Ofcom publishes mobile roaming advice

8 Apr 2009 by Mark Caswell

A consumer advice video has been published by Ofcom to help travellers keep their mobile phone costs down while abroad.

The video says that while wireless broadband dongles and smart phones are popular to use, downloading data can be very expensive when abroad.

It cites recent cases including a consumer who used his £25 per month datacard to download episodes of his children’s favourite TV shows, only to receive a bill of almost £22,000.

In France a charge of £400 was made for 15 minutes of surfing the web, while another traveller was charged £1, 400 for using a portable modem to access the internet in Egypt.  

Tips include checking with providers before departing, to enable mobile phones and handsets for international roaming. The video also advises to check with mobile phone operators for prices while roaming abroad, and reminds consumers that non EU countries are often more expensive. Ofcom also recommended deactivating voicemail functionality before travelling, as this usually proves more expensive abroad.

For BlackBerry users the guide advises checking with the operator regarding international email bolt ons and different prices for data downloads.

Ofcom says that it maybe cheaper to buy a pay-as-you-go SIM card for the country you are visiting. These can often be purchased at the destination airport, or at mobile phone shops in nearby towns or cities. In this instance consumers should contact their service provider well in advance of travel to check whether their phone is blocked, and to obtain an unblocking code where necessary.

Click here to view the Ofcom consumer advice video.

Report by Jane Najim

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