How to activate MTN, VodaCom, Cell C and 8ta Prepaid Blackberry Internet Service (BIS)


Hi. I'm currently 33 years old and I'm a full time web developer. I love my wife and... my two cats! The main goal of this blog is to help other South Africans with product reviews, how to articles and updated science and tech news. There are many things that's not very clearly explained like how to do your tax or how to renew your car license for example. So hopefully this blog can be useful to others.

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141 Responses

  1. Posh says:

    Thank you dudey!! 😀
    Just activated my vodacom now and it was a breeze!

    • Francdore says:

      Pleasure dude!

      • nasira says:

        Hi. Whenever I check for renewal date it says I’m currently not on blackberry service, though I am. I also do not receive any sms b4 to remind me to have funds for renewal. This morning I’m disconneted. But I’m able to google but not email. Dailing calling *141*2# doesn’t give me bis option but bises is that the same? I haven’t chosen the option yet.

    • chris says:

      good stuff but is the BIS charge for a calendar month? i.e. if loaded say 29 april, does it run to 29 may or is one paying in full for a day? Suirely it should be on a pro rata basis.

  2. DEE says:

    Thanks a million.

  3. PEPE! says:

    Dog thank u so much! much appreciated!:)

  4. wayne says:

    Hey if you everything is activated bt towards evening time you can’t get internet what do you think is the problem I’m using vodacom

  5. nina says:

    Thanx a million!!

  6. Morgan says:

    Hi there,
    When i tried doing this via the mtn method my blackberry dials the *141*11# and does not request anything instead says the number is incorrect. . . what do i do someone please help????

    • Pearl Trollip says:

      When I punch in *141*2# it dials the number and says this number is incorrect. So I am unable to load my airtime to acrivate mt bis

  7. sbu says:

    dankie san

  8. alex says:

    Bros,thanks very much i appreciate.

  9. Anda says:

    You are a Life Saver!!!!!!!!


  10. Malombo says:

    Thank u very much!!!

  11. Kgomotso says:

    thank you so much! It’s amazing how easy it is to do this & how hard it was to find the info! If it wasn’t for you I’d still be looking:-)

  12. Tee.vs.Kay says:

    Wow thnx bra…..too much….

  13. elaine says:

    And if any1 wants cell c. U just need to dial *147# And select option 7. And put ur phone off and its done. But make sure u have more than R57

  14. Kesh says:

    Thank you. I had been searching … and searching, and thanks to you, found the MTN info I was looking for. You would think it would be easier to find!

  15. Burger says:

    You can also activate Vodacom by dialing *111# an selecting bundle perches then by the BB service for R59

  16. kokes says:

    Oh my word wow you are such a great help you made this an absolute breeze for me. This was the first website I went to!! Who would have thought to blog about such but I won’t lie its a great idea!! Seems to be working too!! Just wondering though when does bis expire? After 30days or 25? Coz I don’t have and sms yet from them but its 25days today!!!

  17. swg says:

    MTN 1 is wrong it’s *141*11*1# then select option 1 & then again option 1 & viola its activated……within a few minutes you can start sending & receiving emails & so on..

  18. Eddie says:

    Very helpful, thanks

  19. quinith says:

    What if none of these methods work for cell c nd contract..when I tried calling 1555 it said number does not exist

    • Francdore says:


      The Cell C one was contributed by a vistor. I just made sure and checked on the Cell C website which stated the following:

      “You can purchase this service now on any existing Cell C package or by dialling *147# and then choosing option 7 or by calling our call center (dial 140).”

      Hope this helps.

  20. Tay says:

    You rock dude!!

  21. Chez says:

    Good golly!

    Ive been looking for this info everywhere to activate MTN – it’s hectic 😡

    Thank you so much!

  22. DIANA MANIKKAM says:

    Thanks so much. The mtn website was of no help.

  23. Joanne says:

    I have just spent the morning trying to find something on the MTN site and it sucks. Please can you help me. I have been given a Blackberry by a friend who had it on contract with MTN. It appears that MTN has blocked any other service providers sim cards being used on it. I am on Vodacom and every time I put it into the Blackberry I just get a white screen with a tiny timer on it and it stays there for ages. I cannot even switch it off.

