How to avoid pricey data roaming bills

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CNET Editor

When Irene's not finding reasons to go globetrotting, with a camera almost permanently fixed to her face, she's reading up on all the latest gizmos and gadgets or trying her hand at adventure sports.

When travelling overseas, phone bills can get expensive quite quickly. This is not only due to international call rates, but also to data roaming, which smartphones are now becoming reliant on.

So, what is data roaming? Your phone requires data when you access email, browse the web or do anything that requires the internet. So when your phone can't find and connect to your carrier, it will "roam" for other mobile networks that it can use — hence the term "data roaming".

Data roaming rates can be pricier than roaming voice calls and text messages. For example, watching a three-minute YouTube video takes about 2MB of data, which, if calculated with a pay-per-use international data rate of about 2.2 cents per KB, could be the equivalent of $45. If you were to add this to any other apps that require data, the bill could reach an exorbitant amount.

To prevent getting a shock when you view your phone bill on returning from your trip, we show you some very simple and easy-to-do tips in the next few pages.



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NickB7 posted a comment   

I've heard it's cheaper to send data to the International Space Station that it is to use international data roaming!Really the only two ways to avoid hefty roaming bills are:1. Turn OFF data roaming on your iPhone / iPad. By default it is OFF but just check to make sure. Also there is NO need to remove the sim card. So long as data roaming is off then you're fine.2. Try to get a local sim card in the country you're travelling, and if possible, get the sim card before you leave Australia. That way you can set it up, add credit, tell your family and friends the mobile number etc. In the UK I have used o2, Orange and Three. o2 I found hideously slow at times. But in any event, prepaid data in the UK is very cheap.In the USA AT&T is really the only network to use, particularly if you have an iPhone or iPad because you will only get prepaid 3G/4G data with AT&T. You can get an AT&T sim card from www.usaprepaidsimcard.com.au or from eBay.3. I would recommend checking out boingo.com too for the USA. It's around $10 per month for unlimited wi-fi on paid hotspots - boingo roams onto many USA paid hotspots eg at airports/hotels etc. Although there is a lot of free wifi in the USA there's also quite a lot of paid wifi (particularly when you want to use it! :) )

 

ozoneocean posted a comment   
Australia

I dunno about other Android phones but on HTC models the only thing you have to do is untick "Connect to mobile internet" in the network settings area.
You don't have to change any other options and that background data sync stuff.

 

ozoneocean posted a comment   
Australia

I dunno about other Android phones but on HTC models the only thing you have to do is untick "Connect to mobile internet" in the network settings area.
You don't have to change any other options and that background data sync stuff.




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