Published on:

5 October 2011


Rachael Adams

Going overseas? Avoid bill shock on your mobile phone

We often hear the horror stories of mobile phone bills that run into several thousands of dollars due to mobile data – let us help ensure it’s not a story about you when travelling overseas next.

Mobile phones work in most countries and our local Australian carriers have relationships with overseas telecommunication providers so our overseas calls and data are routed and charged back to our account. However, this convenient access comes at a premium!

Most smartphones have applications running in memory (the background) and they connect and sync over the internet on a regular basis. For example, email would be one of the largest data consuming applications for most business users.

The blow-out on a smart phone is caused when data is downloaded in a data roaming area (usually required in country areas or when overseas). The good news is data roaming can be switched off on most phones.

Follow the steps at the link to ensure you avoid a bill shock…

Avoid bill shock by following these steps

  • Disable data roaming (if and where possible)
  • Use free or paid Wi-Fi services where possible. Many cafes, coffee shops, airports and hotels offer this service (eg. McDonalds and Starbucks offer free Wi-Fi)
  • Change email fetch settings to manual or at least a reduced time frame
  • Track data usage on the phone
  • Be aware of the data roaming fees of the location you are travelling to
  • Call your mobile provider and see if they have any discounts or options for the location you are travelling to. Sometimes they offer international data packages
  • Consider purchasing a pre-paid sim card from the location you are traveling in. Local data and calls will be a fraction of the cost of roaming back to Australia
  • Utilise applications like Skype and Facetime to make free calls on Wi-Fi
  • Look at alternative options like

iPhone instructions are below for the mentioned steps.

Turn Data Roaming “OFF”

Settings -> General -> Network -> Slide Data Roaming to “OFF”

Fetch Emails / New Data: “OFF”

Settings -> Mail, Contacts, Calendars -> Fetch New Data -> slide Push to “OFF” and select Fetch “Manually”

Reset Usage Tracker

Settings -> General -> Usage -> Reset