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Mobile & roaming data turned off phone still apparently used data abroad

I'm a participant level 3
I'm a participant level 3

On a recent trip the to UK I had both mobile data and roaming data turned off on my phone (pixel2lx).  When I returned home, I found that I had been billed for data usage on 5 of the days I was away, using a few kilobytes each day.


To prevent confusion I see on other similar topics, I am specifically talking about data roaming charges.  I do not have Fido Roam activated (it's a bad deal and I got stung $10 for a single text message the last time I went away).


My problem is that even with these data switches off, some data is reported being used.  I've tried the chat here and had no satifactory resolution and also started a thread on goolge support forums but as of yet nothing.


As you can imagine I'm pretty mad!  I've been billed $50 for approximately 200kb of data!  I also have no way of ensuring in the future that my phone won't do this again.  The only thing I can think of doing it pulling the sim card out.  This stops me being able to make and calls or use SMS though.  I'm happy to pay for the things I expressly use but things I can't seem to control are another matter.


Whatever happened to roaming pay per use?  I'm not on the Fido roam anymore, why do I still get whacked for a minimum of $10?


Also the link you send in your text message when roaming to explain roaming charges ends in a 404.


I'm a participant level 1
I'm a participant level 1

I had the same problem recently in the Dominican Republic. On airplane mode and roaming off I was still charged $15 a day-highway robbery. I have been a Fido user for many years and in the past you had an option to turn the Roam On. What has changed? I am thinking of changing the service.

Hello Jiri1,


  Welcome to the community!


  Sorry to hear you've incurred unexpected roaming charges. I understand you may not have intended on using services, however, the mobile providers only know usage. The Fido Roam charges will only incur if your phone uses services -- make or receive a call, send a text message or use data abroad. It should be mentioned that while receiving SMS would not incur the roaming charge, any 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. It should further be noted that iMessages and RCS messages are sent (and received) as data and not as text messages (SMS).


  I understand you might have disabled roaming data. However, some devices have been known to use data despite data and roaming data disabled (see here). I also understand you may have had Airplane mode enabled. If your device had connected to the cellular towers despite that setting, that is an issue with the device. It should not even connect to any cellular tower, let alone use services when Airplane or Flight mode is enabled.


@Jiri1 wrote:

.... I have been a Fido user for many years and in the past you had an option to turn the Roam On. What has changed?...

  As far as I can remember, roaming had always been enabled by default. If customers did not purchase a Travel Pack, any usage would have been on a pay-per-use basis. Older mobile phones did have settings to disable roaming, though. Unfortunately, I don't think there is a setting to completely disable roaming on most newer smartphones.


  Is it possible you were actually using Fido services without realising it was roaming (ie Wifi-calling)? It should be noted that while using Wifi for regular internet access will not incur Fido Roam charges, there seems to be some misunderstanding regarding Wifi-calling. I'm not sure how people have gotten the impression that Wifi-calling does not use the networks. However, that is not true. While the calls and messages do not transmit via cellular towers, they still use the networks via the internet gateway (see image here). The cellular towers and Wifi are merely alternate means of accessing the networks. Calls and messages would not be able to complete or get sent/received without the networks. As such, using Wifi-calling is technically using Fido services. However, they have allowed certain usage to be free from additional charges. All the messages and calls you receive (from anywhere in the world) will be taken from your plan's voice minutes and messaging limits. As well, all Wifi-calling messages and calls you make to a Canadian phone number while abroad won't incur long-distance or roaming charges (see link above). 

  If you did not wish to use Fido Roam, you would need to opt-out of the service. In doing so, any usage abroad would be on a pay-per-use basis. You can view those rates here. You may also be able to disable roaming on your line. You should note that this forum is community-driven and not intended as a venue for customer services. If you would like to opt-out of Fido Roam, you would need to contact customer service . In addition, they can also be contacted via Live Chat, Facebook, or Twitter. Those methods can be accessed via the contact page posted above.


  I understand wanting to change providers. However, if your device is using unintended services, it's possible it would also use services unintentionally with a different provider.


