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Using MTN when overseas


Roaming—going abroad


With international roaming you can keep your cellphone number and MTN connection when you travel overseas. It’s easier and cheaper than you think.

We’ve partnered with 600 networks in 170 countries, keeping you connected everywhere you go.

  1. What to remember before you go roaming
  2. Make sure that you have contacted your service provider and activated roaming well in advance, at least 2 weeks prior to departure. Alternatively, you can also activate MTN SMS Roaming by dialling *111*14#.
  3. A deposit may or may not be required depending on your price plan and payment history. Note—PAYG and TopUp customers do not need to activate roaming as it is active by default.
  4. Make sure that your phone is compatible with the network in the country you’re visiting and that you have the right adaptor necessary to charge your phone. We recommend that you take along your phone user manual as well as your PIN and PUK numbers.
  5. If you want to use the internet while roaming make sure that the country you are visiting has an MTN Roaming partner with data services. Latest information is available on Roaming Partners.
  6. Make 100% sure what the rates in your destination country would be for making calls, sending SMS and using data (internet).
  7. If you are going to use the internet please note that MTN charges for data roaming in increments that may vary per operator.

How to use

Setting up Roaming

Contract customers

How to set up International Roaming

  1. Find out whether there is an MTN partner in the country that you are visiting.
  2. Contact your Service Provider to activate International Roaming.

How to set up SMS Roaming Only

  1. To save costs while roaming, you can choose to deactivate calls and use SMS Roaming Only when overseas.
  2. Activate MTN SMS Roaming by dialling 111*14# (Before you leave SA).

PayAsYouGo customers

How to set up International Roaming

PayAsYouGo and TopUp customers need not activate roaming. It is available by default.

How to load airtime while in Southern East Africa regions

Dial *222*PIN number # on your phone.

Roaming services

We offer a range of services that make roaming simpler and more affordable for you.

Data Roaming Notifications

Data Roaming Usage Notifications

MTN has introduced a near real-time Data Roaming usage notification system to assist you in better managing your data when roaming internationally. This service is available to MTN PayAsYouGo, TopUp, contract and My MTNChoice customers and will automatically be activated on your cellphone on 25 September 2014.

The default setting is set to alert you at R500 increments. Should you wish to change this to R1000, R2000 or R5000 increments, you can do so by dialling *111*1*5*3# and following the prompts.

Should you wish to opt-out, you will be able to do by dialling *111*1*5*2# and following the prompts.

MTN SMS Roaming

  • Keep connected from just R1.50 per SMS and be in full control of your roaming costs. Send and receive SMSs in over 600 international partner networks all over the world.
  • MTN SMS Roaming is available to all MTN subscribers. You do not need to have the full international roaming product in order to use this service.
  • Before you leave South Africa, just dial *111*14# on your MTN cellphone to activate the service. Take a look at our SMS roaming rates.
  • Note that once the service is active you will not be able to make or receive calls even in South Africa.
  • Remember to deactivate the service when you return to South Africa.

How to send an SMS while roaming

To send an SMS to an international number

  • Type your message.
  • Enter the number in the international format (see ‘MTN Voice Roaming—How to make calls while roaming’ below).

To send an SMS to a local number

  • Type your message as normal.
  • Enter the local number of the roaming country as is.

MTN Voice Roaming

MTN Voice Roaming allows Customers to make and receive calls while roaming on partner networks.

Prepaid and TopUp customers automatically have access to Voice Roaming. Note that Prepaid and TopUp subscribers will need to ensure that they are using a partner network which supports Prepaid roaming. See roaming partners list. If your cellphone does not automatically select the specific network operator, you may have to select it manually. See your cellphone user manual for instructions on how to select a network manually.

Contract customers will need to contact their Service Provider in order to activate the international roaming service to have access to MTN Voice Roaming.

Activating the international roaming service will also give you access to send and receive SMS while roaming.

Making calls while roaming

How to phone a landline in SA while roaming.

