dataroam Blog

Tablets and smartphones are now as much a holiday essential as suncream and swimwear and with this in mind Ofcom has published a new guide to help consumers keep the costs low and get the most out of their smartphones or tablets while abroad.

data roaming tips

Here are the top tips from the guide:

1. Talk to your provider

If you are planning to use go online while on holiday, speak to your network provider before you leave. They may be able to offer packages to use your device abroad and offer discounted rates.

2. Report your lost or stolen phone to your provider immediately

If you lose your phone or suspect it has been stolen, it is crucial that you report it to your provider as soon as possible to avoid costs for unauthorised use. It is also important to use a passcode on both your handset and SIM to make it more difficult for thieves to use.

3. Use Wi-Fi to get online

Where possible only browse or download when using Wi-Fi connection. Users are not billed for data downloaded over Wi-Fi. The only charge might be if a particular Wi-Fi hotspot charges for access.

4. Turn off data roaming

Even without actively using your phone, smartphones and tablets automatically seek out internet connections and use them to update apps. It’s simple to turn off data roaming and will avoid data roaming charges. See Ofcom’s video guides show you how to do it on some of the most popular smartphones.

5. Download before you leave the UK

Downloading or streaming films, TV or music involves high data usage and could lead to heavy bills. Download at home to get everything on your device before you travel.

6. Be careful about ‘opting out’ of the data limit

The law requires all mobile operators to apply a cut-off limit once you have used €50 (excluding VAT) – around £40 – of data per month, wherever you travel in the world, unless you choose to opt out. You may already have been prompted to ‘opt out’ by your provider if, for example, you purchase a large data roaming bundle. Speak to your provider if you are unsure about your bundle.

7. Watch your children

If you’re going to let children play with your smartphone or they have their own, explain the risks of using it abroad or turn off data roaming to avoid the potential to run up a high bill. If you wish to restrict your child’s usage, keep an eye out for the opt out message alert to avoid them opting to use more data without realising the potential costs.

8. Visit*

If you want to ignore all of the above and connect online as you do at home just pick up a Globalgig MiFi for £49.99 and avoid all roaming charges. *OK - you've got us. The Ofcom guide didn't actually recommend us but it should have done!