International Wireless Roaming

My family has been in europe for the past couple weeks. And we've been trying to keep our data roaming costs down. The Gotham Gal and I have a sweet blackberry plan on T-Mobile that provides a really excellent international data roaming deal.

My two kids who are in europe with us both use iPhones and they turned off data roaming while we were in Rome and Zurich, except for Josh who turned it on to checkin to places on foursquare and then turned it off. Turns out that Foursquare checkins don't use up a lot of mobile data. Looks like about 140kb based on ATT Wireless' user dashboard.

Even so, he is running up against his 20mb of data that comes with his current international roaming plan.

And now that we are in London, I decided to figure out a better way. It's pretty easy to get an iPhone unlocked over here. There are stores all over Oxford Street that will do it very inexpensively. Then you can get a "pay as you go" plan from one of the mobile carriers here. We chose O2 which is a Telefonica owned carrier. They have a plan for 30 pounds that gives you unlimited data here in the UK, 500 text messages, preferred rates for international calls and texts and that all comes with 30 pounds worth of charges. Once you spend the 30 pounds, you can "top off" the account.

We set this up for my daughter yesterday and I am seriously considering setting it up for my son as well. The only slight drag is they now have a new phone number. Not a big deal for The Gotham Gal and me. We can simply add that new number to our address books. But it is a bigger bummer for their friends and family who don't know they have a new number.

I am going to look into setting up forwarding their calls on their US numbers. I have no idea how to set up forwarding for text messages, if that is even possible.

You might wonder if it is worth all of this effort. Well I have had a number of europe trips that resulted in $1000+ phone bills when I got back. And that was for a couple weeks. There is no way we are going to let that happen, particularly with kids who live on their mobile phones.

I figure 30 pounds should buy my kids at least a week of full tilt mobile roaming. Maybe they can go two weeks on that amount. In any case, even if we end up spending 100 pounds on each of our two kids who are here for a month, that is a lot less than $1000 that we could end up spending if we stuck with their ATT Wireless numbers.

This whole international roaming thing sure feels like a racket to me. We have affordable plans in the US. We can buy affordable plans in the UK. Why do we have to change numbers to make that happen? Why can't we simply buy the affordable plan in the UK via our US carrier and have it work for as long as we are in the UK?

I suspect that people who live here in europe and travel a lot between countries are way more experienced with this problem. I'm curious what they do to deal with this problem.

#Blogging On The Road

Comments (Archived):

  1. steve cheney

    Tried Google Voice?One advantage of Google Voice is that once a person has switched to using GV as their primary number, these things can become pretty easy. I don’t mean number porting but using GV as your primary number by setting your existing carrier number to forward (porting your carrier to GV is even better but not necessary). Obviously this is easier to do on an Android phone than an iPhone but with the new HTML5 web interface it’s possible on an iPhone too.If your kids had this set up, they could pop in the new O2 SIM card and set that new number up with Google Voice. Text messaging and incoming calls would be seamless. There may be a small surcharge for international forwarding at that point for incoming calls (10 cents?), but it’s minimal.

    1. fredwilson

      i’ve tried to interest my kids in google voice. they aren’t eager to lose their numbers. can you port a number to google voice like you can to another carrier?

      1. steve cheney

        Google’s official answer (you should vote!):…”Although you can’t currently port your existing number to Google Voice, we hope to offer this option in the near future. Please tell us if this is a feature you’d like to see in Google Voice. “My take is they want to do this badly and are getting all the pieces in place with GrandCentral, Gizmo 5 etc.

      2. Aaron Klein

        Google Voice is great because it puts a layer that you can redirect between your number (currently it has to be a new number, but hopefully portability in the future) and where you want both calls and SMS to go.The problem is that it currently can’t forward calls or SMS to an international number. That being said, at least they would be able to see their voice mail and SMS on the Google Voice web app while roaming on an international SIM.(If you hop and skip between countries, is a good option too.)

        1. ShanaC

          The only good thing about the extra layer is it keeps data for you (like other people’s numbers). On smartphones, this is great. That, and in college, you can hook it up to the dorm room phone and have free inbound/outbound for when you need to have a call and reception gets sketch.I still can’t convince people I have known for a while to call the Google number though. And I hate it. And it seems that a service here or there won’t text message correctly to the Google number (though these issues seem to be getting better all the time)

          1. Aaron Klein

            Yep, the outbound caller ID issue is a problem. I only use GV as voicemail for my cell and have kept my ATT number so I don’t get the “layering” benefit.

          2. Mark Essel

            Without some kindof forwarding only a number swap will get them to use it. My goal is to be pure data asap. With a data plan, Google voice, and Skype I should be there this month

      3. Ben Lamarca

        No but you can port their numbers to Line2 at no charge.

      4. kenberger

        I too dreaded giving up my number and letting GV assign one, but once I did it was really no big deal and I was over it in about 2 weeks. Just set the old number to not accept VM and instead have a message announcing your new number.Can’t say enough about GV– the way it handles SMS is amazing. I can respond to texts via my laptop keyboard. And can text *for free* back and forth from my number to German and Thai mobile phones. Incoming texts get forked to whatever handsets I’m carrying (yes- only if it’s a US mobile). And if you have no cell coverage but you do have wi-fi, you still receive texts.

      5. Fthead9

        There are actually two relatively easy solutions depending on how much you want to talk. You can port your current number for free to Toktumi, and then download their Line2 app to your iPhone, All calls from and to the US and Canada will be free everywhere you have a WiFi connection, hotel, coffee shop, etc. Local calls, i.e. whatever country you’re in are very cheap ~ $.02/min.If you need to always be available then just add an international MiFi to create your own peronsal WiFi hot spot. You can connect up to 5 devices at once so you can use your laptop/softphone or your iPhone with Line2 and never miss a call or get billed roaming and long distance charges. No new number hassles, no new forwarding call issues, simple and cheap.

    2. maverickny

      Google Voice from the US to UK is not seamless and doesn’t work at all well in my experience. It’s erratic and unreliable at best.You’re better off having an unlocked Android sim and forwarding via Skype In/Out.

    3. Rocky Agrawal

      Last I checked, GV can’t be forwarded to an international number. You can place calls to international numbers, but you can’t forward incoming calls to one.The only way I know of to do this is to run a SIP client on your phone, such as fring.

