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 answerclick 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

Liron Segev - TheTechieGuy

Liron Segev is an award-winning blogger, YouTube strategist and Podcast. He helps brands tell their stories in an engaging and real way that regular consumers can relate to. He also drinks too much coffee!

66 thoughts on “How to use BBM when travelling internationally without huge data charges ?

  1. Damn good question, when you have the answer you could probably start a company just telling people how to do it and make millions!
    Getting soo sick of people coming back from overseas and saying “Wow I got this 50k bill for data roaming while I was overseas and thats ridiculous” – I mean really people need to think and use their brains.. come on! On the other hand though the networks don’t exactly make the info forthcoming ( case in point your BB question )

  2. I received the following: Thank you Stan for sharing :

    Hi Liron. When I left SA yesterday, I enabled international SMS roaming with Vodacom, as I do not want to take and pay for calls overseas. OK so far. On arrival in London at 5am this morning, switched on my Blackberry Torch and received a welcoming SMS from Vodafone UK.

    Then at AAAA’s house we did almost exactly what you stated in your point 3, by enabling the WiFi and punching in his password/code for the WiFi. Within seconds 22 emails arrived and 9 BBMs with a dozen SMS’s and even a message from Facebook.

    No data is being used so no charges can be made asa this all localised via the WiFi method.

    What a win to get messages in every format and not have huge bills at the end of the day as I do not need to receive calls as I have set up for International SMS roaming only.

    I can respond to messaged requests by using Skype Out which is a cheap way of talking to a client’s landline or even mobile.

    What I have said above works with Vodacom but definitely not with Cell C as they have International Roaming as a total package and are unable to separate an SMS benefit only.

    Regars to you from Shaun and myself Stan

    Sent via my BlackBerry from Vodacom – let your email find you!

  3. If you are with Vodacom, I can confirm the follows:
    if you are on a contract, it is more thanlikelyy that your phone is open for international roaming. If it is not, you phone in and get them to activate that for you.
    You then SMS in : ROAM ON to 123. This enabled SMS only for international roaming. You then divert all calls unconditionally to voicemail.
    When you return, you SMS in: ROAM OFF and take call forwarding off.

    When you are abroad: you can use the above mentioned steps in Option 3 to get your BBM, Emails etc. in a WiFi spot. Just remember to set ROAMING DATA to OFF.

  4. k so the main thing really is to make sure your roaming data service is set to off else you gonna have one of those lovely 50k bills!
    Whenever I have gone over I just switch off data completely to be safe, that would be my main tip and then go “old school” and check your mail on a web-based client of some sort… my email is hosted with Google so can get it through a web-based client, gmail client on BB or through BB push services.

    BTW an aside…..I’m a huge fan of Google App Services, I have 2 domains that I run all email through Google and have done so for about 3 years, it’s free and frikkin awesome

  5. The following form MTN:

    Hi Liron,

    Answers to your questions.

    1. Does MTN have the ability to disable all voice calls and only allow SMS when roaming internationally ?
    Answer: there is a service called sms only roaming, the disable all the services i.e. Voice and data To activate dial *111*14#

    2. On the MTN network, can you disable international roaming all together and still use the Blackberry functions like BBM and Email in a WiFi zone when out of South Africa.
    3. If YES to the above, what are the steps that you must do.

    Answer: yes you can, though no phone calls via wi-fi.
    Simply go to Manage connections and disable the mobile network, enable the wi-fi network and connect to wi-fi with the relevant credentials.

  6. Hi Guys

    Well I travel quite a bit and just use vodacom sms roaming, have tried a couple of times to get bis services to work over wifi while out the country. But no luck from my side. I use a bb 9780 on pay as you go and while i’m away my bis subscription is still valid so not sure why it doesn’t work. Wifi works as I can use the browser fine. The only thing I haven’t tried is leaving the country with sms roaming off, maybe vodacom deactivate bis when you send roamon but if you log onto vodacom site it says bis expires on …..
    Other posts confirm bis works with sms roaming on, so I’m lost really.
    It wont matter if you on a wifi network in SA or the middle east, internet is internet at the end of the day. Well you will know if bis is working as there will be the bb logo on the top right of the screen next to the signal. Also under services will say bis connected.
    I have tried to email vodacom but they never replied.
    Must try turning mobile network off when Im in SA and connect to home wifi and see what happens.

