80c/SMS & R2/MB for data. For T&Cs and qualifying countries visit www.vodacom.co.za/saver

To be sure, the roaming charges we suffered in Italy and France are still high. But they appear to be extremely cheap when compared to intra African charges suffered by South Africa/Nigeria travellers.

Consider the following prognosis. We on average allocate about R1 500 per month towards mobile telecoms tariffs when we are at home in Johannesburg.

These Vodacom  roaming charges means that we will have to endure an extra R60 charge per day over 14 days which adds up to R840.00.

On a rate of R7.50/MB we will be forking out R750.00 (seven hundred and fifty rand) per 100 MB. Adjusting this rate to our normal data usage of 20GB per month produces crazy figures. A usage of 10GB in Nigeria will attract a charge of R75 000. That’s before you add voice and SMS charges into the equation.

What justifies these crazy figures in markets dominated by companies that are familiar with one another? MTN and Vodacom share South Africa as a birthplace. They should resolve this.

news@ujuh.co.za

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