  2. LIAD

    100% roaming charges are a racket.Β£10-15 per mb when abroad – it’s despicable. If you need to keep your normal number and use data whilst abroad – you’re looking at a nauseating phone bill. What’s most annoying is that the carriers could have worked this out years ago. It’s cheaper to make a call abroad then check email!If you get away with Β£100 per kid for the trip – you did really well. – if you/your children have never been to Camden Market you must check it out tomorrow – Best way to spend a summer sunday afternoon in London. Kids will love it. It’s a real experience. If you need a tour guide…

    1. fredwilson

      thanks for the tipwe did borough market today and loved it

      1. Pat Phelan

        Fredjust sent you an email Pat Phelanmaxroam@patphelan

  3. jefftala

    I’m very interested in this problem as well and your post is super timely for me. I’m heading to Europe for 3 weeks at the end of the summer and am bringing my (awesome and unlocked) Nexus One. But I don’t want a $1000+ phone bill.My research to date indicates that I’ll have to buy country-specific SIM cards as I move around, and will probably buy the pay as you go stuff and hopefully unlimited data. I look forward to reading the comments where some undoubtedly good ideas will surface. (Point of reference, I’m spending most of my time in the Netherlands and France if anyone has any country-specific advice!)

    1. fredwilson

      the nexus one is a very nice phone to have here in europei have put my tmobile and my daughter’s O2 card in it and they work like a charm

    2. Phillip Actor

      contact me at [email protected], I have a good solution for both netherlands (where I am based) and france

  4. graubart

    It’s ridiculous how we have to navigate that.I’ve got both a Blackberry and iPhone. So, when I was in London a month or so ago, I relied mostly on the BB but also added a 20 MB iPhone plan on AT&T – for check-ins and the like.But, AT&T pro-rated the 20MB to match up with my billing period. Since I added the int’l service halfway through my billing period, they allocated around 10 MB to that monthly period rather than the full 20. Turned out to be fine – I used up around 8-9 MB as I was mostly on BB, but still ticked me off.Most of the providers are still incredibly short-sighted when it comes to international. AT&T’s international calling plan still charges $.99 per minute for calls from the UK to US. So, I tended to do my calls using Skype wherever I could get WiFi. Had AT&T charged $0.30-0.40 per minute I’d probably have used them and not bothered with Skype. Instead, I paid $10 for a week’s worth of calls on Skype and still had around $6 left in my plan at the end of the week.There are work-arounds, particularly if you’re willing to swap out your SIM card and use multiple providers, but as you point out, it shouldn’t be so difficult. It seems that the carriers are making all their money off of people who are not willing or able to figure out the work-arounds. Domestically, they make their money from ridiculous prices on text messaging. As has been the case for the past 20 years, the carriers are maximizing short-term revenues but will lose the long-term business.As with cable, telecom is ripe for disintermediation. I would gladly forego the hardware subsidies if I could purchase access a-la-carte to meet my needs.

    1. maverickny

      The AT&T prorating has caught me out too, ticks me off no end. What are we supposed to do, coordinate international business travel with the mobile bill? That’s the silliest idea yet from a phone company.Sadly, it’s very easy to blow out 20Mb if you download email and if clients send large attachments, it often take you over whatever prorated limit you thought you had.Skype with wi-fi from Europe on the iphone is often dodgy in Europe though – too many dropped calls.

  5. Ryan Lackey

    The solution I have, as someone who travels a lot internationally is:1) T-Mobile Blackberry Bold 9700, International Email and BES service ($90/mo) + hosted BES or run your own. Use this for data only; but, it’s unlimited free roaming data, including places like Iraq and Afghanistan.*and*2) Unlocked Nexus One, iPhone, etc. with local SIM in each country, prepaid.Incoming voice calls to a PBX in the US which transcribes and emails to the blackberry. I generally use a SIP client on the Nexus One for most of my US calling while overseas, or depending on the country, make outgoing calls from the prepaid phone (in Hong Kong I can call the US for $0.03/min).Google Voice is an adequate alternative for incoming calls — just have them transcribed and then follow up by email, or possibly SIP voice call.I also have a Thuraya GEO satphone for use in places without cellphone service, and if I traveled to such places outside the middle east/central asia Thuraya coverage area, I would get an Iridium satellite phone. You can buy SIP minutes on proper routes for $0.50/min to Thuraya, so as long as you do pre-screening on the calls before they hit the sat phone (on your PBX, by not giving out the number, etc.), it’s ok to forward a US number to the sat phone.

    1. fredwilson

      man, you are a road warrior supreme!i am pleased to know that the blackberry plan i have meets your approvali thought about bringing our sip phones but decided that nobody would use them here

      1. Ryan Lackey

        Just run SIP on an existing handset (although more and more I’ve been running a SIP client on my macbook pro with a great plantronics bluetooth headset). There are clients for jailbroken iPhones, and I think for the blackberry, and definitely for Android.

        1. fredwilson

          i’ve heard of Bria for the iPhone. neat idea.

          1. Jake Carey-Rand

            Ryan has some great ideas and I do things similarly. Residing in the UK with my business predominantly in the US, but traveling across Europe quite a bit, here’s what I’ve used for the past two years or so:- Local contract with Vodafone (or do PAYG) with unlimited data & landline calling for my unlocked BB 9700 (landline calling is important for the next note). 30 pounds per month- Subscribed to unlimited outbound (38+ countries’ landlines, plus cell #’s where the same rate applies (i.e. US, Canada, China, etc.) with TruPhone (apps for some phones (i.e. using data) but uses a UK-based landline server for BB calling)). 10 pounds per month. (Note: Truphone also has a multi-number roaming SIM, good for US/UK (soon to add other countries), but only works in major markets and still in development, according to my tests.)- Star2Star SIP-based system running in the US, with a softphone on my laptop in the UK (or wherever). US-800 number routed wherever I choose through web portal, but normal procedure is to receive voicemail as wav attachment on my BB and call back if necessary.- PAYG SIM’s when traveling is unfortunately still the default, but some carriers in Europe are getting better. For example, I pay something like .79 pence to connect a call within the EU, but then I’m just using my bundled minutes.

          2. kenberger

            I’ve used my onsip credentials on Fring for iPhone, and it works like a charm. UNLESS the wi-fi hotspot filters out voip or otherwise blocks calls (which is common).I used it last winter in Egypt, Israel, Oman, and Dubai, with very mixed results– basically it either worked well or not at all.

  6. Bjorn

    For us in Europe, this is a big deal too. While the European Union is working on lowering roaming charges, there’s still a long way to go.Whenever I travel on business for longer periods, I simply get a second phone and an additional phone number. For countries I frequent, like the UK or Germany, I have a regular number, which my contacts know — in addition to my Danish cell.

