Data Roaming is a convenient yet costly feature for consumers who are travelling.
What is roaming?
While abroad your phone leaves your local providers network and looks for another network to join. This happens because, when you're overseas your local carrier doesn't have coverage and you’ll need to roam between mobile networks to be online.
Once connected to a different network, you are roaming. Roaming allows you to call text, and use data as normal, but it comes with a big price. When roaming on another mobile network, the mobile company from the country you are visiting will bill your Bermuda mobile company for the calls you make and the data you use while on their network. These charges are then sent to you at drastically higher rates than normal local rates. Customers are then invoiced the roaming charges on their next bill.
To manage your data roaming costs, we’ve compiled a list of ways to manage your mobile phone when you travel overseas:
Turn off Mobile Data & Roaming:
This is a given, however, if you want to avoid hefty charges turn off your phone’s mobile data and data roaming and only access the internet when necessary.
For Data Roaming: Go to your phone’s setting, select Mobile Data, then Mobile Data options and toggle ‘Data Roaming’ off
For Mobile Data: Go to your phone’s settings, select Mobile data and toggle ‘Mobile Data’ off.
If you do not want to switch off your mobile data entirely, consider turning off mobile data when you are not using it.
Think about your most needed phone apps, and then switch off the ones you don’t need or would likely consume more data. As each smart phone has a different set up, look up your specific device for instructions on turning these features off.
With your mobile data turned off, connect to Wi-Fi where possible. Public Wi-Fi is available almost everywhere with most establishments offering free connections.
Turn off Data Hogs:
If you are using roaming data, note that all apps send and receive information in the background when connected to the internet and use a lot of data when the app is refreshed.
Go into your phone’s setting and disable background refreshes. Alternatively, you can disable background data on specific apps rather than all of them and still consume less data.
Apps also automatically update and can consume a substantial amount of data. While most updates happen when connected to Wi-Fi, it’s best to be on the safe side and disable auto updates or only allow auto updates when connected to WiFi.
Use offline navigation:
Save an offline map on your phone instead of using data connection. Google Maps allows you to download a city or small region at a time and can be used without internet connection. Alternatively, download an offline app like Maps.me.
Get a Roaming Package:
Most service providers offer an international roaming package that reduces roaming rates by a considerable amount. If your roaming data must be on while travelling, it is wise to buy a roaming package from your local service provider.
Purchase a SIM Card:
This is a reliable and less expensive way to stay in touch when travelling. Simply buy a prepaid SIM card from a provider in the country you are visiting and make sure your phone is unlocked before travelling first. Buying a local SIM card will ensure you stay connected and do not need to rely on data from your Bermuda sim. Still use Wi-Fi when possible as the data on prepaid SIMS do not offer large amounts of data like your local SIM card used at home.
It is important to note that the amount your mobile provider charges consumers for roaming is not regulated the RA. Based on the legislation which governs the RA, it does not have the capability to stop carriers from charging customers who utilize their services when abroad. Mobile providers may however inform customers of their fee information and send alerts when customers start roaming. They may also have information about roaming on their website. It’s best to be informed of possible charges and take actions to avoid consuming data while abroad.