    • Francdore says:

      Hey Joanne,

      Eish, unfortunately I don’t have a clue. I’ve once put my MTN sim card into my friends VodaCom BlackBerry which is on contract.

      I think the best would be to call VodaCom.

      Sorry. You can try and do a hard reset and/or soft reset on the phone:

      A hard reset involves physically removing the battery from the BlackBerry smartphone and then reinserting it. To perform a hard reset, complete the following steps:

      Remove the battery cover from the back of the BlackBerry smartphone.
      Remove the battery, and then reinsert it after a few seconds.
      Replace the battery cover.

      A soft reset is a three-key combination that resets the BlackBerry smartphone without removing the battery. It is only available on BlackBerry smartphone models with a QWERTY keyboard. Do not attempt to perform a soft reset on BlackBerry smartphones that are equipped with SureType® technology or the SurePress™ touch screen, such as the BlackBerry® Pearl™ Series, BlackBerry® Pearl™ Flip Series, and BlackBerry® Storm™ smartphone.

      To perform a soft reset, complete the following steps:

      Press and hold the Alt key on the BlackBerry smartphone.
      While holding down the Alt key, press and hold the Right Shift key.
      With both of those buttons still pressed, press the Backspace/Delete key. The display on the BlackBerry smartphone turns off to indicate that the reset has started, and the keys can now be released.

  24. stone says:

    Thanks a lot! M checkin out 4 ma gf cos we’ve chatin wit sms’es n its costly. Thanx again

  25. Jonathan says:

    Hey Francdore, I haven’t tried this as yet, but it seems sensible and to the point. This is exactly what those mega corps (service providers) don’t want you to see. Beautiful stuff, well written article and to the point! Thank You for shairng this with us!

  26. Alex says:

    Thank you soooooooooo much guys!

  27. kay says:

    Thanx a million

  28. Candypoetrygirl says:

    So glad Google sent me to your blog as I was searching for options! YAY connected 🙂

    Thanks dude

  29. sheldon says:

    thanks for the info, greatly appreciated 🙂

    why cant the service providers just put simple instruction like this on their own sites? they always have to make things so complicated…..haha

  30. Nthabi says:

    Thank you so much!!!

  31. LM says:

    Thanks so much. I do however still have a problem as its not working for me. If I dial *141*11# a message pops up saying “This service is only available to MTN Pay as you Go and MTN AnyTime and MTN off peak TopUp customers”. Weird!!

    Why would it do that if im on prepaid?

  32. deedee says:

    Hello, pls can any one help me with suggestions, i didnt find anything on the mtn website, am currently in the states and my num is on roaming, AT&T appears on my blackberry device and my bis worked for about 3 months, but its just suddenly stoped and my subscription is still on, dont knw wat the problem is……

  33. Kerry says:

    YOU ARE THE MAN!!! Thankyou so much for this!! Waisted over 30 bucks airtime calling different customercare lines and after what felt like hrs of holding and transferring, i finally was helped. But by then i had used up all my airtime and then had to get more!! *bbm cant watch face* lol this is so much easier!!!!

  34. Khopotso says:

    Thanx a lot! I’ve been struggling every month, never again!!

  35. Lucas skhosana says:

    Am not sure this wil work for XPERIA mini.and for my girlfriend samsung star help me pliz

  36. Lisa says:

    Thanks, been on BlackBerry & Vodacom for help but found it here 🙂

  37. Sams says:

    Dude lyk iv got a problem wit my fone. After charging my fone via PC all my media files disappeared this includes pictures, music, videos n voice notes I hav no idea wher they r! Oh n wen I take picture they jus won’t appear on the picture folder plzzzzzzzzz helppppppp….. Desperate

  38. Han:) says:

    Hey, I activated my BIS using you method, but it says it’s activated but it’s still not working. I rebooted my phone as well. Does BIS usually take a while to activate? I also tried deactivating it, and reactivating it, but it will not let me deactivate it! Thanks so much! x

  39. Lumko. says:

    Woaw guys. I just wna know 1 thng. I dnt want to buy airtime all the time to activate. So is it possible to just subscribe 4 a couple of m0thns and jst pay 1 off for a couple of m0nths? By the way im MTN… Plz plz help

  40. Wilma says:

    Hi, I baught a 2nd hand BB that is on Cell C – I transfered my Vodacom no to Cell C – however I have endless problems I alwas get the RED SOS I can’t make calls most of the time and can’t receive calls, Can I change the BB to Vodacom (as it it Cell C) and if I can how do I do it.