  7. Matthias

    Hi,I know this problem very well. I am German living in France with a Spanish fiancΓ©e so without any holiday trips I am regularly in 3 countries. My solution is an open iPhone without any longterm plans and just working with prepaid cards. That means here in Europe you change in each country your sim card and so you have in each country a different phone number. It works well and is cheap. Hope google voice comes to Europe to get one phone number for all. But yea it is not very comfortable for the people. Hopefully the European Union government and telephone operators will work on this issue.

    1. fredwilson

      that is basically what i am setting up

  8. ErikSchwartz

    I really want Google voice to go international.Just buy a local sim register the new number with GV and your existing GV number will ring your phone.

  9. awaldstein

    Thnx for this Fred…I struggle with this ever time I go and never have a comfortable solution. And potential new project will have me in Europe more often and exacerbates finding a solution.I’ve bookmarked this thread to pickup before my next trip.On a nice day in London, the warehouse district around Tower Bridge is an eyeopener…kinda like a maritime version of old TriBeCa and the walk up river on the Southbank is one of my favorates.Enjoy!

  10. Pablo Estrada

    When I moved to Europe for some time, I wanted to keep my existing USA number while, of course, not having that SIM card inside my phone roaming all over the continent.My solution was:1) Route all incoming calls to the USA number to a Skype-in number (set delay to zero)2) Route all incoming calls to the Skype-in number to my international number, this is called Skype-out I think (set delay to zero)When someone dialed my USA number, it would be routed to Skype-in, Skype would route it to my German number, and my +49 number would ring. It was pretty transparent to the caller as the delay was quite minimal. I payed for the Skype-out rate, which is about the same as a Skype-to-international number rate and very reasonable. It all worked out rather perfectly.

    1. fredwilson

      i may try to set this up today for my daughter. how did you get your US carrier to route the calls to Skype?

      1. Pablo Estrada

        Most phones have a setting to forward calls, and in fact, that’s how voicemail works: after X rings with no answer, the call is forwarded to voicemail (since the mobile never actually picked up, it can’t actually playback the voice greeting, record the message, etc).On the iPhone this is under Settings > Call Forwarding > (enter your # here).I believe you have to have your USA SIM in the phone for this to work if you are abroad.If it doesn’t take and there is an error message, it could be that the network on which you are roaming does not recognize the code to forward the calls (the iPhone menu is just an interface to network codes that are sent in the background). In that case, it might be necessary to manually enter the code. To forward all calls, this is: *21*[destination number] # [SEND] – the destination number may require the +1, even though the Skype-In number is a USA number, but I don’t remember. This code is generic for GSM phones.If you need more help, feel free to e-mail me: [email protected]

        1. fredwilson


  11. tbkama

    Here in Europe, the UE commission is trying to solve this data roaming silliness. operators are required to implement “Anti Bill Shock” solutions. aka a set of alerts and customer awareness notifications that let the customer know where his data bill is heading and get him stop or find better ways. I think the idea is at long term to eliminate such charges whitin europe in general. but this is too profitable for MNOs.Overall, i cant understand why data roaming charges are so expensive. A Roamer IN does not consume more resources for the visited +home mobile operator and worse, the commission repaid by the home Operator is not much higher. So this is just a bad practice ….that now leads to alerting the customer of billing bad experience.I think the banking industry had the same issue before the advent of central networks such as Visa…May be a standard “data interchange” could solve this issue …and operators would not loose much …with more users unlocking their roaming plans.

  12. Phillip Actor

    We can supply you “Droam”, a European solution to this problem that we just introduced. We rent you a mifi with a local or a roaming simcard and you pay a unified price for data use only. Your phones and other devices communicate with mifi by wifi and you keep your original numbers. This solution adresses the banally high data roaming charges, but you are then still stiuck with the problem of voice rates. We are running the final pilot until en dof August and will go into international production once the summer season is past us. You may contact me at [email protected] if you require more info. Our current collateral is in Dutch only :-(. We are actually stomped with so many orders, we haven’t been able to get a website up or everything translated ! πŸ™‚

    1. Fernando Gutierrez

      Will you sell unlocked mifis? I’ve been looking for something like that a lot but couldn’t find it.

  13. Jan Schultink

    Great, I am looking into this right now as I will be going on holiday soon.The 2 phone/SIM solution sounds great.On holiday, a universially-known ingoing phone numbers is not crucial anyway. Even professionally, I answer fewer and fewer random incoming calls, they usually disrupt a meeting, or a creative/productive half hour. More and more phone calls get “prepared” by email: what the call will be about, around when we will do it, etc.. The end of synchronous business communication.Still I do not understand operators continuing to lure customers in a “gotya” phone bill surprise. Professional users who got stung once take action like the ones suggested in this post. Now operators can go for the ignorant retail customers who got a brand new iphone and takes it with her on holiday. All these operators must have marketing managers who go over the September ARPU reports with joy: “gotya!” revenues up x% compared to last year’s holiday season!.

  14. Ronan

    I have heard good things about Maxroam, they charge at a flat rate all over Europe.

  15. Jeff Jarvis

    Fred, Three pieces of advice:1. Forward their U.S. numbers to Skype In, then forward their Skype Out to their new, temporary UK numbers. That way, folks in the US can call them for free and they can get calls for free. The Skype charges are minimal. 2. On AT&T, you MUST buy the monthly international data plans or you WILL get screwed. On one trip to Europe, I used what I thought was hardly any data but I got a $300 bill. If I’d bought in advance, it would have cost $30. (They did reverse the charge; they do that once and they they gotcha.) The downsides are that you forget to cancel when home (or have to go through the hassle of doing so) and you can’t cancel right away because the plans work only if they are in effect when the charges come in. In any case, that’s how I take trips to Europe without going nuts. 3. Get them unlocked Android phones and buy the pay-as-you-go sims for that. Then they can keep their own phones and numbers but use those phones for Europe. jeff

    1. maverickny

      This is exactly what I do in Europe – Skype forward, international data plan as needed and also have a basic UK Nokia mobile. The UK mobile is PAYG (pay as you go) and only does phone and text but I get all my US business calls forwarded to it efficiently. It’s on it’s last legs though, so the next upgrade will be an unlocked Android mobile that will also do email and web easily.

