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Monday, July 02, 2012

Are you taking your smartphone abroad?

Last summer, in peak travel season, a WirelessED survey of cell phone users found that 77% of respondents would access materials providing easy instruction and direction on how to use cell phones outside of the U.S., but only 57% know where to find such information. Our WirelessED brochure, Roaming the World With Your Phone, offers important tips for travelers like how to significantly reduce costs for data usage while roaming. Such tips include:
  • Turn off your mobile network unless you are using it. (Check your manual or contact your carrier if you need help with settings.)
  • Set "fetch new data" and other "always on" data-using functions to off or manual. You can temporarily activate them when you need to. (Auto functions include RSS news feeds, text message reminders and push notifications, for example.)
  • Turn off applications (such as weather and Facebook) that check the Internet automatically.
  • Set email on manual. This allows you to use data but prevents a large email file from downloading automatically.
  • Set your phone to airplane mode. Turn it off if you need to make or receive a call. You should still be able to connect to Wi-Fi in airplane mode.
  • Turn off functions or apps after you've finished using them.
  • Use Wi-Fi instead of wireless carriers' data services whenever possible. In some cases Wi-Fi may be free, but not always, and rates for Wi-Fi may vary around the world. For example, you can use your hotel's wireless internet connection to download email to your device when you're in your room.

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WirelessED is a multilingual educational project sponsored by AT&T. It includes an educational module with three multilingual brochures and a training packet to assist community-based organizations (CBOs) in educating their clients through both one-on-one and group presentations. Over the next year, informational materials and training sessions will be provided to Consumer Action's network of more than 8,000 CBOs across the country with the goal of helping more than 200,000 hard-to-reach consumers.