Mobile Phone Roaming Charges
We all know someone who has had a horrible experience with mobile phone roaming charges when travelling abroad. Stories range from bills of several hundred dollars to several thousands of dollars. A number of mobile phone customers are still unaware of the high costs associated with using voice and data communications outside of Canada. For instance, Canadians who use their mobile phone outside of Canada are being charged outrageous fees of up to $24 per Megabyte (MB) for data and $2-3 per minute for voice communications. Unfortunately, Canadian telecommunications companies charge some of the highest roaming rates in the world. This is kind of strange considering that a Canadian invented the telephone.
The Problem with Smartphones
Smartphones are essentially mini-computers and if they’re left on with the ability to transmit/receive data silently without the user knowing. Look at all the applications (“apps”) that you currently have installed on your smartphone. When these applications were installed you have essentially given those apps them permission to download any new data as soon as it becomes available. For example, I have a popular news app called Flipboard installed on my Android smartphone. On a daily basis Flipboard will send me 8-10 Megabytes (MB) of new data in the form of articles, pictures, audio and video. If I’m outside of Canada using my mobile device my telecommunications carrier would have charge me approximately $240 in roaming charges for this minuscule amount of data. The troubling part about this is that I wouldn’t have had any idea that the data transmission is even occurring until I got back to Canada to receive my monthly statement and shock.
Airplane Mode Is Not Good Enough
But….. I enabled Airplane mode! I hear a lot of people say that they put their phone into Airplane mode so they’re safe. Unfortunately Airplane mode is not always a safe option. There have been numerous cases where the owner of the mobile device put his/her phone into Airplane mode only to have Airplane mode disabled by their children who wanted to play an online game on their phone. Airplane mode is simply not a good enough solution when traveling abroad. Additionally, the mobile phone user can very easily mistakenly turn on the phone. A smartphone that is even left on for a couple of minutes accidentally could ensure several hundreds of dollars in roaming fees. The only true and fool proof method to ensure that you're not stung by roaming fees is to remove your native SIM card from your smartphone. Keep your SIM card it in a safe place until you're back on Canadian soil.
ROAM Mobility – The New Alternative!
There is a game changer that has hit the market resulting in a disruptive innovation for the Canadian telecommunication carriers. A Canadian company called ROAM Mobility is now offering packages to their customers to eliminate the excess roaming fees charged by the our telecommunication carriers. The process is quite simple.
- Buy a SIM card from ROAM Mobility. This SIM card from ROAM Mobility will essentially set you up with a US telecommunications carrier. A link to purchase a ROAM Mobilty SIM card is available at the bottom of this article. Be sure that you're picking the correct type of SIM card for your phone (regular SIM or nano SIM)
- Top up the ROAM SIM card from the ROAM website. The cost for a ROAM Mobility package is less than $4 a day for voice, text and data communications This is a great bargain considering that a 2 minute conversion while roaming could cost you as much as $6 with your Canadian carrier. ROAM lets you specify an activation start and end date so that you’re only paying for ROM service while you're out of the country.
- You will need to insert the ROAM SIM chip into your Smartphone. Please note that you may need to unlock your Smartphone if it is not already unlocked. There are two options to unlock your Smartphone if it’s not already unlocked. You can call your telecommunications carrier and they can provide you with the code. Most times your carrier will ask for a fee of $20-40 to obtain this code. Alternatively, you can take your phone to an independent mobile phone dealer who will usually unlock the phone for a fraction of the cost.
- Once your phone is unlocked and you’re ready to travel to the US insert the ROAM Mobility SIM card in your phone.
My only hope is that ROAM continues the great work they're doing and expands this service beyond the US to places in the Caribbean, Europe and Asia.
ROAM Mobility Regular SIM Card
Amazon Price: Buy Now
(price as of Aug 17, 2016)