Help: ‘Cutting my international roaming costs’

I got this note in from a reader the other day asking about my advice on international calling solutions whilst he’s abroad this Christmas:

Dear Ewan,

I am going away to Dubai over Xmas and after getting stung for an enormous mobile bill whilst in the states, I want to get a sim that will not cost the earth for calls to and from the UK.

When away in the summer I got hit for a bill of around £250 which was daft considering everything and I don’t want the same to happen again whilst away over Xmas.

Any ideas or solutions would be welcome, even if it means testing something for you to try and curb the costs!

Regards

David

Now then David. First off, you’ve got Truphone. Super if you’re going to have WiFi access. And they’ve got a Blackberry client that you might like to try out. But it’s not going to be much use to you when you’re roaming in Dubai as it’s more useful when you’re in the UK, calling internationally.

SIM4Travel, also owned by Truphone, will offer you free incoming calls whilst you’re in Dubai (er, or the United Arab Emirates, Dubai isn’t listed in their rate checker) and charge you £0.45 per minute to call the UK.

Does anyone have some suggestions for David?

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  • Dave

    I’d recommend a roaming SIM card. SIM4Travel doesn’t always have the best rates.

    Have a look at telestial.com, united-mobile.com, brightroam.com, gosim.com etc.

    You can compare all the rates at http://roaming.uniquephones.com. Truphone are only good if they support your phone, and their blackberry app is poor.

  • http://www.mobileindustryreview.com Ewan @ MIR

    MIR reader, Dave, added this comment — that disappeared somehow:

    - – – – –

    I'd recommend a roaming SIM card. SIM4Travel doesn't always have the best rates.

    Have a look at telestial.com, united-mobile.com, brightroam.com, gosim.com etc.

    You can compare all the rates at http://roaming.uniquephones.com. Truphone are only good if they support your phone, and their blackberry app is poor.

  • anon

    The Truphone Blackberry client doesn't use WiFi- it automatically re-routes your call via a local server so you pay a price that's equivalent to a local call rather than an international one. Their iPhone and Nokia clients have similar functionality I believe, so WiFi is not a prerequisite to use Truphone.

  • MarkW

    I got on very well with Fring while in the States recently. It does depend on wi-fi to keep the costs to an absolute minimum (or nothing) but it allowed me to use Skype for free when in network coverage and my VOIP account for merely the usual 1ppm charges – with the added advantage that when I was logged in calls to my office number also reached me! Wi-fi shouldn't be too much of a challenge in Dubai, certainly in the hotels. I was using an N95 8GB.

  • http://www.sevendotzero.com sevendotzero

    Check out my recent MIR post for a couple of ideas – http://www.mobileindustryreview.com/2008/12/jon

  • anon

    I should probably clarify that the Nokia and iPhone Truphone clients also have WiFi functionality. I use it on my N95- both with and without WiFi- and have never had any problems with it. As far as I’m aware it’s only the Blackberry client that doesn’t have WiFi functionality.

  • brendans

    Check out webtel.mobi

    webtel.mobi is a site which offers mobile phone users the opportunity to get around high roaming costs, especially when travelling in Europe.

    Based in Guernsey, webtel.mobi's service can be used by anyone with an Internet access-enabled phone to make calls anywhere in the world – at up to 80% less than mobile network standard charges. Because the service utilises phone-to-phone communication and not VOIP, there is no expensive drain on data resources either.

    The service is simple to operate and extremely easy to use. Once a user has signed up and bought credit via a PayPal link on the site, they merely key in the number that they wish to call from their mobile and click “call”. The call is then put through by Next Generation telecoms switches, exactly the same as with a normal call – just up to 80% less in cost.

    Sending text messages is just as simple, with users keying in the number that they want to text, typing their message, and clicking on send.

    The Webtel.mobi service provides actual calls to mobile phones, as opposed to VoIP calls, so there are no data transfer costs, and the service is not dependent on WiFi coverage.

