Vodacom launches Visual Voicemail for iPhone

I got a tip off from one of my blog readers today, in a comment to an earlier post, where he mentioned that Vodacom has launched Visual Voicemail for the iPhone, a much anticipated feature from the network.

What is Visual Voicemail ? (From the Vodafone Website)

With the Visual Voicemail application, you can see exactly who left a message and when they left it. All the info is right there on your screen. With one touch you’ll be able to jump to the most important messages first, or even skip messages completely.

This means you can see who left you the voicemail, without having to dial into your Voicemail service (121). You can also listen to it on the phone.

Vodacom have launched it, and the service cost’s R9.99 a month. To activate the service you need to SMS “VVM ON” to 123. To deactivate the service, you can SMS “VVM OFF” to the same number.

I tried activating mine earlier, but have so far been unsuccessful, and when I called the call centre at Vodacom, after 17 minutes, I finally spoke to someone who sort of knew what I was talking about

If you have managed to successfully activate Visual VoiceMail on Vodacom, let me know what you think ?To see more info about Visual VoiceMail check out the Official Apple iPhone Guide or the Vodafone Australia Visual Voicemail guide

61 replies on “Vodacom launches Visual Voicemail for iPhone”

Ok my first response when I saw your tweet about this was “wow, finally”.

But you know what? I’m not willing to pay for it. I don’t get enough voicemails to warrant it. I’d *like* it, but not at a premium.

I guess thanks are in order to Vodacom for actually bringing this to us, but why does everything always have to be charged for? Why do we always get ripped off by cellular networks? When the iPhone as released in the US, visual voicemail was a feature of the phone and was built into the contract that customers took with AT&T. There wasn’t an extra charge for that, it was a spec and a feature of the phone.

To be perfectly honest I think Vodacom are already getting too much cash out of iPhone contracts.

Just another example of Vodacom not really being able to support the iPhone. How can they justify asking money for this? Every other network that offers this, offers it for free to iPhone subscribers.

I already overpaid for the initial iPhone, I pay a lot every month, and now they want another R10 a month just to enable this on a some server. Go get lost Vodacom.

Just got off the phone with a clued up guy at Vc, he say’s it’s “VVM ON” not “VVC ON”

said it’ll take 1-4hours to activate.

Oops, that was a TYPO. Corrected :0 Thanks Gary
Still having issues though when I tried again to activate it :(

Me too… I got a message back saying “unable to perform Selfhelp SMS function”

Back on the phone with VC…

“unable to perform Selfhelp SMS function” means the Vodacom systems think you don’t have an iPhone.

Let me know if you guys get this working. “I’m getting the same Unable to perform SELFHELP” message

I recently subscibed to a voicemail to e-mail function so it e-mails you a *.wav file of the voice mail but it shows the cell phone number not the name,

Not sure yet but saw somewhere a app that you could access these voicemail recordings if your network operator allowed it? Wonder if this is the direction Vodacom is heading….

Does this VVM then “download” the voice mail to the phone ?

Ditto – Let me know if you guys get this working. “I’m getting the same Unable to perform SELFHELP” message

If you want to fix the “unable to perform Selfhelp SMS function” by calling customer care, tell them to update ICAP manually to set your handset to iPhone.

I just got told by Customer Care that the service has not yet been officially launched. Phone back and try and find someone who knows what they’re talking about?

Hi Mark,

I’ve dealt with 3 different people who knew exactly what i was talking about, made sure I knew what the costs involved we’re etc… I got a reference number SMS’d to me as well. thought still waiting for something to happen on my phone..

21h15. no luck my side. I’ll just see what happens here and follow you guys. Thanks for the Heads-Up Marc. Good one (when it finally works).

Called the helpdesk this morning
They said the sms option wasn’t working – and that they needed to escalate to to advanced data division – they sms’d me a reference number and said they would call me in 24 hours after activated.

Waiting to see…

Yea, I had the same issue yesterday and have since found out this is a cock-up on Vodacom’s side. For some reason, if they don’t have an iPhone listed as your phone on their ICAP (Billing) system, it won’t accept the SMS. I think the service is still in very early beta stage, so you can expect these kind of hiccups.
I logged a call with them last night about this, and they said they would get back to me within 24 hours…still waiting. Best thing to do is if you want the service activated is call 155 from your phone ( Think its option 3, 3) and you can try and get them to get it activated on their side.

