Use Wifi Calling Apps To Avoid Paying Sky-High Roaming Fees
Roaming charges are the bane of international travelers. Many of us have learned the hard way that data roaming costs can be excruciatingly high, so just exactly what can be done to avoid them?
You will of course want to stay in contact with your circle of friends and family while you’re away so it’s worth knowing a little bit about the options available to you once you’ve turned off data roaming and connected your device via Wi-Fi.
Firstly, we’ll look below at the average rates of some of the main US operators for international calls while roaming:
If you have a data plan with AT&T, you can add a global data add-on package. 140 countries are covered in their $30 per month for 120 MB plan. Every increment of up to 120 MB is billed at an additional $30. For countries outside the 140 included on the plan, costs are $.0195/KB.
If you have a Smartphone with Verizon data plans, you can either apply for a global plan which will vary depending on which countries you will be visiting, or pay $0.69 - $2.89 per minute depending on which country you are in.
Sprint is even more expensive for roaming, with rates up to $4.99 and a complex process to get set up for international calling while roaming. In many cases, customers of larger mobile carriers complain that they end up with massive charges due to conflicting data plans and drifting in and out of roaming areas.
You should also be aware that you need to consider changing your SIM card in order to your make use of your phone in other countries. Some Asian phone models have dual sim card ports which can be useful here.
Alternatively you have to ensure that your data plan will work whilst abroad, which means engaging with your provider and their dreaded customer services and auto telephone response system! Even if you do hurdle this obstacle, the reality of the matter is that your costs will be significantly large when making international calls.
Here’s an article with some tips on how to avoid these costs.
There is an Alternative!
Many people fall into the trap of traveling abroad and failing to adjust the settings on their smartphone. This means that any telephone activity, be it surfing online, making a call or sending a text/SMS will result in huge costs. Instead, there is a simple setting in your smartphone that allows for this roaming to be turned off.
So how do you stay in touch? Simply connect via Wi-Fi instead and use one of the many available apps/services for sending messages and making cheap/free calls.
Disabling Data on iPhone
For most iPhones, you can turn off roaming by following these instructions:
1. Tap the Settings app
2. Tap Mobile Networks
4. Slide the Data Roaming slider to Off
That’s it! It literally takes you a few seconds and saves you huge amounts of hassle and unwanted costs.
Disabling Data on Android:
1. Open the Settings app.
2. In the Wireless & Networks section, touch the More item.
3. Choose Mobile Networks. On some Android phones, you may have to choose Battery & Data Manager and then Data Delivery.
4. Remove the check mark by the Data Roaming option.
Once this is done you have peace of mind that no hidden costs will be incurred while abroad. The next step is to hook up to a Wi-Fi connection from any hotel, public library, café, restaurant etc and use one or more of a variety of apps to stay in touch with your friends and family.