I’ve written about KnowRoaming back when they came to South African towards the end of 2014. I got to test it on my travels to the US a few weeks later. However, since that post, they’ve updated the app and appear to have ironed out some issues. In a nutshell, KnowRoaming is an excellent solution to get connected immediately while travelling. I find it to be cost effective for quick business trips. That said, I have used it on holiday too. Once the sticker sits on your SIM card, it will detect when you’re in another country and connect you to a local network there upon landing. You will see the network name that you’re switching to, which you need to accept. You will get full 3G coverage.
I had no intention of writing another post but after reading about their new offering last week – Whatsapp usage will be free for all customers; and that it’s currently on sale at less 25% in South Africa (as of 14 November 2016), I thought I’d do a refresher. The update is major because when you’re travelling, you can send messages for free, send photos, and most importantly, make Whatsapp calls at NO COST to you. It also means you no longer have to rely on free WiFi at hotels or coffee shops to keep in touch with friends and family. You do not have to buy the $7.99 unlimited bundle to make use of the free Whatsapp – just get yourself connected.
KnowRoaming says in a blog post:
There’s no catch or fine print!
You can send unlimited pictures, messages, and videos as well as make calls with friends and family—we’re covering the costs so you can travel worry-free.
Seriously, you don’t need any credit on your KnowRoaming account to use WhatsApp. If you’re interested in using other apps that require data you will need to add credit as we are a prepaid service.
What you need to get started: A KnowRoaming sticker that needs to be applied very carefully onto your existing SIM card. You will then need to create an account, and make use of the app to manage everything from account balances, top ups, usage summary, credit card linkage, etc. You can also use the app to see which countries are supported with unlimited data plans, calling rates, etc. From experience I can tell you that Africa is the least covered zone, but you’re better off buying a local SIM card for Africa.
As the time of typing this post, today, 14 November, the KnowRoaming sticker kit is not R399, but R299 from Takealot or iStore. So if you travel a lot, or planning to, I highly recommend buying it now; I don’t know how long the price is discounted.
Also, since I’ve actually been asked this – because it’s on sale at the iStore, it does not mean it will work on iPhones only. SIM cards are universal, the sticker is for the SIM, regardless of what phone you use.
Lastly, KnowRoaming is the only solution that I’ve tried that lets you roam on a prepaid SIM card and still receive calls while abroad (and make them, with your local number visible). There are costs related to activating this service, just check the KnowRoaming website. Over 90 countries are covered with unlimited data bundles at $7.99 a day.
My previous blog post explains everything you need to know: https://www.nafisa.co.za/hands-on-knowroaming-sim/
No more carrying around a bunch of SIM cards that are more likely not going to be active by the time you need it again!
Welcome to Wired to the Web. My name is Nafisa Akabor and I’m a technology journalist covering business and consumer tech for the last 13 years. I’m passionate about start-ups, smartphones, mobile payments, travel tech and electric cars. ✉️ email@example.com