With the 2012 Summer Olympics being described by some as the first data roaming mega event, many of you lucky enough to be headed there (or to Europe some other time soon) may be wondering how best to handle your data roaming needs on your smartphones and tablets.
Anytime you are away from home and using another carrier to access the internet on your phone, you are roaming (sometimes without even being aware that you’ve crossed a boundary of any sort). Some devices (like the iPhone) allow you to switch off data roaming which can be the safest approach –unless you actually want and need that functionality.
Unfortunately there is no easy formula for getting the best deal or avoiding crazy roaming charges, but there are a few tips that may help you to be prepared:
- Verizon customers should take a look at their International Trip Planning tool to see what options may be available to them.
- Use AT&T? Check out their International roaming plan options so you can saddle up with what you need before you leave.
- Many travelers choose to purchase a pay-as-you-go sim card from mobile network providers like Orange or Virgin Mobile (both of which offer MiFi options for mobile hotspots).
Of course, the safest and easiest bet is to hop on any and all free WiFi connections you can find.
With millions of travelers moving around Europe over the coming weeks, mobile networks will be put to the test and feeling the strain. With more reliance on data plans than ever before, how carriers perform under pressure will be watched very carefully for future events of this size.