About to buy international roaming? Ask these questions first.

About to head to Italy and Spain for a month, and want to get a roaming plan for your phone? Here are 5 questions to ask before you buy an international roaming pack/plan:

#1 Does the service provider offer multiple packs?

Variety is certainly the spice of life, and it is true of the international roaming offerings from various service providers. While most have only a generic couple of packs to offer, leading providers like Airtel have three superb international roaming packs to choose from. For your Italy-Spain vacation, go with a choice between these packs: 1-day (Rs 649 per day), 10 days (Rs 359 per day) and 30 days (Rs 133 per day). The packs come with free calling (100, 250 and 500 minutes respectively) and 100 free SMSs on each.

#2 How does the provider bill you?

You need not find out what calling and texting charges are if you take a prepaid international pack. But calling charges, call limits and even data usage come into play when you take postpaid international roaming. Providers normally charge on a pro-rata basis, and you should know the call charges. For example, Airtel roaming charges apply standard ISD rates on calling and texting. You can even take free calling on the Airtel prepaid packs. If you are still concerned about high ISD rates, simply switch off data and call over free Wi-Fi.

#3 How easy is the purchase process?

In the rush of planning your trip, buying last-minute essential items, and arranging for forex, you don’t want to face time-consuming processes for buying international roaming. Ideally, and this is possible with a leading provider like Airtel, you should be able to buy the prepaid international roaming pack or plan online in just a few minutes. Just log on to the Airtel website, browse for their latest plans and proceed to buy after filling in a few basic details. Or you can check the postpaid plan after inquiring about Airtel roaming charges and other features, before you request for the plan activation. The process should be done quickly and efficiently, without requiring any follow-up from you.

#4 Does the provider activate the plan when you want?

You will have to be specific about which date you want the plan to get activated on. It is fine if the plan is activated a day or two before you leave, but not after you have already reached Italy or Spain and have no connectivity. Check with the provider about the precise activation date – you should receive a message informing you about the same.

#5 What happens after you’re back?

Once you are back from your holiday, you might need to inform the service provider about the same, to get the international roaming deactivated. Or the provider will give you the option of choosing the start and end date of the plan. Check the Airtel roaming charges for the total period of use of the postpaid plan. You don’t need to close the pack if you take a prepaid option.

5 questions to ask before activating international roaming on your phone