Staying connected and online while abroad have its huge consequences. And believe it or not, the highest ever recorded international roaming bill costs $570,000! This is why it pays to do some research and pay attention to your current phone plan’s roaming charges before going on a holiday or business trip overseas.
International roaming refers to the ability of your smartphone to automatically connect to a local network while abroad. Yes, it does sound convenient but it isn’t cheap.
With international roaming, the cost of every call you make can be significantly higher than your usual local rate and you can also be charged for each call you receive. Depending on your plan, you can receive and send free texts to the UAE and other countries. However, there are packages wherein it will usually cost more if you send SMS messages. But it’s still the cost of data usage who is the main culprit behind bill shock.
If you will be traveling overseas soon and you are worried about how you can use your phone without receiving a humongous bill when you get home, follow these tips:
While you’re abroad, keep a close eye on your data usage so that you don’t carelessly burn your data allowance. You can view your data stats on the page of your mobile network account. You can also install an app that will monitor your data usage.
Alternatively, smartphones have a built-in data log. For Android phones, you can access this by going to Settings, then choose Wireless and Networks, and then click Data Usage.
Most mobile networks offer deals for roaming which cost less than the regular price. This can be a package that provides unlimited international calls and unlimited internet (basically everything you’ll need to stay connected while abroad). The best practice is to buy a roaming package before you go so that you can get the best deal rather than a last-minute one.
As much as you can, steer clear of packages that come with streaming video or music because they can be costly. Try to stick with internet browsing and basic email and take advantage of your hotel’s Wi-Fi to save on data usage.
Switch off any automatic updates, location services, and push notifications you’ve enabled. These features use your mobile data for accuracy and switching them off will help control your usage.
Before your flight, remember to cancel updates. Your phone’s software updates are important but hold them off until you’re connected to a Wi-Fi network. This way, you won’t incur huge costs by downloading huge patches.
Don’t forget to check if you have disabled data access on your smartphone when you are not using it. This will help you avoid inadvertently connecting to the internet even if you don’t need to.
Before you go overseas, it’s a good idea to contact your provider and ask about international roaming services. This way, they can give you the best deals that fit the location you’re going to and your budget. Your provider will also be able to inform you of all relevant charges that will apply while you’re abroad.
The important thing is that you understand any usage limits and charges that may affect you. You can also inquire about how to adjust your phone’s settings so that you can avoid sudden charges.
The cheapest option for using your phone while out of the country is by swapping your SIM card for a local prepaid one once you’ve arrived in your country of destination. Pricing will still depend on your destination. But in most cases, it’s still cheaper than roaming.
You have to ensure that you can unlock your handset from your network and it’s compatible with any local networks. You can usually purchase SIM cards at the airport and they’re good to go from the moment you leave the terminal.
Going to another country sure is a good experience. But in order for that good experience to last, you have to make sure you don’t go home to a shocking phone bill. Smartphones make life easier when abroad, but you also have to know how to use it properly to avoid excessive costs.