Tuesday, 25 March 2014

The simplest way to make the best of your Australian smart phone in Orlando

Australians have proven themselves to be hopeless in using their mobile phones whilst overseas.

The beautiful stories have gone on for years about Aussies jumping on planes - using their phones in the air, using them in foreign countries and then coming home to discover - surprise surprise - none of it was covered in their data pack.

Some people just seemed to think they could keep using the phone, the same as at home, and hey - it's not going to be THAT expensive?! Well - guess what suckers? IT IS!

"A student received a bill for $8265.57 after a two-week holiday in Malaysia. When she called her telco to ask them to switch on global roaming before the holiday she was not informed of the high cost of making calls and using data when overseas"

Australians are SOOOO bad at this we have had at least two Federal Government enquiries and late last year the Australian Communications and Media Authority instigated rules on all the carriers.

" One small businessman reported receiving a $9000 bill from Telstra after using international data roaming for one day in Singapore."

And the carriers will just continue to adjust their plans (like Telstra's 500% adjustment) and pricing structures to work around this - as long as Aussies WON'T TURN OFF THEIR FREAKIN' PHONES.

"Sydney student asked Telstra to unlock his handset so he could buy an international SIM but they failed to do it. Telstra promised to waive the bill but after two months in the United States he was sent a bill for $25,000. After a battle, Telstra dropped the bill."

Aussie TV show The Checkout now shows what I'm talking about in pictures and talky bits!

So I am going to make this REALLY easy for you.

Buy a pre-paid USA phone sim card.


I like to purchase from Travel Gear - you can purchase a variety of SIM cards - as a rule of thumb AT&T is recommended for the iPhone and T Mobile for android. These cost roughly $30 for the card and phone number and then $2 or $3 / day, including calls, SMS and internet data. Maybe $100 all up if buying a 1 month bundle. Far cheaper than the thousands of dollars the hapless and lazy pay.

NOTE: AT&T and T Mobile are the only two networks in the USA compatible with Australian purchased handsets. The USA mobile network is different in technology and transmission frequencies than Australia, and also between each USA carrier company. (Unlike Australia where all carriers operate the same and phones are interchangeable). Other carriers are incompatible with our phones. It's HORRIBLY complicated, and changes all the time. eerrkk.

So you can buy one of these sim cards in advance, get a USA phone number, and on arrival in the USA, just pop the card into the phone and they work immediately. Also buying a carrier sim card means they work just like a normal phone - just start dialing.

Another option is to buy a non-carrier card - like this Woolies one:

There are heaps of these kind, sold everywhere - TravelSIM, Australia Post, GO etc. These work slightly differently - you have to dial their special number, the phone hangs up and then calls you back,  and then you can connect to the number you want. So complicated at first but they are also cheap and easily available.

On Facebook, Janette asked - "are there any good apps for staying in contact with each other during convention?"  Nice question.

So after my thorough research I would say  ... no... sort of.  You could always SMS each other, and most phones will let you send a message to multiple people. If you have one of those unlimited SIM cards, you may as well use your allowance.

The Princess Bride is not a Disney Film (source: texts from dog)
Did someone mention Facebook? Oh it was me! well - Facebook messaging is also as good as any app. You can have multiple people involved in the message and, if all your group are on Facebook, you don't need to know anyone's phone number.

You can also do instant chat through Google using Hangouts or Gmail. I have used their video conferencing and whilst a bit shaky - it works and is FREE! You can have up to 10 people in one conversation.

Finally, for those going to Disney, you get free WIFI all over the resort - in hotels and in the Parks. Disney have done a deal with AT&T and have expanded the network and are claiming SPEED FOR ALL!

Also the Walt Disney Company is 51% owned by Apple - so you'll see lots of iPhone support and Disney themed accessories for sale. (Tough luck those of us on Samsung - no Mickey phone cover for you!)
(source: disneyeveryday.com)
The Marriott World Centre is not so generous. They have free wifi in the public areas - but when I was last there it was so poor I was unable to use it. They charge $15 or $18(high speed)/day for wifi in your room. I think I will be using my phone as a hotspot and taking advantage of the datapack on that sim card.

So how connected are you? Addicted to the interwebs? Have to stay in touch with everyone, all the time? or do you like to turn everything off when on holiday?

No comments:

Post a Comment