Go Back   Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB > Equipment, Travel > Communications

Communications Connecting - internet cafes, laptops, Palm devices, cell phones - how to connect, use, which one, and Bike to Bike and passenger intercoms.
Contact Overland Solutions for all your custom modifications and setup for overland travel.

Like Tree1Likes
  • 1 Post By MovingHouse

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 6 Jan 2012
Registered Users
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: London
Posts: 71
Mobile Internet in Africa

Given many of us on the road now carry smartphones (and laptops), it is fairly straightforward to get mobile internet using local SIM cards in virtually every Sub-Saharan country, and is generally comparable in price and speed to internet cafes but with obviously greater flexibility. Often the most difficult part is to get the appropriate network settings, which are usually entered somewhere in settings menu on the phone. Here's summary of our experiences so far along the Eastern side:

Ethiopia:
Only one company (ETC) but several non-GSM systems exist. Need to ensure that the correct GSM SIM is obtained, activated for internet, and language set to English at the ETC office – costs 85birr and requires copy of passport and two photos(!). Data packages are cheap but quality of service is poor.
Settings: APN: etc.com, username: < leave blank> , password: < leave blank>

Uganda:
MTN: good coverage and cheap data. No registration required to purchase SIM. Internet activation took 2 days, eve though the internet settings never arrived by SMS as promised. However, bizarrely, leaving all of APN, username and password blank worked. Orange an alternative with data bundles slightly more expensive than MTN.
Settings: APN: < leave blank>, username: < leave blank> , password: < leave blank>

Kenya:
Safaricom has good coverage, and mobile internet for 600MB for one month for KES 1000. Airtel has better rates and similar coverage – around KES 100 for 100MB or 100MB per USD, making Kenya the cheapest for mobile internet on our travels. Internet settings are (in case SMS with settings does not arrive on activation at the safaricom shop):
safaricom settings: APN: safaricom, username: <leave blank>, password: <leave blank>
airtel: settings: APN: ke.celtel.com, username: <leave blank>, password: <leave blank>

Rwanda:
MTN has good coverage and cheap data. Internet access needs to be activated after purchasing SIM (done on the spot at MTN shop).
Settings: APN: internet.mtn, username: <leave blank>, password: <leave blank>

Burundi:
None of our UK or Rwandan SIMs in roaming mode worked. Local SIMs (Leo widely used) available from U-com on the main roundabout at GPS: S3.381502 E29.361906 in Bujumbura
Settings: APN: ucnet, username: Ucom, password: <leave blank>

Tanzania:
Vodacom has good coverage with internet at TZS500/day for 20MB. 30 day packages available. Internet settings are:
Settings: APN: wap, username: guest, password: guest

Mozambique:
Vodacom has decent coverage but mCel is better in certain areas in the North e.g Ibo island. Vodacom has internet bundles at MZN49 for 125MB valid for 24hours, as well as weekly and monthly packages. For internet access to be enabled on Vodacom, dial *111# and follow the instructions. Even though the system tells you that your internet settings are being sent by SMS, they never arrived – seems to be a common issue. The following manual settings work:
Settings: APN: internet, username: <leave blank>, password: <leave blank>

Malawi:
TNM has unreliable coverage, especially for internet. Lilongwe is particularly poor for internet. Settings: APN: internet, username: <leave blank>, password: <leave blank>

Airtel is much better, and has the same internet settings as above, but needs activation by calling customer care on 111. Daily 20MB (+20MB bonus) bundle costs MWK 80.
There is also a wi-fi cloud service (SkyBand) in the main cities and hotels. Very expensive compared to mobile broadband from airtel/TNM, at MWK 700 for 50MB valid for 14 days.

