You may be a business man or woman who travels a lot, or just a plain globetrotter who still wants to use your Zambian MTN line even when you’re out of the country but you are scared the rates when calling or SMSing back home may be too high when you’re away and the idea of buying a new SIM card in whatever country you’re in seems like such a hassle.
When we found out MTN Zambia has a “Roam Like Home” plan we got excited because at first we thought at last we could roam like we’re home. Essentially enjoy the same Zambia rates we get when we’re within the country. You can see the table of rates in some countries for MTN Zambia’s “Roam Like Home” here.
Why is there even a table with different amounts for different countries in the first place? I would think with the statement “Roam Like Home” they meant that wherever I go I would still be able to roam and use my airtime as if I’m still within Zambia. This already raises an eyebrow.
Now let’s compare the “Roam Like Home” plans to local call, SMS and data rates but I’ll take an average because there are many tariff plans anyway. A regular call rate locally is about K1.5 and an SMS will cost a maximum of 30 Ngwee. Recently mobile operators hiked prices so even local phone rates are considered expensive here `so how much more then will these roaming rates be considered still expensive, right.
When it comes to the international rates, a call has an average cost of anywhere between K2 and K10 depending on the country, and SMS rates of less than K1, which is NOT almost the same as here.
With regard to the data plans, within the country we roam for less than K1, but on the “Roam Like Home” plan it’s almost double so we don’t understand how exactly it’s like home. From the table on their website you can see that the rates are definitely still more expensive.
Our efforts to try and get an explanation of what exactly the plan is about and what the table talks about where futile as our queries went unanswered by MTN as our calls and messages were not returned.
So, should you “Roam Like Home” with MTN Zambia? Maybe, just because of the fact that buying a new SIM card in another country requires you to go through a whole process of SIM registration which honestly, takes a bit of time, time you could use on the program you actually want to do in that country. Just get enough airtime for those calls or SMSes and you’ll be fine. It’s cheaper to roam than buy a SIM in another country and call back home. In fact you don’t always have to call, just text. It’s way cheaper.
If you feel the burden of call costs, just sign up for a data bundle and use apps like Viber, Whatsapp, WeChat and BBM on your smartphone to communicate. It is 2014, after all. Almost everyone has a social messenger app of sorts.
We hope to get an actual breakdown from MTN Zambia of what “Roam Like Home” is really all about but until then, happy travels.
Picture Credit: MTN Zambia