    2. LIAD

      would have jumped for joy if i had only got a $300 bill for my last 4 day trip to NYC

    3. fredwilson

      i just upped josh to the 50mb ATT mobile data plan. given that he is not using his phone for voice, does limited texting, and mostly is using his iPhone for data, we are going to try to let him keep his number and make it work this way.they were willing to put in place retroactively which i took them up will be interesting to see which approach will work better. given how much voice and texting my daughter does, i did not see a way out of getting her a new UK sim card/number.

  16. Gary Arndt

    I’ve been traveling around the world for 3.5 years now.The only real option for affordable mobile service is having an unlocked GSM phone and getting a sim card in each country you visit. I have a small collection of them now. (BTW, someone should create a small book to store and organize a sim card collection)The unlocked nature of the ATT iPhone makes it totally unsuitable for international travel. I purchased an iPhone before the first Android phones came out and I now regret it. Yes, you can get the phone unlocked, but it should be unnecessary to do that to avoid the usurious fees that ATT charges for international roaming.I’ve found using a cheap Nokia phone for voice and finding wifi accounts with Boingo to be the best/cheapest compromise in most countries. Thankfully, I almost never need to use voice.

  17. maverickny

    The other solution I’ve used effectively in Europe with my iPhone is to not only turn off data roaming, but also the last trip this month I didn’t pay for an international plan either (forgot).So, I improvised and turned on the Airline mode all week, effectively cutting off the phone and switching on wifi for free. This worked well in London as they are plenty of free wifi hotspots and within the Circle line map you can use The Cloud free public wifi to read emails and check-ins.SkypeOut to my prepaid UK mobile covered phone and txt for less than 20 quid. Happy traveller πŸ™‚

  18. William Mougayar

    That’s a sensitive topic for me too, and one where the carriers are ripping us off royally, if you’re not careful with roaming charges. After being ripped off a few times like you have (including once in London $800 for 2 days), I use these 3 methods:1. Local sim cards with an unlocked phone (I once bought for 60 euros a combo plan/phone from an Orange retail store inParis & I reload from any kiosk) 2. Skype on iPhone with int’l plan & when wifi is available3. Good old landlines when in hotels or public phones: I have a calling card from which includes local international numbers and ends up costing something like under 10cents per minAnd for sure turn off Roaming and use Texting instead to communicate with family members that are shopping away from where u are (there are international Texting plans).I sure would like the carriers to end their ludicrous monopoly on this segment of their dwindling businesss.

  19. Marc Bush

    Hi Fred – this solution was suggested in some other comments, but there was a Frugal Traveler NYT column on this in March of 2009 which lays out a pretty neat, low-cost method for avoiding international roaming fees using Skype and an unlocked phone. You and your kids could continue to use your existing numbers.Here’s the column:

    1. fredwilson

      yeah. i’ve done half of that for my daughter. i should set her up on the skype part.

  20. Ed Freyfogle

    I can highly recommend – download the maps to your iphone for the city you’re going to visit before you go.Much faster to use because the maps are on your phone and much, much cheaper because no bandwidth charge.

    1. fredwilson

      that’s neat Ed. I will check them out. but i really like google maps. it’s far and away the most used app on my phone when we travel (including voice and sms)

  21. Drew Meyers

    I’ve been battling with this issue ever since I quit my job and am now traveling in Europe (and soon to Africa and Asia), working virtually. I would love it if I could find a worldwide, somewhat affordable plan that would give me some small number of minutes, a reasonable amount of data, and texting capability wherever I am in the world. If that type of service ever becomes available, there is certainly a market for it…

    1. fredwilson

      yup, said as much in an earlier comment

      1. Drew Meyers

        Sorry for repeating…but this is massive massive frustration of mine right now :)I think I’m going to put my ATT number on hold and forward it to my skype, then buy an Android phone over here and swap sim cards out wherever I goThere is some great info in the comments here for me to try out if that doesn’t work out.

  22. NICCAI

    Europe is one thing, and it stinks. But try going from Vancouver, BC to Seattle, WA. Ridiculous charges. An SMS can cost something insane like 0.75. Does Europe have the same kind of roaming issues between neighboring countries?

    1. lorenzo

      the European Union forces the mobile carriers to adopt fixed prices when roaming in the EU. hope in the future they will let us roam for free (or a small monthly fee) within the Union

      1. Fernando Gutierrez

        In fact the European carriers are not forced yet. But the European Comission talking about it puts them nervous and they are lowering the fees and creating very competitive international roaming plans. Amazingly, the European Comission only talks about voice, so data is still a huge problem for travellers.

    2. Yule Heibel

      Your comment resonated, NICCAI. I live across the Georgia Strait in Victoria – and our bit of geography dips well below the 49th. All I have to do is stand on the cliffs at Dallas Road in Victoria, and Fido (carrier) phones me to welcome me to the US (I can see Port Angeles in WA). If I make a call, I have to check my bill to make sure I didn’t get dinged with roaming charges. I agree – it’s completely crazy. And the phone companies make pricing plans far too complicated for mere mortals to figure out.

  23. mikenolan99

    Landed in Amsterdam last week, and received the “International Data Rate of $19.97/MB applies…” message and actually thought to myself “What is Fred going to do? I wonder if he’ll post something about this?”Great to hear your thoughts. When traveling a couple years ago we hit 20 countries in 6 months with all the kids – we went with the cheap unlocked phones/country SIM cards and used the forward skype-in/out trick described – worked well enough.I agree that the whole thing is quite a scam… the high rates are outlandish, and all these hacks actually end up sending more 0s and 1s around the world than is needed.

  24. soultravelers3

    Fun reading! We’ve been traveling all over Europe as a family non-stop for the last 4 years ( enjoying the south of France at the moment). We keep it simple and just use Skype and free wifi from our mac laptops so it never costs us anything to call or text. I webcam call my mom and friends in California almost every day, but we also use Skype for local calls. My tween keeps up with her friends around the world easily in several languages.We bought a top of the line global quad phone before we left, but it was too much of a pain, so we never used it. We picked up a cheap phone in Spain that we can use with sim cards, but even that is too big a pain, so we rarely do that.Less is more sometimes. πŸ˜‰

    1. fredwilson

      how do you reach your daughter when she is out with friends at the clubs at 2am in the morning?

