Jo Swinson MP for East Dunbartonshire is urging local residents to ensure that they don’t get stung by excessive mobile phone charges while on holiday this summer. Ofcom’s ‘Check Your Phone Before You Roam’ campaign warns people of the dangers of excessive mobile phone bills during the holiday season.
Using your phone overseas (roaming) can cost considerably more than it does at home, particularly if people use the internet or send emails. Turning off data roaming and voicemails and only using Wi-Fi connections for internet use are a number of ways, suggested by Ofcom, to avoid high charges while abroad.
Commenting Jo said:
“Returning home from holiday this summer to be greeted by a huge phone bill would be a nasty shock for anyone and only worsen the post-holiday blues.
“It’s a good idea to follow a few simple steps so you don’t get stung by huge mobile phone charges while abroad. You can read Ofcom’s advice at http://consumers.ofcom.org.uk/files/2013/03/roaming.pdf”
What you can do to avoid a bill shock:
- Check what packages your provider offers, considering buying an international SIM card or buy a local pay-as-you-go SIM when you reach your destination;
- Turn off data roaming. You can run up a big bill without actively using your phone as smartphones and tablet computers automatically seek out mobile connections and use them to update apps. It’s easy to do and Ofcom has the following video guides<http://consumers.ofcom.org.uk/2013/03/how-to-mobile-guides/> to show you how.
- If you are travelling outside of the EU, you may want to switch off your voicemail as you may be charged every time a message is left.
- If you want to use the internet abroad use local Wi-Fi hot spots rather than your phone’s mobile internet connection. Some phone apps seek out hot spots and alert you to them automatically.
- If you are going to use your phone’s internet connection instead of Wi-Fi avoid data heavy activities such as watching videos or downloading music. Also, when checking emails avoid opening large attachments.
- What are the rules?
- All mobile operators have to apply a cut-off limit once you have used €50 (excluding VAT) – around £40 – of data per month, wherever you travel in the world unless you choose to opt out.
- You may be prompted to opt out by your provider if, for example, you purchase a large data roaming bundle which would take you over the €50 limit. If you’re not sure whether you have been asked to opt out, make sure you check with your provider.
- If you don’t opt out of the limit, the provider must send you an alert when you reach 80% and then 100% of the agreed data roaming limit. Operators must stop charging for data at the 100% point, unless you agree to continue to use data.