If you’ve ever been overseas on business then you know that traveling without your phone is not an option. A few hours out of the office and you’ve got a pile of email to read, missed calls ,and important decisions put on hold. If you have a BlackBerry or a smartphone of some sort then you’ve got everything you need when you’re away but at what cost?
There are laws in the EU to protect you when you’re traveling within the EU, but what if you’re traveling to the US or Japan or some other non-EU country? Well, you’re at the mercy of the networks and their high prices.
If you’re in the EU and you’re an EU citizen, then you can enjoy voice and data caps of €0.29 (£0.24) per minute and €0.70 (£0.59) per MB falling to €0.19 (£0.16) and €0.20 (£0.17) respectively by 2014. If you’re outside the EU or you’re not an EU citizen then there’s not an awful lot you can do. Even if you call your network and ask them what a call will cost per minute or what 1MB of emails will cost (that’s about 100 standard emails without images), you’ll be informed but you’ll still have to pay if you want to use their services. Be sure to get confirmation in writing form your network, an email should do, so if they inform you incorrectly, you can go back armed.
Some charges for voice can be as high as €5 (£4) per minute or €20 (£16.20) per MB so you could easily end up with a bill in the hundreds or even thousands of pounds on even a short business trip outside the EU.
What can I do?
Renting is an obvious solution, whether it is a BlackBerry, a regular phone or a mobile internet device like a MiFi. Alternatively you could find a local SIM when you arrive, but that’s not always practical depending on your arrival time.
You can rent devices from various companies and you get greatly reduced call rates and huge data bundles to browse the web, use apps and download emails. A BlackBerry or MiFi rental should cost around £100 for a bundle between 1GB and 15GB (1GB would do for around 10,000 emails). If you take something like a MiFi you can connect up to five WiFi devices at once, so if there’s a group of colleagues traveling, you can all login over the same connection with iPads, laptops, smartphones etc. Normal phone rental should cost about £10 per week and then you just pay for the calls you make. Do be sure to check the rates for your destination even if you’re renting because they do vary.
You can rent these devices from a company like Cellhire; they’ve been around since 1987 so they have most of the world covered and your rental will arrive ready to go with a prepaid return included. In fact, you can even rent a satellite phone from them, so that probably does cover the whole world.
What was your businesse’s last roaming bill?
This post is a paid advertorial sponsored by Cellhire.