      1. soultravelers3

        Ha! Luckily, we haven’t had to cross that bridge yet, she is only going to be 10 this fall. Hopefully, some better choices will come by the time she is ready for that as we don’t plan to stop our traveling lifestyle ( including Europe).She’s ready for iphone, ipad, ipod et al, but we’re a bit old fashioned ( and travel the world on just 23 dollars a day per person) so we try to walk a fine line with our digital native and the laptops help us monitor the time that she ( and we) spend online.We’re not geeks, but love the advantages of an ultra mobile, world traveling, digital lifestyle, yet have also grown to cherish the luxury of “unplugged time” in today’s world.The teen years should add an interesting twist, no doubt. πŸ˜‰ I’ve bookmarked this for future reference and always listen to these kinds of conversations. Thanks for bringing it up!

        1. fredwilson

          i was just being provocative soultraveler (love the name)but you will cross that bridge, trust me!

  25. Boris Mann

    I know the Roam Mobility guys have a pretty good solution that tries to put all the pieces together: get a North American number (US or Canadian #), as well as a UK number. They do all the roaming and forwarding, you just pop in the SIM card. They don’t, yet, port numbers, but I’m hoping between Google Voice and other people trying to make this easier, that I can easily “point” my number wherever I want it to live, much like DNS.

  26. Avi Deitcher

    In the last year, I seriously considered a startup in this market, including doing some market research and financial numbers, as well as the technical side of the SIM cards and roaming (complex). This area is quite ripe for disruption. Downside: this business is doubly capital intensive: wireless operator+retail focus, which is very hard to get nowadays. The trick is to get in under the radar before the carriers figure out what you are doing to them. Classic disruptive innovation strategy.Anyone wants to discuss offline, happy to, not going to discuss here. avi [at] deitcher [dot] net

    1. fredwilson

      i’d like to see you do this. i am not sure we are the best financial partners for it though. happy to discuss it with you offline to see if i can help

      1. Tgutfreund

        Fred, great discussion.I have launched a start-up that is targeting to solve this exact issue. I’m very interested in sharing the idea and getting your feedback.My contact details – [email protected]‘m based in London

  27. Rocky Agrawal

    Unlocked phone/prepaid SIM with a data plan is definitely the best way to go.Setting up call forwarding on your kids’ U.S. numbers would likely subject them to high rates for international calls, so you might want to consider a service like jaxtr instead and forward the calls to the jaxtr number.As to the why: partly because most Americans don’t travel outside the U.S. or do so infrequently. It’s not a consumer product, so it’s priced for business travelers. The same reason business hotels charge $5 for a mini-bar soda or $8 a minute for phone calls.Data roaming would be even worse if you were trying to do the opposite. Getting a prepaid data plan in the U.S. is difficult and expensive. AT&T, despite offering a $20/100MB plan, won’t let you use it if you have an iPhone. The only option I could find was signing up a month of T-Mobile’s voice+data plan for ~$60. And you’re stuck with EDGE coverage.I would really like to see roaming carriers offer a data a la carte model… you could sign up for an hour, day or month through the Web browser, just as you can with WiFi hotspot.For intra-Europe travelers, the EU recently capped roaming rates:http://www.computerworlduk….

    1. fredwilson

      great points, particularly the one about this being a “business traveler issue”

    2. rich caccappolo

      another idea when in the UK – go into a Starbucks (they are everywhere) and get a Starbucks card. When you register it (you don’t need to load any money on it) you get free wi-fi access via BTOpenZone – set it up once and an iphone will pick it up any time you are near a Starbucks (which is, again, almost always…). Also, you can take this one step further and reduce call time minutes: Skype is running a deal this month – call any one country (e.g., back to the US) for free.

      1. fredwilson

        sweeti am so going to do this when i get back to london this weekendseedcamp is next week

  28. markslater

    there is no easy solution – i got hammered in jakarta and Ho chi mien, and in dubai. I now have sim cards for each. Frankly when i am travelling its usually for work so i’m not too concerned about my social life contacting me – and its really for making calls not receiving them.i agree the whole roaming thing is a “grey product”.

  29. ShanaC

    I don’t get it either. It hearkens back to that period of time where you had to pay different rates to make calles to different Area Codes (gawd awful) As people in general get more mobile, the carriers are already in a good position to offer worldwide and far far away sorts of services : Telefonica has enough services in enough countries to make for an offer, so do a ton of other carriers.Other things I don’t understand: Why can’t I have multiple phones with the same carrier with the SAME number. Not a different number. SAME. For god sakes, you have 100-1000 dollar items turning into fashion items, why can’t they be treated as such so eventually I can match phones to where I am and what I do!

    1. fredwilson

      some smart carrier is going to offer a fixed price for data, world service on a single numberthe market is ready for it

      1. hallson

        One would think that Vodafone (probably the largest footprint of any carrier) would have done this already, but I suspect that they are looking at their short-term interest rather than the long term benefit.

  30. Geoff

    It’s all a total racket especially now that all wifi is ‘locked’ down and in fact it is illegal to have open wifi in France. I’m currently cycling the full length of The Rhine and yet to find an open wifi :-(T-mobile have now tweeted me to say that their ‘broadband booster’ packages are not compatible with my contract type and yet they were compatible with a PAYG plan!I think it is dreadful how governments have allowed telecom operators to force their users to lock their networks down all done under the dubious ploy of paedofilia etcLet’s hope Google will take out Vodafone!

    1. fredwilson

      i can’t believe open wifi is illegal in francewe use an open wifi in our office (in addition to a close one) because we don’t want to force entrepreneurs to have to log into our “secure wifi”

      1. Jimmy

        Illegal or not, there’s a different reason not to leave your wifi open. Most European ISP’s offer low bandwidth and – worse – a restrictive monthly data limit. So unless one wants to pay handsomely for others exceeding your limit through wifi, you need to restrict the free access. Setting up a second SSID on your router to cap the data downloaded through free wifi is possible, but too complicated for the masses. Hence locking down wifi is what everyone does.

        1. JulienD

          Dear Jimmy,This is incorrect. I just moved end of last year from France to the US and here is my input.France has a great DSL system, way better than the US:…However, last year saw a new bill passed, called Hadopi. They want to take legal action against “pirates” downloading illegal content. The match will be done based on IP addresses. If this points to your home IP address, you will be prosecuted. You will be found responsible, even if somebody actually perpetrated the “crime”. Users are responsible for securing their Wifi connection.This of course holds true for companies like restaurants (McDo) or hotels providing free wifi. You will often have to provide your name or hotel room number before getting on the internet.

