What is Data Roaming?

Data roaming featured

To learn what data roaming is, if you need it, and how to disable it, read this article.

When you’re in your own country, your phone will automatically connect to the carrier that you have a contract with when you want to connect to the internet. What happens when you’re in another country, however, and your carrier isn’t available? That’s where data roaming comes in.

What is this feature, exactly, and should you leave it on or off? How do you even turn it on or off on your phone? Keep reading for the answers to all of these questions, and more.

What is Data Roaming?

This is when your phone connects to a different network than your usual carrier. When you’re unable to connect to your carrier because there is no coverage in that area, your phone can connect to other networks instead. Since most carriers usually have network coverage over most of the country where they are based, this most frequently happens when you are traveling abroad.

Cellular data roaming allows your phone to connect to other networks to access the internet when your carrier is not available. It’s possible to turn this feature off on your phone so that when your carrier is unavailable, you won’t automatically be connected to a different network.

Should You Leave the Feature On or Off?

This might seem like a no-brainer—if you can’t connect to your carrier, this option allows you to use another carrier instead. The downside is that data roaming often comes with significant charges, especially when abroad. If you’re traveling, and don’t realize that you have data roaming turned on, you may find yourself with quite a hefty bill.

That’s not to say you should always leave the option disabled. If you’re traveling, you won’t always have access to Wi-Fi networks, and you’ll likely want to access the internet when you’re out and about. Many carriers offer additional data plans that allow your device to roam abroad for a reasonable price. Some carriers may even allow you to use other providers’ data networks with no additional charges at all.

You must check the fees for the service with your carrier before you travel. You can then make an informed decision about whether or not to leave it enabled.

How to Enable or Disable Data Roaming on Android

It’s important to know how to turn data roaming on and off on your phone. Turning it off ensures you’re not hit with large bills for your internet connection and turning it on allows you to access the internet when traveling abroad.

To enable or disable cellular data roaming on Android, follow these steps.

  1. Open the Settings app.
    android settings app
  2. Select Network & Internet.
    android network and internet settings
  3. Tap Mobile Network.
    android mobile network settings
  4. Toggle Roaming on or off.
    android roaming toggle switch

How to Enable or Disable Data Roaming on iPhone

You can choose whether the feature is enabled or disabled on your iPhone. This ensures that you are in control of whether or not your phone connects to alternative networks when you’re traveling.

To enable or disable cellular data roaming on iPhone, follow these steps.

  1. Open the Settings app.
    iphone settings app
  2. Tap Mobile Data.
    iphone mobile data settings
  3. Select Mobile Data Options. You’ll be able to see here whether data roaming is currently on or off.
    iphone mobile data options
  4. Toggle Data Roaming on or off.
    iphone data roaming toggle switch

Take Control of Your Phone

Hopefully, this article has helped you to understand this important feature and why you may or may not want it enabled. You should also now know how to turn roaming on or off on your phone.

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