Zambia:
Mobile internet is expensive. Both MTN and airtel pay as you go rates are approx MZK 1000/MB (or 5MB per USD), which is more than 10 times as expensive than elsewhere in East Africa. Airtel bundles are better, but typically require an outlay of USD25, valid for 30 days giving 300MB. MTN has no bundles. For airtel:
Settings: APN: internet, username: <leave blank>, password: <leave blank>

Zimbabwe:
Econet is widely used. Mobile internet using prepaid data bundles costs are around 10MB per USD.
Internet access needs to be activated at an econet shop/customer care. Internet settings are:
Settings: APN: econet.net, username: <leave blank>, password: <leave blank>

Botswana:
Mobile internet is expensive. Orange 30 day data bundles are BWP 9.5 for 10MB (or 7MB per USD), which is more than 10 times as expensive than in East Africa.
Settings: APN: internet.orange.co.bw, username: guest, password: guest

Namibia:
30 day data bundles are NAD 25 for 50MB (or 16MB per USD) from MTC.
Settings: APN: ppsinternet, username: <leave blank>, password: <leave blank>

South Africa
30 day data bundles are ZAR 49 for 50MB (or 16MB per USD) from Vodacom. Cell-C is cheaper, but less coverage outside of big cities.
Settings: APN: internet, username: guest, password: guest
__________________
http://www.movinghouse.ws
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 6 Jan 2012
Super Moderator
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 1,847
Thumbs up

V useful post-
Made it into a sticky!

Last edited by Bertrand; 7 Jan 2012 at 21:34.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 8 Jan 2012
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: UK
Posts: 219
Also, if you are going to use a netbook or laptop with a mobile dongle and local SIM card, try to get it unlocked before you leave, or go in to almost any independant mobile phone shop/shack/kiosk in Africa, and they can usually get the dongle unlocked for you for a couple of quid - you can then use any SIM card on any network in Africa. Lots of people I met were buying a new dongle every time they travelled to a new country!
You will need to check the APN and password settings as per above post each time you use a different network provider.
(Tip - before you leave one country, find out what the APN and network settings are for the next provider in advance, as you won't be able to connect to the internet to find out without them...)
__________________
www.simba4x4.com
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 20 Jan 2012
Registered Users
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: London
Posts: 71

Swaziland:
Pay as you go from MTN is SZL 1 for 1MB (or 8MB per USD). 3G coverage is patchy. South African Vodacom refused to roam in Swaziland.

Settings: APN: mymtn.co.sz, username: <leave blank>, password: <leave blank>
__________________
http://www.movinghouse.ws
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 27 May 2012
Registered Users
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: On the road somewhere in Africa
Posts: 80
South Africa:

MTN have a data deal going - 187R (approx £14/$23) for 2 Gb - by far the cheapest I could find!

Dial : *99#
Username : MTN
Password : MTN

Last edited by frenchian; 27 May 2012 at 20:41. Reason: additional info
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 13 Feb 2014
Registered Users
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Dallas,TX
Posts: 22
super-useful info
thanks
Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 5 (0 Registered Users and/or Members and 5 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
West & central Africa - Route we took & film langebaan sunset sub-Saharan Africa 4 9 Aug 2013 19:26
Foriegn registered 4x4s in Africa and Europe. Bundubasher 4WD for Sale / Wanted 2 5 Jan 2012 16:35
Around africa on suzuki drz 400 carlospezao Route Planning 6 29 Nov 2011 20:09
Europe - West Africa - Cape Town - East Africa - Asia- Europe simonkring Travellers Seeking Travellers 3 18 Nov 2011 23:52
Africa - Best and Worst Awards rupertu Ride Tales 5 7 Nov 2011 22:50

 
 


HU DVD Summer Special!

Now that summer is here, get On the Road! Take 30% off the Achievable Dream - On the Road! 2-DVD set until August 31 only. Get On the Road! Learn the tips to staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure!

Our veteran travellers share their tips (and great stories) for staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure.

"A fantastic, informative and inspirational DVD."

"It's brilliant - thank you very much!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'ONTHEROAD' on your order when you checkout.


Renedian Adventures


Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!


What turns you on to motorcycle travel?


Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!


New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.


Books & DVDs

amazon

All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.


Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!




All times are GMT +1. The time now is 16:15.