      2. Geoff

        It would be interesting to get some input from your French lawyer maybe? Here is a case in Germany… and I’m told a similar position holds true in France. Also in the UK it is against the ISP’s T&C to share your internet connection.What certainly holds true on my 14 day /1200miles travels on my pushbike with WifiTrak on the iPhone it only discovered an open WiFi signal on the boat coming home :-)There is a definite wholesale clampdown on open WiFi taking place within EuropeI’m off to Dubai/China/Tibet/Nepal/India for three months and its going to be real interesting to see if its open as Latin America was last year or clamped down like Europe!

    2. joelgwebber

      Open WiFi is *illegal* in France? Damn, that explains why I couldn’t find a single open access point that wasn’t protected by some other auth mechanism. As far as I can tell, Paris is a total WiFi wasteland. Even the local Internet cafe didn’t have WiFi, which is unfortunate if you are carrying an iPad…

  31. Blake Perdue

    Just curious, but I would have thought 140kb is a lot of data for a checkin. Shouldn’t it just be the user id, the geo location, and the location id or address?If it were just that, it would be closer to 1kb, right? What am I missing?

    1. fredwilson

      Good pointThat appears to be how much data is spent each time he turns on data tocheckingI wonder if the iPhone exchanges data every time he does that

      1. joelgwebber

        In my own recent experience in France, I’ve found that it’s quite difficult to judge how much data any app is going to use. A single web page can easily blow hundreds of kb, and even something simple like the aforementioned Foursquare checkin could easily involve a fairly complex exchange for authentication and other “out of band” data to update background information. Couple that with the fact that most developers don’t put a lot of effort into optimizing client-server exchanges for size, and 140k to log on and check in isn’t all that surprising.

        1. rich caccappolo

          for iphone, AT&T offers an app called “myWireless” that does a good job of reporting your data usage. It works particularly well in the UK where there is little delay in reporting (UK carriers send the reports overnight) – I wouldn’t trust it in countries like Turkey, where the reporting delay can take several days.

          1. fredwilson

            that’s another great tipi think you need to write a short book called “rich’s tips to not goingbroke in london”

  32. Juanjo Mata

    This is somewhat complicated, but worked like a charm for me while in Spain last year and got us (my wife and I) flat-fee unlimited inbound and outbound calls from and to the US without having to change numbers. * 2 US AT&T mobile numbers forwarded to Lingo (or your favorite VoIP provider: Vonage, SIPgate) * One said VoIP provider with flat-fee rate to landlines in the county(-ies) of your choice * 2 Spanish Vodafone cell phone lines with what was then called “Todo en Uno” plans (which include a land-line Spanish number associated with your SIM card)Here comes the trick: forward your US AT&T number to the VoIP number, then set up advanced call forwarding on the VoIP line to direct your call to the Spain landline number that you were given by Vodafone. All of this will be unlimited minutes for a flat fee since the call is to a landline, and you will be paying Vodafone Spain a small monthly fee for the luxury of having a land-line number associated with your SIM card.You also benefit from 1000 minutes of calling to Spanish land-lines as well.To complete the solution, we used our 2 Google Voice numbers to initiate calls to people we wanted to call in the US. Google Voice was set up to call us back at our US number which then forwarded via VoIP provider to our Vodafone lines in Spain.Vodafone also had a reasonable 9 euro/month unlimited internet plan for Internet data. They current best deal on pre-paid was a 0.50 cent/euro per day on pay as you go for unlimited Internet.All in all, it requires a bit of setup and only works for long stays unless you happen to already have a “presence” in the country you are visiting. Most European providers offer plans like the one I described for Vodafone above.

  33. hussein kanji

    The problem is the telecoms world. When airwaves are owned by a few oligopolistic players, it’s tough to innovate.One solution is to get local plans, use something like Google Voice and bounce calls from a central number to local numbers. You can do something similar with SkypeOut.An even better solution is using a service that supports multi-IMSI SIMs. Most SIMs are capable of storing at least 6 phone numbers meaning any one of those numbers will ring no matter where you are in the world. The problem is you need a service to power these SIMs. This service has to establish partnerships with local carriers in every country (since there is no true cross-border carrier out in market with an economic incentive to offer a global rate). Most local carriers get a significant portion of their EBITDA on roaming – it’s the highest margin product they offer.We backed a company that was targeting this market when I was at Accel. It failed for other reasons. That said, I know of at least one startup that is a few months away from launching a similar service. Because of a lack of European early stage capital, they’ve had trouble closing their A round (even though they have three carriers signed up).

  34. Phillip Actor

    all these complicated voip nonsense plans. C’mon guys, we are not all resident techies and as long as you tech amateur around the problem, the carriers are not going to change anything.What is needed is a simple logistic solution, with a simple carrier giving you CHEAP data; then you Voip over that. Check #droam on twitter if you can read dutch, we are well on our way to solving this issue for those who want an out of the box working solution. I refuse to set up skype or any other when I travel and I am certainly NOT going to go through buying a frigging sim for every country (all 82 of them) I visit.We rent you a mifi with an international data roaming sim in it, giving you great prepaid data rates on it (think 25 cents per mb max).and your iphone will skype over it πŸ™‚

    1. Rizwan Ahmad Cse

      hi phillip, were can we find more about your service? Sounds great!

  35. Andy Lee Graham

    The USA and Europe are the trick locations, more or less the developed world has an overdeveloped sense of small print and add on. I have traveled continuously now for 12 years and 88 countries.1. A number is the best.2.Normal underdeveloped countries you can buy a phone for 20 US dollars.3. An unlocked phone is good, providing quad band, but I recommend under 100 dollars because phones break and change too much.4. has the best global roam Internet access over a smartphone, you can visit about 214 countries and have unlimited email and small screen roaming. This is about 70 dollars per month and another 30 to have a number.However, Warning, use only the number to receive calls and forward to the new sim card number you get on a prepaid card.Post-paid anything to me is a thing of the past, but the USA and Europe people have not figured this out yet.Andy Graham of in Rio Dulce, Guatemala

  36. Phil

    Hi Fred,For outgoing calls try by Hjalmar Winbladh. Works like a charm on Android. When it comes to SMS, at least the ones you receive on your European number can’t be forwarded.Phil

  37. Josh

    Fred – Be careful setting up forwarding from the phones while you are roaming. I have been told in the past by Verizon that you will incur roaming charges for any calls forwarded while roaming. If you dont fwd the phone before leaving home coverage (which of course you havent this time) they have advised me to call them and have customer service do it to avoid roaming charges. Not sure if thats still true, but probably worth checking.Also — I’m pretty sure it’s been said a few times but assuming you don’t mind VoIP quality there are probably companies out there who bridge US and overseas phone numbers through the cloud. I have a client who runs an international phone rental business and we have him setup with SIP trunks across the world to provide his customers a US # for their phones as they travel the world with local SIM cards…If your other solutions dont work out I might be able to have him provide you a few numbers for the next few weeks. JOSH-AT-KRAMER-DOT-ORG.Good luck!

