| | 03-31-2012, 12:39 PM Thread Author #1
Roaming Charges Overseas and Wi-Fi
While roaming overseas with my Blackberry phone, a Torch 9850, I want to be able to make and receive voice calls, but I want to avoid incurring charges for data communication through my provider’s mobile network. (My provider is Verizon). Those data communication charges can result from the use of the phone for email communications, web site browsing, and apps that might access data in the background without my knowledge. Such charges can be exorbitant.
At the same time, I want to be able to use the phone to access the Internet via Wi-Fi for such activities as emailing and web surfing.
Those two interests can conflict when it comes to setting a phone’s networks and connections. Because I am about to embark on another trip to Italy (this time to Rome) I called Verizon for some insight. Here are the settings suggested by the representative.
While you are not in a Wi-Fi area, use the following settings. These will allow you to make and receive voice calls and text messages, but you will not be able to access the Internet for web browsing or email:
1) “Mobile network:” ON. [ This will allow you to make and receive voice phone calls and send and receive text messages over the mobile network. ]
2) “Data services:” OFF. [ Arguably, this could be left ON as long as the next entry, “Data while roaming,” is set to OFF. That’s because any data attempting to move through the mobile network while overseas would be in a “roaming” state, so the next entry should stop it from being processed. However, the representative tells me that some customers have reported being hit with data charges while overseas when they left their “Data services” set to ON. Therefore the representative suggests setting this to OFF. ]
3) “Data while roaming:” OFF [ This will keep your mobile network from processing any data while you are overseas. ]
The above settings are appropriate if you want to just use your phone for voice and text messages. If you also want to take advantage of Wi-Fi, read on.
While you are in a Wi-Fi area and you want to use Wi-Fi, switch to the following settings. These will allow you to receive and send emails over Wi-Fi and browse the web, but you will not be able to use your phone to make or receive voice calls or communicate with text messages:
1) “Mobile Network:” OFF [ This will keep your mobile network from processing data so you will not be hit with exorbitant data roaming charges. ]
2) “Data services:” ON [ This will allow the phone to process data communications through Wi-Fi]
3) “Data while roaming:” OFF [ This is an extra security measure to assure the phone does not process data communications through its mobile network while in a “roaming” location. Arguably, this could be left ON, since your “Mobile Network” setting is OFF and thus should not process any data. However, the representative told me that some customers have reported data usage charges when “data while roaming” was left ON. So turn it OFF. ]
Additional notes: Procedures for making the above settings may vary by device. On my BB Torch I take the following path: For “Mobile Network” tap the Blackberry symbol in the upper right hand corner of the screen. For the other settings tap “Options,” then “Networks and Connections,” then “Mobile Network” or “Wi-Fi” Network. You can leave the “Wi-Fi” checkbox ON at all times.
Text messages, in contrast with emails, do not incur data charges. During my last trip to Italy, texting proved to be a great way to communicate with friends back in the USA. I did not attempt to use Wi-Fi at all.
Hope this helps. One alternative to the above is to sign up for a global data plan from Verizon. Yet roaming charges even under those plans can add up quickly.
On a related note, the rep told me that it can take up to 48 hours for Verizon to recognize data usage. (Apparently has to do with the fact that overseas carriers are slow in reporting. Same goes for smaller domestic carriers when stateside.) So if you make a mistake in settings, you really can't find out something is wrong before incurring an expensive delay.