Whether you’re off to explore the other side of the world or you’re traveling for business, you will need to stay reachable on your phone for effective communication between family and friends or surf the internet or social networks to share an update with your online community, or to access endless entertainment content.
If you are from Kenya and you are planning a trip further afield to a foreign country, I am sure you are wondering how you will use your Safaricom SIM card when the mobile operator itself does not have its network infrastructure abroad. Well, don’t fret! It is possible to stay active on your Safaricom line when outside Kenya, thanks to the roaming technology.
Roaming is when mobile service providers like Safaricom sign partnerships with other telecommunication firms in foreign countries to allow the use of their mobile network for extended coverage outside their local geographical range when a customer visits. These are called roaming agreements.
Safaricom has signed such contracts with over 200 operators globally, making it possible to receive calls, text, and access the internet almost anywhere in the world with Safaricom international roaming:
How do I use Safaricom in another country?
To use Safaricom services when traveling outside Kenya or in another country, activate mobile roaming on your phone to permit inter-network connection for your Safaricom SIM to pick the strongest available network.
If you are using an Android phone, go to settings, click on ‘Simcard and mobile network,’ select Safaricom and in the mobile network settings, turn on Roaming ‘Connect to data services when roaming.’ iPhone users can find the mobile roaming activation option in Mobile Data in settings.
Before leaving Kenya, Safaricom PostPay customers must dial *200# or *456# to activate roaming services. For Corporate PostPay users, account managers can activate international roaming by contacting Safaricom customer relationship officers. PostPay users who have forgotten to activate Safaricom Roaming services and have already left the country, send an email to [email protected] for help with roaming activation.
Can I use Mpesa in other countries while roaming?
Yes. You can access all Mpesa services on the Mpesa App, through USSD *334#, or via the SIM Toolkit (STK). However, the Mpesa transaction charges on STK are a bit high as roaming SMS charges apply when sending money, requesting balances, and paying bills. To use Mpesa services for free while roaming, download Mpesa or MySafaricom app. Consecutively, you can dial *334#. Transaction charges apply.
Safaricom international roaming rates
These plans offers superb value for money, giving you a decent amount of data and minutes outside Kenya. Here are the roaming charges of Safaricom in popular destinations in the world;
Safaricom Roaming charges in South Sudan
Check out the rates in South Sudan. Its official partner for data and minutes is Zain and MTN for PostPay users. However, you can use other named networks;
|Partner network||Calls within South Sudan||Calls to Kenya||Receiving calls||Data charges||SMS charges|
|Safaricom + MTN||Ksh15/min||Ksh15/min||Free||Ksh5/MB||Ksh5/SMS|
|Safaricom + Zain||Ksh10/min||Ksh10/min||Free||Ksh35/MB||Ksh5/SMS|
|Safaricom + Digitel||Ksh20/min||Ksh20/min||Free||Ksh25/MB||Ksh10/SMS|
Safaricom Roaming charges in Uganda
The telco’s roaming partners in Uganda are Uganda Telecom (UTL), MTN, and Airtel. Here are the roaming costs;
|Partner network||Calls within Uganda||Calls to Kenya||Receiving calls||Data charges||SMS charges|
|Safaricom + MTN||Ksh15/min||Ksh15/min||Free||Ksh5/MB||Ksh5/SMS|
|Safaricom + Airtel||Ksh14/min||Ksh14/min||Ksh18/min||Ksh75/MB||Ksh7/SMS|
|Safaricom + UTL||Ksh10/min||Ksh10/min||Free||Ksh35/MB||Ksh7/SMS|
|Safaricom + Orange||Ksh10/min||Ksh10/min||Free||Ksh35/MB||Ksh7/SMS|
Safaricom Roaming charges in Mozambique
