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Avoid data usage in the background and switch off automatic videos: this way you avoid a high mobile bill when traveling

MytelcoYou may already know that calling and texting abroad does not entail any extra costs, as long as you stay within the European Union. Roaming charges within the EU have also been abolished for some time now for the use of mobile data. But it doesn’t mean that everything is possible just yet. When you incur costs outside your bundle, the invoice can still add up quickly. With these tips from Mijntelco.be avoid unpleasant surprises.

By Felix Ferret, in collaboration with Mijntelco


High costs outside the EU

Whether you are abroad – in the European Union – when you incur extra costs outside your bundle or not: it doesn’t really matter that much. After all, only when you go beyond the borders of the EU, for example to Switzerland, but also to Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, the costs outside your bundle can quickly add up. Just like the costs within your bundle, by the way. That is why it is better to purchase a SIM card locally in those countries.

What is roaming? Check the telecom rules inside and outside the European Union before your next holiday.

Simple usage tips

In any case: you prefer to avoid costs outside your bundle anyway. There are some useful tools for this:
• A first obvious tip is of course to connect to a Wi-Fi network as often as possible. Although using public WiFi is certainly not without risk.
• You should also keep an eye on the usage of certain apps. Some apps use mobile data in the background, even if you don’t have the app open. You can turn that off in the settings of any app on your phone.
• It is also better to switch off the automatic playback of videos.

Keep an eye on your consumption

A notified man/woman is worth two. By keeping an eye on your usage, you know when your data limit is approaching and you can adjust your surfing or app behavior or possibly purchase an extra data bundle.

Depending on your device, you can also see this in the settings of your smartphone. For example, Samsung users receive a notification when they have exceeded the 2.5 GB limit. Please note: your device keeps track of the consumption from the beginning of each month and not according to your billing period.

In addition, the mobile telecom providers also offer apps in which you can consult your usage. Those apps are often clearer and more detailed than the consumption overview in the settings of your smartphone. But one app is not the other and, depending on your operator, you as a consumer have more or less options and control.

Reading tip: By car to the south of France? This way you limit your mobile data usage while on the road.

Set limits

You can consult your usage for each billing period in any app. nonetheless, the functionalities and the costs that are sometimes associated with this do vary.

For example, the app from Telenet and subsidiary BASE offers the handy function to set a usage limit, plus a block when you exceed it. In the case of Telenet, not everyone can just do that. Only as an administrator – for example the parent in whose name the family subscription is registered – you can set limits and reminders. As a normal user, you can therefore only see your consumption.

We see the same with the MyOrange app, but without a division of roles. You can set an amount in the app, after which the consumption outside the subscription will stop automatically. You can also activate the option to block mobile internet, so that you no longer run the risk of using data outside your bundle. You can also set a data limit and a corresponding automatic blocking of your mobile internet connection in the MyYoufone and MyViking apps.

A different story with Proximus and the MyProximus app. It is not possible to set a limit there. That is also not possible with Scarlet, edpnet and hey!. Proximus customers who want to be sure that they do not incur costs outside their bundle must add the ‘full control’ option to their subscription. This blocks all usage that is not included in your bundle, as well as the additional costs for services, such as special telephone numbers and roaming outside the EU. If you don’t, the costs outside your bundle will be limited to 60 euros per month. At hey! is that a maximum of 50 euros per month.

The message an alerts

There are also some differences in how carrier apps provide notifications or alerts about your data usage. Most apps warn you in advance and notify you when your data bundle is running low. This is the case with the apps from Telenet, Orange, BASE and Youfone. At Orange and Youfone that limit is 80 percent data usage, at Telenet at 90 percent and at BASE even at 75 percent.

Other apps, such as those from Proximus, Scarlet, Mobile Vikings and hey!, only notify you when you have actually exceeded your data limit. Mobile Vikings gives notifications per 10 euros that you use extra, but also allows you to lower that limit to 0 euros, so that you never incur extra costs. You will receive the notifications via the app or by SMS. The edpnet app does not give any notifications.

Avoid a flat battery while traveling with these tips: Charging your phone all night is not ideal.

Change tariff plan

If you see in your provider’s app that you are about to exceed the data limit of your subscription, you can increase your data limit. In fact, this amounts to an extra data subscription and is therefore accompanied by extra costs on your final bill. This is possible with every app, except those from Scarlet, edpnet and hey!.

Pay attention to the fine print of your provider. With Youfone, for example, you pay 50 cents for the activation of a new data limit. In addition, the new limit only applies from the first day of the following month. So no panacea.

Read more on Mijntelco.be:

Welcome discounts of up to 269 euros at telecom providers: all deals in a row

Belgians sent more than 11 billion text messages last year: these are the best subscriptions for this

Be careful when making video calls: some apps use up to ten times more data than others

This article was brought to you by our partner Mijntelco.be.
Mijntelco.be is an independent telecom comparator of internet, mobile telephony, television and landline.

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