Have you ever heard the horror stories from your friends when they returned from vacationing abroad? It usually doesn't involve being robbed by the locals, but by their own mobile service provider! Now that everyone owns a smart-phone, data roaming charges are sky-rocketing. In the past, you could simply make a quick phone call and only be charged a few pounds, no big deal. Now, you are making phone calls, text messaging, Tweeting, Facebooking, uploading photos and videos, using a GPS, and searching for the nearest bank or restaurant. All of those will rack up your mobile phone bill, which is why the smarter decision is to use an international wireless Internet service.
An international broadband company can provide you access to the Internet, wherever you are, at one flat rate price. Do not take any more chances of returning home with a £1,000 bill full of roaming charges. Now you can travel with your own personal WiFi mobile hotspot or WiFi USB stick, preventing any unnecessary data charges. Not only will your international wireless Internet cards help you out, but you can probably even set up a hotspot for other travellers who need to connect. Here are some tips to consider before taking your mobile phone on your next adventure abroad:
- Search around for an international broadband company ahead of time, ensuring you will have WiFi everywhere on your trip.
- Call your mobile phone provider, letting them know where and when you are going. They may have a cheap international rate plan you can set up temporarily.
- Set up a Skype or other VoIP account, letting you make phone calls from your computer or mobile device connected to WiFi. This works great on the iPhone, using the Skype app when you are connected to the Internet.
- Buy a local SIM card. Just in case you get disconnected from WiFi (which you shouldn't if you have an international wireless Internet service), you will save a lot of money with free incoming calls and very cheap outgoing calls over the local network.
- Note: A lot of service providers do not want you to use another company's SIM card in your phone. You will need to search online on how to unlock your specific phone, allowing any SIM card to work.
- Check to see if your provider is on a GSM or CDMA network. Unfortunately for CDMA users, your phone won't work in very many countries. GSM is more of a world standard, and the two U.S. providers on GSM are AT&T and T-Mobile. Also, GSM users need to check that their phone is tri-band or quad-band, determining whether or not it will work using international frequencies.
- Make sure your mobile device is only operating on WiFi. If you simply leave all functions on when travelling, it will probably try and continuously download data. For an iPhone, turn on Airplane Mode, then turn on WiFi and you will only be using local WiFi (similar to an iPod Touch).