A cautionary tale for why you should always keep an eye on your data roaming charges

Anyone who travels regularly is hyper aware of the potentially enormous phone bill that can result from mobile roaming charges.

In a story published by The Telegraph, one unsuspecting customer of UK phone company Orange felt the sting to the tune of £17,727 after a four-day visit to Dubai – that’s Dhs83,675, ouch!

According to the report, the man, who was visiting the emirate in March for work, claims that he wasn’t using his phone for anything more than checking emails and opening attachments.

A text message was sent the moment he arrived in the UAE detailing that data usage on his phone would be charged by the megabyte (MB), and he should not expect to pay any more than £36.40 (approx. Dhs170) unless the data roaming cap put in place by Orange had previously been removed.

The man further claimed that he received no warnings from Orange that he had exceeded his data roaming cap, which should have prevented his bill from escalating. He only discovered once the enormous bill had arrived several weeks after returning home that the cap had been lifted during a trip to Turkey in 2015, which the man contests.

Orange maintains that they sent the customer multiple warnings of the excessive data usage and its associated charges but ultimately agreed to cut the bill down to only £500 (approx. Dhs2,350) due to the case’s “unique circumstances”.

What can I do to avoid getting that kind of bill when I travel?

Both Etisalat and Du offer a number of data roaming packages that you can take advantage of when you travel so you don’t wind up with a bill that costs more than a year’s rent.

Etisalat has plans ranging from 25MB of daily usage for Dhs25, up to 1GB of weekly data for Dhs200.

Du offers similar plans starting at 100MB a day for Dhs50, to 1GB of data per month for Dhs500.

Or you could always pick up a local SIM when you touch down at the airport, just to be extra safe.

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