dataroam Blog

Daniel Stevenson from Croydon UK got such a bill because he forgot to turn off the data roaming function on his smartphone handset. Data enabled devices such as smartphones and tablets locate mobile connections automatically so they can install updates so it's easy for mobile data costs to escalate. 

Here are some tips to help avoid ‘bill shock’ when you get home. 

1. Before you travel

Research data roaming costs for the countries you are visiting with your network provider before you leave. Enquire with them about mobile data bundles and special offers which could make your bill a lot less. When travelling abroad if you connect your mobile device to a foreign network you are charged for the mobile data you use. The price for data is normally based on the amount you use, which is measured in kilobytes (KB) or megabytes (MB). 

2. Print and prepare

It’s a good idea to print out anything you need, such as local maps or places to eat and drink before you go. If you just intend to make calls or send texts, switch your mobile data roaming off before you depart. If you're planning to access the internet then reset your device's data usage counter then you can track usage as you need to. 

3. The country makes a difference 

What uses most data?

Over a week in Turkey you could end up paying:

  • £50 for uploading a few photos to Facebook 
  • £160 for using Google Maps for an hour each day 
  • £200 for downloading a game every day
  • £2000 for 30 minutes of video streaming each day

There is a price cap on data roaming charges in the European Union (EU) but popular destinations like Turkey and Egypt are outside the EU so beware!

In the EU, phone companies can charge no more than 38p per MB of data. This will then reduce further in summer 2014.

4. Wi-fi for free

Try to seek out free wi-fi in airports, cafes, bars or hotels, but make sure you turn off data roaming just in case. If you have a free wi-fi connection it’s a good time for contacting friends and family through VOIP based apps like Skype and Viber.

5. Local prices

Research buying a local mobile data SIM card in the country you visit, for local prices. However, make sure your phone or device is unlocked otherwise it won’t work. Of course you can also buy these prior to travelling from our own mobile data website,  and many others.

6. Unexpected charges

As soon as you are aware of any unplanned charges contact your network provider to investigate. You are entitled to make a formal complaint if you can't reach an agreement with them. Check the guidelines outlined on the back of your bill or on the network’s website.

7. The Ultimate Sacrifice?

In this day and age of modern technology, busy life styles and the so called ‘FOMO’ syndrome (Fear Of Missing Out) not many will be able to but maybe just once…try travelling without your device and see how you get on?!