Overseas Communication 101: Using Your Mobile Phone Abroad
Smart phones are great in the sense that they can do almost anything, aside from their primary function which is to connect you to other people. Whether you use the device to its maximum potential or not, you have the power of an entire office in the palm of your hand wherever you are — except when you are in a different country.
Using your phone abroad the same you do back home is where it gets complicated. Not only is it prohibitively expensive, but there isn’t even a guarantee that your device will work abroad as other countries use a different wireless system than us.
The biggest obstacle however is the cost. Using your phone either make or receive texts or calls subjects it to a to a roaming charge, and using your phone to normally connect to the internet the way you usually do subjects it to a data fee, both can go up to several dollars a minute, and can quickly accumulate.
Yes, using your mobile device is possible without paying through the nose for the privilege, but you will have to know a few things, and change the way you go about it.
Basic Wireless Systems
To even be able to use your phone in the first place you will need one that is compatible with that country’s wireless system. The US uses both the CDMA and GSM system, and while CDMA phones work in Canada, Mexico and Japan, the rest of the world, especially Europe uses GSM. Try to find out what system your destination country uses, and get a spare phone if you have to.
Working with your Service Provider
The first option you have to stay connected is to go and check with your wireless carrier. You will have to find out if your phone even works in your destination country and just how you are being charged for using your phone overseas, which includes the global roaming and data service and how to turn it off and on. Check also the rates and coverage for the country you are going to. Chances are it might not be that expensive.
Another thing to find out is if they offer package deals on roaming and data services. A lot of carriers offer these services for a monthly fee which is limited to a certain amount to ensure you don’t go overboard. It’s a little cheaper and helps you control your use and spending.
If you find out that your phone won’t work in your destination country you can either get a spare phone that is compatible, or rent one. You can also simple buy or rent a SIM card if your phone is unlocked to use it for local calls and texts.
The best way to avoid your carrier’s high data and roaming fees is not use the service at all except for during emergencies. This means turning off all apps that passively use the internet, or switching your data function off altogether. If you do need to use your phones data service, keep it short. Use it for example to let people know you have received their message and will get back to them as soon as you find a better connection.
There are other ways to connect to the internet, such as local Wi-Fi hotspots either free or not. In both cases accessing the local Wi-Fi is cheaper than using your phones data service, and as long as you are connected, you can use your phone to make international calls using VoIP apps that use the internet, rather than regular phone lines for calls, and cost a lot less. Most apps are even free to use when you connect to another user of the same app.
The PhonePower is a VoIP service provider that offers packages with feature set including Click2Call and the services require no additional software to function. Customers can avail both home phone and business phone services. Make the most of this phone service by applying PhonePower coupons.
Note that you cannot use these apps if you don’t have an internet connection, but I imagine you won’t be making international calls all that often and can time them to when you have a connection.