  1. Dial (+) or (00)
  2. Followed by the SA code (27)
  3. Then the city code (e.g. 11) (Note the SA code 27 replaces the 0 in 011)
  4. Followed by the number (e.g. +27 11 987 6543)

How to phone a South African cellphone

  1. Dial (+) or (00)
  2. Followed by the SA code (27)
  3. Followed by the cellphone number, minus the first 0 (e.g. +27 83 123 1234).

How to phone a local landline number in your destination country

  1. Find out the local area code.
  2. Followed by the SA code (27)
  3. Dial the local area code and number.

Receiving calls while roaming

When you’re roaming, anyone can phone you no matter where they are situated. They simply need to dial your number as they usually do. MTN South Africa will then route that call to your international location.

The caller will pay the normal rate that they would have paid as if you had been in South Africa. In order for MTN to route that call to your international location you may be charged for an incoming call whilst roaming. The rate you will pay for incoming calls depends on the zone you are roaming in. This currently ranges from Free to R4.00 per minute.

MTN Data Roaming

While away, go online and send emails using your cellphone, a laptop or another internet-enabled device. It’s the same service that you have while at home, but with international roaming costs.

Contract customers will get access to the MTN Data Roaming Service when the international roaming product is activated.

How it works

  • When connected, you’ll be charged for the information you send and receive in increments that may vary per operator.
  • Surfing the internet on your cellphone can amount to a few 100KB per day, but can require several MB if rich multimedia content is accessed.
  • Data roaming can quickly exceed 10MB as downloading presentations, pictures, music and videos are typically very data-intensive. Note that 10MB could cost between R10 and R5000 depending on the zone you are roaming in.
  • If you have a smartphone (or any other device which uses data) and do not intend using data while roaming, disable all data-related activity before you leave.
  • For example, stop your device from receiving email. Failing to do so will result in you being charged the minimum billing increment each time your device connects to the mail server, even if no new mail is sent or received. Note that smartphones typically have many applications eg a weather app, that continuously or periodically uses a data connection, Ensure you understand how the applications on your device use data.
  • If you use a PC or laptop, please ensure that you are aware of all background download activity, such as Windows updates, anti-virus updates or any other application downloads which take place in the background.
  • If you intend roaming for a short period only, it may be a good idea to disable updates when roaming and try to keep downloads to the essential items only.

MTN Roaming recharge

  • To make recharging easier while roaming, MTN now allows TopUp and PayAsYouGo customers to recharge using local airtime vouchers in the country being visited.
  • MTN Roaming recharge is available in the following countries and networks.

    Botswana (Mascom Botswana)
    Lesotho (Econet Lesotho)
    Mozambique (mCel Mozambique)
    Nigeria (MTN Nigeria)
    Rwanda (MTN Rwanda)
    Swaziland (MTN Swaziland)
    Uganda (MTN Uganda)
    Zambia (MTN Zambia)
    Zimbabwe (NetOne Zimbabwe)
  • To load these airtime vouchers ensure that you are roaming on the network whose voucher you have purchased, dial *222* < your PIN number >#.
  • You will receive an equivalent Rand value recharge.

Roaming help

  • Contact your Service Provider if you are having problems with your roaming.
  • Dial *111# to access the MTN roaming and international calling service menu

Roaming voicemail retrieval

  • Dial *111*11# from your cellphone and MTN will call you back, allowing you to listen to your voice messages. The cost of this call will be charged at the receiving call rate that applies in the country that you are in..
  • Or dial +27 83 100 0000 to access your voicemail box directly. The call will be charged as a roaming call from your international destination to South Africa. Remember to set up a VoiceMail password before you leave. Dial 120 for this service.


Manage your Voicemail, FaxMail and VideoMail online from anywhere in the world using MTN's free iMail service. Register online before you leave to use this service while travelling.

Call barring

You can choose to block all or selected incoming calls while you’re travelling. Barring incoming calls lets the caller know your number is not available and terminates the call without an option for leaving a voice message. Learn more about call barring.

Call divert

Divert incoming calls to your voicemail or another number and only pay for calling to listen to your voicemail. While it’s free to divert calls to your voicemail, you will be charged for calls diverted to another number. Learn more about the various call divert options.

