Advice for mobile phone use when abroad

  pavvi 19:14 19 Aug 2005

I have noticed some issues on the forums as far as roaming is concerned and as someone who works in the industry, (I work for Carphone Warehouse)I thought I'd put pen to paper and give out some free advice to those of you taking your mobile on holiday with you.

1. Remember, that when you are abroad (and this includes EIRE) you will pay to receive calls as well as make them. The person calling you pays the same as they would if you were in this country. You pay for the part of the call that is from UK to where you are. Sometimes it is more expensive to receive than make a call.

2. How much you pay depends on which country you go to and whether you are connected to your network's prefferred partner. If you do a manual search and use someone else then it can be even more expensive. Try and get a list from your service provider before you go.

3. Get your roaming provisioned on your account about a week before you go. With some networks it can take up to 72 hours to be activated, and depending on your credit status and billing history with your service provider you may be asked for a deposit before they will apply it, especially if you have only just started your contract.

4. THIS ONE IS VERY IMPORTANT: Unless you really really need your voicemail on, get it turned off before you go. O2 customers can turn it off by dialling 1760, and turn it back when you get back by dialling 1750. Check with your service provider. You get charged for the network finding you to tell you you have a voicemail message. It means that one voicemail message can cost you over £2 a minute. If there is a emergency and someone needs you to call them, get them to send you a text message: they will pay only the standard rate for the text, and you will pay nothing to receive the text. Better still sign up to spinvox's voicemail to text service. There is a two week free trial at the moment.

5. If you plan to be away for quite some time, get hold of a foreign network's prepay sim. It will be cheaper for making calls. Check first though that your phone isn't locked to a particular network (one clue, if it has network trademarks on the outside of the handset then it will be locked, try a different network's sim card in it, if it doesn't ask for an unblocking code then you're fine. Be very careful if you go to a 'box-breaker' (someone who unlocks phones)by getting the phone unblocked in this way, you are invalidating the warranty of the handset, as the box breaker messes about with the software to get past the codes. If you have a prepay virgin phone, once you have topped up at least £30, they will give you the unlock code free.

Hope this helps, if you need any more help on this, just say so and I'll investigate it. I'm aware that it's not totally computer based, but there is some relevence


  Forum Editor 22:42 19 Aug 2005

that your thread isn't specifically about computers - the content is interesting and informative, and I thank you for it.

In any case, mobile networks are run by computers, so we'll happily stretch the point.

  Kev.Ifty 01:21 20 Aug 2005

I too, along with FE, appreciate the time you have taken to provide this valuable advice.

I visit The Netherlands two or three times a year and have toyed with the idea of getting a Dutch 'Pay-as-you-go' phone, to save money.

I came across this site a while ago. I didn't use their services. I tend to be wary of a certain types of web site... (It's a bit like the pain in the knee predicting rain type feeling)

click here

Have you any knowledge of this sort of thing?

Cheers Kev

  Mr Mistoffelees 07:48 20 Aug 2005


  pavvi 08:41 20 Aug 2005

If you are in the channel islands or the Isle of Man, they also count as 'abroad', as although they are part of the British Isles, they are not part of the United Kingdom, and therefore you will be roaming.

The sime looks good value on the website, what you need to look out for is if there is a limit on the validity of credit you have on the sim. Some sims will get disconnected and you lose all credit on it if you don't use it for a period of time, so check the t's and c's carefully. Personally I think you'll be better off getting a dutch payg sim as cust services will be easier.

  exdragon 08:56 20 Aug 2005

Very helpful, pavvi, thanks. I'm off to New Zealand for 5 weeks shortly and after speaking to O2, was advised to pay £2.99 while I'm away as it vastly reduces the cost of making/receiving calls. I don't really expect to use the mobile much except in case of emergencies and to confirm travel arrangements - is this a good deal, do you think?

  The Spires 10:51 20 Aug 2005

Thank you.

  anchor 12:37 20 Aug 2005

Thank you pavvi for the useful info.

I am on Vodafone, and occasionally receive promotional text messages from them.

If I receive them when abroad, do I have to pay extra for the "privilege"?.

  russmini 13:02 20 Aug 2005

I've just made sure mine will work and what the charges will be when i jet off next monday, and after i was told the rates... which oh well us brits put up with !!, the girl at O2 suddenly 'remembered' that for 1 month i could have i think they call it 'I T S' and it reduces the costs to at least HALF !! But this was not a well advertised thing on the O2 website but it is there ! and this may only be available to O2 customers. Not sure..

pavvi Any suggestions on other networks ?

  exdragon 16:47 20 Aug 2005

That's what I mentioned above - you just need to remember to cancel it when you get home!

  pavvi 19:37 20 Aug 2005

ITS or international Travel Service is free on the O2 250 and above (you may as well sign up to this tarrif at the start it's only £5 a month more than the standard 200 plan and they throw in ITS free. So you automatically get it on the 250 and above. Other networks do similar things, Vodafone do an ITS for a month, You may have seen an advert for Vodafone Passport. It is only available in 10 countries in Europe at the moment, and isn't available from all Vodafone service providers. They aren't making it available to Carphone Warehouse billed Voda customers until September 1st (it was supposed to be August 1st. ) You pay a one off fee of 75pper call, and then you use your minutes like at home. You phone 5555 to activate it, and a one off fee of 75p for every call. You have to on Voda's preffered partner to qualify.

Anchor: You never pay to receive texts when abroad, but you do pay more to send them. And be especially careful with MMS, pictures in particular. There is a minimum fee even if the message doesn't get through (I got charged about £95 for messages that didn't even get to their destination. And no I wasn't pleased!!!)So don't bother trying to send a postcard from your mobile phone , it will be horrendously expensive. To send emails go to an internet cafe.

T mobile have world zones, and European zones and have by far the widest reaching world coverage of all the networks active in tghe world. Orange are good in Europe and Australia, but have very little in the way of coverage in the US.

Hope this helps. Any other queries, don't hesitate to ask....(oh and if you are ever around Port Talbot, come into my store and get a phone package from me, and while there get a broadband deals (1mb unlimited and unlimted UK landline calls 19.99 a month first 3 months, 26.99 after offer sceduled to end 31 August);-)
Had to get a sales line in there somewhere, although it's not the reason I started the thread honest!!


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