    I’m still trying to solve this, hope somebody can help out


  7. Hi Simon,
    I have two phones one with SMS Roaming on and the other with NO international roaming at all – both work overseas on the WiFi network. What really stuffs this up is when you use a local SIM card which means it looses the BIS routing – so web browsing works but no BBM or Email etc.
    The Blackberry doesn’t use normal “internet” to get BBM or Email to work.
    check out this post:

    Test this at home: switch off Cellular Network and leave WiFi on only – then it will tell you if your phone works via WiFi in an environment you know and can control.

  8. Ok thanks.
    Best I start from scratch and test it when I’m on my home network.
    I havent used local sim cards so bis routing should be cool.
    Sure I’ll sort it out one of these days.


  9. Have sms roaming on – WiFi works fine – but BBM does not connect no matter what I do – I solved it by downloading whatsapp – no messages etc come through otherwise

  10. Hi Ashley,
    I found that some WiFi spots only allow you browsing access therefore Whatsapp will work as it uses the same protocol.
    If you try another WiFi zone that has no restrictions then it allows your BB to log onto the BB cloud and therefore all the BB service start to work.
    It really does boil down to what the WiFi allows you to do.

  11. Hi There

    Here is my verdict to the earlier post of mine.

    Previous I used a Blackberry Bold 9780 on Vodacom pay as u go with a active bb service with roamon and bb services did not work over wifi. Tried roamoff, turning mobile network off then Wifi on and that also never worked. Vodacom could not help me with this and said there must be a problem with my phones wifi, Not the case clearly as browsing was working. So I gave up pretty much.

    I recently upgraded pay as u go to a top up contract with bb services added each month. So again I tried using my home wifi. Mobile network off, turned wifi on and to my amazement all working fine.
    This was done using the same phone that I had on Pay as go.
    Sure it will work fine on another wifi network with roamon when I’m away next.

    So the only thing that changed in my scenario was changing from pay as u go. Maybe thats the problem?


  12. You actually make it seem really easy with your presentation but I find this matter to be really one thing that I think I’d never understand. It sort of feels too complex and very large for me. I’m looking ahead to your subsequent put up, I will attempt to get the grasp of it!

  13. Hi,
    I wish I read these posts earlier. I’m currently out of the country on international roaming and I am sitting with a cellphone bill that is close to R20k.. a very depressing thought. I’m on full roaming as I need to receive calls and immediately switched off data and roaming services after recovering from my bill shock. I’m trying the wi-fi option but it doesn’t seem to be working on my bb 9300. I’m too scared to even switch on the data services to play with the options

  14. Okay so call me a moron or whatever but after reading this post and being well aware of data roaming costs I have been klapped by the “roaming data cost b!tch slap”

    After talking to a colleague who said that when he was in Mauritius he was hit with a R15k bill I thought let me go check my latest itemised bill after my trip to Mauritius last week, and I can confirm that unbelievably when roaming in Mauritius you get hit with something like R100 per MB.. I cant tell exactly what the rate is cos the itemised bill I pulled from the Vodacom online site makes absolutely no sense and the headings are all wrong, anyways let me know if you want to check out the report it makes for some humorous reading and maybe you can explain it to me!

    BTW This was just for downloading a few mails to my BB and checking my gmail through the gmail client.. nothing more! Total is R935 for like 10MB of data… insane!
    Anyways it’s my fault I know but still seems insane! I have roamed in the UK and it was never R100/MB so just a further warning to everyone don’t even think of switching on your data services on your BB when roaming just don’t take the risk; either get a local SIM, use WIFI or just don’t bother with your BB or any mobile device for that matter… seriously!

  15. insane doesnt even begin to justify this !

    Firstly, I would take it up with Vodacom and ask for a full explanation of how they arrived at these charges. According to CPA, they have to be able to explain it to you in a way that makes sense.
    Secondly, had you used a local SIM card you would have lost your BB services as the local Mauritius pre-paid SIM card doesnt have Blackberry services on it. What you should have done was only used WIFI to check your mails and not roaming data.
    Finally, if you do travel to the UK use: – R399 for unlimited DATA !

