Roaming Awareness

Travelling, whether on a business trip or on a vacation always needs planning and preparation.

What is roaming?

Roaming is the usage of your mobile Internet services outside your country of residence. Roaming is enabled when the service provider of the country you are in (host service provider) agrees to carry your service charges while you are visiting. The charges are then forwarded to the local service provider at your country of residence who then charge you for the usage of these internet services. Due to the nature of this process.

As a result, the Telecommunication Regulatory Authority “TRA” endeavors to protect consumers from potential unexpected charges during their travel outside the Kingdom of Bahrain. It seeks to have all consumers aware of the following risks of international roaming, hence asking themselves:

·  Before planning the journey, are roaming services available at your destination? whereby this information can easily be provided by your local Service Provider.
·  What is the cost of roaming at your destination? Before travelling abroad, you should enquire about the roaming charges of your destination. Knowing the roaming cost before travelling is always helpful when budgeting for accommodation, travel charges and telephone charges, which is key to avoiding overspending. Every country has various telecom service providers that differ in cost. Such preparations prepare you mentally as you travel on data spending and the amount of time to be used on data.
·  What if you didn’t enquire about roaming costs before travelling? Service Providers in the Kingdom of Bahrain must notify consumers via text messages (SMS), upon their arrival to their destination, of international roaming tariffs, free of charge. The content of the SMS shall include information on roaming tariffs for voice, data and text messages as well as information on how to contact your service provider helpline while abroad.

Now that you have established the risks associated with international roaming, TRA echoes the following guidelines to minimize roaming cost:
·  If you need to activate a roaming service while abroad; plan ahead for it and contact your local service provider to check the roaming package that suits your need. If you don’t wish to subscribe to a roaming package, we suggest that you monitor your roaming data consumption.
·  If you choose to turn on data roaming, pre-plan your downloads and app usage (this includes applications that require your location, like Navigation). Or as an alternative, you may depend on WiFi to stay connected.
·  Make sure that your mobile is not on “automatic network selection” feature, as it might shift to a non-preferred network while roaming, and will cause extra charges.
·  Remember that you will be charged for the calls and text messages (incoming and outgoing) while roaming, so be careful while calling / texting.

If however you want to avoid any and all charges related to roaming you can:
·  You may purchase a pre-paid sim card or a local chip from one of the service providers at the country you are visiting.
·  Subscribe to a data roaming add-on package by contacting your service provider to determine the best package that suits your usage and applicable duration.
·  If you wish not to use data roaming at all; make sure to “switch off” all your data roaming services on your mobile.

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