Doing business abroad can be pricey for UK companies - travel and accommodation are not the only costs that need to be considered. In the past, many businesses have been stung by data roaming charges while keeping in touch with home operations. But thanks to new EU regulations, surprise bills could now be a thing of the past.

Being away from your geographical office location no longer needs to mean you’re separated from the daily running of your business. These days we all have easy access to the resources we need in the palm of our hands.

Using mobiles to access the internet is second nature for most of us, we hardly ever stop to think before we whip our phones from our pockets whenever we want to check our emails or search the web.

However, this readiness to access the internet wherever we are can prove costly. We’ve all heard the horror stories from friends and colleagues who arrived back from a trip to a huge bill for services they didn’t realise they were being charged a premium for.

What Are Roaming Charges?

Roaming is the ability for mobile phones and other wireless internet enabled devices such as laptops and tablets to remain connected to their own network while overseas. This means that the user can make calls and connect to the internet without interruption to their services while away from their home network transmitter range.

How Does Roaming Work?

The device will access a local network and the provider of that network will maintain a temporary subscriber record for that user. The home network provider will also update their information to indicate that the user is on a host network to ensure that call and data information is routed correctly. The user is blissfully unaware that these processes are happening behind the scenes and will be billed by their own provider on their next bill.

How Is It Charged?

Fees for these services were traditionally charged by the minute for calls, per text message and per megabyte per second of data used with the tariff being set by the home network. With no regulation to govern cost, consumers were at the mercy of their individual provider and those providers at the mercy of the host providers, so costs to end users abroad could quickly spiral out of control.

Increasing complaints from consumers in Europe, including the UK, bought about the creation of the European Union roaming regulations body. Since 2007 maximum rates have been steadily lowered and in 2013 the EU Commission proposed a single market for electronic communications. Roaming charges have since been completely abolished within EU member states which came in to full effect on 15th June, 2017.

What This Means For You

Thanks to these changes in EU data roaming charges, users can rest assured that when travelling within the EU they can access their data without additional charges to their packages just as they do at home. However, only roaming charges are currently regulated and users need to be aware of higher charges that may be incurred when making international calls and sending text messages – both at home and abroad.

Advice From Air IT

Wherever in the world you plan to travel there are some simple steps you can implement to protect yourself from shock charges.

  • Contact your provider before you travel to find out if there will be additional charges for calls, texts and data.
  • Where you can, use internet based communication such as email and Skype for Business to avoid heavy call costs.
  • Turn Data roaming ‘Off’ on your mobile device so that it cannot connect to foreign networks automatically.
  • Turn the ‘Auto network’ selection feature to manual to control when and which networks your device connects with.
  •  If travelling outside of the EU buy a ‘bolt on’ to increase your package and use free (but secure!) WiFi where possible.
  •  Ensure all your staff who travel with company mobiles and devices are aware of potential fees to and from that device.
  •  Don’t forget, calls are not covered by the roam like at home regulations. Any telephone calls you receive from the UK while abroad will be charged at international rates (unless via an internet enabled system such as HVS or 3CX).
  •  Frequent travellers to the EU and beyond should consider upgrading their existing phone packages to make sure they are getting the best deals on data and calls while conducting business abroad.

Bon Voyage!

At home or abroad, we can help you take advantage of cost effective communications covering phone lines, call packages, mobile and connectivity solutions such as broadband and 4G mobile, to keep you connected on any device.

For more information or a FREE review of your business communication services or 3CX demonstration, please contact us today on 0115 880 0044.