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Roaming Charges Question from Cell Phone Illiterate


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Cruising inside passage next week and it looks like my carrier (AT&T Wireless) has decent coverage in the Inside Passage, Skagway and Juneau. I have read numerous threads on this forum on the importance of turning on "Airplane Mode" at a minimum and perhaps also turning off mobile data or the just keeping the phone turned off, all in the interests of avoiding exorbitant roaming charges. Not one of those threads suggested just disabling "Roaming". 

If Roaming is disabled on my phone, isn't it then impossible for my phone to connect to any network other than AT&T? My thought is that with my phone turned on but roaming disabled, I will be able to see when I have service via AT&T's network while at the same time avoiding any possibility of roaming charges.

 

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3 hours ago, Batman71 said:

Cruising inside passage next week and it looks like my carrier (AT&T Wireless) has decent coverage in the Inside Passage, Skagway and Juneau. I have read numerous threads on this forum on the importance of turning on "Airplane Mode" at a minimum and perhaps also turning off mobile data or the just keeping the phone turned off, all in the interests of avoiding exorbitant roaming charges. Not one of those threads suggested just disabling "Roaming". 

If Roaming is disabled on my phone, isn't it then impossible for my phone to connect to any network other than AT&T? My thought is that with my phone turned on but roaming disabled, I will be able to see when I have service via AT&T's network while at the same time avoiding any possibility of roaming charges.

 

Yes this should work as I don't believe it would connect to the ships "cellular at sea", only to the land based att towers that are accessible.  I would still be careful though as I've personally never tried it so I'm not 100% certain it works as expected.

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WhatsApp is easy and allows calls over the internet.  I prefer WiFi calling, but not all phones/plans are capable. We had Straight Talk Samsung Galaxy phones that ran on the Verizon network.  We move to an area where we had no cellular coverage.  There was no WiFi calling option. I called Straight Talk support and for .99 I got a T-Mobile SIM card that took my phone off of Verizon and on T-Mobile.  Rebooted the phone and had WiFi calling capability.  Same phone, same number, still with Straight Talk, just a different network.  

I've since switched Mrs Fan's phone (iPhone 13 pro) and mine, Samsung S20 FE 5G (I think) over to T-Mobile proper.  Still use WiFi calling every day from the house and cellular coverage once we get closer to town. The phones do the WiFi to network switching automatically.

If your phone does not have WiFi calling capability, download WhatsApp.  My youngest spent 2 years in Switzerland going to grad school.  We used WhatsApp to call him during those years.  It is simple and easy.

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3 hours ago, GrandTuercks said:

Yeah. As soon as I posted, I kind of felt dumb and answered my own question. lol 🤦‍♀️

Honestly if I was answering this before my cruise last month, my answer would have been different. Somehow, when we first boarded Odyssey and I had my phone on airplane mode, connected to the WiFi but BEFORE we could access the room to get login instructions for our package...I was still able to get FB messenger notifications. It blew my mind and I have no idea if it was a glitch or miracle but...didn't have the same luck on Allure last month so whatever it was is gone now Lol

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The inside passage is an odd place as far as cell phone.  Generally speaking, the ship will not turn on its cell tower when you are close to land.  Since you are surrounded by land in the inside passage, it is possible they would never turn it on and you would never have a problem.

That said, I wouldn't take the chance.  If the ship heads out to international waters, then you could rack up tremendous bill.

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2 hours ago, steverk said:

The inside passage is an odd place as far as cell phone.  Generally speaking, the ship will not turn on its cell tower when you are close to land.  Since you are surrounded by land in the inside passage, it is possible they would never turn it on and you would never have a problem.

During our June inside passage, we sometimes got better service using land towers then the Radiance Wi-Fi in several areas on the inside passage.  We have Verizon and our plan includes roaming and Canada...We would switched it off Airplane and as long as we didn't see the dreaded cellular at sea we were good to go.  Didn't have any cost added to our Verizon bill.  

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