How to manage your data usage while roaming

The only guaranteed way to not use mobile data while roaming overseas is to turn off mobile data or data roaming on your device.

We know this may not always fit your travel needs, so read the tips below on how to help control usage and cost when you are using data roaming, how to only use WiFi, and how to not use any kind of data or WiFi at all.

Remember that every device and operating system is different, so you might need to refer to your device's manual for detailed instructions, but most of these functions are found under your device's settings area.

You can read more about mobile data and data usage on 2degrees here.

I want to use mobile roaming data when I need it, but I want to keep usage and cost down

If you have a smartphone or a tablet, there's no sure-fire way to not use data if you leave data on. But, by following these steps you'll be off to a good start for keeping usage and costs as low as possible.

  1. Turn automatic updating of software / iOS off, or set it to WiFi only
    Make sure automatic updating of your Apps is off, or set it to WiFi only
    Turn automatic uploading of information to services like Dropbox, iCloud etc, off, or set it to WiFi only.
  2. Be aware that you’ll still able to use WiFi and hotspots, however if your WiFi signal is weak, your phone may switch to and start consuming mobile data. We suggest you turn off WiFi Assist (for Apple) / Smart Network Switch (for Android) as these services cause your device to switch to mobile data when a WiFi signal is low.
  3. Get familiar with WiFi Calling – it’s a 2degrees service that allows you to make and receive calls or send and receive messages through a WiFi connection.
  4. If you’re on a Prepay or Pay Monthly plan, we recommend you consider adding a roaming pack for the destination you’re travelling to as soon as you arrive at your destination, or before you leave – this way you know you're getting the best possible data rates.
  5. Find out how much data the 'thing you're doing' is using. Remember that services like iMessage, WhatsApp, Viber, Skype, Messenger; widgets (like weather, news); calendar syncs, in-app purchases, Instagram, online maps, translation services, radio (and music) streaming, podcasts, fitness/health trackers, sending GIFs or MMS, catching an Uber or Lyft, viewing pictures in a Dropbox folder, and managing your account via Your 2degrees online and the 2degrees App all use data. Check out the list below for some estimates on how much data some of the most popular phone functions could use.

 

Activity Approx. Data Consumed
Sending / receiving one email (without attachment) ~15kB
Sending / receiving one email with a compressed image ~300kB
Uploading one social media post with photo ~500kB
Browsing one webpage without videos, heavy graphics etc. ~1MB
Streaming a one-minute compressed music or streaming music file ~1MB
Streaming or uploading one minute of low definition video ~3MB
Download one game or song ~4MB
Streaming one minute of high definition video ~10MB
15 minutes of viewing or sending Snapchat snaps and stories ~25MB
15 minutes of Instagram browsing (images only) ~25MB
15 minutes of Instagram browsing with videos and stories ~75MB

These values are indicative only – actual data used will vary widely depending on the size and quality of media.

 

I don’t want to use mobile roaming data at all, but I do want to use hotel WiFi or WiFi hotspots

Let's start with a few setting changes. You might not need them, but without these settings, if you need to briefly access data for some reason, any background updates you’ve set up will trigger data charges.

  1. Turn automatic updating of software / iOS off, or set it to WiFi only
  2. Make sure automatic updating of your Apps is off, or set it to WiFi only
  3. Turn automatic uploading of information to services like Dropbox, iCloud, Google Drive off, or set it to WiFi only.
  4. If you have WiFi Assist (for Apple) or Smart Network Switch (for Android), turn it off.
  5. Finally, the most important step is to turn Data Roaming off or even better, turn off Mobile Data altogether. Remember that if you use iMessage these messages will now be sent as regular text and will incur a charge, so check the roaming rates for the country you're travelling to.

I don't want to use data or WiFi at all, I just want to call or text

Remember that you can make use of WiFi Calling, but if traditional calls and texts are what you're after, we recommend you turn mobile data off, and turn WiFi off. It's important to note that if you use iMessage when you're at home, these will now be sent as regular text and will incur a charge, so check the roaming rates for the country you're travelling to. and have a look at our roaming packs for Prepay here, Pay Monthly here, or Business here to see what kind of call and text bundles are available.

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