  16. Hi All,

    It’s simple your telecom providers have been taking their customers for a ride. My telecom provider is T-mobile because am technical I was able to prove to T-mobile last year that I will not be charged for using my bbm abroad to the point that I actually received it in writing. I travelled to Holland over the weekend from the UK and to my suprise I received a £17 roaming bill for 3 days!!! I thought here we go again called T-mobile it turned out they had forgotten the email they wrote to me last year. I asked the lady at customer service what the charges were for this is when I knew this was a fishing expedition by T-mobile first of all she said I was using email and internet I said no I had removed all emails and IMs from my phone before I left the UK…next she said maybe I used my phone to make calls I said nope! next then she said did I use my bbm I said yes why would that make a difference to you. Ladies and gentleman it is important to educate yourself on how bbm technology works that way you will be able to challenge your telecom provider! IMs like yahoo, hotmail etc works by sending messages to your provider using IP creating temporary files on THEIR server, but bbm works totally differently blackberry sends a message directly to RIM servers and RIM servers connects you to other blackberries through the unique PIN embedded in the device. At no point does your telecom provider get involved in transmitting or act as a gateway between you and RIM(research in motion), T-mobile further shot themselves in the foot couple weeks ago when blackberry suffered worldwide blackout they sent out text messages to all their customers including me that the outage has nothing to do with T-mobile! and now they want to charge me £17 for something they have nothing to do with!!! When I pointed out this technical facts to lady she said she will speak to their technical department and get back to me the following day. Sure enough she did now her argument was well I used a little data… well if I used a little can she tell me what I was using when I was using it she couldn’t answer knowing full well that T-mobile does not have access to RIM’s servers unless you are despot government! Cut a long story short I got my money back. You already pay for the data plan that lets you access bbm world and that is the £5 you pay for BIS access. Many telecom companies are pissed at RIM they are losing business from txting, RIM has signed a worldwide agreements with telecom providers that cost should be passed onto RIM after you have paid your £5 monthly fee for BIS. But that is not enough for telecom providers they are mad at the initial agreement they signed with RIM they were caught off guard at the success of bbm and they are taking it out on their customers. There is no justification for them charging for something they have no infrastructure link to whatsoever. Educate yourself and pass the knowledge on….PEACE!

  17. Connected via wifi, turned mobile network off, data services on, while roaming off. Bbm seems to work, google talk seems to work, web browsing seems to work. Sent and received email without issue.

    1) Yes, int roaming on
    2) Connected to wifi, received mail and bbm, THEN switched mobile network off
    3) Will let u know once I get my bill

    I previously emailed MTN with the same questions and never got a response.


  18. great – if you use the WIFI and Roaming whilst Roaming OFF – then you should be fine.
    Remember: DO NOT take out the SIM card and replace with a local SIM. If you do that, you will loose your setting and not be able to use any Blackberry services (BBM etc.) even if you put your old SIM back in.

    Keep us updated so this seems to be a very HOT topic as there arent straight answers out there…

  19. Hi there..I’m leaving for USA and UK in just over 3weeks and would like to make use of my blackberry services while overseas,like just to keep up with emails and keep in touch with family through bbm..I’m on prepaid so should I go ahead with keeping my BIS active and putting SMS roam on once at the airport and than follow the steps for connectivity via wifi while overseas?or what’s the option for this to work,as I certainly don’t want to be buying a simcard that side and than losing all my settings from this side completely..if somebody could give me some direction I’d appreciate it..thanks

  20. Hi there,
    My advise would be to do exactly as you said: Do not remove your SIM card – ask your provider is pre-paid will work overseas and on which network. If you keep everything as is and just use the WIFI option you will be able to use BBM and Emails.

  21. Thanks for the response..I will do just that,as I am on vodacom..iv got a contract number,but that isn’t activated on BIS I think the safest option would be the prepaid sim anyway hey?also with regard to the wifi,turning of mobile network and than selecting wifi should be done when trying to access the wifi hey?hopefully ill have some positive feedback for you and it will I think the option of buying a simcard etc that side is def out of the question..

  22. hi there
    i am going to the seychelles next week and this is what they told me to do

    before i leave SA i must call Vodacom to cancel my profile , i assume this is my service books?
    when i arrive in the seychelles, i must go their network provider and purchase a sim card on pay as you go and then i need to load airtime and they will take money off every friday after that
    i am not sure why i would need to call vodacom to cancel my profile.. how do they know i am not using a different there? assuming i am using the same phone i am using now, a bold 9780, how would cancelling my sim card profile affect the phone? are these phones that smart that they know this??

  23. its not clear if you are going on holiday or permanent.
    If its a holiday – keep you SIM and just use Blackberry services with the local WIFI. If you take out your SIM card you will loose the SA setting.
    Not sure what they mean by cancelling your profile.
    If you are going there permanently , then you need to cancel your local contract and then take out a new contract there as normal.

