I’ve spent what felt like forever trapped in an expensive Cell C contract that I hated. I could go into graphic detail here but I won’t. The bottom line is that my package didn’t serve up enough data and they wouldn’t let me switch so I had to add on a bundle with the end result being a bill that was no less than R980, but almost always more each month.
As the time crept towards the date I could finally leave Cell C in the dirt I did my homework in regards to what other service providers were offering and eventually settled on Afrihost as they could meet all my needs (at least 3 gigs of data each mo plus talk time) at a price I could afford. I also use them as my internet service provider and, despite the odd hiccup here and there, it’s been mostly very good.
So, here’s how I did the move. First I told Cell C I was leaving (my contract was just about to run dry, so the timing was great) but that I wanted to move to Cell C prepaid. This was important as I wanted to keep my number. Once that happened, I then needed to port my number to MTN as that’s the network Afrihost piggybacks off of. This was easy. I just popped into an MTN store and asked them to port my number from Cell C prepaid to MTN prepaid. (My friend Dax has covered his move to Afrihost too and goes into more detail about porting. Read his post over here.)
Once I had a prepaid MTN SIM I could then sign up my number to Afrihost and, again, this was pretty easy despite two small speed bumps that I’ll detail soon enough. To get cracking, I visited Afrihost’s site and clicked on their mobile tab. I then selected the ‘month-to-month voice’ option. Their packages start from as little as R99 for the small one (Mobile XS), but I opted for the medium one – Mobile M – that serves up 150 minutes of talk time and 3GB of data all for R299 a month. Yes please! Cutting my Cell C bill by no less than R600 per month sounds good to me!
Signing up was easy peasy. After selecting the package I wanted, I was given the option of getting a new number (no thanks!), porting my number to MTN or diving right in if you’re using MTN already. I selected the latter, entered my number and that was that.
I was then sent a mail welcoming me to the Afrihost mobile family telling me they’d send me a mail with more details on how to switch once my SIM card was ‘ready’. A few minutes later I got a second mail telling me I was active on their network and I just had to dial a number to give my consent that they could manage my account. Then a third mail popped up telling me how to add Afrihost as an APN (access point name) on my phone and select them as my preferred network. This sounds intense if you’re not technically minded but it was very clearly explained and took all of three seconds.
So, I’d be ready to roll, right? Nope! I wasn’t connected to the network. As it turns out, there’s a time period in between signing up and getting ‘activated’ in which you’ll have all the data but no airtime to make calls.
This isn’t a train smash if you’re aware of it (you can use prepaid airtime to fill the gap) but not so cool if you don’t know about it. According to Afrihost, this waiting period is usually ‘pretty quick’ but can take up to 48 hours. If you end up being unfortunate enough to have to wait two days and aren’t prepared for it that’s pretty sucky. So, my criticism here is that I’d have liked Afrihost to have given me a heads up regarding this ‘blank zone’. Fort the record, I did contact them about it and they said they’d look into expressing it to future clients so let’s hope that’s since been changed.
Anyway, I was lucky enough that I was only out of action for about 40 minutes and then BOOM, I was all hooked up.
A second point you should know about? Once you move to Afrihost, you’re automatically set to a default MTN rate and this will eat up your airtime fast. Thus, it’s VERY important that you manually switch to Afrihost’s 79c per minute rate via sending them a quick USSD code to ensure you use your Afrihost’s rate. I had to find this info on the site and it was so buried that I can’t even find it again. I would have preferred to received this info via their welcome mail.
Anyway, those two points aside, I’m now the happiest of campers in that I’m getting what I need and paying a whopload less to get it. (I might even downgrade to their Mobile S package as I seem to be using less data than I did while I was with Cell C.) I also like that I can easily check how much data and minutes I have left and its all laid out in a way that’s simple to understand via Afrihost’s app. So, if moving to Afrihost Mobile is something you’re considering please know I’d happily recommend them. This isn’t a sponsored post or anything like that. All these thoughts are my own. I just thought I’d get it all out there so I can simply send people this link as, since declaring my move, I’ve had loads of people ask me about it.
I’m sure you have lots of questions too and I’ll try and answer them in the comments section but please know this is by no means a definitive guide. You’ll find all the very technical, nitty-gritty details you might need via Afrihost’s site as well as a list of benefits I haven’t mentioned. For example, you can use their data-doubling Afrihost Plus add-on in relation to your contract; upgrade or downgrade at any given time and set all sorts of limits on your package to avoid bill shock. But ja, for what it’s worth, this has been a really good move.
P.S. On the subject of good moves, I recently switched ABSA to Capitec and am now saving around R2500 per year due to the latter’s epic bank fees. If this is something you’re considering too, I say dooooo it. Do it today!