Some months back, I wrote about MTN in Swaziland. While MTN offers post-paid, or contract, cell phone plans, many people around the kingdom use MTN’s pay-as-you-go service. This system works by purchasing airtime.
While airtime can be purchased from MTN stores and authorized retailer shops, it’s also available at most grocery stores and various other shops. One of the most readily available places to get airtime is from a street vendor. Some street vendors have a big yellow umbrella (like the one in the picture above). All vendors have a yellow MTN vest that identifies them as MTN vendors. With an MTN street vendor, you can buy a SIM card, airtime, or data bundles among other things. MTN street vendors also work with MTN’s Mobile Money service. Mobile Money is another world. It’s a wallet connected to your cell phone number. It can be used to send and receive money, pay bills, and buy airtime. It’s similar in many ways to PayPal or Venmo. The MTN street vendor is often a one stop shop for handling many matters.
Be kind to yourself.
In Swaziland, we have one mobile phone service provider, MTN. Another provider is set to begin operations this month. For many years, if someone wanted to make a cell phone call, text, or use mobile data, they would have to purchase a Swazi MTN SIM card.
While MTN mobile service is available in other southern Africa countries, the lack of competition means higher prices than in neighboring South Africa. MTN does occasionally offer bonuses and customer appreciation specials. During last summer, there was a customer appreciation week. There are some corporate MTN stores in major cities, but you can purchase airtime just about anywhere. The picture above is of the corporate store in Mbabane.
As far as coverage, it depends on where you are. In my homestead during pre service training, coverage was bad on a good day. Other days, it was nonexistent. At my current homestead, I’m rarely without coverage. For that, I’m thankful. We’ll see what changes the new mobile service provider brings to the landscape in the kingdom.
Be kind to yourself.
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