How to reduce data charges on my smartphone when travelling out of the country
You can use data services when travelling; however, data usage is not included in your plan while roaming. When you are outside of Canada, you will incur data roaming charges when you use services such as email, Visual Voicemail, web browsing, app downloads, Advanced Messaging and other messaging apps. To avoid pay-per-use roaming charges, you can add Roam Better – with home data.
When you are outside of the Bell network:
- Your device will display an operator name other than “Bell”
- You will receive a text message welcoming you abroad
Turn off data roaming
You can avoid data roaming charges on your Apple iPhone by disabling the function altogether and using Wi-Fi instead. To turn off data roaming, select Settings > Cellular > and move the Data Roaming slider to off.
When this setting is turned OFF, you will no longer have access to data services (email, web browsing, App Store, etc.) over a mobile network and data roaming charges will not be incurred. This does not affect text or voice usage.
Please note that Visual Voicemail will not work. You can access voice messages by holding the “1” key on your iPhone and entering your voicemail password. Regular voice roaming charges will apply.
Use Wi-Fi instead of mobile data
To avoid data roaming charges, use Wi-Fi for email, web browsing and other data services. Please note that Wi-Fi may not always work as a substitute for data roaming. Your iPhone may switch to a mobile network if the Wi-Fi signal is weak or if you leave the Wi-Fi coverage area, thus incurring data roaming charges. Ensure data roaming is disabled if you want to use Wi-Fi only.
Turn off the ability to fetch data
To help control the flow of data to your iPhone, you can disable the phone’s ability to fetch new data.
To do this, select Settings > Contacts > Accounts > Fetch New Data. Under Push, select OFF. Under Fetch, select Manually.
With these settings, you will have to manually check email and sync contacts and calendars. Data will no longer be pushed to your iPhone automatically.
Data roaming charges will apply when you choose to manually check email or sync contacts and calendars over a mobile network.
To further improve your roaming experience, you should:
- Make sure your device is in “automatic carrier” mode. On your iPhone, select Settings > Carrier and select Automatic if it’s not already checked. The iPhone will automatically search for and connect to one of our partner networks (this can take up to 5 minutes).
- Make sure you're using iMessage over Wi-Fi. Otherwise, roaming charges for data or text messaging will apply.
- Install the latest iOS operating system before you leave.
- Turn off data roaming and use Wi-Fi instead of mobile data for email, web browsing and other data services. This does not affect text or voice usage. Please note that Wi-Fi may not always work as a substitute for data roaming. Your device may switch to a mobile network if the Wi-Fi signal is weak or if you leave the Wi-Fi coverage area, thus incurring data roaming charges. Ensure data roaming is disabled if you want to use Wi-Fi only.
- Note: Advanced Messaging requires a mobile data connection and will not work over Wi-Fi.
For more information about changing the data and Wi-Fi settings on your smartphone, please consult your user guide. You can download user guides in our smartphone support section.