Travelling abroad often comes with the trouble of making sure you have your mobile set up correctly in order to avoid any random charges being applied to your account. There are many benefits to having use of your mobile abroad which we will look into below.
First and foremost it is important to check how much your network will charge you while abroad. These roaming charges can cost a fortune if left unchecked and is something which has caused a lot of contention in the media of late. Fortunately, the EU have introduced new laws that prevent networks from being able to charge too much for usage abroad. As of 2014, while roaming abroad, the maximum that can be charged by a network is the standard domestic rate plus 2p for SMS, 5p for voice calls and 5p per MB of data.
The most expensive part of this will be data as 1mb of data really isn’t that much considering the way we use mobile phones today. Often a mobile network will ask you to purchase a certain amount of data upfront for the day or week. This can be as little as 50mb for £1. Again, these amounts of data can be very little if you use your mobile as you would in the UK. For example, if you were to stream a couple of songs, you could have used up your data and then be forced to purchase a further amount on top.
The EU law will be changing further in 2017 to prevent EU networks from charging any more for roaming abroad in the EU. Due to this law change, a lot of new contracts with UK networks will offer free roaming or significant free amounts when using your mobile abroad. It is wise therefore to take a look into new contract deals if you are planning on going abroad soon.
It is important to check the coverage in the area you are going to be staying or traveling around. Often the signal is not very good in certain areas of Europe, especially in rural areas. If you are looking at a cottage holiday in the UK countryside, you can use a coverage checker to see if the signal is good enough where you will be staying.
There may be a 2g or 3g signal in the area you are going to but if there is not a strong 4g mobile signal you will struggle to get a decent Internet connection to do anything other than send a quick email or Whatsapp message. If you require the Internet for any kind of steaming you simply must have a strong 4g mobile broadband signal.
In an area you are unfamiliar with a map is almost essential for getting around. While it is possible to purchase paper maps from a store or get a leaflet from a local tourism office, there is nothing better than a mobile map like Google Maps. The benefit of using you mobile for getting around is that the maps will be up to date and will show you your current location based on a GPS signal.
Mobile phones have the benefit of being able to access up to date local business listings as you move around the area. Meaning that if you are looking for a nice restaurant or coffee shop you can simply open Google Maps and search for a coffee shop in the area which will give you a list of the top cafes.
If you will be using devices other than your mobile while abroad, you should consider purchasing a mobile broadband dongle with providers such as EE. These mobile dongles act like a kind of Wi-Fi Router which means that any device with a Wi-Fi adapter can find the dongle and connect to it just like you would at home.
These dongles will most likely have similar caps to you mobile phone contract however and so consider how you may be using them while abroad. Also, the contracts will most likely have a monthly fee attached to it, so they are often only useful if you travel often. Look for pay as you go mobile broadband packages if you won’t be using the mobile dongle very often.
There is an alternative method to getting a mobile broadband dongle and that is to use your mobile phone as a sort of hotspot to connect to the Internet. This will work with the majority of modern smartphones should your Network allow it.
Take a look at our homepage to see what broadband deals are available for you.