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Mobile use in USA

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patgc
Chat Champion

Hi, please bear with me I am a pensioner and we are going to the States for the 1st time and need a bit of clear advice. I have an LG3 mobile on TT free sim deal. I have the  TT app on my phone that allows me to use my landline deal for free calls.

We are staying with relatives so will have access to their wi-fi.

What will be the best way for me to keep in touch with UK.

Have been advised to download Whatsapp and to use that connected to relatives wifi which will allow me to send and to receive messages/pictures/video calls.

Also advised to go through the TT app to call/text . Would I need to add an Internationl boost to my landline ?

I use Messenger a lot at home and'talk' to the relatives through that. Can I use Messenger abroad ? Whats the difference between Messenger and WhatsApp ? Will either of these incur charges ?

Gondola
Community Star

Hi @patgc

 

Wi-Fi is the best low-cost solution along with Talk2Go and a £5/month International Extra Calls Boost (landline calls only).

 

If you're comfortable using Messenger, whether that's Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp or whatever and you connect to a wi-fi point then that's free, except for any actual wi-fi charges, so by far the cheapest way to keep in touch with friends that already use a Messenger app.  Switch 'phone data off and wi-fi on.

 

The Talk2Go App that you already use will allow you to make calls to the UK and receive calls from the UK over wi-fi, for the same price as a local UK call. You may already have the Anytime calls boost in which case are free up to 60 minutes per call or you can add for a month at a time the International Extra Calls boost that for £5 would give you 1000 minutes of free call time to and from UK landlines. See About the Talk2Go App for more information.  People calling you would call your landline and you'd receive the call as long as you've got a wi-fi connection.

 

Using your TalkTalk Mobile Abroad - you can use your mobile abroad as a standard roaming mobile.  It will connect to a US network but to make calls it needs setting up in advance and the costs are a lot higher (see below)... and you pay to receive calls as well.  So if someone 'phones you to ask if you're enjoying your holiday...you're paying for that call.

Here are the very important things to know and set up in advance of using your mobile in the USA. Using Your TalkTalk Mobile abroad.

 

Prices for calls are shown in Mobile Pricing, select Roaming Charges, for Zone3, the USA and Canada.  Your free SIM doesn't cover the cost of these calls.

Zone 3 - USA and Canada
Making a call (per minute)    £1.20
Receiving a call (per minute)    £0.75
SMS (per message)    £0.50 per text plus the UK message rate
Data (per Megabyte)    £3.00

 

If you think you aren't going to use your mobile to connect directly to a US network then simply don't set it up and it will not register for chargeable calls at the more expensive rates.

 

Have a very enjoyable holiday.

 Gondola - Volunteer 2017-2020

To appreciate my help . . . If I offered a solution Best Answer

ferguson
Community Star

If your intention is only to keep in touch with the UK then you will not need an International Boost.

Gondola
Community Star

...agreed.

 Gondola - Volunteer 2017-2020

To appreciate my help . . . If I offered a solution Best Answer

patgc
Chat Champion

Many thanks for you answer. Sorry to have takern so long to get back. Router died and have just got back online.With both Messenger and Whatsapp relying on wifi, I guess I need to set up international roaming just in case we are out and about and no wifi and someone needs to get me or vice versa urgently but turn off data. Is that correct. As long as I don't use the USA network to make a call I won't get charged. Is that right ?

As I said I use Messenger a lot in UK so is Whats app different in that you can do video calls if you want ?. With the TT app I dont understand what you say about people calling my landline and I will receive the call on my mobile in USA ?

ferguson
Community Star

You should read the relevant help articles, if you use international roaming then you will get charged for incoming as well as outgoing calls.

Gondola
Community Star

...If you want to use your mobile phone when out and about then you have to set up international roaming in advance and be prepared to pay for receiving mobile calls and making mobile calls all at Zone 3 rates.  If anyone calls your mobile number you'll pay for that call.  You'll pay extra if you switch on data to access the internet via US mobile roaming.

 

WhatsApp offers messaging and video calls via the internet.  Checkout WhatsApp to make sure your phone is compatible.  Just like Messenger both parties connect to the internet and have to be registered with Messenger / WhatsApp to link up.

 

With Talk2Go the mobile connected to the internet is just like an extension of your home phone and using your home phone minutes. Someone calls your home phone you can pick up that call on your mobile so long as it's connected to the internet. Even if that internet connection is in the USA. Free or low cost wi-fi is the cheapest way to connect to the internet here or in the US. 

