Many cellular network carriers offer both international voice and data plans. While an international plan is not a requirement to use voice or data roaming on either your iPhone or iPad, your cellular network carrier may charge you some additional fees or much higher data rates if you don’t have one. Contact your service provider before you travel abroad and ask these questions:
- Does your carrier offer cellular service in the country you’ll be traveling to?
- Which carrier partners are supported in the country you’ll be traveling to?
- Does your carrier have a data-roaming agreement in that specific country?
- Does your current network/data plan have an international-roaming agreement?
- What are the going rates for international voice and data roaming?
- Are there any other charges or fees to consider while traveling?
- Who do I call for voicemail and customer support when abroad?
International Traveling Tips
While you’re traveling in another country, your iPhone or iPad should automatically select the best network available. That being said, you can manually set each of those devices to work off a specific carrier network of your choosing.
Manually Set Cellular Network:
- Tap Settings > Carrier and then Turn Off Automatic. Wait until you find all available networks that may appear.
- Select the carrier you want to use during your stay. Keep in mind that this setting will probably only appear when you’re outside of your carrier’s network and other local carrier networks become available.
Turning off Cellular Data/Data Roaming to Avoid Roaming Charges:
- iPhone – Tap Settings > General Network
IPad – Tap Settings > Cellular Data
- Keep in mind that when your data roaming and cellular data are turned off, your shouldn’t see a cellular network indicator in the status bar.
Troubleshooting data roaming
If the time or date are off after your arrive, make sure the Automatic Time Zone is enabled in Settings > General > Data & Time > Set Automatically.
It’s possible that Visual Voicemail and Customer Service features in Settings > Phone > Services may not be available while staying in another country. Speak with your cellular network carrier about other ways to access these features while you’re away.
AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint customers can enable Settings > Phone > International Assist to automatically add the correct international prefix when dialing from abroad.
If you should encounter difficulties sending SMS/MMS or making calls while traveling abroad, try disabling International Assist to see if that resolves the issue.
If your iPhone 4S supports both CDMA and GSM roaming, you can use Settings > General > Network > Roaming > International CDMA to control which network your iPhone 4S uses:
- International CDMA > on: iPhone 4S will attempt to use an available CDMA network instead of GSM.
- International CDMA > off: iPhone 4S will use only GSM networks.
Keep in mind that after enabling International CDMA while on a GSM network, you should turn on airplane mode for 30 seconds to ensure that your phone switches over from your current GMS network to the CDMA network.
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