  38. Brady Rafuse

    The way I do it is to use Mifi. Buy an unlocked MiFi unit and then just connect to that (up to 5 devices) and just carry different PAYG Sims. In Singapore rather than paying some extortionate rate per Mb, I have a Starhub SIM that gives me more the 1Gb a day for less than Β£5 at really speedy rates. I have SIMS for Singapore, Holland and Germany and they save an absolute fortune. Haven’t found the right US solution yet as haven’t found a data only SIM.

  39. Shahar Nechmad

    A couple of months ago I wrote that if Apple really want to win the iPhone Android battle this is what they should do:Every carrier in the world want to sell the iPhone. Apple can lavarage that to make the them offer iPhone users a local roaming data date. Meaning: If you travel from the US to Italy, you will pay the Italian carrier the data rate that an Italian person is paying.This will make the iPhone/iPad the ultimate device. Wherever you are going, it just keeps working.

    1. Fernando Gutierrez

      That would make me jump to an iPhone. Right now I’m tied to my Blackberry because I travel a lot and I have a plan similar to Fred’s T-Mobile one. In my case it’s with Telefonica/Movistar in Spain. I pay 40 euro for unlimited world data (only in the Blackberry) and somehow reduced voice charges.

  40. Alex Murphy

    Did you check with ATT before going over? I believe they have some unlimited data usage plans for International travel, you have to sign up in advance though.I use Verizon and it costs an extra $30 per month to have unlimited data in the US, International with my unlimited voice plan. I have a BB tour which I keep on the side. You can turn the plan on and off as you come in and out of the country. That was the rate when I went to London in Dec, it is less now that they have lowered their rates.Phone calls were at $1.00 per minute, so I just rent a local phone and if necessary call people back. Generally, I can see when someone calls and then email them or send them an IM.

    1. joelgwebber

      I can confirm that AT&T offers no unlimited international roaming plan at any price. I just spent a week in Paris, and had to pay ~$50 in various “extortion fees” (er, “monthly international options”) just to get my rates down to the already overpriced equivalent of a local prepaid card from Bouyges or Orange ($1/min, $.5/sms, $1/mb).But when you want to use some data intensive apps like Google Maps (which is *incredibly* useful when traveling), you’re going to easily blow through 100mb of data (I did, anyway). And the $1/mb isn’t actually a “rate”, but rather is only accessible by paying for a 50, 100, or 200 mb “plan”. And there’s nothing after 200, so you’ll end up paying $5/mb after that, which is arguably highway robbery.Unfortunately, the local alternatives aren’t much better. A prepaid SIM from Bouyges Telecom gets you, at best, a rate of $1/mb. Yet they sell unlimited data “iPhone” plans to locals all day — but you can’t get that if you’re just visiting (at any price, according to the rep in the Bouyges store).As far as I’m concerned, this rat’s nest of arbitrary limits, prepaid plans, and exorbitant overage prices adds up to a giant scam. I’m sure (I hope, anyway) the world’s carriers aren’t explicitly colluding to keep these structures in place, but the fact that no company has stepped forward to fill the obvious need that exists (i.e., just give me the same damned price as locals pay, and don’t make me do anything complicated to get it) indicates to me that some sort of implicit collusion is going on.

  41. Ben La Marca

    Fred, you should check out Line2, the great mobile app from Toktumi that David Pogue just provided an updated review here:http://pogue.blogs.nytimes….. It can virtually eliminate those nasty international data roaming charges by allowing you to use WiFi/VoiP.

  42. Mark Essel

    How’s Google Voice on iOS?Works great on android and appears tohandle the issue..I haven’t verified it yet

  43. Wells Baum

    If you’re using on an iPhone abroad, just turn it on Airport mode and make sure the wireless is on.As long as you’re near a wireless port, this is the best way to avoid charges and gain access to the Internet.

  44. efliv

    This doesn’t answer your question, but I just got back from a month-long honeymoon in SE Asia (Singapore, Bali and Malaysia). I have an iPhone and bought the international voice plan from AT&T. I only made one call back to the states and haven’t seen the bill yet.But for data, I turned off data roaming and relied solely on WiFi. It was nearly ubiquitous, as most restaurants and cafe’s offer it free to customers. If you’re staying in one place for more than a few days, you’ll end up with a nice collection of hot spot passwords on your device.True, it doesn’t offer 24/7 connectivity but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing when you’re on vacation.

  45. JpMaxMan

    My in laws are in Dublin, as a result my wife and I are over quite frequently. I left my old 3G iPhone there (unlocked) with an Irish number on O2. I forwarded my US cell number to my Vonage line and forwarded that to my Irish number (Vonage number has free calls to UK / Ireland). I kept my US number mostly with data roaming turned off throughout our month long trip. Even with these extreme efforts I still got a text at the end of my trip saying I had exceeded 100mb. It really seems unbelievable. Especially considering in the US my usage trends toward 200mb per month with full time use. Point being, it feels like the metering is somehow measured differently. My next trip I will most certainly leave it off completely. I do wish there was a text forwarding option.By the way, do those places that unlock it do so without jaikbreaking?

  46. Amol Sarva

    It’s definitely a racket — and especially in Europe. The root issue (forwarding of #s and SMSs aside) is that you will get soaked for voice or data connectivity when not on your home networkA day of emails can cost $15+Peek’s partner in Europe is Spotnik where they have created a single, pan-European SIM card with unlimited Peek data connectivity for Euros 12 per monthPart of a new way to attack the cost issue using telecom technology… Internet stuff like Skype or GV can only help if you can get connected!