 

In the UK you might have free data with your UK sim to get a mobile internet connection whilst out and about but that doesn't apply to the US.

 

I know it isn't easy to get your head around. It's never bad advice to stick to what you know and use Messenger to keep in touch.  Do your friends have a spare mobile you could borrow as an emergency phone when you're out and about?

 

 Gondola - Volunteer 2017-2020

To appreciate my help . . . If I offered a solution Best Answer

patgc
Chat Champion

You are being so helpful Gondola. With the TTapp. If I go to its settings and turn on the 'follow me' for my mobile number, that means I can receive calls to my landline on my mobile if connected to wi-fi for free. I have the unlimited uk calls boost at home. Can I make a call from my mobile to UK if connected to wi-fi in USA for free as well ?

Gondola
Community Star

...the 'follow me' is exactly how it works.  Connect to wi-fi wherever you are and incoming calls to your landline are forwarded to your mobile.  If you're on free wi-fi it's free and the caller just pays for a normal uk landline call just as if you were at home.

 

Your next question is the 'killer' question!  Can you make a call via the app to the UK for free?  App to app calls are definitely free up to 180 minutes.

 

The app utilises the calls package on your home phone. You have the unlimited UK calls Boost so if it's the current Boost that covers calls to 01, 02, 03 landlines and UK mobiles then subject to the 60 minute call time limitations then yes, free, same terms and conditions just as if you were at home. If it's the legacy Boost for PlusTv customers then it's just free to UK landlines.

 

Here's the list of Talk2Go call charges so you can make sure any calls you make via the app are definitely included in your home phone plan.

 Gondola - Volunteer 2017-2020

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patgc
Chat Champion
Does the person in UK receiving the call have to have the app ?
Gondola
Community Star

...no need for them to have the app, just remember it's a 60 minute call time limit.  But an app to app call that goes up to 180 minutes.

 Gondola - Volunteer 2017-2020

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patgc
Chat Champion

Ok Gondola, think i've got it now.

Don't bother turning on International Roaming. Only use wi-fi connection .

Use Messenger or Whatsapp on my mobile.

If need to call UK, go through TTapp, having previously set it to 'follow' my mobile.

Doing it this way, shouldn't incur any charges.

Have I got it right ?

 

Gondola
Community Star

:thumbsup: Enjoy your holiday.

 

 Gondola - Volunteer 2017-2020

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patgc
Chat Champion
Thank you so much Gondola for answering all these questions for me. Just two last questions if I may.
If I am using TTapp but am not in wi-fi range. and my mobile is on 'follow' will it show up anywhere if I have missed a call through my home phone ?
If I did set up international roaming, turned my voicemail off and only answered a call if I wanted to would I incur any charges for calls that I decline ?
Thank you hopefully for the last time.
Gondola
Community Star
Solution

...gosh!  You ask some very good detailed questions.

 

So, out of wi-fi range a call is made to your landline but cannot be connected to your Talk2Go app. You come back onto wi-fi sometime later and does it tell you that you have a call or calls on your voicemail service?  No but you can call your homephone landline voicemail via the app to check if anyone has left messages.

 

To access your voicemail you need to activate Voicemail Plus. It's free and activated in MyAccount. Just call your homephone number and when it answers press * and key in the pin. Best to change it from the default 1234.

 

So, onto your mobile phone.  You activate International roaming before you leave so your phone will then register onto other operator mobile networks.  You pay to make calls and receive calls including accessing your voicemail at Zone 3 rates. But you switch mobile data off so the Talk2Go app doesn't create data charges when you're out and about and you switch your voicemail off so people calling your mobile cannot leave you messages and there shouldn't be charges except for mobile calls under your control. 

 

But, if your phone is switched on and registered on the overseas mobile network then because the incoming call is connected to your phone you have a choice to answer or not.  There is a risk that some operators will charge if you actively reject that incoming call or have diverts activated. They consider that the call has been connected.

 

So, if you make sure voicemail is off, make sure no diverts are active and don't actively reject a call then if you don't answer you don't get charged.

 

After that... it's me that's ready for a holiday!

 Gondola - Volunteer 2017-2020

To appreciate my help . . . If I offered a solution Best Answer

patgc
Chat Champion
You are brilliant Gondola. Many many thanks for putting up with me. Hopefully all these detailed answers will help others as well who like me who are not particularly tech minded.