Hints & Tips, Travel, US News

How to use an iPhone abroad

Want to use your iPhone abroad?

The iPhone has some fantastic built-in features that help you save money while roaming, read below to find out more.

It’s becoming increasingly common for people to take their iPhones with them when traveling. To avoid “bill-shock” from data roaming and to make the most out of your iPhone’ features, it’s important to manage data usage in an affordable way. A popular way to control costs is by using International SIM card.

You can manage your data usage in the following ways:

  1. Enable data roaming

    Firstly, you will have to enable data roaming on your iPhone. To do this go to Settings > Cellular > Data Roaming (leave EU internet turned off). Once complete you will be able to use data in different countries. Beware that this can be expensive and a cheap International Data SIM card is likely to save you money.

    Enable-data-roaming Enable data roaming

  2. Manage which apps use cellular data

    Secondly, you must select which Apps you want to use your data for. This is a great way of ensuring you only use data when you actually want to.
    Settings > Cellular > Scroll down and select which Apps you want to allow.
    Manage cellular usage

    Manage cellular usage

  3. Make sure iMessage doesn’t send as SMS

    As a way to save costs when communicating, you can set your iPhone to only send texts as an imessage (this will save you money by not sending SMS when data or WiFi cannot be found).
    Settings > Messages > Turn off ‘Send as SMS’
    Turn off 'Send as SMS'

    Turn off ‘Send as SMS’

  4. Turn off Automatic Updates/Downloads

    One large drain of data usage comes through Automatic Updates; this allows your updates to be carried out on your iPhone without you knowing and can easily cost a small fortune.
    Settings > iTunes & App Store > Make sure ‘Use Cellular Data’ is turned off.
    Turn off Automatic Updates/Downloads

    Turn off Automatic Updates/Downloads

  5. Disable app notifications

    Many apps will attempt to send notifications to your iPhone in order to encourage you to use them. This is likely to be unwanted when abroad and could be using your precious data, make sure only certain apps (News and Communication) are included.
    Settings > Notifications > Select the appropriate app

Cheap International data bundles are becoming more popular for travelers due to their ability to dramatically reduce international roaming charges. This service allows one SIM card to be used across the world at a fraction of the price, an essential item for anyone looking to share pictures or keep in contact with family, friends and colleagues when traveling.

Hints & Tips, Travel, US News

Top 10 European Cities to Visit

Not sure on where to travel on vacation? Here are our ‘Top 10 European Cities’ that you should consider when traveling to Europe.

  1. London

    As one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, London was sure to be on this list. Historical landmarks such as Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London offer an insight into the history of this great city and are a must-see for tourists.

    If you’re interested in culture then London is fantastic for both museums and art galleries. World famous destinations such as the British Museum, Tate Modern and the National Gallery offer a wide range of exhibitions and displays that are available for art enthusiasts travelling from all across the globe. Also, most of these museums are free and therefore are available to travelers on a budget.

    For those with sporting interests, London hosts Premier League football matches across the city as well as the prestigious Wimbledon Tennis Championships that take place annually, which is attended by the world’s most elite tennis stars.

    London offers the complete package for anyone that wishes to plan a European vacation. The huge selection of restaurants and endless variety of shops available, only add to the attraction of the city.

  2. Paris

    Commonly referred to as the city of love, Paris is especially popular with couples looking to enjoy a romantic trip to Europe. Sights such as the Eiffel tower and the Arc de Triomphe are some of the most famous monuments in Europe and are very popular with visitors travelling from abroad.

    Paris is often seen as a center for the world of art. Art museums across the city include the Louvre, which is home to the Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece The Mona Lisa, as well as boasting other magnificent galleries such as Musee d’Orsay and the Centre Georges Pompidou.

    Both sports and cycling enthusiasts can take the opportunity to visit Paris for the finale of the tour de France, the spectacle always provides visitors with memories of the highly popular endurance race.

  3. Rome

    The eternal city is truly an essential part of any European trip. Rome boasts historical sites from the Roman Empire, such as the Colosseum and the Pantheon that offer a fantastic insight into what civilization was like during that time period. Rome tour packages are available including public transport and entry to popular tourist attractions, this offers a cost effective way of visiting the city.

    Italians are famous for their love of cuisine and citizens of Rome are certainly no exception. Restaurants and bars in Rome offer a wide range of traditional dishes and often can be purchased at a reasonable price. Be prepared though, in Italian culture meals are seen as a social event and are not to be rushed.