  24. Hi there..just a quick query..I tried the Wifi over here at seattle coffee shop,as you get that complimetary few mins access,just as a trial..the wifi connects etc,but it only accesses the internet through the broswer,with regard to BBM and emails etc nothing of the it anything to do with restriction from seattle coffee shops connectivity?or is it supposed to pick up all the connectivity?if you could help me out I’d really appreciate it..thank you

  25. it can take time for the Blackberry services to kick in. Also if there are restrictions on the wifi like proxy servers etc. it can interfere with BB services.

    What you can do it play with the setting of the WIFI – turn them on and off and then back on again. Do nothing and wait. Depanding on your blackberry there is away to check the status of the connection and it tells you if BB services are authenticated or not.

    Good luck and enjoy the coffee

  26. I was sent this email from Jesse Pretorius:

    I noted your comments regarding using BBM while overseas and I had a very different experience.

    In the month of November 2011 I travelled to Austria, Germany and Spain. When in Spain I bought a pre-paid sim card from ‘Orange’ and asked them to add the Blackberry Internet Service to the SIM. The SIM cost 10 Euro and the BIS cost an additional 5 Euro. I popped the card into my phone and started her up and it didn’t work as expected.

    After doing a bit of digging I found out that the BIS has to be activated before it’ll work. This involves phoning into the ISP’s service centre to activate it.

    This was a bit of a pain, as I don’t speak Spanish and the call centre’s menu was all in Spanish – however the menu for Orange in all countries is the same and I found the key sequence on the web, entered that and got through to the consultant. The consultant greeted in Spanish and I immediately asked if she could speak English – she said ‘a little’ which was a good start. I asked if she could activate the Blackberry Internet Service for my SIM card. Initially she got confused and thought I wanted to buy a Blackberry, but that got cleared up after a few minutes and she promptly activated the BIS. It was working on the phone within the next 2 minutes.

    I was able to use the same SIM card in Austria and Germany without any trouble (with roaming activated). My BB App World, BBM, WhatsApp, Email, etc all worked as it would at home.

    I thought you’d like to know – give it a try next time you’re out there!

    Kind Regards,

    Jesse Pretorius

  27. Thanks for the update Jesse.
    A couple of things to note:
    1. Its great that you can get a pre-paid SIM card with BB services.
    2. You HAVE to active BB services no matter that the sales clerk tells you – you have to call the call centre and get them to activate it. It does NOT come activated by default.
    3. The experience that Jesse shared above it using a locally bought SIM card in Europe and not using the SA sim card – dont get confused else you WILL incur roaming bills.

    Thanks Jesse for sharing – its great that we keep this info fresh and updated !

  28. Thanx Jesse

    I will be going to Portugal next week,and i think i will try the same approach.sounds like the safer option.



  29. The advice I can give you all is to ALWAYS check the Vodacom/MTN partner data rates that will apply to the country you are travelling to. There is a huge disparity, and its usually 5 times cheaper if you set your phone to only register with the preffered Vodacom/MTN parter.

    When I travel abroad I have my roaming completely enabled, the trick is to only download emails and browse when connected to a wifi hotspot, and to avoid at all costs BBM’ing photos etc. Simple text via BBM even at the more expensive data roaming rate, is still MUCH cheaper than international SMS, or prepaid SMS rates. I was staying with a friend who had wifi, and got into the habit of having the phone on wifi-only most of the time. When on wifi i would browse, download, etc as at home, but when not under wifi i kept browsing and downloading to a bare minimum. But i still BBM’d as normal (minus sending and receiving photos)

    The only part of my bill that came as a shock after a 6 Week trip to UK/France recently, was that i was charged R1-R2 every time someone called me without me answering and the caller getting my voicemail. I think you have to REJECT the call outright to avoid this charge.

    The truth is that i have found BBM overseas to actually be a very good way to communicate while travelling, the trick is to just keep the Mb down to a bare minimum when off wifi.

    Happy Travelling All !

  30. Hi there..

    How are you?my brother left South Africa monday evening and activated his SMS roam before leaving..his in USA at the moment and is using bbm via wifi,as posted in 1 of your earlier posts..quick query,his switched off mobile networks as well and only using the wifi access through the hotel..

    No way he can be charged for this service through Vodacom hey?since seeing mobile networks is completely switched off?

    Thanks in advance

  31. Hi, I will be traveling to India and Dubai shortly. I have a top-up contract with Vodacom.

    Upon signing up for the contract the sales assistant assured me all BIS services will work overseas, I will just have to call 111 and activate international roaming.

    I tried that, but only to be told that a top-up contract works similarly to the prepaid option.. So BIS will Not work overseas even with international roaming activated, after which they didn’t activate the roaming.

