How To Activate Vodacom Roaming When Already Abroad ( Code And List of Countries)

Travelling to the USA, UK, Europe etc.? This guideline shows you how to activate Vodacom roaming when already abroad. The international Vodacom roaming code, along with supported list of countries is fully explained.

how to activate vodacom roaming when already abroad

Despite some report and field test data that MTN currently triumphs over Vodacom in South Africa, it does not remove the fact that Vodacom is still the most widely used mobile network provider in South Africa with over 40% market share and 45 million plus users as at December 2022.

Vodacom, explicitly known for its practical reliability even in terms of load shedding and great uptime latency, the network offers many advantages when you are roaming under its international list of supported countries.

The current load shedding problem facing South Africa exposed networks that are unreliable, however, Vodacom stands tall, dependable and reliable ( from personal experience).

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What Is Vodacom International Roaming

In technical terms, roaming is a wireless telecommunication phrase used with mobile devices, such as mobile phones.

In a more moderate and simple definition for the ordinary man, it means being able to use your phone network when you are outside of your home country.

A very good example is this:

Assuming you are travelling to USA, UK, Europe or any other country away from your own country and maybe these destination country may not have your own country network your phone is using ( Vodacom).

If you are able to make calls, receive calls, chat or access the internet, it means that Vodacom is roaming internationally on the available network in that area or country.

Remember, that Vodafone ( British multinational mobile operator) still has about 64.5% stake in Vodacom, so when it comes to international roaming, Vodacom walks the talk to deliver excellent great user experience.

Vodacom Roaming Countries List

Vodacom has affordable roaming agreement with more than 630 telecom mobile network providers in the world. They are well able to do this by leveraging on the international reach and expertise of Vodafone.

Now, the list of supported countries is divided into two:

  • Low cost destination countries
  • High cost destination countries

The following are the high cost destination countries in roaming agreement with Vodacom:

  • Low cost destination countries

USA, UK ( United Kingdom), Australia, Nigeria, China, European countries ( most European countries), Malawi, Zimbabwe, Most Asian countries , down to the middle east e.g. UAE, Dubai etc.

In Africa, in order to make roaming fees cheaper, Vodacom established what is known as ‘Africa roaming’; this arrangement brings together most countries on this continent.

With this arrangement,, countries like Lesotho, Mozambique, DRC, Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania ( except Zimbabwe) enjoys a far cheaper roaming fees.

  • High cost destination countries

Cambodia, Cape Verde, Chad, Cook Islands, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Rep, Ecuador, Falkland Islands, Gambia, Honduras, Lithuania, Macedonia, Morocco, Senegal, Slovenia, Syria, Venezuela, Vietnam

With these countries listed here above, you can pay as much as R250/min!! You can get the full countries list HERE.

Vodacom Roaming Price/Costs/Charges

Please know that Vodacom roaming for SMS is free ( only for receiving incoming text messages) for both top up, prepaid and contract users; however, there is a catch which may not be suitable for you to know.

The moment you activate the Vodacom SMS roaming services, you will not be able to use the voice and data roaming services because it will be deactivated automatically. So using SMS will only be your means of communication.

In most cases, the cost for the voice and data charges is dependent on the mobile network carrier of each countries that Vodacom partnered with. So, some things are out of their hands.

For example, dialing the USSD code while roaming is not free, you will be charged at 20c/20sec. For a comprehensive list of the cost and terms, please see the official guideline.

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How To Activate Vodacom Roaming Internationally When Abroad

To activate international roaming on Vodacom falls either:

1. Whether you are a contract customer

If you are a Vodacom contract customer, all you need to do to activate your international roaming is to:

  • Send an SMS text to 31050. You send IRM to 31050
  • Call 082135, you will speak to the Vodacom consultant representative and they will activate roaming on your account.

Please note that 7 days prior to when you will leave the country ( South Africa), you need to activate your roaming service.

2. Whether you are a Prepaid customer

For prepaid customers i.e. you are recharging either through voucher, top up etc; the approach to roam is quite different.

For Vodacom prepaid customers who wants to roam:

  • Send an SMS to 123 from your phone. E.g Send TRAVELON to 123
  • Call the customer care number for roaming. The number to call is 082135

It is quite important to know that the Vodacom activation number for roaming is 082135 . You can call these number before leaving South Africa or your host country or you can call the number when you are already abroad or overseas.

This Vodacom activation number, 082135 is not the USSD code for the roaming, but for the customer care specifically for roaming requests.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How Do I Activate Vodacom International SMS On Vodacom?

If you scroll up, I earlier mentioned that international SMS roaming on Vodacom is free ( to receive incoming text messages) when you activate it, however, other functions like voice and data will stop unless you activate them

Having known this, the simple way to activate international SMS on Vodacom is to send the text message, ‘Roamon’ to 123 or 31050. One more thing you should not forget to do before leaving is to enable SMS roamer, very important!!

  • Does It Cost To Be On Vodacom International Roaming?

It is not free but not so expensive at the same time. For example, when you dial any USSD code, it cost money, you pay 20c/20sec.

You are charged anytime you make or receive calls. You are also charged small fees when you receive an SMS message but not when you send an SMS message ( to enjoy this, you need to activate SMS international roaming)

  • Who Can Get On Vodacom Africa Roaming?

As explained above earlier, Vodacom Africa roaming works in conjunction with Vodacom sister networks, thereby allowing you to get very cheap roaming rates and fees.

With the exception of Zimbabwe, most countries in Africa are in this agreement, especially all the 16 countries in the SADC region.

It does not matter whether you are a contract, top up or prepaid customers, Africa roaming is available to you.

  • How Much Does African Roaming Cost?

The following are the costs associated with Vodacom African roaming:

  • Making local calls in the destination country costs R2.90 per minute
  • Receiving calls in the destination country costs R2.90 per minute
  • Cost of sending an SMS is R1.50 per minute ( it is free when receiving)

And another important question;

  • Can I Activate Vodacom Roaming While Abroad?

Yes and yes, however, remember that 7 days prior to you leaving South Africa, you need to activate it by calling 0821940 or sending an SMS to 31050 ( you send IRM to 31050).

  • How Do I Recharge With airtime When Roaming?

You can recharge online. You can call your folks/back home to send you recharge vouchers etc. Other official ways to recharge your airtime when already abroad are:

  • Dial USSD code *135*130# ( not free, 20c/20secs)
  • Use of the Vodacom App ( Go to my Account section)

And to one of the most frequent questions

  • Why am I Unable To Connect To A Network While Roaming?

In most cases, when you are inside a moving plane, most networks do not go. This is done by most flights for security reasons.

Aside this, the following are some reasons why you may be unable to connect to a network while roaming on Vodacom:

  • Your Vodafone SIM is not activated for data or voice roaming ( solution is to activate it by sending above mentioned SMS codes)
  • Error from your own end, you may be dialing the wrong number format
  • It may be that the destination country you are is not supported for Vodacom international roaming
  • Check your phone, probably by mistake you activated the flight mode

1 thought on “How To Activate Vodacom Roaming When Already Abroad ( Code And List of Countries)”

  1. My phone is activated for roaming, which has was done ages ago, before leaving SA. It simply does not work. When I finally managed to speak to a human (the useless Tobi bot could not understand the word ‘roaming’ he told me he reset my settings and I must just restart my phone. It still does not work. Utterly useless.


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