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Gadgets & Home Improvement

Tips on avoiding costly data usage abroad

Consumers need to be aware of high data charges they can incur when overseas
The Straits Times - December 22, 2011
By: Daryl Chin
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Tips on avoiding costly data usage abroad

EXPERTS say it is quite easy for a mobile phone user to chalk up a hefty bill when roaming overseas.

An instance where data charges could be racked up is using features like Google Maps, a map-based service that can be used to plan routes.

Consumers should check with their operators for partnering networks overseas, and subscribe to them when going abroad.

In addition, one should set the network manually to the right network so that the phone does not automatically switch to another telco by accident.

'Consumers need to be wary. The unfortunate thing is that many smartphone users, be it the iPhone or Android phones, forget to uncheck data access while overseas,' said director at tech security firm Infotect, Mr Wong Onn Chee.

This could mean the smartphone might be downloading or uploading data, without the owner's knowledge.

'What's even more dangerous, is tethering your phone to a laptop and using it as a modem. Depending on usage, it can easily hit gigabytes' worth,' he noted.

Take heed too of the warning messages telcos routinely send.

SingTel, for instance, sends SMS alerts when it detects high roaming data usage. These alerts provide instructions on how to check data usage details via the SingTel website and the *72266 service.

In addition, a spokesman said it would also call customers to ensure that they are aware of the usage they have run up.

Tech enthusiast Michael Tan, who is also a director of a local computer parts distributor, said the risks are increased if one tampers with the phone.

'If you are charged wrongfully, make sure you are able to hold someone accountable,' he added, noting that a consumer might not be able to do so if he has, say, fiddled around with the inner workings of his phone.



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