International Calling Rates and Charges in South Africa

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South Africa’s telecommunications infrastructure is quite developed. The country boasts of close to 100% 3G network, over 75% 4G coverage and two telcos with active 5G networks.

This growth in infrastructure has led to the adoption of new technologies and the increased usage of the internet to stay connected. For instance, the use of WhatsApp to communicate has made it possible for people to make and receive international calls without paying an arm and a leg for it like it was a few years back.

Due to this adoption, international calls traffic in the country has dropped by 43.9% year-on-year between 2018 and 2019. This has also led to a significant reduction in international calling rates among the top telcos in the country.

However, a number of South Africans for one reason or the other still make international calls through their carriers and for this reason, we have put together information that you may need to know about international calling rates in South Africa.


Vodacom has two international calling tariffs, there’s the basic tariff which features per-minute billing and is free for everyone to use.  Then there’s an International Calling Plus tariff that is charged at R5 per month and gives subscribers access to per-second billing, as well as up to 50% cheaper calling rates on select countries.

To activate the International Calling Plus tariff, dial *135*89#. There’s also a R10,000 calling limit for contract customers to protect them from overspending on international calls.


Like Vodacom, MTN also has two tariffs for international calls. There’s the standard tariff which is accessible by everyone and a premium Bundle that gives access to discounted calls.

Unlike Vodacom’s tariff, MTN offers a voice bundle worth R30 letting users make calls at discounted rates. To access this bundle, dial *136*2*427#. Also, note that all MTN subscribers are charged per second billing on international calls apart from a few countries where the rates are charged per minute.

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There’s very scanty details about Telkom’s international calling terms and conditions. However, the telecommunications company charges subscribers per-minute billing for all international calls.

Cell C

Like Telkom, there’s very little information on Cell C’s international calls T&Cs. The telco does charge per second billing on call rates and contract customer much call customer care to have their lines enabled to make international calls.

Price Comparison

Now that we’ve gone through each telco’s terms and conditions, we have created a simple table that shows calling rates to the United States across all the four major telcos. The table is meant to give you a better understanding of the different rates each telco has:

TelcoCall RatesIn-Bundle Rates
Cell CR1.51None

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