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Mobile phone abroad query

Holiday Ideas & Foreign Travel
Satsuma
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Mobile phone abroad query

#235492

Postby Satsuma » July 10th, 2019, 10:55 am

I am off to foreign parts again later this year (Asia).

I currently have a work iPhone locked to Vodafone, which has all my apps and whatnot on it.
If I use this overseas, it costs my company £6/day for the 'Roam Further' facility, which is ok for shorter trips - but a 2 week+ holiday is taking the mickey a bit!

I may be able to borrow an old handset but that will also be on a UK network and it is not mine to unlock.

What are my best options?

Obviously I can use my iPhone FOC when on wifi, so it's mainly for local calls/SMS (I am staying with family); and maps/navigation (I would prefer live data rather than offline maps in case of roadworks or travel issues, as I am doing some long journeys on unfamiliar roads). I can easily get a local SIM.

TIA
Sats

StepOne
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Re: Mobile phone abroad query

#235583

Postby StepOne » July 10th, 2019, 4:12 pm

Satsuma wrote:I am off to foreign parts again later this year (Asia).

I currently have a work iPhone locked to Vodafone, which has all my apps and whatnot on it.
If I use this overseas, it costs my company £6/day for the 'Roam Further' facility, which is ok for shorter trips - but a 2 week+ holiday is taking the mickey a bit!

I may be able to borrow an old handset but that will also be on a UK network and it is not mine to unlock.

What are my best options?

Obviously I can use my iPhone FOC when on wifi, so it's mainly for local calls/SMS (I am staying with family); and maps/navigation (I would prefer live data rather than offline maps in case of roadworks or travel issues, as I am doing some long journeys on unfamiliar roads). I can easily get a local SIM.

TIA
Sats


Can't you just re-imburse your company the £6 a day? Also you are only charged the £6 if you actually use the phone to make a call/text, or use data. You don't get charged to receive calls or texts. So if you can get away with Wifi most days it might not even cost that much. Just make sure you switch mobile data off when not in use!

StepOne

chas49
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Re: Mobile phone abroad query

#235590

Postby chas49 » July 10th, 2019, 4:21 pm

Satsuma wrote:
I currently have a work iPhone locked to Vodafone.....
.....
I can easily get a local SIM.



I would have thought the local SIM would be the best option? But if it's locked to Vodafone presumably you can't use it??

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Re: Mobile phone abroad query

#235617

Postby Slarti » July 10th, 2019, 5:09 pm

Satsuma wrote:I am off to foreign parts again later this year (Asia).


Doe your Asia trip include China?

If so are you aware that the Chinese authorities are forcing the installation of their spyware onto tourists phones?

Slarti

Satsuma
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Re: Mobile phone abroad query

#235624

Postby Satsuma » July 10th, 2019, 5:20 pm

StepOne wrote:Can't you just re-imburse your company the £6 a day? Also you are only charged the £6 if you actually use the phone to make a call/text, or use data. You don't get charged to receive calls or texts. So if you can get away with Wifi most days it might not even cost that much. Just make sure you switch mobile data off when not in use!

For various, tedious office bureaucracy (politics) reasons, the reimbursement option won't be feasible.
I take your point that I might not use it every day, but it'll be sod's law that I need to make a single 10 second "I'm here" type phone call a few times, which then "costs" £6 (texts not suitable in all cases, and I think they might incur the £6 charge anyway?)
I get Voda notification texts whenever I land overseas telling me the relevant tariff so it seems to be an automatic option.

chas49 wrote: I would have thought the local SIM would be the best option? But if it's locked to Vodafone presumably you can't use it??

I'd rather not get into swapping sims around on the same handset, if only because of the sheer PITA of it all and I am bound to naff it up at least once!

As to your second point - local SIM in the spare handset - I have no idea. Do UK carriers have "partner" carriers in other countries that allow people to use different brand SIMs? Or does the phone need to properly unlocked?

Slarti wrote: Doe your Asia trip include China?