Safaricom roaming partners in Mozambique are Vodacom and Movitel, both for PrePay and PostPay users. Here are the roaming charges;
|Partner network||Calls within Mozambique||Calls to Kenya||Receiving calls||Data charges||SMS charges|
|Safaricom + Vodacom||Ksh40/min||Ksh40/min||Ksh30/min||Ksh14/MB||Ksh5/SMS|
|Safaricom + Movitel||Ksh30/min||Ksh35/min||Ksh30/min||Ksh35/MB||Ksh10/SMS|
Safaricom Roaming charges in Tanzania
When you are in Tanzania, you can roam with your Safaricom SIM card on either Vodacom, Airtel, Togo, or Viettel Halotel networks. Here are the roaming costs;
|Partner network||Calls within Tanzania||Calls to Kenya||Receiving calls||Data charges||SMS charges|
|Safaricom + Vodacom||Ksh20/min||Ksh20/min||Free||Ksh5/MB||Ksh5/SMS|
|Safaricom + Airtel||Ksh10/min||Ksh25/min||Ksh50/min||Ksh5/MB||Ksh10/SMS|
|Safaricom + Tigo||Ksh20/min||Ksh30/min||Ksh50/min||Ksh10/MB||Ksh10/SMS|
|Safaricom + Viettel Halotel||Ksh20/min||Ksh20/min||Ksh50/min||Ksh30/MB||Ksh30/SMS|
Safaricom Roaming charges in the USA
In the United States, you can use plans provided through AT & T and T-Mobile networks. Here are the roaming charges in the US;
|Partner network||Calls within USA||Calls to Kenya||Receiving calls||Data charges||SMS charges|
|Safaricom + AT & T||Ksh10/min||Ksh20/min||Ksh10/min||Ksh5/MB||Ksh5/SMS|
|Safaricom + Telna Mobile||Ksh10/min||Ksh10/min||Ksh5/min||N/A||Ksh10/SMS|
Safaricom Roaming charges in the United Kingdom
When you travel to the United Kingdom, continue using your Safaricom SIM card through mobile roaming offered by partners Orange, T-Mobile, Hutchison 3G, Vodafone, and Everything Everywhere, among others. What is the cost of roaming in the UK with Safaricom?
|Partner network||Calls within UK||Calls to Kenya||Receiving calls||Data charges||SMS charges|
|Safaricom + Telefonica||Ksh40/min||Ksh40/min||Ksh40/min||Ksh15/MB||Ksh15/SMS|
|Safaricom + Vodafone||Ksh15/min||Ksh30/min||Ksh40/min||Ksh5/MB||Ksh5/SMS|
|Safaricom + O2||Ksh40/min||Ksh40/min||Ksh18/min||Ksh35/MB||Ksh15/SMS|
|Safaricom + Hutchison 3G||Ksh35/min||Ksh40/min||Ksh50/min||Ksh10/MB||Ksh40/SMS|
Safaricom Roaming data packages
Safaricom has four special data plans to help you stay connected through your smartphone or tablet while roaming in other countries. The cost of each data package varies depending on the type of the deal, contract length, and applicable countries;
- Lite Bundles – Safaricom Roaming Lite Bundles are used in Ghana, South Africa, the Netherlands, and China. It starts from Ksh225 for 20MB of data with a validity of 24 hours. There is a 7-day 100 MB roaming plan for Ksh1,100, or for Ksh5,200, you will get 0.5GB, valid for 30 days.
- Heavy Bundles – whilst roaming on your Safaricom line in Ghana, South Africa, Netherlands, or China, you can subscribe to the Heavy Bundles package that sells at Ksh550 for 50MB data that expires after a day, a week’s long 200MB data for Ksh2,100 or a rolling monthly plan of 1GB that costs Ksh10,300.
- Vodafone Bundles – for Ksh200, you get 10MB, 10 minutes talk time, and 10 SMS valid for 24 hours when roaming on a Safaricom SIM card in Albania, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Malta, New Zealand, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Netherlands, Turkey, UK or Ghana.
- Vodacom Bundles – this is a similar package to Vodafone Bundles, but only used when roaming in DRC Congo, Lesotho, Mozambique, Tanzania, and South Africa.
Safaricom data roaming can be expensive because, as a customer, you bear the extra costs of your carrier and that of the roaming partner. To avoid high phone bills when roaming abroad, turn off mobile data or cellular networks when not in use. Also, connect to free Wi-Fi in the hotels or cafes when possible. Further, you can set your spending cap by integrating data limits on your data settings to regulate usage.