If you are planning to bring your smartphone when you go abroad then chances are you will need to figure out a way to connect it to the internet to contact with friends or family, upload your travel photos to social media, or use free wifi calling. If you have done any research into the options for ways to use your phone abroad, you have probably come across the terms of mobile data and data roaming. Maybe you are wondering what they mean and what is the difference between them. If so, this article is for you!
What is mobile data?
Mobile data is what allows phones to connect to the internet when there is no available WiFi connection. It is a service given to your phone through your cellular network provider that makes it possible to use the internet wirelessly anytime anywhere within the service range. If you have a smartphone, chances are you have used mobile data as part of your data plan in addition to calls and text messages. Mobile data lets you not only browse the internet but also send emails, share photos and check social media. For most smartphones, there is a setting that allows you to turn your phone’s mobile data on and off.
What is data roaming?
Data roaming is when your phone roams outside of your home network coverage range to connect to the internet, for example when traveling abroad. At the time when you try to use your internet out of your home network the phone is connecting to or roaming on, some other different network which generally results in higher data charges. If you want to learn how to turn off roaming on iPhone, go to settings and find the General tab, from there click on Cellular to locate the Data Roaming toggle button and switch it off.
What is the difference between mobile data and data roaming?
There is no real difference between mobile data and data roaming except for the fact that roaming allows your phone to access internet service using another network. At the beginning of smartphones, data roaming was incredibly expensive. Thanks to the advancement of technology, it has become more affordable and many cell phone service providers offer usage capping to let users a certain amount of prepaid roaming access each day to not run up charges while abroad.
When you switch off mobile data, it closes the internet access to any cellular network no matter which one your phone is connected to. When switching off the data for a roaming iPhone or smartphone, however, the connection is restricted to other networks besides your home network but still allows access to your mobile data.
Tips for using your phone abroad
If you plan to use data roaming while you are abroad, keep an eye on how much data you use or let your provider know to send a warning about data usage to prevent using too much or going over your limit. Avoid actions on your phone that will needlessly consume your mobile data, like downloading videos or updating your apps. To make free international calls, download a calling app or use messenger apps that you can use over an internet connection instead of calling directly from your phone. Lastly, look for WiFi to use whenever possible to save your data. If you prefer a more stable internet connection without using your mobile phone’s data roaming, there are other options available such as a purchasing a local SIM card or the more practical mobile hotspot, which can be rented from companies such as Rent n’ Connect at convenient rates.
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