Thursday, August 25, 2011

Data roaming on cell phones no longer a problem!

We all go on trips, some for business, some for pleasure, and we all have the same problem: what to pack.  Clothing is the easy part; I know I'm going to Mexico, so I should pack some shorts, or I'm traveling up to Canada for the week, I should probably take a sweater.  The one thing we always seem to have trouble deciding to take with us is our cell phones.  Personally, I take my cell phone everywhere, including trips, as it is more than just a phone. It is my music player, my video gallery, my camera; it does just about everything. The only problem is when I get to my destination. Sometimes I forget to turn it on Airplane Mode (disabling the cellular signal so I don't get charged for roaming).

An Israeli startup company has fixed this for you. No longer do you have to worry about surfing the internet with your Iphone and being charged thousands upon thousands of dollars on your next bill. The company, Onavo, has developed a way so that your searches and web pages go through their servers first, compressing your data.

For those of you without smart phones (Iphones, Android, and Blackberrys) when you surf the internet, just like at home, data is sent back and forth.  Your carrier will give you a certain amount of data for free and when you go over, will tack on extra charges.  By compressing your data, a smaller amount of information is passed back and forth between the carrier’s server and your phone, and you will not be charged these overages.  The carriers will also charge for 'roaming' with your data just as they do with your cell phone minutes.  By going through Onavo servers, you are no longer roaming, and therefore won't be charged with roaming fees.

Onavo has almost every carrier on board with this.  The carriers are happy because you are taking up less of their bandwidth (data being passed back and forth) and customers are happy because it costs them a lot less; a win/win situation for both parties.

Onavo is currently only available for the Iphone, but they are working on an Android version (and more than likely will move to Blackberry soon).  If you have an Iphone and are worried about going over your allowed data limit, or are traveling out of the country or even out of your area of service, I would recommend picking up this app.  Currently it is free, so get it while you can before they start charging for the service.

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