Avoid unnecessary data roaming charges overseas

29 May 2015

 

■ Phone settings can be altered to disconnect 3G while Wi-Fi is being used to prevent the phone automatically switching to expensive networks while on home turf; when travelling abroad turn off data roaming to prevent your phone downloading data without you realising, and stick to Wi-Fi in cafes and hotels wherever possible. Google and JiWire offer free iOS and Android apps that search out local Wi-Fi spots.

■ Make essential downloads such as maps or books before you leave the UK, and avoid watching films or downloading music unless you have Wi-Fi. Companies may charge for voicemail messages left on your phone (plus extra for actually listening to them) while abroad, so turn this facility off too if possible and avoid opening attachments in emails or loading photos on to social media.

■ Operators should cut your data connection once you’ve used around £40-worth per month, wherever you travel in the world, unless you choose another limit or opt out of the cap. If you do opt out make sure you are aware of the charges regardless of whether you actively use your handset. Uswitch reckons a holidaymaker who opts out and doesn’t make use of free Wi-Fi or switch off data roaming could amass a £500-a-day bill, depending on where they are in the world.

■ There are apps that compress the amount of data you use, and in doing so cut your costs. Onavo, for instance, promises to reduce data usage by 80% in 90 countries. It also has an app which monitors the amount of data you are using so you can keep tabs on cost.

■ Some providers offer packages with discounted rates for people going abroad, but be careful that when the bundle is used up the phone doesn’t automatically switch to standard rates.

■ A pay-as-you go sim card bought in the country you are travelling to, or a global sim from specialist UK providers such as Go-Sim, will ensure you only pay local rates provided your phone is unlocked, although it will mean using a different phone number.

Source: The Guardian

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