One of the features of a mobile is that you can usually (depending on your destination) take it overseas and use your provider's roaming services. However, international roaming services are premium services and it's very important to be aware of the roaming charges that will apply under your current plan and to consider purchasing a data roaming package if you are planning to use data services (the internet) on your smartphone or mobile device while you are overseas.

Mobile carriers must now comply with the ACMA's Roaming Standard. This means that from September 2013, your carrier will send you an SMS when you first turn on your mobile in your destination country to warn you about roaming charges. 


Roaming tips:

If you intend to use your mobile overseas:

  • Always talk to you service provider BEFORE you go overseas so that you are fully informed of all the relevant charges that may apply. If you intend to use your mobile while overseas, ask your provider about  their roaming and travel products e.g. 'data roaming packs' and make sure you understand any charges and usage limits that will apply.
  • Ask your provider about how to adjust your smartphone’s settings to avoid incurring unexpected charges e.g. you may want to change your email settings to "pull" emails manually, rather than have them automatically "pushed"  to your mobile, so you can control your data usage.
  • Some apps (e.g. Facebook) may continually send and receive data notification and updates unless you switch this function off. This is particularly true of location based apps and services. Check the apps on your smartphone and seek your service provider's advice before roaming.
  • Consider setting an unconditional diversion to voicemail so that you don’t receive calls from home while travelling (as you will pay roaming rates for these calls). Maybe change your greeting to provide people with an alternative way to contact you while you’re overseas.
  • If you don't want to purchase a data pack, turn your smartphone’s data roaming setting to “off” (contact your service provider for information on how to do this) and only use your phone for voice calls or SMS.

Alternatives to roaming services:

  • Switch your mobile to "airplane" or "flight" mode and make use of public wi-fi hot-spots while travelling to use the internet – they are often available in airports, hotels, restaurants and other public places. That way you can still check into Facebook or Twitter without incurring charges on your mobile service.
  • It may be more economical to purchase a local  prepaid SIM at your destination country, rather than use roaming services. You will need check first if your handset will work in your destination country and you may also need to get it "unlocked" by your service provider before you go so that you can use it with a different SIM card. You will find that you can purchase a local prepaid SIM at most airports in popular destination countries.
  • You may want to consider purchasing a traveller's passport-style SIM card before you go overseas. Again you will need to make sure you mobile is "unlocked" so that you can use the SIM and ensure that you understand the rates that will apply. These products are usually prepaid.


Click here for more information about how international roaming works.


Click these links to access information about your mobile service provider's roaming services:



Virgin Mobile




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