    Rome’s undeniable influence in architecture can be seen all over the city with magnificent churches and buildings on every street. Located within Rome is Vatican City, the small independent state that is home to the Pope. This attracts millions of people every year to view sites such as St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel.

  4. Barcelona

    Barcelona is well known as a city that has something for everyone. Located in the Catalan region of Spain and famed for its style, looks and energy, Barcelona is a tourist favorite. Travelers from abroad are highly expected to visit the magnificent Sagrada Familia church that started construction in 1882 and is still being built to this day.

    Home to the current UEFA Champions League side F.C Barcelona, a Camp Nou stadium tour is recommended for visitors even without a sporting interest in order to witness the resounding success the team has seen both in the past and the present. Catalonians are very passionate people and this can truly be seen during a game.

    After a busy period of touring around Europe’s wonderful cities, take a day to relax at one of the many Barcelona beaches that lie on the Mediterranean Sea and take advantage of the regions warm climate.

  5. Amsterdam

    Located in The Netherlands, the city of Amsterdam is a very appealing prospect to tourists due to its compact nature and relaxed culture.

    Strong artistic links exist within the city due to famous artists such as Vincent Van Gogh and Rembrandt living here. Their work can be seen in one of the many museums and a trip to the Rijksmuseum is a must for anyone visiting Amsterdam. Also, the Anne Frank Museum is a favorite for all tourists due to the horrifying events that happened there during the Second World War.

    Fancy a break? Visit one of the many café shops located in the city or take one of the famous picturesque Amsterdam canal cruise tours to see Amsterdam by boat.

  6. Istanbul

    Located on the Bosporus strait, Istanbul is commonly known as the gateway between Europe and Asia. The location of this city is one of the reasons why it is known as one of the great cities in the world.

    A trip to the old quarter offers an array of Turkish culture with magnificent buildings such as the Hagia Sophia, which is now open as a museum for tourists to stand in awe of the structure and explore the history of the building.

    In order to get a taste of what life really is like in the region it is worth paying a visit to the Grand Bazaar. This is one of the world’s oldest and largest covered markets and hosts over 3,000 shops.

    For a chance to see the European influenced side of the city, make sure you visit some of the Beyoğlu restaurants, hotels and bars.

  7. Reykjavik

    Unlike any of the other cities on this list, it is the surrounding area of the golden circle that is of particular interest to travelers. Iceland is a volcanic island that boasts an extraordinary landscape of waterfalls, glaciers and volcanos.

    Take an Iceland tour and take in all the fascinating views that are available, during your tour you may also be lucky enough to see the Northern Lights. Even without a tour of the island, don’t be expecting the area around Reykjavik to be tame, as some of the most picturesque sites are located only a short distance away from the capital.

    After exploring the island, be sure to visit the famous Blue Lagoon Spa and indulge in the geothermal pools and natural beauty treatments that are available thanks to the island’s volcanic location.

  8. Florence

    Florence is famed for its artistic history and its rich culture due to Michelangelo and Botticelli living in the area as well as the city hosting the Leonardo da Vinci Museum, which shows models and designs made by the great Italian polymath.

    Throughout the city there are many quirky shops and quaint cafes for visitors to enjoy themselves. The region itself is very popular due to the fantastic range of quality wines and Italian cuisine that is offered.

    The city contains a wide selection of famous architecture and offers sites such as the gothic styled Florence Cathedral (Duomo) and the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella, which are definitely worth visiting.

  9. Budapest

    Split by the river Danube, the beautiful city of Budapest consists of the historic Buda and the increasingly modern Pest side of town, hence ensuring something for everyone.

    Take a trip to the Turkish baths such as Széchenyi and bathe in the healing waters at one of the largest public baths in Europe. This is sure to keep you relaxed during your trip and is an essential part of visiting Hungary.

    Although prices have been continuously rising, Budapest is still a very inexpensive option compared to many of the cities in Western Europe. Great deals can be found in the hotels across the region; also food and drink come with respectable prices, even in the more luxurious districts.

    For the best sights in the city, walk to Castle Hill to witness the best views of magnificent buildings such as the Hungarian Parliament Building. Whether you’re interested in Opera, nightlife or historic architecture, you are sure to have an enjoyable visit to the Budapest.

