Wednesday, April 16, 2014

How can I avoid a large mobile phone bill when I travel overseas?

How can I avoid a large mobile phone bill when I travel overseas?

Updated 28/02/2014 11.21 AM

There are many ways to minimise the University costs caused by international mobile phone charges. The easiest way to avoid large international mobile phone bills is to limit the use of your mobile phone, but we understand this is not always practical or convenient. To minimise costs, ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) recommends the following tips and tricks:
  1. Buy a prepaid SIM card when you arrive at your destination and use this instead of your Australian SIM card. If you use a prepaid SIM card you will have a local phone number and will be charged at the local call rate instead of the international roaming rate (which is often very expensive!). If you choose to do this, you will need to contact the ICT Helpdesk to ensure your mobile phone is unlocked before you leave Australia.
  2. If you prefer to keep your Australian number while you are overseas then you will be charged at the international roaming rates to make and receive calls and to access the Internet on your phone. To minimise call charges contact the ICT Helpdesk to obtain an Optus Calling Card. You will still be charged if you receive calls or if you access the Internet on your mobile phone, but the cards allow you to make phone calls at a cheaper rate.
  3. Disable data roaming on your mobile phone, regardless of whether you are using an Australian or international prepaid SIM card. International data roaming can be expensive, so ICT recommends that you access the Internet via wireless hotspots in your hotel or in public places, or if you are visiting a university that participates in eduroam, you can use your UniKey to access their wireless network. Please follow this guide to disabling iCloud on your Apple device, and this guide to turning off Data Roaming on your iPhone.
  4. If you prefer to continue to make and receive calls on your phone and access all the services you are used to overseas, take a look at the new Optus Business AutoRoam offer that is available for University staff at a significant discount.  With Optus AutoRoam, you can easily stay in touch in over 170 countries, while having call charges billed back to your Optus account in Australian dollars. For more information, visit What is Optus Business AutoRoam? or contact the ICT Helpdesk

Does it cost money to unlock an iPhone?

No, Optus does not charge the University to unlock an iPhone.

Can you monitor your cost as you go while you are travelling overseas?

No. The overseas network carrier will need to charge Optus at the end of your billing cycle, which is why there is often a delay before the international roaming charges are shown on your University mobile bill. See How much do International calls and data charges cost? for an idea on how much you will be charged whilst travelling overseas.