You might have seen a story in the media recently about a student who came home to an £8,000 mobile broadband bill after a trip to France. This is a pretty hefty bill, but is just one of many such stories about people who have been caught out by data roaming charges – one man ended up with a £31,500 bill after downloading an episode of Prison Break when he was in Portugal.
Just how are people managing to rack up these enormous bills?
It all comes down to download limits and charges. Whether you’re using a mobile broadband dongle or a mobile phone to get online when you’re abroad, it almost certainly won’t be part of your download allowance. You’re likely to end up paying a much higher rate than you’d pay at home, so bills can add up pretty quickly.
If you do plan to use a dongle or your mobile to get online while you’re out of the country, it is essential that you check the costs before you go. You may be able to make use of a specific overseas bolt-on or pre-paid overseas packages that are becoming more and more common. Virgin, T-Mobile and Orange have all introduced such schemes recently, and it could make getting online while you’re abroad a lot more affordable.
It’s also a good idea to try and limit your usage and steer clear of download-heavy activities – here our top tips to keep your bill under control:
- Be aware of how much you’re being charged for your usage before you start
- Minimise your usage of chat software
- Don’t use or watch web cams
- Avoid downloading music, movies, TV programmes or image files – these will eat up your download limit like you wouldn’t believe
- Keep an eye on any statistics that your dongle’s software may offer you, like usage data, so you’ll know when you’re getting close to your limit
- Don’t feel tempted to use the internet in the same way as you would with a fixed or WiFi connection at home or at work