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Involuntary roaming charge

I'm a participant level 2
I'm a participant level 2

Currently, I'm traveling in east Asia. I understand there is a $14/day charge for roaming. So I turned off the roaming on my iPhone when I didn't want to use data. During my last billing cycle, I knew I only turn it on twice. Once for trying to call fido international (didn't go through), the other day was on September 18.


However, there are still unexpected roaming charge on my bill this month. I was charged for seven days roaming, which I knew for sure at most I only used data/made calls for two days. Based on the info provided by the customer service agent, one of the days only had 0.04MB roaming data occurred. Does this make any sense? 


I asked the agent, he told me that roaming is not controlled by my end. (I'm not complaining the agent, he seems to be a nice guy) So how would customers know whether they are charged for roaming since it's not controlled by us? And why there is no notification on the days the bills says I was roaming? This is a one-time daily charge. Should it has a text notification on each day it was active? I only got notification on the day I landed and September 18. All the extra charge happened between these two dates and there was no other notification. And the last billing cycle started right after I landed. If the notification only sent based on billing cycle , I still didn't get on-time notification. 


Currently, the agent has adjusted two-days charge off my bills and set up roaming block.  But I was still charged for three-days service that I was involuntarily enrolled. The service detail was vague. Why calling fido international (somehow it just didn't go through at all) would consider as roaming as well? And why there is no way to find out whether the daily charge occurs until the bill day? 


If customers have no control on roaming, how would we actually being able to manage our bills with full knowledge? 


Senior MVP Senior MVP
Senior MVP

Hello LilySi,


  Welcome to the community!


  Sorry to hear you've received unexpected roaming charges. Although you might already be aware, the Fido Roam charge will incur when you use your device to make or receive a call, send a text message or use data while abroad. While receiving SMS would not incur the roaming charge, it's worth mentioning that the data contained within MMS (incoming or outgoing) would be considered roaming data and charged accordingly. You should note that MMS are not solely restricted to pictures or video messages. Messages with subject headers or group messages etc are also considered MMS.


  You might consider disabling any MMS auto-retrieve settings on your phone. You would then receive a SMS notifying of a MMS (no charge) but the data contained would not download automatically. You could then choose whether or not to download the associated data contents. You should also note that, with the exception of Wifi-calling, MMS does not generally get transmitted via Wifi. Downloading MMS while connected to Wifi would likely incur roaming charges. That said, if your device is supported for Wifi-calling, some types of usage would be considered roaming.


  I understand you had your roaming setting disabled. However, you should note that some phone manufacturers might not disable all data when that setting is disabled. They consider System data different from User data and allow data they feel is necessary for the phones to function optimally. Unfortunately, iPhones are notorious for that type of behaviour. Disabling iPhone's roaming data setting doesn't disable all types of data usage (see here, here, here, here, etc). I understand some of those links are dated but there are more recent other examples as well. An explanation I have read is that devices connect to Apple servers for certain essential functions so it is allowed despite data and roaming data settings disabled. Those little bits of data (ie 40 kb) are typical of their requisite data transfer. Unfortunately, I don't think there's an official solution as Apple tends to deny it's an issue.


  You should also note that customers would not receive a notification for every day of usage. Unfortunately, I don't think real-time usage information is available when roaming. Generally, your home provider would get notified when your device first connects to a foreign network. However, it may take a number of days for any usage details to be forwarded from that foreign network to your home provider.


  To prevent unintentional data usage, you might consider enabling any Flight or Airplane modes. Those settings should disable the phone's antennae. You could selectively enable Wifi when required. 


Hope this helps 😀



I'm qualified level 1
I'm qualified level 1

This sort of situation is exactly why you invest in a cheap plan locally. I'm sure you can buy

months of service for less than the roaming charges here. 


I'm a participant level 2
I'm a participant level 2

I had to go through 14-day quarantine before I could get a local SIM card. These charges all happened when I was in hotel and connected to hotel wifi. So the whole thing didn't make any sense to me.