Posted on | December 15, 2011 | No Comments
This fall, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reached an agreement that mobile providers would have to send alerts to cell phones users who are nearing their monthly limits for voice, text or data services. The decision was made in an effort to prevent overage charges and outrageous cases of “bill shock,” like the story of one man receiving a $140,000 mobile bill.
However, most carriers have up to two years before the alerts must be implemented. If you are traveling this holiday season, we have some tips to prevent unwanted mobile charges before they occur. These helpful hints are especially useful for international travelers who have to deal with roaming along with tracking data usage.
- Enable Wi-Fi options. Some smartphones like BlackBerry and Android come with built-in Wi-Fi capabilities. Connecting to a Wi-Fi network while on holiday will help you to avoid costly roaming charges, and you can use Wi-Fi to download content on your smartphones. You can also disable data roaming for the length of your trip and rely solely on Wi-Fi.
- Use a free app such as Telicost-Lite to track thresholds in real-time. In the app’s settings, you can set up real-time alerts for data, voice and SMS usage. For example, when you have reached 80% of your data usage, you can set a real-time alert to suggest conserving or turning off roaming data.
- Learn how much data, voice and SMS you use on a normal week or month, and then purchase a roaming bundle before your trip. Speak to your carrier and don’t be afraid to ask questions about the different packages or promotions available for your smart device. Roaming bundles are typically pricey, but you can save a considerable amount by purchasing a bundle in advance.
- Purchase a local SIM card. SIM cards contain information about your phone service and rate plan, and authorize you to make calls on a network. Many smartphones allow you to remove your SIM card and replace it with a card specific to the country you are visiting. Purchase a local SIM card before you leave home. It will give you a local number for the country you are visiting, offering the same call rates the locals enjoy.