Minimize International Roaming Charge

How to Minimize International Roaming Charge as You Travel or Have a Business Trip Overseas

When you must stay abroad for a period, as you need to call family or friends back in the home country, international roaming charge can never be avoided and most of the time, it calls for the high cost. Of course, another way is to change the carrier plan. But this is both trivial and troublesome. How to keep in touch with family and friends while being convenient and cheap? The following article will give you the answer.

What is Data Roaming and Why Roaming Fee is Charged Overseas?

When your phone is roaming, this means you can use your phone outside the provider’s coverage. A roaming fee is a legal fee that consumers are obliged to pay according to the contract. Roaming fees may be charged when you travel and leave the “home” network area and “roam” to the network or coverage area of other providers.

If you are not careful, roaming costs can reach hundreds or even thousands of dollars (that’s never exaggerating if you really receive the bill).

Roaming is usually not included in your carrier plan, and roaming rates may be higher. Most providers offer roaming packages or additional services that you can buy before you leave.

Roaming charges apply to voice calls, short messages (SMS), multimedia messages (picture messages) and data received or sent during roaming. When you travel outside your home network, just turn on your mobile phone and you can accumulate roaming fees. Some apps automatically send and receive data, even if they don’t seem to have any function.

Why is roaming so expensive? Telecom operators sign bilateral agreements to allow customers to use each other’s networks. Your phone operator pays an agreed fee to the roaming operator to enable you to use their network. These costs are unlimited, which will cause these high costs to be passed on to you.

Roaming fees are so high because telecom operators can charge each other at will. Due to the lack of competition, operators have no incentive to charge low fees from each other. These cross operator fees will be passed on to you in the form of high roaming fees.

If your domestic supplier wants to allow its customers to make calls, send text messages and use data abroad, they must sign an agreement with a foreign operator. Since most destinations have monopoly or oligopoly networks, your home operator basically has two choices: accept high fees or do not provide any services to customers at the destination.

How Much does Data Roaming Cost

Taken from rates posted in September 2020 for international calls to a few countries, the table below illustrates the differences between the data roaming fees of leading carriers.

Verizon

Calls to:Verizon Basic Rate (Fios)Verizon Basic Rate (Fios) – MobileVerizon World Plan 300 ($10/month)Verizon World Plan 300 ($10/month) – Mobile
Canada$0.05$0.05$0.05$0.05
China$0.15$0.17$0.15$0.17
India$0.28$0.29$0.28$0.29
Mexico$0.02$0.05$0.02$0.05
UK$0.08$0.29$0.08$0.29

AT&T

Calls to:AT&T Basic RateAT&T Worldwide Value Calling   ($5.99/month)AT&T Basic Rate-MobileAT&T Worldwide Value Calling ($5.99/ month)-Mobile
Canada$1.55$0.05$1.55$0.05
China$5.00$0.11$5.00$0.11
India$5.00$0.28$5.00$0.28
Mexico$3.50$0.09$3.65$0.24
UK$3.50$0.08$3.70$0.28

Sprint

Canada & Mexico$2/day OR $10/week
Most destinations$5/day OR $25/week
Other destinations$10/day OR $50/week

Simple but Useful Tips to Minimize Roaming Charge

Use free WiFi calling whenever possible

Many hotels and coffee shops now offer free wireless Internet. However, it is worth noting that some people only provide free services for a limited time, and then charge a time fee. In addition, security issues of WiFi use should be also noticed.

WiFi coverage should be limited to certain areas of the hotel, such as the lobby or bar. Therefore, when you leave these areas, if you turn on roaming, you can automatically transfer to the local mobile phone network without any warning.

WiFi calling is what its name implies. This is the process of making and receiving audio and video calls over a WiFi connection. Usually, applications such as WhatsApp can facilitate it. VoIP service is an example of this application. With it, you can use this technology on PCs and smartphones. This enables you to make calls through network and Internet connections.

Simply put, WiFi calls enable you to make calls over a wireless world wide web connection. Therefore, companies using WiFi calls do not have to rely on traditional telecommunications services. In addition, low signal strength will not affect your conversation, and you will still call.

Check whether your network provides additional roaming functions

Now, most operators offer the opportunity to pay a little extra and get an add-on that will give you data to use abroad. If you pay these fees, you only need to pay the price of the add-on. If you’re not sure what your network provides for roaming, call them and they’ll give you advice.

Consider buying a local Sim

In order to reduce the cost of local calls, it is best to use a cash SIM card and recharge it. However, to use your local SIM card, you need an extra phone for it because your personal phone number can’t be kept disconnected even though the international roaming fee is still a risk.

Use a second number from an app

To have two numbers with an extra phone saved, Dingtone is an app that allows you to rent a secondary number for your mobile phone for a small fee.

This means that when you are overseas, you can receive calls and text messages sent to the number on your smartphone without paying for calls.

You can also enjoy cheap outbound calls and services charged at local rates.

Bottom Line

  • When you must stay abroad for a period, as you need to call family or friends back in the home country, international roaming charge can never be avoided and most of the time, it calls for the high cost.
  • To have two numbers with an extra phone saved, Dingtone is an app that allows you to rent a secondary number for your mobile phone for a small fee.

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