Tip o’ the Week #70 – Windows Phone 7 usage abroad

clip_image002If you’re planning on taking your Windows Phone to sunnier climes over the autumn/winter, this tip might help. One side-effect of going abroad is that the numbers you may have saved in your contacts, won’t be able to dial – 07802 etc won’t make any sense if you’re in the US….

clip_image001One elegant solution to this problem would be to fix up all your contact numbers in Outlook, using a technique discussed way back in previous posts (here and here) to sort out the formatting of contacts’ phone numbers (the E.164 format – such as +44 118 etc – again, something I’ve dealt with before).

Now, Windows Phone 7 has some built-in intelligence to try to figure out what you’re attempting to dial when you’re overseas. It should be switched on by default – to check, go into Settings, then swipe right to applications and clip_image003look under phone, and check International Assist is on.

Allen, being a fiduciarily responsible sort of chap, was concerned that he didn’t want to rack up lots of data charges whilst abroad, and so was keen to make sure data roaming was switched off. This is also the default setting: if you’d like to verify the fact, or if you’d like to switch roaming back on so you can use (at astronomical expense, mind) the phone’s data services whilst overseas, go into Settings, swipe down to mobile network and check to see if roam or don’t roam is set.

When you’re abroad, you might find that you can connect on free WiFi networks instead – go into Settings / WiFi and look for suitable networks. There are various apps which purport to tell you if you’re connecting via GSM/3G or WiFi, however if you switch off Data Connection and/or roaming from the mobile network settings, you can be certain you’re only using WiFi.

There are even tools which promise to do all the “yes, I accept your terms and conditions, yadda, yadda” stuff that you might have to complete in the browser after connecting to Starbucks etc WiFi, before you can use the rest of the internet. As they say, YMMV.

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