Isle of Man Government
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Isle of Man Government Office of Fair Trading

Off Island Mobile Phone Charges - Check the Costs before you Travel

The Office of Fair Trading is advising consumers to be aware of the potentially high charges you could incur when using your mobile phone off Island.

Many consumers now use mobile phones that not only make and receive calls and texts but are capable of receiving emails, connecting to the internet and downloading data from it. Increasingly consumers use these services routinely as part of their daily lives and, whilst this isn’t a problem whilst on the Island, consumers may not be aware of the potentially high roaming and call charges that could apply when using these services off Island and particularly when travelling abroad.

To avoid getting an unexpectedly high mobile phone bill, the Office gives the following tips to consider before using your phone off the Island:

  • Find out the applicable roaming charges from your local operator and check the terms and conditions of your contract with them before you travel;
  • Consider disabling the roaming internet or downloading facility on your phone (check with your local operator how to do this);
  • If you do leave the internet roaming facility on, avoid downloading films, i.e. lots of data, and be aware that some applications on mobile phones may maintain a link to or get updates from the internet even though you are not using them;
  • Consider reducing your use of the internet via your mobile phone whilst off island or if you need to check your emails or go on a social networking site look at the alternatives such as using an internet café;
  • Consider buying a local Pay As You Go SIM card, in the country you are visiting;
  • Don’t ignore any text messages you receive from the telephone network in the country you are visiting; they often provide an indicator or warning that you may incur increased charges for using your phone.

Chairman of the Office of Fair Trading, Bill Henderson MHK, said “In this electronic age we are all used to using our mobile phones many times a day to make calls, send texts and increasingly with the ‘Smart phones’ that are now available, to access the internet. But it is important to think about how we use our mobiles when we are off the Island on holiday or for business to avoid facing an expensive bill when we get home. Hopefully these simple tips will help consumers avoid any unexpected charges and ensure they know the costs of using their mobile when travelling in the UK or abroad. Like most things in life prevention is better than cure so check the charges with your local operator and consider the alternatives before you travel.”

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