How To: Reduce International Roaming Bill Shock

How To: Reduce International Roaming Bill Shock

Your mobile phone is much more than a device used to call people. Let’s face it; your mobile phone is a little part of you.

So the idea of going overseas without your phone is most likely out of the question.

But what’s worse? Going without your device for a couple of weeks, or the idea of coming back to Australia to find a huge bill?

Fortunately, there is a happy medium. By educating yourself on international roaming pricing, reducing your voice and data usage and planning ahead, you can reduce bill shock!

What Is Bill Shock?

The term bill shock can easily be defined as unexpected high charges that occur after using your mobile service. These bills can quite easily end up costing thousands of dollars. Bill shock is a common occurrence among travelers due to the higher charges associated with using your service overseas vs using your service within Australia.

So how can you avoid coming home to a big bill? Check out our tips for reducing roaming data and roaming voice costs below!

Tips on Reducing Roaming Voice Costs

Check Roaming Rates

If you’re going to use international roaming while overseas, it’s vital to know the pricing of the places you are visiting because the will vary. Telstra customers can look up the international roaming prices here.

Text Instead Of Call

Tell your friends, family and work to text you instead of call you. You will not be charged to receive a text message but you will be charged to receive voice calls.

Use VoIP Apps

Use applications such as Viber, FaceTime and Skype to speak to your family, friends and work instead of calling directly.

Change Your Voicemail

Change your voicemail and ask those ringing you to email or text you.

Add A Roaming Voice Plan

Businesses can buy an International Roaming Voice Plan to call directly at a discounted international roaming price (Note: Not available in all countries).

Tips on Reducing Roaming Data Costs

Use WiFi

Many hotels, cafes and shopping centres offer free or fixed price WiFi. This is a great way to use the internet on your device at a low/no cost.

Add A Roaming Data Pack

Buy an International Frequent Data Plan or an International Casual Travellers Data Pack to use data at a discounted international roaming price (Note: Not available in all countries).

Monitor Your Data Usage

Use the built in data monitoring app in iOS, Android and Windows devices to monitor your usage. For instructions to activate, click here.

Avoid Accidental Roaming

If you are using international roaming, avoid accidental roaming by:


Using Do Not Disturb Mode

By activating Do Not Disturb mode you will not receive any notifications unless you physically select an app (then it update with new notifications). You can also select Favourite/Exceptions  (such as a family member) who will be excluded from Do Not Disturb Mode and will still be able to reach you.

See below for how to activate Do Not Disturb on iOS, Android and Windows Phone:


Settings > Do Not Disturb > Enable Swipe Manual



Each device that users Android OS have different ways to activate the Do Not Disturb mode, refer to your user guide to learn how to activate this feature.


Windows Phone

Settings > Notifications + Actions > Choose your Quick Actions > Tap an Icon Slot > select Quiet Hours > Pull down on Notification Centre > Tap Quite Hours (represented by crescent moon icon).


Turning Off Automatic Updates



Setting > iTunes & App Store > Under the Automatic Downloads section, turn off the option for Updates.


Windows Phone

Store > Settings > App Updates > Turn Automatically Update my Apps to No



Google Play Store App > Apps > Menu > Settings > Auto Update  apps > Select Do Not Auto-Update Apps


Turning Off Automatic Email Retrieval

By preventing your mail app from automatically retrieving your emails, you can reduce your data usage. Check out article on how to disable automatic email retrieval for iOS, Android and Windows Phone.

Avoid Streaming Or Downloading Media

Avoiding  streaming or downloading media such as music and videos unless connected to WiFi.


What do you do to reduce bill shock when you’re overseas? Let us know your tricks and tips in the comment section below!