If you are out of an area where your mobile phone network has a signal, your phone will "roam" to find another network to allow you to connect to other service providers to make use your phone to make calls, send texts etc. This is most likely to be when you are abroad. "Data roaming" refers to your phone's connection to the internet with another provider if you have a Smart phone with access to mobile apps and web browsing.
Your mobile network can make substantial charges for roaming to another network so make sure you understand how much you will need to pay to make calls before you travel. However, data roaming charges for accessing the internet will be especially high and you could find yourself landed with an enormous bill without realising it.
When using your phone abroad, you can minimise the costs of data roaming charges using the following techniques:
- Make sure the "data roaming" option is turned off and only switch it back on again when you absolutely need it; i.e. to pick up your emails. The phone's user guide will show you how.
- Turn off any mail or application "push" settings as an added precaution
- Only use an available Wi-Fi network to access the internet. Your service provider will not charge you for data downloaded this as it is the owner of the network that pays; for example if you use Wi-Fi access from a cafe or hotel. You will usually need to ask for the password for access and then connect to the Wi-Fi network via the network settings on your phone.
- You may have to pay a fee for using a Wi-Fi network. The proprietor will inform you of this when you ask for the password to connect
- If you will need to use your phone a lot while you are abroad. Ask your mobile service provider about any packages they offer for users travelling abroad
Using these tips will let you enjoy your time away knowing the final bill will be easy to digest and won’t contain any unexpected extras.
Always refer to the manufacturer’s manual for specific details.