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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 are the short message codes?


We’ve got some nifty, free codes we set up to help you get all the information you need simply and quickly. 

They go a little something like this:

  • Voicemail: Dial 132 from your mobile and follow the prompts
  • Emergency services = Dial 112 from your mobile 
  • Directory enquiries = Dial 125 from your mobile 
  • Customer Care = Dial 135 from your mobile

Dial *101# for prepaid and postpaid  balance enquiry on your cellphone.

What is voicemail?


Voicemail is FREE by dialling 132. You can think of voicemail like a futuristic answering machine. It’s there to let you know that someone has called you. You’re given a mailbox, which can keep fifteen 90-second messages at a time. We’ll keep unheard messages for seven days, so you’ve got time to give them a listen. Messages you have already listened to will be kept for two days, unless you delete them sooner.


You’ll never miss those calls from your mom that say, “Why don’t you call me any more?” ever again! 

How do I retrieve my voicemail?


It’s as easy as dialling 132 and listening to the voice prompts. You could even phone your number from a different phone and leave a message for yourself if you like. But that’s up to you.

For more information on this service, please download the Voicemail Brochure here.

How do I manage my messages?


Every time you get a new voicemail message, your inbox will let you know by sending you an SMS. 

To manage your messages:

  • Dial 132 from your phone
  • To listen to your messages press 1
  • Follow the voice prompts after listening to each message


While you’re listening to messages, the following options are available to you by following the voice prompts  on your keypad:


  1. re-play message
  2. delete message
  3. save message
  4. more info (date and time of call and callers number)
  5. rewind message
  6. pause message
  7. fast forward message
  8. help

#/* return to main menu


You can also retrieve your messages from another cellphone or landline, but be aware that you will pay normal mobile rates. All you need to do is dial 084 14 and the last 9 digits of your own mobile number. Interrupt your greeting by pressing #, followed by your password and you’re in!


Psssst! We’ll tell you a great way to use this same technique to get straight through to someone else’s  voicemail . Dial the same sequence, but replace the last 9 digits of your number with the last 9 digits of their number. Listen to their greeting and leave a message – voila! You just left a voicemail message without directly calling them!


If you ever forget your voicemail password (it happens to the best of us), it can be reset to the default password on the web, or through our Sort Me Out Centre.

How do I set up my voicemail greeting?
This is where you get to show your flair. Do you go with stern and businesslike, or a little more ‘out there’. It’s up to you!
  • Dial 132 from your Virgin Mobile cellphone
  • Press 8 for extended set-up settings
  • Press 1 for the greeting options menu
  • Follow the voice prompts to decide which type of greeting you like
In the greeting options menu, you will be given the following choices:
  • Personal greeting. You can record a personal greeting to let people know they have reached you, but you can’t get to the phone (or would rather not answer it). After hearing your greeting, they will be able to leave you a voice message.
  • Personalised absence greeting. This is for when you want people to know you won’t be available for an extended period of time. You’ll be asked to record an absence greeting or activate your previously recorded absence greeting. Please be aware that if you activate this function, people will not be able to leave you voice messages!
  • System greeting. This is similar to the personal greeting option except you won’t need to record a full message. You have the option to activate a standard greeting, a name tag greeting or a number greeting. If you use the name tag greeting – you will be asked to record your name, which will be inserted into a standard greeting to let people know they’ve gone through to your voicemail. If you activate the number greeting, people will simply be alerted to the number they have dialled.
  • System absence greeting. This is similar to the personalised absence greeting, except you will not be asked to record a full message. Rather, you can activate a standard system absence greeting, a name tag absence greeting or a number absence greeting.
How do I set up my voicemail?


It’s quite simple really:

  • Dial 132 from your Virgin Mobile cellphone.
  • You will be asked to enter the default password. Don’t panic! It’s 1234.
  • You will then be asked to change your password and you’re ready to go! 
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.

Contact numbers and short codes

Contact numbers and short codes


Virgin Mobile South Africa has introduced short codes in accordance with the new numbering guidelines gazetted by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA).



Voicemail retrieval


Prepaid Self-help: Recharge and balance enquiries


Customer Care


Account/Balance enquiry