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The Basics of International Roaming Charges and How to Avoid Them

Global travel is expensive enough. But to return home and discover that you have incurred thousands of dollars of roaming charges on your mobile phone can be a shock! According to Juniper Research, international roaming fees were estimated to generate about $42 Billion in revenue for wireless providers in 2018. Roaming can be an issue if you don't do your research and plan ahead. Here's how to ensure you don't discover international roaming charges on your bill after your next trip

The Basics of International Roaming Charges and How to Avoid Them Photo 1

Understand Roaming

Anytime you use your mobile phone outside of your home service providers' coverage area, you are roaming. If you are traveling in Europe, your device will search for available networks and try to use them. Most mobile network providers have agreements with other mobile network providers outside their geographical coverage area. The cost is then passed on to you through roaming fees to use these outside networks.

Additionally, if you spend more than 50% of your time out of your home network, your service could be terminated for excessive roaming. It's virtually impossible not to use your mobile phone when you are traveling internationally. A GB of data doesn't go as far as you might think. You use data each time you:

  • make or receive voice calls
  • send or receive texts or email
  • use your phone to get directions
  • stream videos or music
  • check social media

If you are used to having unlimited data with your home plan, this could be a problem.

The Facts About Data Usage and Roaming

International roaming charges can reach $20.00 a MB and higher! No one wants to be billed over $20,000 for a Gigabyte of data. Quick Fact: 1 MB = 1024 KB 1 GB = 1024 MB. On average, active mobile phone users consume 1.5GB of mobile data each day. Here's an example of how much data typical activities use:

  • Social Media - 100 MB per hour
  • Web browsing - 60 MB per hour
  • Skype Video call - 45 MB per hour
  • Email with an attachment – about 1 MB of data
  • Google Maps - 0.7MB of data every 10 miles

As technology evolves, we will become even more dependent on our mobile phones. And with roaming charges differing in each country, it's challenging to keep up with your data when you are traveling.

Common Strategies to Avoid Global Roaming

People commonly try to use workarounds to avoid roaming charges such as:

  • Wifi connections
  • Messaging apps
  • Your mobile carriers international plan
  • Understanding your mobile contract

Unfortunately, they often find themselves limited and frustrated with their experience. With the wrong plan, you could fall into the expensive trap of the fine print or, worse yet, have your service terminated for excessive roaming.

What You Need to Know

Here are key considerations for choosing the right international mobile plan and avoid roaming charges.

  • Approximately how much data you're going to use
  • Countries you need coverage for
  • Restricted or unrestricted high-speed internet
  • Fixed monthly fee vs. Prepaid

Take Action

If you're not sure what type of plan is best for you, one of our international mobile service specialists can help. Schedule a meeting to talk with us today.

Pond Mobile's Unlimited International plan can help you avoid all that hassle. With voice and data in over 200 countries for a fixed monthly fee, you can focus on your travel itinerary, not your phone plan. Our plans also include unrestricted high-speed internet access with no hidden charges.


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