Going on holiday is exciting but if you use your mobile phone while abroad you don’t want to come home to a nasty shock.
Whether you are jetting off somewhere exotic, hopping across to France with your car, or visiting friends and family, planning ahead will give you peace of mind that you won’t return to a big mobile phone bill when you get home to Jersey.
The Channel Islands Competition and Regulatory Authorities have worked alongside local telecom operators, JT, Sure and Airtel to bring down the cost of using your mobile phone while abroad, but with ever increasing use of data hungry mobile devices, bigger than expected bills are still a possibility.
There are a number of things you can do to give you peace of mind, before you embark on your travels:
- Add ‘talking to your mobile phone operator’ to your pre-holiday to-do list. JT, Sure and Airtel will be more than happy to help, advising you about the charges for the country you are visiting and suggesting ways of minimising your bill. Find out if your call and data allowances are included for roaming, should you exceed these you are likely to be in for a costly surprise.
- Once you are abroad, look for free Wi-Fi services whenever you can (many public spaces, hotels, cafes and restaurants now provide free access to broadband). However, remember that public Wi-Fi does not afford you complete security so use it wisely and be cautious.
- Consider staying in touch with free-to-use Apps such as WhatsApp and Skype. If you’re not using Wi-Fi, avoid data-heavy activities such as watching videos, updating social media with photos or downloading music. It’s worth seeing if your operator has an App which will allow you to monitor your usage – download this before you set off.
- Another option is to buy a local SIM card to put into your phone, with pre-paid credit. It may be a bit fiddly and you’ll have different phone number but if you use a lot of data, rather than calls, it will help you keep track of how much you are using and paying.
- Finally, of course, if you really want to avoid bill shock, and have complete peace of mind – take a ‘Digital Detox’. Live in the present and turn off your data roaming function!