International Roaming & Calls > International Roaming & Calls


What is International Roaming?

Lucky for you, we have connections in no less than 120 countries, because we’re friendly like that. 


Postpaid customers can apply for International Roaming, giving access to voice, messaging and data across the globe. 


Remember it takes an instant to activate or deactivate your international roaming, all you need to do is make a quick phone call to our customer care centre on 080 123 1230 (normal call rates will apply) or 135 free from your Virgin Mobile cell phone.


If this is all Greek to you, don’t worry. Give us a call before you jet off and we’ll explain it all to you.

Where can I roam?


Virgin Mobile is connected with networks in over 120 countries all over the world. You’ll never be out of touch.


View our list of roaming partners.  

How does roaming work?
All you need to do is apply for roaming rights; we’ll take care of the rest. When you land at your destination, turn on your phone and it should automatically connect to one of the local networks partnered with Virgin Mobile.


How do I apply for International Roaming rights?


If you’re on your way out of the country, we’re sure you’ll want to use your cellphone. How else will you tell your friends how much fun you’re having?


Only Postpaid customers may apply for the International Roaming service. To apply for International Roaming, contact our Call Centre on 135 (Free from any Virgin Mobile number) or call 080 123 1230 from any other number.


When applying for International Roaming, there is an International roaming deposit of R2 500, which may be refundable 60 days after deactivating the IR service. The money may also be used towards your monthly contract instalments. Further note that it can take up to 3 months for the roaming charges to be billed to your account.


Please make sure you contact us with enough lead-time so we can ensure everything is working before you jet off and enjoy your holiday! We know how stressful travel can be, and having a cell phone that doesn’t work is the last thing you need. 


As with all things Virgin, when in doubt – talk to us. If you have any questions, ring up our Customer Care and we’ll get to the bottom of it.



What are the guidelines for International Roaming?
  • When you're roaming you'll be charged for all outgoing calls and the international leg of incoming calls.
  • All calls and SMS charges will include the foreign network charge plus a roaming charge.
  • GPRS/EDGE Data service and MMS will be available while roaming in the countries indicated.
  • Bear in mind that it could take a while for call records to reach Virgin Mobile from foreign networks (up to 3 months Max). This means we may not be able to cap your account when you've reached your Subscription Cap or Credit Limit.
  • If we do receive the information in time these Limits will kick in whilst you're travelling which may be a huge inconvenience. It's a good idea to monitor your Subscription cap or Credit Limit to ensure you won't be cut off.
  • To save yourself from nightmare bills you may want to consider forwarding all incoming calls to your voicemail. This means your mobile will never ring but you can make outgoing calls. You will receive SMS notifications of voicemail messages left with Virgin Mobile South Africa.
  • If you forward ALL calls to voicemail you will only be charged to retrieve them (and to save costs even more, wait until you return to South Africa to retrieve them.
  • Be warned that if you do not unconditionally forward ALL calls to voicemail you will be charged for two international calls simply for someone to leave you a message in your voicemail box. It's called  the Trombone Effect. The first call will find you unavailable in your country of destination; the second call will return your call to South Africa to leave a message
  • Before you leave please ensure that your mobile has the right specifications for the country you're going to. Different countries use different GSM bandwidths; dual-band, tri-band or quad-band. The more bands your mobile has - the more countries you may roam in.
  • And one final thing – always check to see if you need an adapter for your phone charger. Many countries use different plugs. 
  • Happy travels!
What numbers should I take with me when I'm roaming?

If you are having any issues while overseas, call the Call Centre on +27 80 123 1230. Please note that you will be charged for an international call.


To retrieve your voicemail, dial +27 741 000 132 or +27 8414 and the last 9 digits of your cell phone number. Press # when you hear your own voicemail greeting, then enter your password followed by #.


Again, please note that you will be charged for an international call.

How will I be billed?


All international calls are billed on a per minute basis from the 1st second you start talking (60:60). 


What is "The Trombone Effect"?


Ah… the dreaded trombone effect, known to strike fear into the hearts of cellphone users everywhere. We suggest you avoid ‘tromboning’ when roaming, but before we get there – let us just explain how ‘tromboning’ works when you don’t pick up a call.


You pay for the first time when someone in South Africa calls your Virgin Mobile number and because you are roaming, you pay for the international leg of the call.


You pay for the second time when the international network tries to find you, and if your phone is busy or you don’t take the call, the call is diverted to your voicemail box in South Africa. You will be charged at international rates again!


You pay for the third time if you retrieve that voicemail. When you get the voicemail notification message and call the number to listen, you will pay international rates yet again!


So, how do we avoid cellphone bills that make you wish we still communicated by smoke signals?


  • Forward ALL your calls to voicemail.
  • Ideally, you should consider unconditionally forward all incoming calls to your voicemail box in South Africa. This means your phone will never ring, but you will still be able to make outgoing calls and SMSs.
  • If you unconditionally forward all calls to voicemail, you will only be charged when you phone South Africa to retrieve them. And better yet – rather retrieve them when you’re back in the country. You’ll pay even less.
  • To retrieve your messages while roaming dial +278414 followed by the last nine digits of your Virgin Mobile number. Press # when you hear your own voicemail greeting. You will then be prompted to enter your password, which is 1234, unless you’ve changed it. 


What is International Calling?


International calling is when you make a call to any country outside of South Africa. It’s pretty self-explanatory.


So if you want to get hold of your friend who is ‘finding herself’ in India, please be aware that a surcharge will be added to the cost of a normal call.


See International Call rates