3. What do I need to know to use my mobile phone abroad (roaming)?

If you want to use your mobile phone abroad, before traveling, find out about:

  • how to contact your operator's customer services from abroad and the costs involved;
  • whether you need to select the operator network which offers better conditions abroad and, if so, how;
  • how to access your voicemail while roaming (the access code may be different) and how much accessing your voicemail costs;
  • how calls made and received while roaming are paid for and how to top up your account balance when you are abroad if you have a pre-paid card;
  • the codes you need to dial to make calls and send messages;
  • the type of electrical current used in the country you are visiting and whether you will need an adapter to charge your phone;
  • whether the country you are visiting has GSM network coverage, GPRS, 3rd or 4th generation coverage;
  • whether your operator has roaming agreements with a specific mobile telephone service provider in the country you are visiting;
  • whether roaming in the country you are visiting is provided automatically or whether you need to activate it.

If you find that you do not have access to roaming, there are alternatives, such as buying a pre-paid fixed or mobile phone card1 in the country you are visiting or using public pay-telephones. If you want to be able to access the Internet, check whether local operators offer users of roaming services specific products to access data services, or you could use public wireless access points (Wi-Fi hotspots) or services provided in hotels or Internet cafes.


1 Before traveling, contact your operator in your home country to see if you need to unlock your mobile phone; in some cases, this can take a few days.