iPhone Tips for International Roamers

by leeannm on August 31, 2010

in iPhone Tips

Your iPhone is a fantastic travel companion as it provides all the home comforts whilst you are away!   Not only do you take a mobile phone abroad with you, but also your music collection, access to your e-mail, your family photos and videos, connectivity to the Internet and your Social Network.

The iPhone supports the UMTS/HSPDA network frequencies of 850, 1900 and 2100 Mhz networks as well as the GSM/EDGE networks of 850, 900, 1800 and 1900 Mhz.  Most countries support these networks, so your iPhone should work fine.

Get a Roaming package from your Carrier

Before you leave home, if you haven’t travelled with your mobile phone before, be sure to check in with your carrier to ensure your number is set up for International roaming.  Also ask for the latest information on availability and fees as these can be high.

Voice and data roaming charges will most likely apply and these can be horrendous if not managed.  Some carriers have roaming packages where you pay a set amount for a set data volume.  Ask your carrier if they have one you can use as this will provide some cost certainty.

When you arrive at your destination and turn your iPhone back on again, it will automatically try to connect to a roaming carrier that has agreements with your iPhone Service provider.  You can also manually set this under Settings, Carrier.

Reset Usage

You still need to keep an eye on your usage as you may not be alerted when you have exceeded the allocated volume.  The easiest way to do this is to reset the Usage Statistics under General, Network.

Turn off Data Roaming and Internet Tethering

If you wish to keep your data charges down, turn off Data Roaming under General, Network and Data roaming.  You will no longer be able to send and receive e-mail, browse the Internet, view the weather and all those other nice features that make a trip away enjoyable, however at least you won’t come home to a massive bill.

Check that Internet tethering is off if you use the USB charger on your computer to charge the iPhone.  The last thing you want is to be paralyzed by bill shock because your computer has downloaded a bunch of Microsoft updates over a high cost roaming 3G data connection.  Do this now.  It’s a security risk anyway, even if you do have a passcode lock on your phone.

Turn off Fetch New Data

Turn off Fetch New Data under Settings, Mail and then set Fetch to Manual This will put you back in control of downloading content to your phone when you want.

Many cafes and hotels now have a free Wi-Fi service which you can use on the iPhone to access the Internet.  Use these where you can to keep costs down.

Even though data roaming is off, you can still make and receive phone calls and SMS text messages.  These will incur roaming voice charges.  If you do not wish to receive roaming calls, then use Airplane Mode.  With airplane mode you can still disable 3G data roaming and use Wi-Fi to connect to the Internet.

Until International telecommunication providers can work together to provide lower roaming costs for consumers, its unfortunate the functionality that makes the iPhone a great travel companion has to be disabled or turned off.  But we hope these tips will help you avoid having to remortgage the house when you do arrive home from abroad.

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