‘Ask Apex’ is an ongoing series that seeks to help you understand the sometimes confusing world of business wireless. We’ll look at common questions or procedures and try to explain them in plain English.

The most common service request we receive is for clients who are travelling and want to avoid high roaming costs by adding a travel package to their number.

We are always happy to consult with these users and urge them to do so BEFORE they travel. This way we can recommend the package that best suits their needs and offer tips on how to keep roaming costs down.

First, let’s clear up what is a common misconception. In today’s wireless world, we use the term roaming when a client leaves their home country. Many of you may remember in the analogue cellular days when you might ‘roam’ onto another network by simply travelling to another town or province – but for the most part, this doesn’t happen too much anymore.

Next, we are only talking about roaming with your existing Canadian device and number in this piece. While it’s becoming more common for frequent travellers to travel with an unlocked device and multiple foreign SIM cards, this is not as convenient [for most occasional travellers] as being reachable on your usual number.

So, you’re planning a business trip to close that big deal or maybe attend a trade show. Great!

You’ve made your travel arrangements, you’ve set the ‘Out of Office’ response in your email and you’ve called the bank to let them know where you’re going to your corporate expense card will work.

data usage

Here’s how to make sure you don’t return to a massive overage on your wireless bill and a nasty email from the boss:

  • We ask our clients to advise us of their travel plans 2-3 business days before they leave Canada. This gives us time to review the most current packages and their contents with plenty of time. Please note, carriers will NOT backdate these packages, so please call/email prior to getting to the airport.
  • You should know that carriers offer different plans for consumer accounts as opposed to business/corporate plans – and many businesses have roaming built into their contracts. Your account manager will advise the lowest-cost option, so get in touch.
  • Please provide us with your mobile number, your destination[s] and the dates of your journey. Travel packages usually last for 30 days, so please advise of longer trips so we can accommodate you. There are also short, 3-day packages for some regions now, too.
  • Some trips may require more than one plan, and beware of cruises – you are not using a cellular network at sea and this can be prohibitively costly.

Remember, if dialling from your device phonebook you will need to dial ‘1’ and the area code to connect properly, or if overseas ‘+1’ to call home and ‘+’ and the country code to dial locally. Texting will likely use the same rules. It’s a good idea to research country codes for new destinations before you leave.

You should try to use WiFi whenever possible, and remember that smartphones and apps can update themselves in the background – which uses roaming data without you even being aware.

Don’t forget to allow data roaming in your handset’s settings. And if you don’t pick up the foreign network right away, try to power cycle your device.

data roaming
courtesy TELUS Neighbourhood blog

If you are an Apex MDM/Help Desk subscriber, our system will alert administrators if users are roaming without appropriate coverage and our team will take action to assist.

All carriers have a support number to call if you run into issues, it’s a good idea to program this into your device in case you need help.

Bon voyage!

More info – TELUS Neighbourhood blog