For those of you who didn’t know it, using your phone internationally and overseas can take a lot of planning and money out of you. It is important to stay cautious and know a few things about staying connected. If you follow the simple steps you’ll be more knowledgeable about phone use overseas and know some tips to save loads of money.
Photo by: Gonzalo Baeza
Understanding Global System for Mobile Communications
Not all phones have the capability of working in all different countries. That’s why your first order of business should be to use a phone that has a (GSM) network. These phones can operate on all levels of GSM and will work almost anywhere in the world.
If you don’t know if you have a GSM just go ahead and contact your wireless company to see if you have it. Once you know, the next step is to unlock the phone and have access to other networks. Many companies won’t allow this, but if they do you should ensure your phone is in good standing and have been with your current carrier for more than two months. Your phone should ideally be paid off as well and not in a contract too.
There has been a lot more in terms of freedom for mobile phones lately. After the Consumer Code of Wireless Service went through, there is a lot more flexibility with owners and their mobile phones. A great way to take advantage of this is using an international SIM. There is something called Interfone that enables you to be able to use your phone anywhere in the world.
Preparing Your Phone & Other Options
Once you’ve secured that SIM card you then need to install it into your phone. The circuit holds a lot in that little spot. That includes your local phone number, identity and other important information. The chip will need to be activated after you receive it so that it works.
For those looking for additional options they can rent or buy a cell phone on overseas trips. There are companies that will sell you these phone abroad that will work in multiple countries when you’re out of your national country. A lot of major players like AT&T and Verizon offer options like this in over 200 different countries.
Some other services will go without a contract and only charge you for incoming and outgoing calls. Before you get a new line though, remember there are other options in your current plan.
Adding to Your Domestic Line
Some phone companies actually offer international phone plans included that will give you discounts on calls out of country and data charges as well. This could be great for those that go out on many overseas trips. One such example is through AT&T Passport that can be purchased for a month at $30. It allows you coverage in nearly 200 countries with unlimited texting and calls for $1 a minute. It also supplies 120MB for cellular data online.
Verizon’s offering is called Travel Pass that allows you to talk overseas and includes data plans abroad. You’ll need to call your carrier to get more information about this as well. Both of these two services are great to add with an existing line.
Measures to Reduce Costs
For those that can live without spending the extra money or having to be connected, there are actions you can take to reduce costs or not spend anything. Make sure to turn off your cellular data and instead use WiFi to connect to the Internet and use video calling or other voice over Internet Protocols to contact loved ones and associates when overseas.
There are a load of Wi-Fi hotspots you can use in shops and shopping malls all around the world. You’ll be able to use these special apps to connect with those in different countries. Utilizing these different apps are a great way to make a quick phone call or get some business done. Make sure to look out for an app that fits your mode of conversation and make sure those you’re communicating with know about it too.
Don’t neglect buying another prepaid card either for the month if you know you won’t be communicating that much, but enough to warrant some kind of card. Overall, you want to see if you can tap into your GMS through your provider or by buying a SIM card that can do just that.
Erik is a seasoned operations and finance executive with over 25 years of experience in Europe and Asia Pacific. A data-driven professional, he has held management positions within the LEGO Group, a multinational company and the world’s leading toy manufacturer. Erik has experience with the telecommunication industry from Dangaard Telecom, Europe’s largest value adding distributor within telecommunication. From his position in Mayday Invest, a private equity company, Erik has assisted a number of companies building their platform for future growth including raising the funding to execute the growth plans. As the CEO of Interfone, his vast knowledge will come in handy in realizing its significant international growth potential to help travelers stay connected globally.