Avoid big mobile broadband bills abroad

A lot of people call and ask us what they should do for internet while travelling abroad. You’ve probably heard horror stories about people taking their internet smartphones overseas and not even using them, but receiving bills for several thousands of dollars upon returning home to Australia.

The reason for massive bills when you haven’t even actively used your mobile phone when travelling is you’ve got the ‘data roaming’ switch turned on, allowing the phone to automatically receive any emails or updates. This usage adds up, and normal overseas roaming prices for mobile phone plans are extremely expensive, as they’re charged by the kilobyte. If you need to access the internet abroad, here’s how to beat the rip-off.

Free Wi-Fi

Whether you are using an internet mobile phone, or if you have a laptop with wireless capabilities, finding free Wi-Fi hotspots while overseas will be your best option for accessing email and web surfing. These places are now omnipresent in hotel lobbies, cafes, restaurants, libraries, and in some outdoor public squares.

Some internet cafes also charge to use their Wi-Fi network, but this is also a fairly cheap option compared with the normal alternative.

Buying an overseas SIM card for your mobile or USB dongle

Your next option is to buy a SIM card on a local telephone network used by people in the country you are visiting. Stick the SIM card into your handset or USB dongle and you’ll get access to some pretty cheap broadband, depending on that country’s broadband pricing.

Vodafone mobile wireless

Out of all the Australian mobile phone and mobile wireless broadband providers, Vodafone currently has the best international data roaming bundles.

First of all, you have to be a current Vodafone post-paid handset or mobile wireless broadband customer. This is a little bit of a hassle if you aren't one already, but compared with the other providers who all charge by the kilobyte, it’s a great fallback to have.

If you can’t get to a free Wi-Fi hotspot, Vodafone can provide a competent broadband signal in 39 different countries around the world. There are no contracts involved, and you’ll only pay for the months you decide to enable roaming.

Vodafone overseas roaming plans

Plans start at $49 per month for 25MB, which should be enough for you to access email, check maps and surf the web when no Wi-Fi is around. Excess charges are much cheaper than average international roaming fees, but they’re still not for the weak-hearted at $8.19 per MB.

If you can afford it (E.G. are travelling for business) and you don’t mind spending some good money to cover yourself, the Vodafone roaming pack for $199 a month will get you an ample 120MB per data a month. There are larger packs with 200MB, 1GB, or 2GB, but they are only for heavy business users who don’t have any access to Wi-Fi.

To give you a comparison, Optus charges 0.2 cents per kilobyte, or $20.48 per megabyte for international roaming, while Telstra charges $15 a megabyte unless you are on a roaming plan. Telstra’s roaming packs are $29 for 10MB or $160 for 60MB, so you can see Vodafone clearly comes out on top.

Another good thing about Vodafone mobile wireless international roaming data plans is you will have access to 24/7 customer service from a globally covered customer support service. Call Compare Broadband on 1300 106 571 to find out more about Vodafone plans, or check out our website at www.comparebroadband.com.au.