Hope this helps 😀





Senior MVP Senior MVP
Senior MVP

Hello Kieren,


  Welcome to the community!


@Kieren wrote:...Whatever happened to roaming pay per use?  I'm not on the Fido roam anymore, why do I still get whacked for a minimum of $10?..

  The charges you appeared to incur were for roaming pay-per-use data ($9.99/20MB; see here). You are not getting charged for Fido Roam ($12 per day for Europe).


  I'm not sure why some phones still use data despite data and roaming data settings being disabled (see here and here, etc). Perhaps Google might have a better idea of what services are able to use data outside of those settings.


  Another option to prevent roaming would be to enable Airplane or Flight mode on your device. You could then manually enable Wifi if required. However, I do understand that the Airplane mode would also prevent your being able to make/receive calls or text messages.


Hope this helps Smiley



I'm a participant level 3
I'm a participant level 3

@Cawtauclearly this is an old problem that many people have had before (though I never saw this on my old android phone running marshmallow).  Those threads go back 5 years!  The problem is they don't offer an acceptable solution or accept that it is a problem that deserves solving.  Nobody seems prepared to own the problem so consumers get shafted.


Comments like 'it's only a few kb and everyone is on large data plans now anyway' ignore the roaming problem.  Paying $9.99 for 20MB isn't a good deal when your phone keeps only using a few bytes.  It's actually abusive.  It would be even worse if I was on Fido Roam whacking me $12 every day instead!

Former Moderator
Former Moderator

Hey @Kieren


Thanks for sharing your concern with us .


I see that @KAPABLE-K and @Cawtau provided you with some valuable information. I understand where you're coming from, if you had turned off data as well as roaming, you wouldn't expect data to be used.


Just to clarify, opting out of Fido Roam does not prevent usage from being incurred, in many cases it ends up costing more than if you were using Fido Roam. The pay per use rate for data in the UK is $9.99/20MB so it can add up quickly. In your case I understand that data roaming was initially turned off thus you didn't expect any usage related to data.


I'd have two questions for you to get a better understanding of the situation:

1. Did you take a look at your Apps / Phone settings to see what the data was used for ? 

2. Can you clarify what you meant by the message we send ends in a 404 ? 


Let us know! 


Community Manager (Retired)
Community Manager (Retired)

Hey @Kieren,


We haven't heard back! Were you able to sort this out? Keep us posted Smiley 

I'm a participant level 3
I'm a participant level 3


I had trouble replying to this thread the last couple of days, it just kept redirecting me back to my account page.


In the mean time I have contacted fido support through Facebook Messenger.  I'm currently running some tests with data turned off to see if it happens without roaming and if I can narrow down the cause.


Regarding looking for specific apps that might be causing the problem, unfortunately android only gives me stats for the whole month rather than just the period I was roaming so I can't narrow down the usage to when I was away.


Regarding my previous message, on one of he texts I was sent when roaming quoted the link with ends in a 404 (page not found).


I've also been in contact with Google who haven't been helpful, they suggested turning off background data for the phone app.  I don't think this is going to solve the problem since I can see that during the period I was away it wasn't using the amount of data I was billed for.  Google just keep pointing me back to my carrier and seem unwilling to resolve the problem.  I'm more mad at them and their poor customer service.

Former Moderator
Former Moderator

Hey @Kieren!


Any update on this?


Keep us posted! 

Former Moderator
Former Moderator

Thanks so much for confirming and for getting back to us @Kieren!


It definitely is an odd situation and if data is turned off and the phone continues to use it then things do seem to point towards this being software related. 


That said, while running tests have you noticed if it happens while in Canada? Please let us know and we'll go from there!




Hello @Kieren,


You can call customer service or have a moderator here look at your account to see what can be done.


You don't necessarily have to pull the SIM card just have Fido put a roam block on your line and next time you leave your phone would not connect to a foreign network.  


I'm a participant level 3
I'm a participant level 3

Does putting a roam block apply to data only or to telephony and sms as well?  I still want to be able to use these, if needed, when abroad.  I just never want to use any data.