Cellphone Networks and SMS
Many people would assume that cellular phones are non-existent in South Africa, but nothing could be further from the truth. Currently there are four major cellular networks which operate in the country - Vodacom, MTN, Cell C and Virgin Mobile. All have a fairly large number of cellular towers which dot the country and provide cellular reception to almost anywhere in the country. So unless you are at the bottom of a valley, far away from civilization, you can be sure that you will be able to use your cell phone. For foreigners visiting from other countries who do not have international roaming, you can hire a cell phone for the duration of your trip at most major airports.
As is the case with most other developed countries, short message service (SMS) is a very popular way for South African's to communicate. A large portion of the South African population already own or have access to a cellular phone. Many have found it to be cheaper and more economical to own a cellular phone than to invest in a landline telephone. As a result, most cellular networks offer a prepaid package that can be topped up as needed.
Many South African's are constantly looking for new ways to save money and cell phones are no exception. Many log onto the internet in search of a way to send free SMS to South Africa. There are a few websites which allow for free or low cost SMS in South Africa. Some add an advertisement at the end of the message while others simply bill the lowered rates to your account.