    Any help/advice would be appreciated.

  32. thats the problem – no straight answer !
    If they had activated International roaming and you are in a country that has a network that allows Blackberry services on it, then it would have worked.
    The catch if that you only find out when you land in the foreign country if your international roaming has been activated.
    What you can do , is ask them to activate international roaming – this will cost you a small fortune.
    The other option is to use Blackberry services with WiFi only.
    DO NOT REMOVE THE SIM CARD – this will remove the settings.

  33. Hi there – wonder if you can help me, I gave my son a blackberry curve (from Vodafone Ireland) to use in SA. The phone is unlocked and he is able to use phone and SMS ok in SA on a local pay as you go SIM, but no data or BBM. I see there is a lot of discussion above about the reverse of my situation where people are using SA purchased devices overseas, but is there a solution to people bringing phones into South Africa?

  34. Hi, I have a quick question. I’m going to Australia for the semester (Feb 12th to June 24th) and I want a way to be able to use my Blackberry without a crazy bill from Verizon (my phone company) I was thinking about using Skype to make phone calls to avoid the bill with my phone company but wont that use my data? And what about my BBM?? I also want a way I can text people in Australia without huge bills from Verizon. Is there anyway to get a SIM card from Australia so I can SMS without charges and keep my Blackberry services such as BBM and email?

  35. Hi, the best thing to do is disable international roaming on your contract. This way you are not billed for incoming calls to you. To make calls, you can use Skype but use it in a WiFi zone so you dont get charged the data rates. BBM etc. will also work in a WiFi zone. To text people locally, use can again use Skyp’s facility or what I would do is get a cheap phone stick a local SIM card in on a prepaid basis and use that phone for calls and SMS. You can also give out that number to your local friends. If Oz has a Blackberry Services (BIS) on a prepaid SIM basis, thats even better so that you put that SIM in your Blackberry and have the best of all worlds.

  36. hi i have recently purchased a blackberry bold 9700 unlocked and out my roaming sim on it (philippine simcard) and we do also have a wifi at home but i tried to use my bbm but i cant, everytime i add a bbm contacts it is just saying waiting for confirmation but they dont recieve it and also everytime someone adds me nothing is showing up can someone help me with this?

  37. My sister and I will be in UK & Scotland from 2 May till 19 May 2012 I would like to upgrade my phone to a Blackberry as we would like to start a travel blog and upload photo’s to it and Facebook Should I use the Blackberry or what is the best way to go about getting the photo’s uploaded to Travelpod and Facebook.

    Annemarie Jones

  38. Most new smartphones will allow you to upload to Facebook and other sites. Choose a phone that has a good camera, good keyboard and wifi so you can save data cost when using a wifi hotspot. Travel safe !

  39. I’m in South America, Chile to be exact. I use the Vodacom prepaid BIS. I had the international roaming for sms enabled before I left the country. Upon arrival in Chile, I followed the instruction of option 3. Its been three weeks now and my bbm is still not working and I’m not receiving any emails. I keep getting a nofication saying data service unavailable. So I have given up on my IM and BBM since I’m able to stay in contact with my friends and family through Whatsapp

  40. If you havent taken out the Vodacom SIM card and replaced it with a local SIM card then the setting will all be there and should just work. I am currently using my BB phone on the same basis as I moved to using an Android phone but still need BBM. So I have my BB phone on and as long as I am in my WiFi zone, I am getting email and BBM.
    What you can do is seem if you can get a pre-paid SIM card that has BIS services on it. I am told that this is available there.

  41. I am a South African but have a Blackberry with a US T-mobile contract. I have taken mine through about 20 countries and as so long as I only use emails and BBM there is no additional cost above the US5 monthly service fee.

  42. Hello I have a blackberry curve that I have not used for over a year. I just charged it and all of the old data is still on it. I am going to Spain and don’t care about BBM but want to make both local and calls back to the US while in Spain. Is the best thing to do: have my phone unlocked and then buy a prepaid card at vodaphone in Spain? My old sim card is still in the phone because I bought an IPHONE and haven’t used the blackberry since then. Is it best to remove the old ATT sim card and just buy one in Spain and is there a particular type of sim card I need to purchase in Spain to work in the Blackberry? thanks in advance for your help.

