Surviving in the mobile data tariff jungle

Mobile broadband is the most awesome thing and can save you from a lot of trouble when you’re travelling abroad. But comparing international data deals in order to minimize the cost of your connection in a foreign country can be a long row to hoe unless you know where to start. This post will guide you through the mumbo jumbo to make sure you choose the best option for your mobile connectivity needs.

  1. First things first, ensure the service provider operates in the country you’re planning to travel.
  2. Second, you need to know how much data you’ll probably be using. Believe me, for many people this is not something they know offhand, yet you’ll need the information to get started. There are software you can download to your computer to find out the exact amount of data you use but let’s make this simpler than that. There’s a rough calculator at the Uros webpage to estimate your data consumption. First choose the country you’re travelling to and then move the sliders according to your normal use. Now that you know how much data you’ll require, you’re one step closer to making the right choice.
  3. The data packages are usually expressed by stating the price and the amount of data you’ll get with it during a certain period of time. For example, 1GB of data €17 per month. Don’t fall for “unlimited data plans” because there usually is a catch if you read the fine print. In addition, I’d suggest you also find out what will happen if you reach the given data limit. Will you be notified? Will the connection be cut or will you be able to keep using data? How will the overage be charged? It might be costly to overspend.
  4. Still something you might want to take into account is the time you need to commit to the contract if commitment is needed. Is it something you’re ok with or do you prefer to stay unbound?
  5. And if there’s a device, such as a mobile hotspot, involved in the contract, is it included in the price or charged separately.

Knowing your data consumption and the most vital things to consider it’s now easy to compare the final costs of the alternatives at hand. Or easier at least. There are tens of options available and each has its pros and cons but if you keep your needs in mind you shouldn’t have trouble choosing the most suitable one for you. Good luck and Goodspeed!

-Hanne @Uros