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International Travel and Cellular Services
Using mobile devices without an appropriate international calling or data plan while traveling in another country, including Canada, can lead to very high roaming charges. The international roaming charge per megabyte (MB) of data is typically $20 per MB. It is not unusual for email charges alone to run $100 per day, and casual web surfing to cost much higher. In the past, a department received a $10,000 bill in roaming charges for one international trip.
High international cell phone bills and data charges from laptop wireless access cards (air cards, data cards) can be avoided. Telecommunications provides these cost-saving options:
- Add international plans for calling or data to existing departmental cellular devices. Use the Cell Phone Work Order.
- Rent an international phone for the duration of an employee's trip. Use the International Cell Phone Work Order.
Please contact Telecommunications at 979.845.1020 to assist you in finding the right solution before you travel.
Tips for Limiting Roaming Charges
- Users of laptop wireless access cards should exit from the application or disconnect the card when not in use. A data card left connected continues to transmit data, incurring high usage charges.
- Turn off data services when using an iPad or other tablet device. Having Wi-Fi only should mitigate extra charges.
Note: If using a MiFi or air card overseas with your iPad, overage charges still exist. Therefore, using air cards outside of the U.S. is not recommended.
- All travelers should power devices off and on when reaching their destination. This allows the device to connect to local cell towers and stops it from searching for its accustomed domestic towers.
- Turn off automatic email synching. Consult your device's user information for instructions.
- Avoid downloading large attachments.
- Use Wi-Fi hotspots for accessing email and other data. See wi-fihotspotlist.com.
- Use eduroam, a worldwide service that allows Texas A&M faculty, staff and students to log in to other member universities' wireless networks at no charge. See the Help Desk Central website for more information.
International Roaming Information
See the Federal Communications Commission's Tip Sheet: Wireless World Travel Made Simple.
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