Just got a call from Advanced Data Services… They wanted to know how I knew about the service as it’s not been officially launched yet and is still in the testing phase. They assured me that any charges for this service will be reversed on my account.

Ha, Also just finished with a call with Vodacom, who also told me that the product isn’t officially launched, and they busy working on an activation bug. The guys said that he couldn’t give a date of launch, but did say it should be within the next month !

Also had a call-back from the Advanced Data Dudes (ADD, lol!), he says the service has not been officially launched, no launch date and who told me this service was available.
Guess I’ll have to temper my excitement for a little while longer…

It’s up. Send the SMS as Marc explained. After you recieve a notification that your vvm service is active, restart iPhone. There is a bug however. You will still recieve a SMS that you’ve recieved a voicemail, this means you will get 2 notifications…the other being the phones internal notification. The option to turn of SMS notifications via 121 is no longer available. Enjoy

Still battling – I sent the activation SMS and got confirmation all was working. Have restarted my phone but still no change.

Called Autopage this morning and the guy said he activated it & it shud work after 2 hrs – its been 3 hrs now and nothing so far – is there any configurations that need to be done on the iPhone?

So although mine works perfectly, my father’s does not. It’s moved over the VVM system, but no voicemail comes through. Anyone else having this problem?

@Gary – Is your fathers phone on OS3.1.3? I’m still waiting since Saturday for my VVM to be activated:(

@Theben, yes, his is on 3.1.3, mine is 3.1.2 I wonder if this is the issue? His has the VVM screen though, it’s just that no voicemails are ever listed, even though there are voicemail’s on the system.

Mine is working on 3.1.2 – tool less than a minute to activate. You have to be on the APN

Only neg comment is that I don’t see names but numbers….

Hi Guys I have sent the sms and have the VVM screen but it says unable to initiate connection.Any help??? this looks like an awesome feature.

Good ol’ Vodacom still singing the story of not yet launched ….. Will keep trying and hopefulyl get through to a person that knows what I am talking about…. Most dont know what VVM is ….

LOL.. Had to forward the website link to Marc’s page about VVM to technical support at Nahua Mobile to explain what it was ?? ….

My VVM started working +/- 30 secs after sending the SMS
Friend A friend took round 4 hours.
Friend B is on round 5 hours now and nothing yet – resending the SMS confirms that he’s already subscribed. Just be patient, I guess…
Friend C on about 8 hours and no luck BUT he ported from MTN so that’s to be expected…

PS pre-existing VMs at the time of activation show up as numbers – new ones show the name

Still not working for me either and I have tried everything that everyone has recommended.

I am in the “friend C” category i.e. I am on an old MTN number ported to VC.

When calling the VC helpdesk I keep getting told that they are not allowed to help me yet.

For those who are having issues. You can try the following:

• Ensure you are on EDGE or 3G when you want to active VVM for the first time. (Even if you are connected to a WIFI network you need to have EDGE or 3G coverage as the VVM service is always accessed over the cellular network)

• You need to have a Voice Mailbox and the VVM VAS active on your account for VVM to work.

• If you had the Executive Voicemail Service (VAS Mailbox Plus) active when activating VVM you will have issues.

• If the previous item is true you might need to call Vodacom Customer Care to deactivate and recreate your Voice Mailbox. (This can take up to 24 Hours)

• You can try to re-configure the iPhone voicemail button to its defaults by dialing *5005*86*#

• If you have any custom .mobileconfig’s installed that changes your APN’s you will need to remove them.

• You can try to reset your Network Settings under Settings>General>Reset

• Lastly be patient it can take up to 24 hours for this to become active on your account. For the majority it should be instant.

Awesome PJ. Thanks so much for these steps to follow. Sure it will def help some people ;) As always, much appreciated

Thanks PJ.. Trying your suggestions….

My Quest continues to try to get VVM working…..

Tried 3 Calls to Vodacom yesterday 2 x 155 with no success and 1 X 111 – Customer Service to try to deactivate and recreate your Voice Mailbox with out success … only to be refered to Nashua Mobile…….

