Going overseas can be expensive, and the last thing you need is to come home to a large bill for international roaming. If you’ve got one of the later Samsung devices, you’ll want to take advantage of the camera and the phone’s functions that can be accessed using WiFi, without having to worry about using data and paying the price. Thankfully there’s an easy solution.
What is Mobile Data Roaming?
Mobile data roaming is when your phone uses a network provider that’s not your own to send and receive data. It can happen within Australia but it’s most common when you go overseas. Most Australian providers have agreements with international companies that will allow you to use their network for a price. Different countries will incur different costs, depending on what kind of agreement they have reached and what your Australian provider charges.
Some mobile providers will require you to specifically activate data roaming, but others will automatically turn it on when you go overseas, although they are required by law to let you know you’re using roaming and how much it will cost you. It’s not a good idea to leave it until then to find out.
You might have roaming as part of your plan (although it will be at an additional cost to you), you might be able to pay for roaming separately, or some providers choose not to offer roaming as an option for their customers. The cost of roaming is either pre-paid or an additional amount when you receive your usual phone bill.
Turning Off Data Roaming
If you’re not going to use data roaming while overseas but you’d still like to use your phone, you can contact your mobile service provider to specifically request that they disable roaming completely. If you do want to use mobile services, it’s a good idea to keep data disabled manually so that you don’t unintentionally use services you end up having to pay for.
From the Samsung s5 to the most recent s9, these phones have an inbuilt function to stop your phone from using mobile roaming. To turn off all mobile data, you can use a shortcut.
- use two fingers to swipe down and access Quick Settings
- tap the Mobile Data icon to turn mobile data on or off
If you just want to turn off data roaming, you’ll need to do it from the settings.
- from the homescreen, tap Apps
- click Settings
- Depending on your model, select Mobile networks OR More networks > Mobile Networks OR Connections > Mobile Networks
- Toggle the Data roaming switch to turn on and off (If you have disabled all mobile data, this will already be greyed out)
The Best Way to Roam
If you’re looking to go overseas and want to stay in touch, you have a number of options. You might:
- Get a phone plan that includes roaming. Many companies offer global roaming options, so if you travel a lot it’s worth looking into. Vodaphone has one of the best deals on offer. Roaming is more affordable than it used to be but still can be expensive.
- Use Wi-Fi. Communicating over the internet is easier than ever before, and most countries will have Wi-Fi options available. Just remember to download maps over Wi-Fi just in case you need to use GPS and aren’t in range.
- Get a local SIM. This is an increasingly popular option – you get a local SIM and local rates, with good coverage when you’re there. You can even get international SIMs sent to you while you’re in Australia, so you have them ready to go when you touch down. Just remember to check that your phone is unlocked and can work on the network you’ll use overseas.
The Future of Roaming.
Roaming won’t be around for much longer. European legislation will soon ban companies from charging roaming rates, and the eSIM which will probably soon become standard will also remove the need for a foreign SIM or roaming options. Phone companies that once relied on revenue from roaming (particularly data) will now have to look elsewhere to boost their bottom line.
Their loss is the customer’s gain, and it makes travelling just a little bit cheaper. That being said, it’s still a good idea to research your options before travelling overseas – and don’t forget to turn off your mobile roaming!