  10. Prague

    Despite being the capital of the Czech Republic, Prague is a city that many people around the world might not necessarily be aware of. The historical gothic city displays some of the finest buildings in the area, with the Old Town Square attracting tourists to the heart of the city to relax, take in the sights and to sample some of the world famous Czech beers.

    A trip to the Charles Bridge offers views over the city’s medieval landmarks and the stunning Prague Castle, which is believed to date back to the ninth century and is a symbol of gothic architecture in the area.

    Prague is a historic city that is full of culture and is recommended to tourists who would like to explore Europe further, alongside this you can benefit from the more affordable prices that the city has to offer.

To benefit from cheap SIM solutions when traveling in Europe, visit Cellhire to compare prices of using your phone in different European countries when using a European SIM card.

Cheap European data bundles are becoming more popular for travelers due to their ability to dramatically reduce European roaming charges. This service allows one SIM card to be used across the continent at a fraction of the price, an essential item for anyone looking to share pictures or keep in contact with family, friends and colleagues when traveling in Europe.

Travel, US News

How to Pick a Cellphone Plan for Traveling Abroad

The New York Times, Seth Kugel – June 16th, 2015

new-york-times-logoAs a general rule, I’m against an alien takeover of our planet — unless they bring along one thing: a global wireless system that would simplify the endlessly complex world of options for using cellphones abroad.

Prices for calling, texting and using data overseas continue to fall, but the larger system relies on a haphazard and incomplete set of agreements among wireless companies from every country on earth. That makes finding the cheapest option that will (mostly) satisfy your needs still a complex task, depending on where you’re going, for how long and with whom.

First, let’s go over some basic rules for saving. If you don’t have a foreign plan, keep international data roaming off (and check to see how much it will cost you per minute if you pick up when, say, your mother calls). To limit data use, don’t let your apps run in the background and adjust your settings so they don’t refresh. Browse the Web using an Opera app, which uses less data. Pick a messaging app (WhatsApp, Viber, Skype) so you won’t have to pay for texts, and make sure your friends and family are all on it. (Most of these now allow free calling among users.)

Now I’ll break down your options into categories — but, fair warning, you’ll have to do some follow-up work, diving into the sometimes opaque websites of the service providers to figure out the most economical option for your needs and destinations.

Stick to Wi-Fi

Those not addicted to social media or needing to be connected at all times to family or office can stick with free Wi-Fi hot spots — though know that it’s a calculated risk. If you do need to use the phone in an emergency, it can cost you: $5 a minute is not uncommon, and smaller service providers, like Cricket Wireless, offer limited or no service abroad.

And Wi-Fi dependence brings two more problems. First, availability varies greatly by country and region (you can check overall coverage on Wi- Fi finder apps or sites). Second, using public Wi-Fi can expose you to hackers; avoid it especially if you’ll be typing in banking and credit card information. If you want to eliminate much of that risk, read on.

Free Roaming

T-Mobile and, since April, Sprint offer free 2G data service, free international text messaging and 20-cent-a-minute calling — with a couple of catches. First, it doesn’t work everywhere. Sprint’s plan currently covers just 22 countries, though that list will grow.

T-Mobile’s roaming is impressive if a bit overstated, covering 120 “countries and destinations” — not to be confused with 120 countries (Easter Island? Svalbard?) Check the lists to make sure your destination is included.

And, of course, that 2G connection can be painfully slow, though it is usually fast enough to use email and messaging apps. In my experience with T-Mobile, you’re frequently bumped up to 3G or 4G, but occasionally can’t connect at all. (If that happens, find free Wi-Fi and call your carrier through Skype for help.)

Upgrade Your Package

You can pay Verizon and AT&T for higher-speed international roaming packages, or pay Sprint and T-Mobile to upgrade to faster data. Some of those options are pretty good deals: Verizon’s monthly add-ons start with 100 megabytes of data for $25, and you can add 100 minutes of talk and 100 texts for an extra $15. (Again, check the list of countries.) AT&T has similar data packages, but they include unlimited texting. Both deals currently include free access to networks of paid Wi-Fi hot spots around the world. T-Mobile’s upgrade plans are more appealing than Sprint’s: 200 megabytes of high-speed data over one week for $25, good for a short trip.

You’ll also keep your own number, which means you won’t get a local number. But that is far less inconvenient than it used to be now that almost everyone abroad is using messaging apps.