I won't be in China, but thank you!

servodude
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Re: Mobile phone abroad query

#236069

Postby servodude » July 12th, 2019, 12:40 am

I'd get a cheap as chips unlocked 3G phone and stick a local sim in it:
- then use it as a wifi hotspot when you are away for your main phone
- on which you have absolutely ensured that roaming data (indeed cellular data) has been doubly switched off

If you are visiting family see if someone has an old phone lying about; this is what we do when my parents visit us (they're in the UK we're in Aus)
- benefit to using a local phone is that you know the frequency bands used will work

The real danger with trying to selectively use the Vodaphone daily surcharge thing is that you might not even realise your phone is using data
- so you incur 6 quid charges every day until you go over a threshold that Vodaphone have established which indicates unusual behaviour to them and disable your SIM (like being on the other side of the planet was not unusual enough)
- this makes it tricky for the airline to get in touch
- ultimately Vodaphone refunded the charges for my parents but it was right pain (but did explain why the phone had gone silent a week or so earlier)

On the original question as to partnering - it's complicated, and you can't really know something will work until you try (which doesn't really help)
- a phone can reject a SIM based on country code (MCC), carrier code (MNC), group ID or a combination thereof
- they can even be locked to a specific SIM
- I've also seen several "locked" phones that were not locked at all

Even the same handset model from the same supplier could have different logic in its firmware, or settings, so that one might work with a local vodaphone SIM and one might not: depends on how the locking was done (configuration or firmware and with what settings)

It becomes more complicated again when you realise that the companies selling the SIMs might be using different carriers to provide their data
- e.g. Aldi in Aus currently sell SIMs that run on the Telstra network and work in Telstra locked phones
- but they used to use the competing Optus network, to know the difference you look at the leading digits printed on the SIM 50501 vs 50502 - easy!

So a cheap phone you can use for calls, texts and as a hot spot is the way to go
- make sure you call it a "burner" and keep looking anxiously over your shoulder when dealing with sales guy

enjoy your trip
- sd

Satsuma
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Re: Mobile phone abroad query

#236116

Postby Satsuma » July 12th, 2019, 10:17 am

servodude wrote:I'd get a cheap as chips unlocked 3G phone and stick a local sim in it:
- then use it as a wifi hotspot when you are away for your main phone
- on which you have absolutely ensured that roaming data (indeed cellular data) has been doubly switched off

If you are visiting family see if someone has an old phone lying about; this is what we do when my parents visit us (they're in the UK we're in Aus)
- benefit to using a local phone is that you know the frequency bands used will work

Good tips thanks. Now just to find a cheapy unlocked phone...
The issue with borrowing one from the folks (if they even have one) is that the longest journey will be from airport to them!
Although I could use my phone and pay the £6 for that.

(And yes, last time I simply turned mobile data right off and used only wifi at all times. So I was reliant on offline maps which added an interesting dimension when I encountered unexpected road closures! :shock: )

servodude wrote:On the original question as to partnering - it's complicated, and you can't really know something will work until you try (which doesn't really help)
- a phone can reject a SIM based on country code (MCC), carrier code (MNC), group ID or a combination thereof
- they can even be locked to a specific SIM
- I've also seen several "locked" phones that were not locked at all

Even the same handset model from the same supplier could have different logic in its firmware, or settings, so that one might work with a local vodaphone SIM and one might not: depends on how the locking was done (configuration or firmware and with what settings)


:o :o :o Exactly the kind of detailed knowledge I had no clue about!
I know from previous visits that they will fit the sim and check the phone works with it before you go, so that is a reassurance. Unfortunately the phone I did that on is long dead!

servodude wrote: - make sure you call it a "burner" and keep looking anxiously over your shoulder when dealing with sales guy

enjoy your trip
- sd

I have already purchased a shifty-looking trench coat and am practicing my codewords.

Thanks!
Sats

Longtermyieldman
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Re: Mobile phone abroad query

#237333

Postby Longtermyieldman » July 17th, 2019, 7:57 pm

Vodafone has a set of tariffs that give free roaming in around 77 countries, US among them. You could get a SIM on that package and it'd work in your iPhone. Better than, say, Three because Voda doesn't throttle data speed when roaming.

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Re: Mobile phone abroad query

#237371

Postby tea42 » July 17th, 2019, 9:43 pm

3 Simm with an add on....no brainer! My daughter visited 30 countries last year and swears by it.

Satsuma
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Re: Mobile phone abroad query

#237746

Postby Satsuma » July 19th, 2019, 12:17 pm

Many thanks for further replies.

Longtermyieldman wrote:Vodafone has a set of tariffs that give free roaming in around 77 countries, US among them. You could get a SIM on that package and it'd work in your iPhone. Better than, say, Three because Voda doesn't throttle data speed when roaming.

