Islanders Advised to Avoid Unexpected Data Roaming Charges When Traveling Abroad

Islanders traveling abroad are being warned about the possibility of incurring high data roaming charges on their mobile phones. The Guernsey Competition and Regulatory Authority (GCRA) is urging travelers to carefully review their mobile phone contracts before leaving the island, as many providers impose exorbitant fees for data usage while abroad.

To avoid unpleasant surprises upon returning home, the GCRA recommends travelers to take the following precautions:

1. Check Data Roaming Settings: Before embarking on their journey, users should ensure that their data roaming settings are properly adjusted. By turning off data roaming, travelers can prevent their phones from automatically connecting to foreign networks and incurring charges.

2. Use Wi-Fi Networks: Whenever possible, it is advisable to connect to Wi-Fi networks instead of relying on cellular data. This can help reduce or eliminate the need to use data while abroad.

3. Disable Background App Refresh and Wi-Fi Assist: Background app refresh and Wi-Fi assist features on mobile devices can consume a significant amount of data without the user’s knowledge. Disabling these features can help prevent unnecessary data usage.

4. Monitor Data Usage: Regularly monitoring data usage throughout the trip can prevent users from exceeding their data limits and incurring additional charges. Most smartphones have a built-in data usage tracker that can be accessed easily.

5. Seek Assistance from Provider: If travelers do find themselves facing unexpectedly high bills, they are advised to immediately contact their network provider for advice. It is important to seek clarification and potentially negotiate any disputed charges.

By following these recommendations, islanders can significantly reduce the risk of being hit with hefty data roaming charges. The GCRA emphasizes the importance of being proactive and taking the necessary steps to stay informed and in control of their mobile data usage while abroad.


Q: What are data roaming charges?
A: Data roaming charges refer to the fees imposed by mobile network providers for using data services while traveling outside of the user’s home network.

Q: How can I avoid data roaming charges?
A: To avoid data roaming charges, it is recommended to check data roaming settings, use Wi-Fi networks whenever available, disable background app refresh and Wi-Fi assist, monitor data usage, and seek assistance from the network provider if unexpected charges occur.

Q: Why are data roaming charges so high?
A: Mobile network providers often have agreements with foreign networks, leading to higher operating costs. These costs are then passed on to customers in the form of high data roaming charges.

Q: What should I do if I have a dispute about my data roaming charges?
A: If you have any concerns or disputes regarding your data roaming charges, it is best to contact your network provider directly to seek clarification and potentially negotiate the charges.

Q: How can I track my data usage while traveling?
A: Most smartphones have a built-in data usage tracker that allows users to monitor their data usage. This feature can be accessed in the device settings or through dedicated apps provided by the network operator.

Guernsey Competition & Regulatory Authority (URL)