International SIM Card

Lots of companies sell SIM cards that can be used in most of the world (or cheaper ones for Europe only): OneSimCard, Cellhire, Cellular Abroad’s National Geographic SIM, Telestial, the list goes on. Cards themselves usually cost about $20 to $30, often including some credit. And rates vary vastly by company and country, so make sure to check websites for details.

Pay special attention to the varied payment structures: You might prefer to prepay and let your balance tick down with use, buy a big chunk of data that will last for a while (but might go to waste), or pay per day for unlimited data. Also check if you can monitor your usage in real time, and take care if you choose to do automatic top-ups; it would be a shame if you were charged $79.99 for an extra gig as you waited in the airport for your flight home.

With a foreign SIM card, you won’t receive calls or texts coming into your home number. If that’s important, you can set up forwarding, which doesn’t always work, or frequently switch cards, which is a pain. You can get a dual-SIM phone (not for iPhones, though) or a two-SIM adapter, which can be awkward.

The smoothest solution is KnowRoaming’s international SIM “sticker,” which you attach to your current SIM card, magically turning it into two. The foreign SIM activates when you land in a different country, but you can manually flip back to your home SIM. It costs $29.95 plus usage, and rates are competitive.

Local SIM

If you’re headed to one or just a handful of countries, especially obscure ones not included in the above plans, consider purchasing a local SIM card.

The cheapest way to do this, at least theoretically, is to buy one when you arrive. This often costs just a couple of dollars (plus prepaid credit), but the ease of doing it varies greatly, depending on the registration process and access to English-language instructions.

Your other option is to order the country-specific SIM card before you leave, meaning it’s already registered and loaded when you land. Cellular Abroad, for one, offers a French card that gives you a month of unlimited calling and texts, one gigabyte of data and 110 minutes of free calls to the United States and Canada for $69.95 — not cheap, but perhaps worth it if it fits your needs.

Data-Only Solutions

Many of the same companies offer data-only SIM cards that are cheaper, generally, than those with a local number for calling and texting. They’re largely aimed at tablet users and are particularly attractive if you have T-Mobile or Sprint on your phone for cheap calling and free texting. Cellhire, for example, provides 200 megabytes of data for $25; it works across Europe and lasts 30 days.

There is also a free data-only SIM coming soon. It will be offered by Freedom Pop — which also provides free, but limited, domestic cell service — and includes 100 megabytes of high-speed data a month in a small but soon-to-grow list of countries.

For groups or travelers with multiple devices, a big money saver is to take those data-only SIMs and stick them in a Mi-Fi device — a personal Wi-Fi hot spot that is often less than $50. If your group is big enough and can live without a calling plan, that reduces costs significantly.

So, yes, it’s complicated; yes, you need to do your own research; and even if you’re thorough, there will often be hiccups on the road. Maybe we should try to get in touch with those aliens after all — if only we knew which
SIM card has the best rates to the Andromeda Galaxy.

A version of this article appears in print on June 21, 2015, on page TR2 of the New York edition with the headline: A Phone That’s a Worthy Companion Abroad.

Education, Hints & Tips, Travel, US News

What’s the difference between 3G, 4G and LTE?

When using data on your smartphone or tablet device you are likely to have heard of 3G, 4G and LTE. In basic terms, this describes how fast the internet will run over a wireless data connection.

4G LTE 3G Data

3G stands for “Third Generation” and originally enabled wireless devices to operate at speeds which made web browsing a more enjoyable experience. Whilst this gave users the ability to regularly use the internet when ‘on the go’, there were still issues regarding the time that it took to open certain web pages as well as struggling to meet the increased demand for wireless mobile internet.

4G or “Fourth Generation” technology has become increasingly popular all across the globe due to the fast data speeds available. This allows users to do far more than check emails and basic web browsing; 4G allows for music streaming, fast and reliable web browsing and the ability to use a device as a portable entertainment centre. Many new devices have the ability to operate on the 4G network and this number is set to continue rising due to the benefits of the 4G technology.

LTE stands for “Long Term Evolution” and is a popular term used in North America to describe the journey of acquiring fast mobile data connections. Currently both 4G and LTE mobile technologies have similar connection speeds and both are substantially more advanced than devices that still operate on 3G.

SO WHAT’S IN THE FUTURE?

It is likely that in forthcoming years we will see a widespread increase in 4G/LTE network coverage due to the increased demand for faster mobile data connection speeds. Consumer habits have led to 3G technology rapidly becoming outdated, which is why more and more consumers feel the need to invest in 4G/LTE compatible devices.

