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Phone spontaneously switches to international roaming

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

I have an unlocked Samsung Note 5 from Sprint (US phone) that switches to international roaming when near the US border where I work. I have to leave roaming settings on all the time because I have no network connection when they are off, no matter where I am. I cannot manually choose network because that setting is grayed out and not available to reset. Fido said the signal provider closest to my work is out but even when 50 km from border, roaming takes over. I fiddle with network settings and restart phone numerous times and sometimes I manage to get connected back with fido but more and more often the phone switches back to roam only. Aside from never buying an unlocked US phone again, I have run out of ideas. Any suggestions, please?


Senior MVP Senior MVP
Senior MVP

Hello Young44,


  Just to clarify, is your phone from Sprint or Verizon? You previously mentioned a similar issue you had with a Samsung Note 5 from Verizon (see here). Is this phone a different phone?


  According to the Samsung website, these are the band/frequency specifications for the Sprint version of the phone:

2G GSM: GSM850, GSM900, DCS1800, PCS1900;
2G CDMA: CDMA800 ,USPCS1900;
3G UMTS: B1(2100), B2(1900), B5(850), B8(900);
3G CDMA: BC0(800), BC1(1900), BC10(800);
4G FDD LTE: B2(1900), B4(AWS), B5(850), B12(700), B25(1900), B26(800);
4G TDD LTE: B41(2500)


  Judging by those specifications, that phone has all of the compatible bands/frequencies for 2G and '3G'. With regards to LTE, that phone only has two compatible bands. Note that the Verizon version of the phone has slightly different compatible LTE bands/frequencies (see here). You can verify the compatible bands/frequencies here. While the phone should work on the networks, coverage depends on the corresponding bands/frequencies on your surrounding cellular towers. You can get an idea of your local towers here.


  As with your other thread, some phones purchased from elsewhere might think they are roaming if they are outside of their target market even though they use a local SIM. That's likely the reason your roaming settings need to be enabled.


  I understand you are unable to manually choose a network. However, are you able to choose a network mode? It's possible the phone is set to preferentially select a CDMA network since Sprint's main network is CDMA-based. If possible, choosing GSM/UMTS(WCDMA)/LTE might help your situation.


  If your network mode is also greyed out, it's possible Sprint has blocked those functionalities. That's one of the issues with the US versions of phone models. They can be rather difficult when trying to use them off network. Even though they may be unlocked, those models often have certain functionalities blocked when used on other networks.


Hope this helps Smiley





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

Thanks for responding. The phone is the same one, but I mistakenly thought it was verizon. It is, in fact from Sprint.

I can chose a network mode and 'automatic' seems to be the only one that works (but not always),

When I try CDMA and LTE/CDMA, I get a 'no SIM card' message. You have confirmed my suspicion that the problem is with it being a US phone. In trying to get a FIDO network connection I try repeatedly cycling between the different network modes, different APN settings, roaming settings on and off and restarting the phone and results seem inconsistant but eventually, as long as I am away from the border (and US network signals, I assume) I reconnect with FIDO as long  as network mode is on 'automatic' and all roaming settings have are 'on'. Also, the problem has gotten worse lately to the point that I turn my phone off when at work which is near the border. Yesterday, I got roaming notices even tho the roaming settings were off and I was far away from the border.

I would never buy a US phone again but I would still like to try to fix this. Could it be that this was triggered by the FIDO  signal relay (or whatever it is called) in the Crescent beach area (in Surrey, BC, near US border) being down, as I was told when I phoned FIDO help several weeks ago?

Hello again,


  Thank you for the additional information. Are you certain your phone is roaming on the US networks? There are few Fido/Rogers cellular towers within that vincinity.

Crescent Beach.jpg

Taken from link posted above.


  Is it possible your phone is actually connecting to extended coverage? With the Canadian roaming agreements, your phone might be connecting to the other networks (likely Telus at that location) as Fido-EXT. If this is the case, you would have gotten notices that you were roaming on extended coverage rather than a notice for Fido Roam. You should note that extended coverage is only meant on a temporary basis. The majority of your usage needs to be on the Fido/Rogers network.


@young44 wrote:...Yesterday, I got roaming notices even tho the roaming settings were off and I was far away from the border....

  Most newer phones only have settings to disable roaming data. The functionality to disable roaming altogether was removed from android a while ago. With your data roaming disabled, your phone would still be able to connect to other networks for voice and messaging. The only way to disable roaming entirely on newer phones is to enable airplane or flight mode on the device (or remove the SIM). Since you were far away from the border at the time, it also suggests your phone is connecting to extended coverage.


  If you live or work in an area where you phone exclusively connects to extended coverage, there isn't much that can be done to connect to the Fido/Rogers network. If the area does receive some signal, a signal booster might be of benefit. It is a common misconception that any mobile provider will suit everyone everywhere. The mobile providers have their cellular towers strategically placed. Unfortunately, those locations might not be ideal for all customers. That's why there are the roaming agreements in place -- to provide better coverage for customers.


  I understand some people in those situations disagree with the limited usage on extended coverage. However, I don't think it's Fido or Rogers who place the limit on usage. It's likely within the roaming agreements. No provider is going to want indefinite roaming on their networks. If you spend most of your usage on another network, they would rather you pay them for your services.


  Since your phone is LTE-capable, it should be using ltemobile.apn. You can verify those settings here.


Hope this helps Smiley