Mobile roaming is the ability to make and receive voice calls and use data when travelling outside the geographic coverage area of your network. This means when you travel outside New Zealand and use your device you will incur additional charges.
Before you depart, discuss your travel plans with your mobile phone service provider. Whether you are visiting one or more countries, you can choose a mobile roaming package to suit. First, consider how you will use your device abroad. It’s recommended you look at your current device usage to better understand the potential costs of International Mobile Roaming services if you continue to use your device in the same way while overseas. You may be able to check how much mobile data you have used in the last month, including how much data different applications have used.
You should be aware that connecting to a faster mobile network may use more data than connecting to a slower one. For example, a device may use more data on a 5G network than a 4G network, especially for things like high-definition video and web browsing.
Your usage may also change whilst travelling. For example, you may spend longer looking at maps and tourist information websites, but less time streaming bandwidth hungry videos (including video clips on social media).
To help prevent large roaming charges, you can control how much you spend with a data cap, or monthly bill limit set up with your provider. Also, it’s important to proactively manage and monitor your phone usage, to avoid unexpected costs.
Steps to reduce your data usage when roaming include:
- Downloading your service provider’s app to monitor data usage and help avoid bill shock;
- Accessing a local Wi-Fi network to avoid using mobile data;
- Turning off mobile data capability when it is not being used;
- Avoiding streaming movies and music;
- Turning on data saving settings in applications where they are available; and,
- Purchasing ‘roaming packs/offers’ which may include allowances when travelling to certain countries
When you commence roaming your service provider will send you an initial text containing the cost of phone and data services, and how to find out more information about charges and usage at no cost to you while overseas.