Bon voyage message

When you arrive at your destination, we’ll automatically connect you to the preferred network and give you basic information on services available.

Prepaid Data Roaming

If you’re headed overseas, you’ll need your ultimate travel companions to make sure you have a great time. That’s right, we’re talking about your devices. Whether it’s a phone, tablet or laptop, if you’re connected to the internet life is a whole lot simpler when travelling in another country.

Use Google Translate to order food to your hotel, share your amazing stories and photos on your social media, stay in touch with your loved ones back home via email or video chat with them on Skype, always know where you’re going with GPS navigation, search the net for the best restaurants, manage your budget with online banking, the benefits are endless.

And now with MTN’s new PayAsYouGo Data Roaming service, you can enjoy all the convenience and control of prepaid while you’re jet setting - simply top up your data and you’re good to go. You can even check your data balance in real time, so you don’t experience that sinking feeling of being suddenly disconnected at a crucial moment. If you’re a top-up contract customer you’re also in for a treat as you too can check your balance in real time, as well as enjoy reduced costs.

In a few simple steps, you can be on your way to enjoy the benefits of MTNPayAsYouGo Data Roaming service:

Before you leave South Africa do the following:

Step 1:

Opt in for MTN PayAsYouGo Data Roaming service by dialling *111#

Step 2:

Ensure that you have airtime/data on your device


On arrival at your international destination, follow these steps:

Step 1:

On arrival at your international destination, you will receive an SMS

Step 2

Check your airtime balance by dialling *141#

Step 3:

You can check your roaming rates by dialling *111*1# or call MTN Customer care at 173 Added benefit - if you find yourself in the South-East Africa region. Now you can top-up your airtime using the local voucher in following countries. Simply dial *222*voucherpin# or online via your bank account. So don’t let the nasty surprise of a huge data bill ruin the awesome memories you take back with you from your travels. Make sure you load prepaid data and stay connected and in control while you’re in transit.

Terms and Conditions apply


Standard Rates are available here

As an introduction to MTN’s new HelloWorld Roaming offer, all Roaming Customers shall enjoy discounted roaming rates from 30 June 2016 until 28 February 2017 Click here to check the rates available in the country that you will be visiting.

What does it cost?


How to save on Roaming costs

  • Use SMS roaming. Dial *111*14# and use the Roaming menu to active SMS Roaming. Once activated all your voice and data capabilities on your phone will be switched off and you will only be able to send and receive SMS.
  • Use iMail. Register for iMail on Once you are registered you can log in at any time and listen to your messages on the internet. When going overseas you can divert your calls to VoiceMail and listen to them on any computer with an internet connection. (Not available at the moment for PayAsYouGo and TopUp customers).
  • Divert all your calls to Voicemail. Before you leave SA you can divert all calls to go to VoiceMail. This means that whenever someone calls you the call will not leave South Africa to go to the country you are in – it will go straight to VoiceMail. That way you don't have to pay for an incoming call while roaming. Remember that to register for iMail and listen to your messages on the internet.
  • Use Voicemail CallBack. While overseas dial the roaming shortcut code of *111*100# and your VoiceMail will call you back. You won’t have to enter PIN codes, and you pay only for receiving a call while roaming. If you don’t do this you have to dial +2783 1000 000 to listen to your VoiceMail and you’ll pay for an outgoing call, at international voice rates. (Not available at the moment for PayAsYouGo and TopUp customers).
  • Make 100% sure you know what the data rates are. Overseas networks charge for data roaming in increments and rates are much higher than MTN charges in South Africa. Using data while roaming can cost you up to R500 per MB.
  • Switch off all automatic updates on your device and computer. Your phone/ device/ laptop does automatic updates in the background while connected to the internet. Make sure you have switched off all automatic updates on your phones, devices and laptops when roaming. If you have a BlackBerry remember that Roaming Data usage is not inclusive in your BIS, BES or BIS-BES packages. To deactivate your internet connection go to ‘Mobile Networks’ on your phone and turn ‘Data Roaming Services’ / ‘Data Services’ off.

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International Roaming Terms and Conditions​​​​​​​

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