How to Turn Off Data Roaming on Smartphones

Roaming is a term that often gets mentioned in data plans for smartphones. Are you technically “roaming” when you’re out and about? Well, that’s not exactly what it means in the eyes of your mobile carrier.

Data Roaming Header

RAYMOND OGLESBY @RaymondOglesby2
August 16, 2022

Roaming is a term that often gets mentioned in data plans for smartphones. Are you technically “roaming” when you are out and about? Well, that’s not exactly what it means in the eyes of your mobile carrier. Let’s explore data roaming.

This is for smartphones

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Data Roaming

Data roaming is actually a very simple concept. You have a mobile carrier that provides data to your smartphone when it’s not connected to Wi-Fi. However, as you know, your carrier’s network is not limitless.

So what happens when you go somewhere not covered by your carrier’s network? That’s where data roaming comes in. Roaming allows you to hop on another network so you can still make calls, send texts, and use wireless data when your carrier’s network is disconnected.

This typically works through agreements between your carrier and other networks. The most common scenario in which data roaming comes into play is traveling to a country where your carrier does not have a presence. You can roam on the other network and not need to sign up for something new.

The Cost

Unfortunately, data roaming is not usually included for free as part of your data plan. If you want unlimited roaming you will need to pay for one of the more expensive plans. Roaming charges vary from carrier to carrier.

In general, if you do not pay extra for unlimited roaming, you will pay for how much you use. That could be around $0.25 per minute on calls, $0.10 per SMS, and $3 per MB of data. Needless to say, those numbers can add up quickly, so make sure to read the details of your data plan to find out what you could be charged.

Avoid the Charges

The good news is you probably do not have to worry about roaming charges. Your carrier may not have 5G or LTE coverage in all places, but there is almost always some lower-speed coverage everywhere in the country. Data roaming is primarily for traveling internationally.

That being said, there are some things you can do to be absolutely sure you are never roaming and being charged for it.

On the Android

On Android, go to:

Settings > Network & Internet > SIM

and toggle Roaming to OFF.

On the Samsung

On Samsung o to:

Settings > Connections > Mobile Networks

and toggle Data Roaming to OFF.

On the iPhone

On the iPhone, go to:

Settings > Cellular > Cellular Data Options

and toggle Data Roaming to OFF. Refer to the below image:

Roaming 1
Turn OFF Data Roaming

Tip: If you are not traveling internationally, you can also consider paying for an international data plan with your cellular carrier. You can also consider getting a SIM card and cellular data plan in the country you will be staying in. Both of these are good ways to avoid the usual pay-for-the-data-you-use roaming charges, which can be expensive.

That’s all there is to data roaming. It’s primarily a feature of mobile networks for traveling outside of your country of residence. In your day-to-day life, it’s not something to worry about. However, if you plan on traveling, you will want to see what your carrier has to offer.

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Author: Raymond

I am Raymond Oglesby, an Information Technology (IT) specialist with 30 years in the field. I have taught Microsoft Applications and troubleshot computers in 15 countries and many States. My career was focused on mainframes and desktops from application development to implementation. I have written hundreds of programs for various architectures. I decided to start a blog to share my knowledge and experiences with you. I plan on updating this blog at least twice a week about smart phone apps to Windows. Please feel free to leave a Comment or Tweet. I would love to hear from you. Do you have a computer tech question? I will do my best to answer your inquiry. Please mention the app and version that you are using. To help me out, you can send screenshots of your data related to your question.

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