Before you bring your mobile broadband internet service abroad, be sure you are not going to be hit with enormous charges when you come back home. Most mobile broadband providers charge huge fees for using their service outside your own country.
However, you need not worry. There are plenty of options for enjoying mobile broadband while you are travelling overseas.
1. Check with Your Provider First
The first thing you should do is check with your provider. They may offer service while you are abroad. With the spreading popularity of 3G and 4G across the globe, more and more providers are beginning to coordinate service. That way, you will not get home with a huge bill.
If your provider cannot accommodate you, do not worry. There are other options.
2. GSM Networks
Many countries across the world operate on the GSM network. In fact, 80% of all cell phones and mobile broadband operate on GSM all over the world.
That means you are in luck if you happen to use a GSM phone or USB dongle. Yes, even if your phone might work. More on that later, but first you should understand what you will need to do while you are abroad.
3. Switch the SIM Card
If you are using GSM, then you probably know what about SIM cards. If not, they are a little plastic card with imprinted microcircuits that determine the number of your phone or USB modem.
If you are in another country, the solution may be as simple as switching your SIM card. Though not always.
Look for Pre-paid Services
If you are lucky, you will be going to a country that has pre-paid mobile broadband services. It may also go by the name of pay-as-you-go or per-pay service.
That means you will not be committing yourself to more than you can afford. You simply switch out the SIM cards and purchase a pre-paid card to load time on the service. It is an easy solution. However, sometimes your local provider likes to lock you to their network only. Do not fret. There is a solution to that too.
4. Your dongle is locked to your network? It depends on where you go.
It is a simple concept. Most mobile broadband providers lock USB dongles exclusively to their own network. However, much like Smartphones, these devices can be unlocked. Sometimes the term is called openline or jailbreaking depending on where you go.
Usually, for a small fee, you can have your USB dongle openlined. Then, you simply purchase a new SIM card, insert it, and load up pre-paid service.
Once your USB modem is free of restrictions, you can use it in any country that supports GSM networks.
5. Consider Buying New Once You Arrive
Maybe none of the previous options work for you for one reason or another. That is okay. Depending on the country you are visiting, you may be able to buy a completely new USB dongle.
If the charges you will incur with your current provider are too much for you, then it might actually be less expensive to buy new.
You can normally find good deals in most modern and developing countries. A torrent of low-cost Chinese Smartphones and USB modems has recently flooded the planet with affordable wireless technology.
Moreover, if you are in a country that can openline your USB modem, that means you will be able to use it in any country that offers service via a new SIM card.
6. Your Cell Phone Might Work Too
If your USB modem is not based on GSM, then your cell phone might. If you use a phone that works on the GSM network, many times it will double as a USB modem simply by switching the SIM card.
This capability is becoming more and more popular in the new Smartphones. Also, consider buying one of these Smartphones if you happen to be visiting a country where you can get a good deal.
7. If Nothing Else Works
If you still cannot find a solution in the country you are visiting, then you might have to live without your mobile broadband.
Remember, you still have Wi-Fi. If Wi-Fi does not work, look for an internet cafe. You may lose some convenience, but you will not come home to outrageous charges on your bill.
Guest post by Richard from mobile broadband comparison site broadband-expert.co.uk