Unfortunately my destination doesn't appear to be included in the Global Roaming Plus map (https://www.vodafone.co.uk/cs/groups/pu ... 092802.pdf) so that option is not available, only the £6/day one.
Not to mention the fact I really don't want to get into switching (tiny) sims on my main phone just for the sheer faffage of it (as I said in OP, all my apps etc are setup on my UK sim)

tea42 wrote:3 Simm with an add on....no brainer! My daughter visited 30 countries last year and swears by it.

But the problem still comes back to the phone then. I only have a vodafone-locked phone.
And if I am buying a SIM, I may as well buy a local PAYG one which will be cheaper to both make and receive local calls, rather than a UK one.

I think it really boils down to me getting hold of a spare handset and local sim. And hoping it works over there, bearing in mind servodude's information!

There's no standard solution.

Thanks
Sats

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Re: Mobile phone abroad query

#237750

Postby tea42 » July 19th, 2019, 12:30 pm

3?

But if you buy a local simm you wont get calls back to Blighty at UK internal rates. With a 3 321 simm and a £5 or £10 add on you will. Ask Vodafone to unlock your phone, AFAIAA they must do it.

SentimentRules
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Re: Mobile phone abroad query

#237755

Postby SentimentRules » July 19th, 2019, 12:36 pm

AIS international sim. Pick that up if in Thailand. Best all rounder for OCEAN travel

Satsuma
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Re: Mobile phone abroad query

#238319

Postby Satsuma » July 22nd, 2019, 6:49 am

tea42 wrote:3?
But if you buy a local simm you wont get calls back to Blighty at UK internal rates. With a 3 321 simm and a £5 or £10 add on you will. Ask Vodafone to unlock your phone, AFAIAA they must do it.

I don't need calls back to the UK though. It's local calls and texts to my family there.
(Even if I do need to call internationally, I have email, plus whatsapp and skype anyway.)

Also my phone is a WORK phone. I am not in charge of having it unlocked.

SentimentRules wrote:AIS international sim. Pick that up if in Thailand. Best all rounder for OCEAN travel

Thanks for the tip. I'm not going to Thailand though and I only need it for a couple of weeks in one country.

UPDATE: Over the weekend I managed to borrow a phone which should fit the bill. I will pick up a local sim at the booth in the Arrivals hall at the airport and hopefully all will be well! Their prepaid options look to be perfect - fractions of pennies for domestic calls and texts and generous enough data for my navigation needs til I reach wifi and familiar roads.

Thanks
Sats

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Re: Mobile phone abroad query

#238566

Postby servodude » July 23rd, 2019, 6:52 am

Satsuma wrote:UPDATE: Over the weekend I managed to borrow a phone which should fit the bill. I will pick up a local sim at the booth in the Arrivals hall at the airport and hopefully all will be well! Their prepaid options look to be perfect - fractions of pennies for domestic calls and texts and generous enough data for my navigation needs til I reach wifi and familiar roads.

Thanks
Sats


Sounds like you're all sorted!

The only additional thing I will suggest is that it might be worth downloading an offline map (on google maps) as you start your journey
(https://support.google.com/maps/answer/ ... roid&hl=en)
- that way if while driving you travel through a place you don't know with patchy coverage you'll still have a good idea of where you are going

Enjoy your trip
- sd

Satsuma
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Re: Mobile phone abroad query

#238657

Postby Satsuma » July 23rd, 2019, 2:24 pm

It is a Windows phone (I know, but beggars/choosers!) but it does seem to have offline maps capability and I've d/l the latest updates and all seems to be functioning perfectly.

But I will have offline google maps on my iphone as a double (triple?) backup and I have already set a reminder to download them the day before I go!

Thanks to all on the thread!
Sats

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Re: Mobile phone abroad query

#238994

Postby jaizan » July 24th, 2019, 5:43 pm

I always swap in a new local SIM when going to Asia, so I get plenty of local data for google maps and so on.

The key point it to make sure you don't lose the UK SIM, typically by taping it to something larger. Although it is possible to transfer your UK account to a different SIM if needed.

Satsuma
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Re: Mobile phone abroad query

#240128

Postby Satsuma » July 29th, 2019, 12:04 pm

jaizan wrote:I always swap in a new local SIM when going to Asia, so I get plenty of local data for google maps and so on.

The key point it to make sure you don't lose the UK SIM, typically by taping it to something larger. Although it is possible to transfer your UK account to a different SIM if needed.


Thanks!
This won't have a working UK SIM to lose, so no worries there :D
It works right now but I think the SIM/UK number will be killed in a few days.


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