  47. dan_leslie

    I’ve found the most effective way of dealing with the international roaming issue is to purchase an unlocked MiFi and obtain a prepaid data SIM card from your preferred GSM provider in each locale. This doesn’t completely solve the voice or SMS issue on your local number, but at least provides relatively cheap and reliable data service for multiple devices while traveling internationally.Something like the Novetel 2352 supports the HSPA GSM standard used in Europe and can be had on Amazon unlocked for under $300.A more elegant solution to this problem is long overdue. I’ve put up some more thoughts on this issue here: A Digital Nomad in Central Europe

  48. Phillip Actor

    I need to truly thank you all for justifying my business case πŸ™‚ Ever tried roaming in South Africa ? I sold a customer of mine our solution for 10GB of data for EUR 400,-, where his home carrier was trying to charge EUR 27.000,- for the same privilege…….It is a scam of epic proportions ! πŸ™‚

  49. Justin Wohlstadter

    Simple solution: 1. Both Line2 and 8×8 (this is the voip system we use at our office) have iPhone apps, download one and set up a plan. (Both are cheap and unlimited). You can forward your US cell number to one of these services.2. Unlock your iPhone, get a local unlimited data plan.3. Multitasking should now allow you to receive/make calls for free on either your 8×8 or Line2 number (for US calls), while the local sim takes care of local calls and the data that supports those apps. All unlimited.

  50. Jay Janney

    Hi Fred:I just spent 6 weeks in Germany, and can appreciate the phone hassles. What I did is not real high tech, but worked fine for me.1. For checking email only, depending on your email client, an Amazon Kindle is the cheap way to go–works fine for me. More than that, it is limited. But for emergency use, very handy.2. I call home using skype minutes (2 cents a minute), worked on the laptop, not on the iphone. 3. For incoming calls, My wife is not into technology, so for $15 (good for three months) I bought a local skype phone #. She uses our landline to call me while I travel, and it is free for her. That was hassle free, plus, if I remember to shut off the laptop, it rings on the iPhone when I am away from the apartment. 4. My iPhone is unlocked, so I bought an O2 PAYG card, with unlimited data for 30 days. I can get skype phone calls, but cannot place them (legal, not technical reasons).

  51. Tereza

    Timely post!I need to get this settled bc will be in Europe end of August and CANNOT tolerate a $1000 phone bill. <gasp> Scrutinizing the comments closely.If $1k were burning a hole in my pocket I’d far prefer spending it on an iPad and Grumby!

    1. RichardF

      I find Skype the best option for international phone calls Tereza. You can set up local numbers in the country you are visiting that you can then dial into to use your Skype account from or if you have an iphone the Skype app is great for calling using Skype either over wireless or 3G.

  52. Fernando Gutierrez

    My solution is a world data plan in my Blackberry (like Fred’s from T-Mobile but from Telefonica Movistar), a local cheap prepaid phone (in the US in my case) and Jajah (, basic browsing and apps in the Blackberry.-Local calls with the local cheap prepaid phone (ATT’s unlimited $3/day)-Calling back home with Jajah placed through the browser in the Blackberry and done with the local phone (in Jajah you introduce the number you want to call and the number you are in, it calls both and connects them).-Receiving calls from home in the Blackberry (my plan has somehow reduced tariffs). If I know it’s gonna be short I pick them. If not, I don’t pick it and call back with Jajah.

  53. Michael Prassel

    I’ve got a little experience with this as my wife and I moved from Chicago to London back in December. My solution is Google Voice + SIP Account + Fring + an unlocked iPhone. I am a techie and don’t mind messing around with new technologies and I have found that buying a local sim card in each country while travelling is the best option.I also switched my friends and family to my google voice number and that forwards to my Gizmo5 number which now rings my Fring app on my unlocked iPhone 4. It works over 3G and Wifi and I can pick up phone calls from my friends and family anywhere I am in the world for little cost. They can also text my Google Voice number and it is sent to my email which makes it very easy to respond.Also, I should mention that having competition with the iPhone in the UK is fantastic. It also helps that all the carriers use GSM. I pay 20 pounds/month ($30) for 600 mins, 600 texts and unlimited internet. I wish I could have paid that in the states.

  54. Kapil Gupta

    One can simply use a ‘Dual SIM’ Phone. The 1st one would be the home country’s no. and the second one would be the local SIM with the desired data and call plans.

    1. baba12

      I tried using a dual sim phone. I had the Blackberry 8830 World phone, with a CDMA plan under Verizon and a open sim slot for when I traveled in Asia and Europe. I even had it unlocked but in many of the countries like Croatia and Italy it would not work and I had to buy a local phone to get by with.This was a while back but as I understand it the situation has not changed much. Policy changes are needed and World Telecom Union along with the countries regulatory bodies need to make the changes. Technology is not the barrier Greed is.

  55. hallson

    Another side of this story is the costs to call mobile phones internationally. Even on Skype, from the US it costs roughly 2 cents to call a land-line in Europe compared to 30+ cents to call a mobile phone. I was told that the difference goes directly to the network in the receiving country. Why it should cost more to receive a call from abroad I have no idea.

    1. Fernando Gutierrez

      The reason why it’s more expensive to call to a mobile phone in Europe than to do it to a landline is that in Europe we don’t pay to receive calls on our mobile phones (we only pay for the outcoming minutes), but the phone that makes the call to the mobile phone pays more. Mobile phones digits are different from landlines so you know how much the call is gonna cost you.

  56. baba12

    I think Fred should use his political clout with donations to both the parties to pass legislation that would make International roaming not a cash cow for the carriers. Else all the suggestions provided are jerry rigged half baked solutions which work for maybe a few folks but for the vast majority the costs are exorbitant. It takes public policy changes that will clash with the interests of the shareholders of the carriers and so if you are a holder of stocks and bonds of carriers then you have a major motive to make life as uneasy as possible for the Mr.Wilson’s of the world in keeping prices high and services not easily transferable even if there are major innovations that would make it all possible. Google Voice can’t forward to international numbers cuz carriers want to be able to milk the udders till they are dry so thats how it is going to be unless Mr.Wilson gets other deep pocketed individuals to contribute to elected officials campaigns to have them pass laws in every country.

  57. paramendra

    This glitch comes across as unnecessary. Local phone companies in various countries should share customers and charge local fees wherever the customers go.

  58. Matthew V

    I’ve got an iPhone in the UK. I’m on O2 and I “Top Up (not off :)” my phone every month with Β£15 and get 500mb data and unlimited texts.

  59. Ross Macdonald

    Try – they have a great solution for keeping costs on your GSM down while abroad.

  60. RichardF

    The operators, in Europe anyway, see roaming as a huge cash cow. I’ve just come back from Southern Europe and it was a pain in the ass having to keep data roaming switched off on my iPhone to ensure I didn’t get whacked. Also still can’t get over how outside of major municipal areas wifi is virtually non existent.

  61. notquitealuddite

    Bahamas rental: $1500. Flight $300. Turning off your phone at departure and not turning it on again until return: Priceless.There are just some times I don’t want to need to be so connected.