How to use BBM when travelling internationally without huge data charges ?
When we take cell phone overseas, this question always comes up. How do we stay in touch without a huge roaming data bill. for phone calls, we know the trick is to simply forward all calls unconditionally to Voicemail before you leave South Africa. So unless you check your voicemail when abroad, there will be no calls and therefore no bill. but the question is around BBM.
How to use the Blackberry when going overseas without breaking the piggy-bank ?
If you would like to skip the discussion and go straight to the answer – click here
Option 1: Most Expensive and Easiest:
The simplest but most expensive option is to simply ask your Cellular Service Provider to enable international roaming on your phone so you can enjoy your Blackberry like you do when you are in South Africa (or back home).
HOWEVER, this will be VERY expensive – so be aware and expect a whopping cell phone bill !!!
Option 2: Pre-Paid SIM card:
I spoke to Vodacom who told me to simply get a pre-paid SIM card when I am overseas and “your Blackberry will simply work as the PIN lives on the device”. IT DIDN’T. You need to have the Blackberry services enabled on the SIM and so far the countries I have visited do not have a pre-paid Blackberry enabled service. So that’s BULL – thank you Vodacom. (here is what happened to me when I listened to Vodacom)
Pre-Paid SIM card works very well for making and receiving calls – but not for BBM.
Option 3: WiFi :
Did you know that you can use BBM with just Wi-Fi ?
I tested this on my Wi-Fi network by disabling the Mobile Network (click on Manage connection, and un-ticked the Mobile Network). I then enabled the Wi-Fi Network and connected to the internet, BBM, sent and received emails.
This is all well and good but I am in South Africa when I ran this test.
So the question is: will this work when I am overseas with no international roaming enabled and only have Wi-Fi on?
Looking on the Net, there is no clear cut answers.
Some say simply YES.
Other say: you need to Turn Data services on for a few minutes, get an email saying registered and then do the following:
- Manage Connection >
- Mobile Network Options >
- Data Services: ON >
- Whilst roaming OFF.
This will give you the Service books when you are overseas so it has the routing set up on your phone. However this doesn’t say if you need to have international roaming enabled before you go or not. It also doesn’t say if you get home to a huge bill or not.
So as a public appeal: if you are a frequent overseas traveller and can shed some light on what you did to get BBM to work when abroad ? please can you email me or post a comment here.
What we need to know is:
1. Did you have international Roaming active before you left home- Yes or No ?
2. What did you enable/ disable when you were overseas at the Wi-Fi spot ?
3. Did you come home to a huge bill or not ?
4. Other info…
On behalf of the Blackberry community who can not get a straight answer, I thank you if you could shed any light on this…
UPDATE – 6 June 2011 : check out the comments where I have uploaded new information !
update 9 June: WE HAVE THE ANSWER – click here