Uswitch Advises Customers To Check Mobile Price Plans Before Travelling Abroad

Roaming charges have been reintroduced by many of the mobile networks, don’t get caught out.

UK mobile phone users taking a holiday abroad over the Jubilee or summer should double check their mobile phone contract to ensure they’re not caught out with extra charges for using their phone abroad.

Millions of Brits are heading abroad over the next few months, especially due to the extra bank holiday.

Voxi (the MVNO that runs on Vodafone’s network) have reintroduced their roaming charges for customers travelling to the EU. They are the latest network to reintroduce these costs to customers.  Roaming charges for Three were also reintroduced earlier last week.

With roaming rules, plans and costs for using your phone changing, it can be a bit confusing.

To avoid any bill shocks, Catherine Hiley, mobiles expert at Uswitch has put together some tips to help so you can focus on enjoying your holiday.

  1. Map out the costs: If your provider has returned to roaming, like EE, Vodafone, Voxi and Three have, look up the charges to use your mobile package in the country you are visiting. If it’s a European destination, you can expect to pay £2 a day but some non-EU countries like Northern Cyprus, Turkey and Switzerland have different rules on usage limits.

  2. Watch out for caps: Even if you are paying to roam abroad, you may not have the same allowance for data as you do in the UK – the good old ‘fair use policy’. Check with your network so you know how much data you can use before you incur extra charges.

  3. Download before you leave: Download any TV shows, films and music at home before you travel to avoid using up your data abroad downloading big files. Save boarding passes and other important travel documents on your mobile in advance so that they’re easy to access.

  4. Flight mode: Before flying to your destination, enable your mobile’s flight mode or switch off data roaming to avoid the risk of incurring changes as you pass through different territories.

  5. Try Swytch: If you’re planning to make plenty of calls and texts on your holiday, you could consider renting a second mobile number for your phone. An internet phone service like Swytch will allow you to receive calls and texts sent to this number when overseas and you won’t pay for incoming calls. You’ll also benefit from cheap outgoing calls and texts, charged at local rates.

  6. WiFi: Taking a cruise or going on a ferry, sign up for onboard Wi-Fi. If you don’t, you could find yourself hit with a hefty charge when your mobile accesses the boat’s satellite provider. Roaming on these at-sea services known as a maritime network, is much more expensive than on land.

  7. Leave voicemail at home: Depending on your network and the country you are in, sometimes even receiving a voicemail on holiday can cost you. If your provider does include this charge then call them up before you travel and ask them to switch it off.

  8. Local (SIM) hero: If you’re a frequent traveller or staying abroad for several weeks, it may be worth considering buying a local pay-as-you-go SIM for your mobile. Check which networks operate in the country you’re visiting and compare the best deals. You will need an unlocked mobile to use the new SIM and bear in mind it will mean getting a temporary new number.

  9. Wi-Fi wins: To avoid eating up your data allowance, use hotel and cafe Wi-Fi connections whenever possible, ensuring public access points are safe and secure before logging on. Be wary of logging into personal accounts on public networks and steer clear of online banking

  10. Check your limits: Roaming charges abroad should be restricted to a maximum of £45 per month anywhere in the world. Your provider should warn you when you are approaching this limit and stop your data services when you hit it. However, make sure if you have paid for a roaming add-on that this does not opt you out of the cap.

Catherine Hiley comments: “As part of your pre-holiday plans, check your provider’s rules to see if there are any charges for the country you are visiting. Most countries in the EU should be covered by your network’s standard package and you might be able to make extra savings by buying a special holiday pass or roaming add-on.

“It can be unnerving to receive a flurry of text messages when you access networks in a different country. But if you are concerned about unexpected charges, the safest bet is to keep data roaming switched off and make good use of free Wi-Fi.”

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