  43. If you just want to use your Blackberry as a phone and not have an Blackberry services such as BBM etc. all you need to do is make sure your phone is unlocked and when you get to Spain buy a pre-paid SIM card. No need for a special Blackberry SIM. To be safe, buy a prepaid sim card in your country and test it to make sure the phone still works – especially if you haven’t used it for a while. Dont forget that the battery might not hold its full charge…

  44. Hi. I have a uk blackberry with the add on of £5 per month for BBM. I am visiting Ireland for a few months and don’t want to be hit with roaming charges. I will only be using my bb for bbm, nothing else as I bought the phone just to keep in touch with my friends and family on “free” BBM. My accommodation while there has wifi so was told could use BBM on that and not Data Roaming. Trouble is the wifi is Apple and for some reason it won’t allow the BBM to connect with it even though I have the password. Is there a reason for this and is there a way around it? Be grateful if anyone could help. thanks.

  45. the issue isnt the “apple” but some WiFi hot spots dont allow the Blackberry service to run through them. Try using your Internet browser or download WhatsApp – do those work ?

  46. Hi there..I was in the states in december and uk too..was using my blackberry via WIFI while in both countries and Facebook and whatsapp worked perfectly and goin onto websites etc..but BBM nor getting emails didn’t work..why is that?and my bro who has the exact same Bold9700 was doing the same as me and he had access to everything bbm etc..I’m on Prepaid but my BIS service was active before leaving and upon getting back,though I just used sms bro is on contract and did the same just sms roamer before any reasons why mine didn’t work?or is it the whole contract,prepaid thing?
    Leaving for Miami in 2weeks time so If I could get this working before I do go will be a big even using wifi in my house here in pretoria doesn’t give me access to bbm not sure what’s the problem

    Thanks in advance..

  47. the issue might be the setting on your phone. Take your SIM card out and put it in his phone whilst still in SA – does that work ?
    Blackberry phone should work via wifi even when you have Cell phone network connection off. I am currently running my Blackberry that way so that I still have BBM but my network is off as I am using an Android phone as my main phone. My advice: make sure it works via WIFI here before you go anywhere. If it doesn’t work, take it to the store and get them to reset up Blackberry services and try it again.

  48. Hi,
    I’m moving to dubai in 2 months I have a family top up contract with vodacom. Apparently I cannot cancel my contract it has to run out. Any advice should I just leave my black berry in sa? Or can I still use it by just activating wifi??

    Thank you

  49. Pls advise! I have gone though so many sites to try and get a simple answer and they all tell me something different!?
    My boyfriend is traveling in the UK and in Frankfurt and he has a normal SA contract with MTN and I’m pay as u go with Virgin Mobile and we have been bbming away and now he worried he gonna get slapped with a fat bill!
    Pls advise if its free or not?

  50. eh..brace yourself….
    If he is on international roaming then defiantly yes.
    THE only way to get BBM for free is to use it only in a WIFI zone and turn off international roaming.

  51. Hi,

    I am currently in the US and did exactly what u mentioned not to do without knowing the trouble I would have now. I removed my SIM. 🙁
    And now it is no longer working. How am I able to get all the settings sorted out and get BBM and emails to work again by receiving them with Wi-fi. (I was using it like that previously and it worked fine) But as I have read you must not remove the SIM as the settings will be lost. Please could you assist me in getting these settings back?

  52. Bad news I’m afraid. Once sim is removed there is no way to recover as it needs the SA network to get the info. To date I have not found a way to manually insert those settings back.
    Suggest install the WhatsApp and use that with wifi till you get back.

  53. Went to Mauritius, my roaming was enabled, used BBM extensively for 3 days under the impression that i was paying for data (BBM takes up very little) only to come back to a R1000.00 bill for data and R135.00 for roaming. How on earth does BBM use up that much data? I didn’t upload stuff, browse, do eml etc..

  54. Yip had the same experience in Mauritius, you get charged R100 per MB OR PART THEREOF… its insane so if in 1 session/connection you check you mail and it download 10KB of data then BAM thats R100 thank you very much.. next day same thing etc. etc. Totally insane! Moral of the story use the tips above or just switch off data completely and have a holiday or if on business tell your company to pay.. unless its your business then switch off data! 🙂

  55. Hi there! I could have sworn I’ve been to this site before but after checking through some of the post I realized it’s new to me.
    Anyways, I’m definitely delighted I found it and I’ll be bookmarking and checking back often!

  56. Going to Florida in 3weeks today and I’m planning to take my blackberry just for the use of bbm I don’t plan to text or call. If I turn the data roaming off and simply use my phone from the villas wifi will that be okay and will I be charged? Thanks

  57. yip – do not remove the SA SIM card under any circumstances. Unless you are on BlackBerry 10 in which case you can.

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