  41. Londiwe says:

    I don’t know what I would’ve have done without you. I have been googling for hours and there you were just like an agel ready to help. You are a lifesaver. Ta

  42. Muldene says:

    You Rock!!

  43. miss essie says:

    Hey there thanx 4 all ur help, I just wonder if u cud help me, I’m on the vodacom step up 75s contract and was wondering if I buy me airtime seeing as it is a top up contract if I cud use it 2 purchase bis, I’m currently using a mtn sim card cause when I tried loading bis from my vodacom sim it shows error. I wud really appreciate ur help on this one thanx.

  44. logan says:

    you rock boet, you’re diffinitly “AYOBA”

    thank you

  45. Ryno says:

    Dude!! you are a star!!! Why can Vodacom not have this info so easily available…

    You saved me hours and I will pay it forward…

    • Francdore says:

      Pleasure dude. I hope all the BIS codes are still correct. If anyone notices that the codes aren’t working, please drop me an email on the contact page.

  46. nhlanhla says:

    wow that’s helpful…thx to you

  47. Wenchy says:

    So glad somebody did this! Thank you. All my kids are on different networks and I can’t keep up with who must sms what. 🙂

  48. Roelof says:

    Does anyone know how to check the expiry date of the bbm service without waiting for a reminder msg from vodacom_ this is on a pre-paid service. This is my first month and I dont even know if vodacom does send a reminder msg.

  49. mark says:

    Err… I have the same problem as Han.. I activated and so on using the mtn method, stated that it was activated but no bis next to the signal icon notifying me that Its on.. Can’t use it yet. Is there a delay or maybe a time period before it is officially activated and ready to use?..

    Got friends asking this side as well

  50. kgarithi says:

    my blacberry does not browse anymore i don’t know why?

  51. ketlite says:

    Thank u so much. This just saved me a whole week of frustration. U r just too kind. Bless u!

  52. Walems says:

    Thanks for the information , i am going to try it now then i will come again to say how it works. Have a wonderful day.

  53. October says:

    When trying 2 activate my bis.. Dailling *141*11#.. It says “your bis could not be completed” why is that? I’m struggling for 2days now

  54. Allen Visser says:

    Probably the best BB reference on the net. Well done!!

  55. Mandi says:

    Thanks sooo much for this, I am completely impatient when trying to get things done and after spending more than enough time trying to google for answers I found your blog!!! Yayness!!

  56. Monicca says:

    Thank u so such especially with activation of R62 every month is the best one. MERRY CHRISTMAS

  57. promise says:

    I luv u so much u r such a darling if I knew u I would kiss u ryte now

  58. Camer0n says:

    I have an MTN blackberry and i did pot a cell c sim in show what mast i do 2 set up my b.i.s or mast i get an MTN simcard ?

  59. Ona khumalo says:

    Hi ,anyone who can help please,I struggle to activate my bis ,I used this method *141*11# it says the service its only 4 pay as u go,top up and off peak customers only and I’m a top up customer,pls help or there s other method?

  60. riri says:

    wow u are a lifesaver tnx amillion im a new blackberry user but tnx 2 u im ready to role!!! u are a *

  61. Richie D says:

    MTN is now *141*2#

  62. Vicky Theron says:

    Hi guys!With MTN *141*11# doesn’t work any more.Do any one know how to activate BIS on pay-as-you-go?

  63. vuvu says:

    I tried 2 activate my bis and it saing no longer available, I’m using *141*11*1# and it doesn’t wanna work pls help me

    • Dru says:

      Use the instructions up there. Worked for me:

      Before activating your BIS, make sure you have more that R62 on your phone. This amount will be subtracted from your airtime and you will have BIS for a month. Every month it will take R62. You’ll also receive an sms a couple of days before the renewal date each month to remind you to have airtime on your phone.

      If you want to activate your Blackberry internet service for MTN Prepaid, you need to Dial:

      *141*2# and press the call button.

      This will activate it for you!

