Roaming when roaming, some last thoughts

After a rather long set of flights, I'm back in my office after the conference. This is the last post on the subject of roaming charges while on business trips.

After a rather long set of flights, I'm back in my office after the conference. This is the last post on the subject of roaming charges while on business trips. It consists of a few snippets from Virtually Speaking readers.

Jim Lynch, a former airline pilot, sent along a number of good things to remember before leaving on an international trip:

You might add to your next article about roaming that international travelers are well advised to seek out and use a "quad band" cellphone, one which automatically adjusts to the frequency in use by the local provider - and, of course, worldwide there are four.

Taking just any standard cellphone which works in North America internationally and expecting it to work everywhere else is a recipe for disappointment. Especially for the average user, who is technically challenged and would probably spend buckets of money and harass the phone manufacturer because the phone was not working abroad.

And I have been doing what your reader suggested for years... when I go on vacation I take my (quad band) phone with me, and, as soon as I steep out of the arrival lounge, I start looking for a kiosk where I can buy a local SIM chip. In most countries the first gas station you come to can provide a fill up - and register it to your phone for you at the same time.

On one occasion when I had months of warning of a certain trip, I got a friend at my destination to buy a SIM chip for me and mail it over. So I had all the info before I left home and I was able to let friends and relatives know in advance what number I would be available at when I got there.

Thanks for the tips, Jim.

I also received a number of messages suggesting specific offerings from various regional vendors. I'm not going to list them here, but there are at least four different suppliers offing SIMs and local mobile phone service in the UK.

Most offer telephone service at a lower cost than the big guys. They also offer much more expensive data service as well. So, if your goal is lower telephone charges, they just might be a good answer. If data plus phone is your requirement, it would be wise to look elsewhere. If their unit of measure is 100 KB not Megabytes, it is unlikely that they're going to offer a lower overall cost of data communications.

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