The CAB (Citizens' Advice Bureau) is a charity which gives advice for free regarding consumer issues, healthcare and tax. It has shown that holidaymakers may incur high charges on data roaming outside Europe on summer this year. It also states that customers have incurred quite high bills.
One man, for instance, claims that he paid £12,000 for the use of his daughter's mobile phone, which was taken to Egypt under his name. It is also noted that there is a lot of tariff charge disparity between various operators. This calls for a cap throughout the industry on the charges on data roaming worldwide.
There are a few things you can do to avoid roaming overcharges. This brief guide will show you how to do so, whether you are travelling or not. You can also contact Ofcom for advice on how to go about it.
Definition of Data Roaming
Data roaming refers to the use of a phone or tablet of foreign mobile network for receiving and sending data. It enabled mobile users to browse through the internet, upload photographs to social media sites, download music and emails and refresh the news feed on their social media sites. This may cost mobile users a lot of money. There are ways for minimizing your expenses while using the internet this summer.
When One May Not Know Their Data Roaming Is Active
Most social media and news apps usually download the new data from the background, whether or not they are active. Eve apps for instant messaging such as Facebook and Whatsapp use data. The CAB recommends a cap on data roaming that is non-EU industry-wide. Cab claims that it has witnessed situations where military personnel incurred charges worth thousands yet they had not heavily used their devices. This is due to the apps downloading data in the background.
How to Avoid Data Roaming Charges
Turn Off Data Roaming
This is the easiest way to avoid the charges when you are abroad. Simply go to your cellular settings and turn off both cellular data and data roaming. This way, you can prevent your apps from downloading background data while you are unaware and also protect you from data charges on the internet or on social media.
Use Wi-Fi Only
You can use Wi-Fi at home the same way you use data, for browsing, downloading photos, music and videos Wi-Fi. The speed of connection may be ropey especially in rural areas or in places where there are thick walls, many users or a poorly placed rooter, making the signal weak. You would rather bear with this than pay more for data usage. Most of hotels approved by Telegraph Travel offer their guests Wi-Fi for free. You can view our recommendations of favorite destinations for vacations like the Provence and Turquoise Coast. It has also been taken up by many restaurants and cafes worldwide.
You should be careful when using Wi-Fi to transfer data that is highly sensitive like your location or bank details. In this case, you should use a password protected Wi-Fi connection.
Purchase Your Preferred Data Bundle
These are ‘add-ons’ or packages which offer a data limit such as 200MB, 2GB, etc which you can use abroad, given a set timeframe. Some plans like T-Mobile and 4GEE notify users of the expiration of their allowances or when they run out; this will paralyze their usage until they buy another bundle.
Other providers require customers to monitor their data usage (usually, apps in network providers have their own usage trackers) in order to avoid incurring standard roaming charges after the bundles run out. You should refrain from downloading music, films and videos while you are abroad, as you can run out of data in no time.
Use The Apps That Don’t Require Internet Connection
Before leaving UK, you should download apps for using abroad, which require no internet connection and hence no data.
The Guides app by Telegraph Travel has guides to 23 places. The destinations include New York, Venice, Hong Kong, Paris, and Rio de Janeiro among others. We can use it to go through maps and also explore hotels, restaurants, shops and sights using GPS; and it do not require data.
Use Your Home SIM Card
You should use a local SIM card in case you will be travelling for a considerably long time, and you will need to text, call and use a lot of data. This way, you will incur charges at the local rather than roaming rates.
Turn Your Voicemail Off When Travelling
Call charges may be under the EU cap, but you may incur extremely high expenses outside Europe to check your voicemail messages. You should communicate with the mobile provider that serves you to find out your handset’s details in order to know how you can turn your voicemail off while you are travelling.