Avoiding Unexpected Roaming Charges

What is Roaming?

Roaming refers to when your mobile phone uses another operator's network. 

Roaming can be undertaken in 2 different ways: Isle of Man visitors can roam abroad, and visitors from abroad can roam in the Isle of Man. If you are visiting the Isle of Man, be sure to check if using your phone in the Isle of Man will incur additional charges. The Isle of Man is not part of the EU or EEA and so not all providers include the Isle of Man in their EU free roaming bundles.


What if you don't want to roam?

Your provider may allow you to block your SIM from roaming onto other networks so you could speak to them to see if they offer this.

You can turn off data roaming on your mobile phone if you want to avoid roaming whilst you are away. 

For instructions on how to disable data roaming we would recommend that you always contact your mobile phone provider for advice specific to your handset. 

Not all mobile phones will disable roaming in the same way. As an example, iPhones are configured in such a way that they do not recognise the UK as roaming when using a Manx SIM card, requiring the Access Point Name (APN) within the internet settings to be removed. In addition, applications may update in the background, which can lead to an unexpected bill.

Wi-Fi assist allows your phone to use data to aid poor Wi-Fi signal. If your handset has this function may want to talk to your provider about disabling it.

What if you need to use your phone when you are away?

If you want to keep in touch whilst you are away there are a number of things you can do:

  • You could speak to your provider about roaming bolt ons or packages which are available
  • You can ask whether your service provider offers spending alerts or caps to help you manage your spending
  • You can use local Wi-Fi hot spots to connect. You could then make calls and send messages through applications such as Skype, WhatsApp or Messenger
  • You could purchase a local SIM card

It can sometimes take longer for your balance to update whilst roaming, due to the information being sent across various networks. We would advise you to keep on top of checking your balance or spending and be mindful that it will probably not be “real time”. Be conservative with your usage if you want to avoid bill shock.