Preventing data roaming bills from soaring

Many of us who travel during the June school holidays want to keep our mobile data on even when overseas, so as to access e-mail, maps or social media.

But data roaming can also come with a nasty bill shock if you are not careful. Here are three tips to guard against racking up a hefty roaming invoice on your next holiday.


Before heading overseas, check out the available plans from your telco in order to select the most suitable one.

For example, StarHub has a DataRoam Daily Unlimited plan that allows its post-paid customers to roam on preferred partner networks in 53 countries for a flat fee of $15 a day.

For those who do not want to be locked to one network, StarHub's RoamEasy Daily allows roaming on any mobile network in 50 countries, for $10 for 100MB of data.

Before heading overseas, check out the available plans from your telco in order to select the most suitable one.

There are also pre-paid SIM card plans available, if you really want to make sure that you do not go over a set limit.


In order to optimise both data use and battery life when overseas, make sure that only the essential apps are running on your mobile phone.

Users can go to the Settings menu of your App Store or Play Store to turn off application auto updates, which can turn out to be one of the biggest contributors to data consumption.

You can also set your e-mail to pull instead of push. This means that the e-mail app will only check for new mail when you open it, instead of having an active connection on all the time.

You can also turn off background data for each app. This means that the app will not be able to use mobile data without running in the foreground.


Before going overseas, make sure you have pre-downloaded everything that you can, in order to minimise roaming usage.

You can download maps of your holiday destination, so that you need not download them on the spot when you are there.

You can also load up your phone with pre-downloaded music, movies and e-books for entertainment, so that you are not tempted to stream on a roaming connection.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 01, 2016, with the headline 'Preventing data roaming bills from soaring'. Print Edition | Subscribe