As the need for data roaming increases, fast data bundles for worldwide and European data roaming are becoming more popular and dramatically reduce the cost of using internet abroad.

Following the rapidly advancing technological age that we live in, it would be wise to expect the development and introduction of 5G networks in the near future. This would be expected to transfer data at electrifying speeds and would offer large scale benefits to both consumers and society as a whole.

 

UK News, US News

Cellhire Strengthens Presence in Brazil

York, UK. Cellhire, the international mobile solutions specialist, has opened a new office in Sao Paulo to capitalise on the expanding Brazilian market and build a platform to serve its global customer base for the Olympics that Brazil will host in 2016. The event will be used as a springboard to further establish the new office and gain a strong domestic foothold for business after the Olympics.

Cellhire's Martyn Stevens
Cellhire’s Martyn Stevens

Last year Cellhire delivered over 14,000 connections at the FIFA World Cup as both business and media descended on Brazil for one of the biggest events in the world. Cellhire has laid the appropriate foundations to maximise Brazil’s next big event in 2016 and capitalise on the growing Brazilian market. Cellhire will be offering voice and data connections, supporting live reporting from Rio to news desks around the world.

Martyn Stevens, Director of International Business Development at Cellhire says “Our new office in Brazil is a fantastic opportunity for Cellhire to break into Latin America and build on the back of our success at the FIFA World Cup. We’re looking forward to Rio 2016 and we have our unique network agreements in place to really make the most of it and to get our latest office off to a great start.”

The Olympics kick off in Rio in August 2016 and Cellhire has already secured some major connection numbers for the event with some customers traveling out to Brazil as early as May 2016.

US News

Cellhire launches all new cellhire.com

This July saw the launch of the all new cellhire.com website, offering a new range of mobile products for customers travelling abroad from the US. The new product range focusses on offering a smaller but more flexible selection of voice and data solutions.

Cellhire.com now includes purchase products for voice allowing customers to choose from a phone and SIM or SIM-only solution which covers either international or European destinations. In a departure from the traditional Cellhire rental approach, customers now pay a single fee and keep their devices, SIM cards and numbers. There are no recurring charges and customers only receive a bill for calls when they are made.

The major new addition to the portfolio is  a prepaid data offer allowing customers to choose data bundle sizes ranging from 100MB to 1GB from as little as $29, with the additional option of adding a MiFi mobile hotspot device for only $59. Customers can buy data bundles to use in multiple zones around the world including 33 countries in Europe and two further zones, one adding key global destinations to the Europe package and the final zone covering most of the world’s key destinations.

New and existing Cellhire customers looking for rentals products can still find these products at cellhire.com/rentals where all of Cellhire’s classic rental products covering 100 specific countries around the world are still on offer. The Rentals site has also had a full revamp to reflect the new Cellhire style.

Visit cellhire.com now to see the great new product range and don’t forget to check out cellhire.com/rentals to see how we have improved the look of our rentals site.

US News

Cellhire makes HSBC Global Connections finalists

Cellhire, the international mobile solutions specialist, has been shortlisted along with 44 other regional finalists as part of the HSBC Global Connections competition.

Over the past three years, the HSBC Global Connections Competition has sent 138 dynamic businesses to International Exchanges in some of the world’s fastest-growing markets and awarded access to over £3bn in funding. This year the field was widened to take in companies with a turnover of up to £100m.

The 45 Regional Finalists in the competition represent businesses across the UK which show the innovation, distinctiveness and strategic thinking that makes them future global players. The 45 finalists will progress to the regional finals in June and face a panel of judges who will whittle the list down to select National Finalists before the overall winners for 2014 are decided.

Tim Williams, Cellhire’s Chairman and CEO said: “We are absolutely delighted to be shortlisted out of so many businesses across the UK. HSBC’s recognition of our progress expanding globally is greatly appreciated and I am very much looking forward to June.”

The next 12 months will see Cellhire supply competing teams, key sponsors and the worlds’ media with telecoms as they attend the FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Recent successes for the business have included delivering over 15,000 connections at the Sochi Winter Olympics.

Cellhire plans to continue expanding its existing business portfolio internationally, particularly in BRIC economies.

For more information on the HSBC Global Connections competition, visit the HSBC website at: https://globalconnections.hsbc.com/united-kingdom/en/