CYBERJAYA, 7 AUGUST 2017 – Being away from home requires consumers to learn the usage hacks of smartphone to stay connected with friends and family without incurring excessive telephone charges. This year’s Hajj season, a total of 30,200 Malaysian Hajj pilgrims will be departing to the Holy Land. Communications and Multimedia Consumer Forum of Malaysia (CFM) would like to offer some beneficial international roaming tips that can be used as a guide for the pilgrims.

With the international roaming service offered by the service provider, users can now make calls to Malaysia, send latest news via instant messaging messages like WhatsApp and stay updated with the latest news through social media easily while abroad. However, users need to understand on how voice call and international roaming data work and the total usage charges imposed while they are abroad. Consumers can manage their call and data charges better by using other alternatives.

Below are the useful tips from CFM for consumers on telecommunication services while overseas to avoid receiving excessive phone bills as soon as they return home:

TIPS 1 Consult with your local Service Provider before travelling abroad



Always consult with your service provider and you will receive the correct information regarding relevant charges that may apply. Ignorance of these charges does not exempt you from paying it.

TIPS 2 Back up all your contacts and important data before leaving Malaysia



Alternatively, another security measure that can be taken in case you lose your phone is by uploading important information and store it in an online storage where you can access it at any time.

TIPS 3 Avoid using two sim cards in one telephone



This method is not encouraged if you are unfamiliar with telephone settings as it needs to be changed. Use a different phone for different sim cards. It is always safer to use a simple feature phone for local sim card that you can receive or make important phone calls while using the smartphone for all your other needs on Wi-Fi connections only.


TIPS 4 Purchase an international sim card sold in Malaysia or at the airport



International sim cards are available online or at the airport in Malaysia and have packages which suit your needs and can reduce the complexity of registering new sim cards abroad.

TIPS 5 Get a local sim card upon arriving at Saudi Arabia as an alternative for cheaper package



Do some research on what is available and choose the best sim card package that best suits your intended usage during the duration of your stay.

TIPS 6 Automatic Connection to Networks



Service providers in Malaysia usually have an international roaming partner in the country that you are visiting and they usually provide special flat-rate packages for both voice and data when connected to them. Deactivate “AUTOMATIC CONNECTION TO NETWORKS” and ensure you are always connected to your service provider’s roaming partner to enjoy these preferential rates.

TIPS 7 Switch to Airplane mode or Flight mode and use Wi-Fi



If you wish to stay connected only on Wi-Fi, you can choose to switch your smartphone mode to “AIRPLANE” mode or “FLIGHT” mode and use public Wi-Fi hotspots that are available.

TIPS 8 Use applications such as WhatsApp when receiving voice calls while abroad



Finally, with the condition that you only wish to receive calls and SMS while abroad, you can use applications such as “WhatsApp Call/Video Call” and use public Wi-Fi hotspots. 


According to Chairman of CFM, Megat Ishak Maamunor Rashid, the tips shared are to provide consumers with precise information for them to continue to stay connected with loved ones while in the Holy Land without incurring excessive and unexpected charges.

“CFM recommends consumers especially Hajj pilgrims, to be aware of the steps that should be taken before and while travelling overseas as they will be abroad for a period of time. This is important for consumers as they will be responsible for all the charges that they incur abroad because these are for services provided by their service providers international roaming partners in the countries that they are visiting,” said Megat Ishak.

According to CFM records, there is an annual increase in the number of international roaming complaints. CFM had received 796 complaints related to roaming voice call charges and roaming data from 2012 until July 2017.

2012 34 15 49
2013 50 35 85
2014 49 38 87
2015 54 36 90
2016 312 72 384
2017 55 46 101

Megat Ishak added, CFM will continue to increase its efforts to ensure that consumers are well informed and not short-changed by continuously monitoring the service delivery of the telecommunications service providers as well as addressing any breaches of the General Consumer Code of Practice for the Communications and Multimedia Industry in Malaysia (GCC).

GCC is a code of practice for all Communications and Multimedia service providers in Malaysia with the objective of providing benchmarks and best practice to ensure fair and satisfactory services are being delivered to the consumers. Should the consumer have any unresolved matters, please call CFM toll free line at 1-800-18-2222 or email to

CFM would like to wish all Malaysian pilgrims a safe journey and may their Hajj be spiritually and rewarding.