      • julie de bruyn says:

        So I loaded BIS then I typed in *141*11# .its 2 days now and my bbm still not working ?is it still that code of *141*2# ? For mtn ?

  64. Veee says:


  65. JD says:

    I have put in *141*11# and it says bis not available on bb10???? Never had a problem to activate my MTN bb and now what? Where do I go from here to activated my bis? I need it to work for work purposes. Please can someone help me?

    • Francdore says:

      Hi. Thanks for this. I have added it to the page. If anyone else have any updates, please let me know.

      • Dylan Martin says:

        Hi i’m a Cell C user but when i want to activate my BIS it tells me i must insert my sim card but its already in my Phone ??? I dont know whats wrong ….plzz help

      • erin says:

        I am on cell c and I don’t have R57 on my sim I have less and need to activate my bis I am lost I need help

  66. Dru says:

    thanks a million! Was just about to throw my BB against the wall then phoning MTN to crap on them!

  67. Irma Kidson says:

    I loaded my 200mb on mtn, but still my phone shows small letters edge and does not want to work.

  68. Irma Kidson says:

    I even phoned the *141*2# and still my bb does not work

  69. Espa says:

    Mtn sucks ,am moving and with all my friends .

  70. Nol-T says:

    What’s happening with MTN? I hear everyone complain about it. I have a contract with them for my BB. I hear people can’t download or use the internet. Can someone explain what’s happening?

  71. joan bailey says:

    it was a breeze compared to the customer service line,
    MTN.. 🙁 must have my head examined.


  72. akho says:

    I purchased a R20 bis on MTN and now my phone is saying my wi fi is not active buut the edge on top of the screen is now written in capital letters but still i cannot go on whatsapp,mxit or any social network so i really do not know the problem because it was my first time activating my bis. any1 who wishes to help me should send me an email at

  73. mpho says:

    guys can you please post the options you chose coz i’m confused i dialed *141*2# but still

  74. mapaseka says:

    I was once an mtn customer,then it was said that they don’t have bis anymore they just provide you with 200mb worth R59,of which those megabytes don’t even last a month ,and once you ran out of data bundles you need to top-up,I mean why would I want to spend so much while I can still get my bis from my other network,so what I dd I just port my number to other network and now I have my bis and I can access the internet without the worry of the data bundles.

    • Mcjunior says:

      Hi mapaseka,am triying to activate my BIS on MTN,since they change the easiest way can u pls send those settings email is, MTN sucks now.

  75. Piet Judeel says:

    This number from MTN *141*2# is never available is there nomber that I can phone to speak to an opperator please

  76. Tess P says:

    Thanking u kindly, information needed urgently+ its amazing its just so easy but Mtn. Makes it so hard+ thanks to u on line blessings+

  77. gattuso says:

    What if I dnt hve money for bis will I be charged for that?

  78. gattuso says:

    I’m using cell c and just dialed *147# but my problem is that option7 Is a please col me.

  79. DaveDev says:

    thanx for the help fill info brother

  80. x says:

    Pliz,help I m usin 9650 I can’t download anthing,it says downlaod fail after loadin a while,n thers round shape lik wt a cross inside next to edge,wat d problem,hw cn I browse n download.

  81. jackie says:

    I have loaded R30 + R35 on my Mtn blackberry and would like to purchase BIS. Now its telling me I dont have enough airtime!!!! HELP. I did the *141*2# – Then nr 3 (Blackberry) – then 6 – BIS bundle for R59. – Then 1 for confirm.!!!!
    “you do not have sufficient airtime”

  82. cindy says:

    Pls help how do I check if bis expired on vodacom

  83. Sboniso says:

    Thanks bro for the valuable information

  84. Elsi says:

    I bought airtime for 8*ta,how do i activate it for BIS.Please help guys.

  85. Kimmie says:

    Oo u wer a lyf saver tnx a million tyms!

  86. Nancy says:

    Very helpful


  87. Hlelo Christos says:

    Wow! Dude u are a genius. I like ur work and u helped me just as easy as abc. It would have taken me a year to get to this info but with u it just took me less than five minutes. Dankie brazzo/dude.

  88. Nosipho says:

    Thanks a mill, this was a HUGE help 🙂 #MTN

    • Francois says:

      It’s my pleasure.

