Roaming tips for both Normobs and geeks

 This week’s article from SMS Text News.

This week I’m returning to the theme of Normobs and some ideas for saving money when using mobile phones abroad. Last week an email from Ofcom dropped into my inbox. It linked through to a PDF that Ofcom has produced offering consumers (Normobs to us!) advice on how to get the best out of their mobile on holiday. It’s great to see Ofcom taking the initiative here because managing your mobile bill when roaming has always been something of a black art! Unlike our friends across the Atlantic the idea of being charged to receive calls has always been a shock.

Ofcom’s advice is a good start but it doesn’t highlight services that can make a real difference. Here are a few tricks I’ve used to save money on trips abroad.

• Replace your operator’s voice mail service with Spinvox. It’s much easier to receive your voice mail as a text message wherever you are, so this is one to use both at home and abroad.

• One of the benefits of being a 3 customer is access to 3 Like Home. With 3 Like Home you use your regular inclusive minutes and messages, on the local 3 network in Austria, Australia, Denmark, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy or Sweden. Plus, it’s also free to receive calls. Pity that Vodafone, with its huge family of networks, doesn’t do something similar.

• A second benefit of being a 3 customer is that their Tru Zone rates and elsewhere Truphone Anywhere allows you to make calls via a local in-country number.

• If you don’t mind changing your mobile number when you’re away and are travelling to a number of different countries then a travel SIM is a neat idea. Companies like SIM4travel provide you with a new SIM card that allows you to receive inbound calls free and make outgoing calls at lower rates. This can be a better alternative to buying local SIM cards for each country because you don’t end up with different numbers for each country. Of course you do need a handset that isn’t locked to a specific operator.

• And the best tip of all. Just leave all those phones and gadgets at home or at the very least keep them turned off and enjoy your holiday!

What are your tips for cutting the cost of mobile use abroad?

You can find Ofcom’s brochure here.

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