International Roaming: Is it really Worth it?

clip_image001I am sure everyone of us, whether they use a postpaid or a prepaid connection, have thought about taking their number on International Roaming.

All of us have seen numerous advertisements regarding IR and how various services are promoting their services by telling us how many roaming partners they have and how cheap the services are.

Well, surprise surprise, IR services are rarely, if ever cheap. You are charged for outgoing, incoming, outgoing SMS as well as Incoming SMS (check with your service provider for promotions in which some destinations enjoy free incoming SMS).

Furthermore, most of the frequent destinations are usually on postpaid and not on prepaid.

First, let’s talk about IR on postpaid.

High Security Deposits:

The 1st thing any operator will require before they activate your IR services is that the security deposit must be enhanced since these services are being activated with a minimum credit limit of Rs. 15,000/- to Rs. 20,000/-.

But if you are lucky and you have a corporate account with your service provider, i.e. your company has an arrangement with the service provider, the limit will be enhanced and services activated without any delay.

IR Activation Time:

For mere mortals such as us, activation time for IR is between 24-72 hours depending upon various operators as well as due verification. This may or may not include a physical visit on the address you have provided as well as a phone call from the service provider.

Paying Bill Back Home Becomes Hefty

You also have to remember that once you reach or exceed your credit limit, depending upon your service provider, your connection will get blocked and you will have to ask someone to pay your bill so that your services may be resumed.

International Roaming on Prepaid

For prepaid, the process is much simpler since all you require is a certain balance amount and you can call the helpline or visit your service provider to have IR activated.

Is International Roaming Inexpensive?

Now what most people fail to realize and mostly they do not pay attention to the fact that IR is not cheap, in fact it is really expensive and all transactions are conducted in US dollars.

So if you browse through an IR tariff, make sure the tariff printed says Pakistani Rupees, because if it says cents, they are talking about US dollars.

Since foreign currency rates fluctuate, that means you will be charged at the rate which was applicable on that day. Further, in case you ever require your bill for IR, you will realize that it is not easy to calculate your bill, for example, the simple calculation would be the number of units (minutes) multiplied by the tariff, but it is not that simple. What telecom service providers fail to mention is that a roaming charge is also added into the bill.

At the end of the day, IR services are great for someone who always needs to be connected and really relies on his cellphone to get business done. For people on leisure trips or on holidays, if you want to save yourself the hassle as well as some money, just go buy a prepaid at your destination which will always be comparatively cheaper and less troublesome, and don’t forget to enjoy your holiday!