The Internet has changed the rules for traveling. Gone are the days when keeping in touch from abroad was both a challenge and expensive. More college aged children are spending summers traveling and taking advantage of semester abroad programs. The following are some of the things parents and students must know before leaving home:
– What is the Internet situation where the student will be living?
– Does he/she have an International mobile phone?
– Do you and your child have a plan to reach each other in an emergency?
– Are both of you aware of the differences between phone and data services, domestically and overseas?
– Have you checked your wireless provider’s international program? (i.e Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, etc.).
– Have you considered whether or not your child should rent a phone while traveling?
– Are you familiar with the rules surrounding Internet services abroad such as Skype, iChat, e-mail, texting, and accessing the web?
My daughters have both spent 4 months studying abroad. Despite daily phone calls to and from the United States, my total phone bill for the time they were away was under $200. If you need assistance understanding the rules of international travel and would like to know how our communication costs were kept in line, give me a call at 917 921-4518 or e-mail me at email@example.com
German researchers discover a flaw that could let anyone listen to your cell calls
As reported in today’s Washington Post, German researchers have discovered security flaws that could let hackers, spies and criminals listen to private phone calls and intercept text messages on a potentially massive scale – even when cellular networks are using the most advanced encryption now available.
The article reports the problem, but offers no solutions. Anyone have any ideas?
To read the full article, click on the link below.
We all know that it is costly to upgrade your smartphone before the end of your contract (usually 2 years). According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, fewer people are upgrading their smartphones.
Taking advantage of these offers require you to pay full retail for the phone. When you purchase or upgrade with a contract, you get it at a subsidized price. A subsidized phone could cost about $199, while the full retail price could be over $600. READ THE FINE PRINT CAREFULLY.
Before making a decision, be sure to evaluate whether or not the upgrade is worth it.
Planning a business or pleasure trip overseas? Do you have a child studying abroad? Keeping in touch while traveling to other countries can be very costly. Fortunately, there are many Internet based programs that have reduced the costs of communicating substantially, and in many cases, for free, depending on the country.
While there are many services available, I suggest you look at Viber, MagicJack, and Skype. All three have the ability to communicate for free from anywhere you can access the Internet through a wireless connection.
Many of you already are familiar with Skype which offers free video chatting with a computer, tablet, and a smartphone from a wireless connection. Using Skype on your smartphone or tablet from an area without a wireless connection is not free and the costs will depend on your carrier (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, etc.) and the country who are in.
Viber offers free telephone calls and text messaging from smartphone to smartphone from a wireless area. Both you and the person you are calling need to have the app installed on your smartphone. The app is free.
MagicJack is a matchbook size device with a USB plug that is plugged into your laptop computer. The price of the MagicJack is $39.95 and the annual cost is under $20. It can be bought either at their website or at any electronics store (Best Buy, etc.). When you register, you select a local US number (where you live) and all calls, placed or received through the MagicJack, from a wireless area, are free.
There are a host of services available, however I am able to communicate with friends, family and business associates in other countries on a regular basis for FREE.
If you would like to discuss any of these services in greater detail, or if you have any other questions regarding how to control your international communication costs, I can be reached at 917 921-4518 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
To listen to my latest BlogTalkRadio Program, “How to Control Your International Calling Costs,” click on the site below.
On June 28th, Verizon Wireless will introduce a new wireless data plan. The rationale for the change (which will be followed by other providers) is for them to cash in on the ever increasing demand for data services on mobile devices such as smartphones (iPhones, Androids, and Blackberries) and smaller laptops. While the news services are offering varying opinions and explanations, here are some basic things you should know about the new plan:
– The new plan only applies to smartphones and computer tablets, not iPads,
– The plan is not mandatory, current Verizon customers are not obligated to revise their existing plans.
– Based on how you use your smartphone, you can actually save money by switching to the new plan. People who are heavy data users (e-mails, Internet browsing, streaming videos, etc.) should consider the new plan.
Below is a summary of the Plan:
– There is no tiered pricing for telephone calls. Presently, 450 minutes costs $39.95 per month and the price escalates for additional minutes. Under this new plan, the only choice will be unlimited minutes and free text messaging for $40 per phone. This is a substantial savings for anyone on a plan for more minutes or an unlimited plan.
– The new data plan starts at 2GBs for $60 and goes as high as 10GBs for $100 per month, based on your usage. If you have a family plan with several phones, the data plan is shared with each of the lines. It is possible to have up to 10 mobile devices share the same plan. The present cost for 2GBs of data is $30 PER PHONE and rises for more data. According to the leading providers, most people use less than 2GBs per month unless they stream a lot of videos and music from the Internet.
– If you change to the new plan, and are presently on an unlimited data plan, you will lose it.
As I have indicated in the past, there is never a standard answer when it comes to one’s technology needs. If you are currently a Verizon customer, I suggest you call them for an evaluation of your present plan and discuss whether or not a change will save you money.
If you need a further explanation of Verizon’s new plan, or have any other technology questions, do not hesitate to contact me at 917 921-4518 or by e-mail at email@example.com. Feel free to click here to receive my NEW white paper, “TIPS ON BECOMING A TRUE MOBILE WARRIOR”