Ouch – Gap Year Data Roaming Charges!

We are now out of regular WiFi and are having to use Data Roaming on our phones to access email and the web. Luckily we only have an occasional mobile phone signal as we pass towns on the Amazon so we are not tempted to use it more as it is expensive and it feels strangely good to be completely uncontactable!

We are on Vodafone and they charge a reasonablish £5 for the first 25Mb with a 24 hour use time (UK midnight to midnight). We have managed to stay under this limit until now by mainly doing just email and checking the data used very regularly but today with a 3G signal in Santerem, one of the biggest cities on the Amazon, my iPhone used up 10Mb in 10 minutes when I didn’t think I was using data. 5Mb over the limit and £15 spent at the rip off rate of £3/Mb. Almost as much as we spend on food in a day on our boat! Then Mo did the same and went 15Mb over, cost £45!?! We are going to have to be very careful, all part of the learning experience.

I have heard that iPhones are notorious for running up big bills so maybe we have been lucky so far? What we both did differently was turn on 3G at the same time as data and maybe this was the problem, one to watch if you are traveling.

Vodafone still have the best tariffs for roaming compared to other operators, the others are even more expensive.

What we should have done is buy a MiFi device that uses a local SIM card for data and gives you a local WiFi network you can connect all your devices to. We had no idea we would spend over 2 months in Brazil and this would have been a good investment! (Vivo looks like the best network for data if you happen to be in Brazil.)

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