      How did you manage to fill in your name and email in the comment form as many people have complained that the name and email field is “disabled”. Can you click in the name and email fields in the comment form?


  89. Mariska says:

    I need to activate my bis now and have R60 airtime but when I want to purchase the bundle it says that I have insufficient funds to complete the process. I have done this before with only R60 airtime on my phone so don’t understand what’s going on now. I’m with Vodacom.

  90. Bami says:

    i load R60 mtn now so as to get BIS, next i heard was that the service wasnt supported. which was *141*2# and i retried it again. next i got was that i do not have enough balance to perform the task. i check my balance and i see R15 AS BEEN DEDUCTED FROM MY AIRTIME??? WHAT KIND OF MTN IS THIS.

  91. yassy says:

    hi, 8ta doesn’t work like that what should I do

  92. lisa says:

    how do i activate vodacom bis?

  93. Meagan says:

    Hi There ..

    I would like to know, I have a blackberry, and I bought a new Vodacom SIM card, so I would like to know must I activate with Vodacom again ?? or can I go on as normal ??

  94. Mohau says:

    Hi Francois

    i struggled for days. thanks to you, i finaly have BIS…. thanx a million

  95. Taryn says:

    Thanks a mil Francois!

    When I googled “how to” your webiste was listed second on the page and so now I dont have to waste time figuring it all out!

    Here is your HIGH FIVE I so wanted to give you whilst reading the informative page!! 🙂

  96. Suresh says:


    Previously I have used Blackberry 9360 with Vodacom prepaid number and activated Blackberry services. But when i changed my Mobile 9360 to Blackberry Q10 i am unable to activate blackberry services with the same Vodacom number. When i checked my balances, it shows that my Blackberry services is activated. Kindly help me to enable blackberry services in my Q10 mobile.

  97. Retha says:

    Thank you so much for this article! I was struggling my arse off to get it right.. 🙁

  98. Dorothy says:

    Thank you very much Francois you are a life saver:)

  99. niksha says:

    after you call 1555 on mtn what do you do?

  100. venter 1 says:

    dude you talk a bunch of sh***t the vodacom does not work and i spent all my airtime you are a prik

    • Francois says:

      Hi Shanessa,

      I wrote this post awhile back so I’m sorry if it doesn’t work. If you know the correct code/procedure, please comment it here or send it to us on our contact page.



  101. coenrad says:

    young man you have just made my day a great pleasure. If there is one thing I hate is to go and stand in a queue for service. You are a stor.

  102. michelle says:

    I’m on a vodacom contract, and I’ve tried to sms to 100 but it keeps sms’ing me back saying something like technical error, and I can’t find bundle purchases 😐 what now?

  103. yvonne says:

    Hi Francdore, I have been really battling to get bis, thank you for your clear instructions.

  104. Saint says:

    Does telkom have once off BIS like if you purchase BIS in the mid of the month will it take 30days to end like vodacom?

  105. linde says:

    u did more than helping. u are a star….

  106. kamogelo says:

    i want bis now

  107. noxolo says:

    Hey there I need a help I want to use my social network without BIS and I am using MTN

  108. Sparkle says:

    Hi everyone is anyone experiencing problems with Vodacom BIS connecting to network. I called Vodacom several times and they keep on telling me to change my network settings to manual. I have BIS and do not get connected to my social networks. I thought in the beginning they had fixed this problem only to realise it was because my phone had airtime and I was accessing my whatsapps and what not through my airtime. I realised after a zero balance that I could not connect.

    I’m fed up with this. I am on prepaid.Please provide solution if its out there.


  109. Troy says:

    Hi, I activated a R59 MTN data bundle but can’t download anything. They said I should wait a few minutes but it has been a day now.

  110. IRENE RITCHIE says:

    IRENE January 8, 2017 at 12:11 pm
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Thank you so much for helping me get Blackberry BIS on prepaid. I visited Vodacom outlets 4 times and no one had a clue of what I wanted. In fact the last store said they were not dealing with Blackberry or Nokia.

    It is apparent that there is little or no communication between head office and branches.

    It only took me 30 Minutes to get the BIS going exactly by your instructions. Thank goodness there are people like you out there! You rock, thank you again and keep doing your thing. Love to the cats.


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