    Webtel.mobi was scheduled to launch in early 2009 in 20 languages, but the release of the English-language product has just been launched to provide relief in terms of lowering communication costs to consumers during the international credit crunch.

    We believe this could cause a shake-up in the international mobile telecommunications sector, with traditional providers being forced to cut their high calling and texting rates.

    And, we're not the only ones who think so.

    Frost and Sullivan mobile telecommunications analyst Saverio Romeo said: “International calls are so expensive simply due to lack of attention by the mobile industry and a lack of pressure from regulatory authorities. Webtel.mobi will have a great impact on the competition and a great impact on reducing these charges.”

    Webtel.mobi is a subsidiary of worldbizonline.com

    Feel free to try out the site.

    Regards

    Brendan Seery
    Director: Media and Communications
    Worldbizonline.com Limited

  • http://www.ixpocket.com Eric

    I usually pick up a payg sim as soon as I arrive, log into my UK voice mail using it, and leave a message telling people to phone the payg number. They only bother if they consider the call worth paying international rates for, and I don't pay by the minute for collecting long rambling phone calls.

  • http://www.mobileindustryreview.com Ewan @ MIR

    Nice one Sara, thanks for writing!

  • http://www.vopium.com Sara

    Hi David,

    Seems like you seriously want to cut your international calling price after paying the heavy bills back home. Well I have a great option for you. If you have WiFi on your phone, you can get this most latest and advanced application of Vopium WiFi, compatible with Windows mobile and Nokia Symbian Phones.

    The best thing is that Vopium automatically detects when you are connected to WiFi, which country you are in, and whether you are calling a fixed or a mobile phone. It quickly finds out which of your Vopium friends are online & routes your call for FREE.

    When you are off-line, Vopium routes your international call as a local call which means you pay your local rate plus Vopium’s international calls rates (which are pretty cheap too if you ask me). This way you can obtain a good quality call at the lowest price. So no matter if u r in UK or Dubai you can surely benefit from this by calling anywhere in the world.

    Enjoy your Christmas!

    For more information: http://www.vopium.com

  • http://www.mobileindustryreview.com Ewan @ MIR

    Nice one Sara, thanks for writing!

  • http://www.vopium.com Sara

    Hi David,

    Seems like you seriously want to cut your international calling price after paying the heavy bills back home. Well I have a great option for you. If you have WiFi on your phone, you can get this most latest and advanced application of Vopium WiFi, compatible with Windows mobile and Nokia Symbian Phones.

    The best thing is that Vopium automatically detects when you are connected to WiFi, which country you are in, and whether you are calling a fixed or a mobile phone. It quickly finds out which of your Vopium friends are online & routes your call for FREE.

    When you are off-line, Vopium routes your international call as a local call which means you pay your local rate plus Vopium’s international calls rates (which are pretty cheap too if you ask me). This way you can obtain a good quality call at the lowest price. So no matter if u r in UK or Dubai you can surely benefit from this by calling anywhere in the world.

    Enjoy your Christmas!

    For more information: http://www.vopium.com

  • http://www.mobileindustryreview.com Ewan

    Nice one Sara, thanks for writing!

  • http://www.vopium.com Sara

    Hi David,

    Seems like you seriously want to cut your international calling price after paying the heavy bills back home. Well I have a great option for you. If you have WiFi on your phone, you can get this most latest and advanced application of Vopium WiFi, compatible with Windows mobile and Nokia Symbian Phones.

    The best thing is that Vopium automatically detects when you are connected to WiFi, which country you are in, and whether you are calling a fixed or a mobile phone. It quickly finds out which of your Vopium friends are online & routes your call for FREE.

    When you are off-line, Vopium routes your international call as a local call which means you pay your local rate plus Vopium’s international calls rates (which are pretty cheap too if you ask me). This way you can obtain a good quality call at the lowest price. So no matter if u r in UK or Dubai you can surely benefit from this by calling anywhere in the world.

    Enjoy your Christmas!

    For more information: http://www.vopium.com

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