Another Call to Nashua Mobile…. with Limited success… They have now “activated” VVM, Got SMS saying VVM has been activated……. and another saying Executive Voicemail Plus offering service has been deleted…..

And now I wait….. ???? Still not working ???
iPhone Version 3.1.2 ?? Will Check if update helps ?

Hey, i got the sms and it is up and running on my iphone. Only problem is when i try step 3 (dail +27 82 131 + my number). it says number doesn’t excist. Im i doing something wrong? I tried 2 push the power button at the top TWICE (FAST) but the caller just gets an engaged signal. Please help.

iPhone 3GS Ver 3.1.3 – Had all the same troubles you experienced! Then sent ‘VVM OFF’ to 123, waited a minute or so and sent ‘VVM ON’ – Voila!!! And this after I get the ‘not launched’ explanation ;-) My best has to be ‘…Sir, your iPhone does not do video calls…’ man, if only they knew what was potting…

O, sorry, remember to RESTART you iPhone after you receive confirmation of the service being activated!

Thanks for this info. I love my iPhone – I’ve owned 3 (1st gen, 3G and now a 3GS). Although mine is unlocked and running on MTN. I guess there’s no chance that MTN would enable visual voice mail for me ;-) ha ha!

I hope yours starts working! It looks like a very useful feature!

Sorry if I did made it clear in my previous post, but my VVM started working the moment my iPhone restarted – after de-activating and the re-activating the service that is!

No, I don’t think MTN will do the VVM thing any time soon… pity! That then the reason for my port with my 3GS.

Got my 2G iPhone more than two years ago and never been happier! Skipped the 3G, but could not resist the 3GS.
Been working with Apples the last 20 years – there is just no comparison!

Hi All

Geez… This seems the hardest thing to get working…..
over the last 48hrs have unsuccesfully attempted to try to have my voicemail box deleted and recreated…. Twice…

Today on attempt 3 they have deleted and recreated my voicemail box but strangely it has my original voice greeting which makes me think nothing has ever been deleted….. So confused…..

Have also tried the VVM on and Off a few times…. I get confirmation messages each time….

LOL… Will Keep Trying….

Hi Vernon. I’ve seen the same issue wich I was able to resolve. Take note: When deleting your voice mailbox it can take 24 hours for it to be recreated. You will know it has been recreated when you dial it and telepromter tell you your voice mailbox needs to be configured. Only then you can enable your VVM and this can also take 24 hours. After you have done that and you’ve recieved the SMS stating it’s activated you can tap on the voicemail button where you will se a VVM setup screen helping you setup VVM password and greetings. Do you have a TWI. SIM for another phone?

Hey PJ,
I have the same issue as Vernon.
Tried everything and it just gives me an error.

I do have a second sim card on my contract. do you think this is the issue?

Many Thanks

Activating mine right now!!! Soooo excited!!! Pity they charging for the service but cool nonetheless :)

Ok, mine started working right after activation. It is soooooo awesome :) Just wondering, how do we fix the SMS notification thing? Think it’s worth calling Vodacom to try get them to de-activate my SMS notifications?

Hey Marc Updated my Phone to 3.1.3 and sent the VVM ON through again and it activated within seconds

Press release from Vodacom:

Vodacom is pleased to announce the launch of Visual Voicemail, available from 1 April 2010. Visual Voicemail enables Vodacom Contract, Top Up and Prepaid customers who use the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS smartphones to view their Voicemail messages displayed in a ‘list format’, in the same way as they would view their email messages – and it’s FREE for the first 30 days.


Vodacom is offering a FREE trial to Visual Voicemail from 1 April to 31 May 2010, which means all customers with iPhones can try out the service at no charge during this period.

Hi Marc
Did it on my 3g and the wifes 3GS hers working like a dream nothing on mine and also sms it again said it was activated on my phone you know what’s up?

Hi – just activated my VVM in seconds on my iPhone 3G running 3.1.3. No problems so far……

Hi, How do I remove the Voicemail button tap shorcut to 121?
Requested VVM a day ago and still not active.

I’ve tried *5005*86*# and it does nothing; still dails the voicemail number 121 when tapped.

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