Are you breaking your business phone budget while travelling? Fear no more!
We all want to use our mobile devices while working across the border or overseas. But are you unsure of your roaming charges?
Some business people come back to staggering phone bills because they weren’t aware of how their roaming works, which services they could use, or how to keep their “roaming charges” to a minimum.
“Roaming” is accessing your services through a foreign cellular network, and it can rack up costs very quickly if you use your mobile device for things like web browsing, emailing and even making phone calls or texting.
However, with the right sort of planning, roaming can be extremely affordable: it’s just a matter of planning what you need and contacting your service provider before you leave. When you're on the road for work, you know the importance of staying connected on your smartphone, and that's where a roaming package becomes a necessity.
You don't need to feel stuck while roaming, so here are seven excellent tips to make sure you can roam worry-free.
1. Plan to know how much data you’ll need
Having your phone turned on and accessible while travelling is important: it allows you to stay connected with colleagues back at the office, can help you navigate your destination, research meeting locations and site visits, read up on the latest industry news while in transit and be a lifeline to emergency services.
With this in mind, sit down and assess how much you think you’ll be using your phone during your trip. Consult your service provider for a package that matches your business needs.
Go through your past billing statements and determine how much of your monthly data, text and talk plan you used. Compare this to the amount of time you plan to be travelling and you should have a rough estimate of what you’ll need.
2. Add your roaming package before you leave
Generally, buying a roaming package from your service provider is cheaper than paying per use. Knowing what you’re planning to use in advance can be helpful to ensure that you don’t go over your limit and come back to the office with a large, unexpected bill waiting for you.
If you’re an MTS Business customer, you can check out the wireless travel plans available to figure out which plan best suits your needs.
3. Learn to turn your roaming “On” and “Off”
Most mobile devices have their roaming turned "off" by default, which means that you won’t be able to use the Internet while travelling even if you’ve bought a roaming package.
The fix is a flip of a switch. To make sure that you can use the data package you’ve bought, you have to turn your device roaming setting "on" first. Then you'll be able to access the discounted rates included in your roaming package.
One strategy that I like to use is to turn data roaming "on" and "off" as I need it. This allows me to manage how much of my roaming data I’m using, and guarantees that I won’t accidentally go over.
4. Disable applications that run in the background
Many applications, such as Facebook, run automatically in the background on our mobile devices even when we’re not using them. This can eat up all of your roaming data, so make sure to review and disable applications that run automatically in the background for the duration of your trip.
Another one to review is your email settings: many of us have “push” notifications enabled, which alert us right away to an incoming email. Change your email settings from “push” to “pull” which will mean your device only downloads new information when you manually check it.
5. Use your Wi-Fi strategically
Checking your email uses relatively little data, but something like checking a map or watching audio and video can use up a lot of data very quickly. Try to connect to Wi-fi for high data consuming activities so that you can stretch your roaming package as far as possible for the duration of your trip.
Learn how to activate your device settings properly in the article Hit the Road and Roam Like a Pro.
6. Track your data usage
Most mobile devices have a built-in data tracker, so when you arrive at your destination be sure to check it every so often to get a rough idea of how much you’ve used. If your phone device doesn’t have one, consider downloading a usage tracking app before you leave home such as DataWiz (iOS, Android; free), My Data Manager (iOS, Android; free) or Data Usage (iOS; $0.99).
With these apps you can set your own data limits, and the app lets you know when you reach that limit – helping you avoid extra charges. Just remember: built-in data trackers and third party apps for data consumption tracking should only be used as a guideline and they don’t reflect your actual billing.
Consider setting your data tracker to zero just before you cross the border. You'll then have a better idea of your data usage while on-the-go.
7. Text instead of talk
If you’re like me and don’t really like talking on the phone, texting can be an extremely affordable way to stay in touch with the people in your life. MTS Business customers can access texting abroad packages starting at $5/month, and many carriers offer similar packages as well. The trick is to estimate how much you’ll use and budget accordingly.
If you're travelling for work soon, check out the MTS Business wireless travel plans available to determine the best plan to suit your business needs.