Mobile phones have come a long way since their acceptance into the mainstream during the early 1990’s. From using them to simply make and receive phone calls, we now take pictures, listen to music, play games and even surf the web from our handsets.
Manufacturers would never have been able to predict how mobile phones have now become a vital utility to people in our modern day lives, but unfortunately, a common dilemma mobile phone users find themselves in when travelling is whether to use their phones while abroad.
Mobile phone networks have long allowed users to ‘roam’ whilst travelling internationally, but it has always come at a hefty cost. Sending a text message in the United Kingdom commonly costs around 10p – 12p (depending on your operator), but the cost jumps up to 50p if you decide to send a text to any of your contacts when travelling in Europe. The case is even worse if you decide to travel outside the European Union.
A phone call made whilst abroad in the United States can typically cost £1.50 per minute, something that would be a fraction of the cost whilst at home. The news gets even worse if you receive calls, as sometimes the cost can outweigh that of making an outgoing call!
iPhone users have had to bear the brunt of these costs due to the popular smartphone’s constant connection to the internet. The last year has seen many reports of iPhone 4 users lumped with extraordinarily large bills because they were using the internet through their smartphones without realising.
Thankfully, the European Union has seen sense to finally place some regulation in this increasingly expensive part of the mobile phone industry. For next year, European mobile phone networks that British users roam onto must adhere to a code of conduct that caps prices at more reasonable levels, though mobile data is yet to be included.
Pay as you go or pay monthly iPhone 4 users who do not want to be stung with the frighteningly high costs of mobile roaming data charges have been urged to disable the ‘Data Roaming’ option if it is enabled, and make the most of connecting to free WiFi networks when abroad, as this can be an easier and cheaper option to surf the internet when travelling.
Of course, one way many people choose to save cash on telephone and video calls is with Skype. This service has been around for some time now and allows subscribers to call other subscribers for free. Not only does this make conference calling easier, it also makes international video calling easy, the fact that there is no cost involved makes it a no-brainer! Available on a range of smartphones, as well as PC and Mac laptops and desktops, Skype is well worth considering if you havent got it already.