Horror Story of the Week: Roaming Issues While Traveling Abroad

Roaming Mishaps While Traveling Abroad – What Now?

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In your company, there are likely several employees who have or will need to travel abroad for work-related reasons. In all likelihood, they will need to take their company cell phone in order to take calls, receive emails and continue on with regular business while they are gone. In terms of mobile device management, this is generally  an issue-free occurrence, but what do you do if this happens:


You have a user who is travelling abroad, and soon after they were scheduled to land,  you receive a frantic email from them. Their phone does not work.  They are not able to make or receive any calls from where they are, and they have to be on an important conference call shortly which they cannot miss. 


You give the carrier a call to see if everything seems good on their end, and the rep you speak with tells you because they are no longer roaming on your network, they cannot “see” the phone and have no idea if it is connected to a network, but from what they can tell, they should have no problems connecting to the network. Without having the phone to trouble shoot with, there is not much they can do.
Now what?  You think… 


If you are in charge of the mobile device management for your company, this is a logistic nightmare. Not only is communication limited, but the user is hundreds if not  thousands of miles away, and perhaps even in a different time-zone. So how do you go about solving this?

  • Make sure they are dialing correctly.

If the user has service on the phone, or is showing bars, confirm with them that they are using the correct country and exit codes. Often carriers will list these on their websites, but a quick search will also find you what you need.

  • Make sure the phone will work overseas.

Not all phones will work overseas. Double check and make sure your phone is a World or Global phone, or that it is compatible with the countries’ networks.  Even if the phone is a global phone, make sure it will work in the country or countries where they will be travelling.

  • Note: Most phones will not work while travelling in Japan or Korea.

Some 3G (2100) enabled devices will work, however most will not.  If the user is going to need use of his phone while abroad, phone rental services are available at the airport.

  • Check the network connections.

In the network connections menu, get the user make sure the network selection is set to automatic. Generally you can find this menu under the settings, however you can always consult the owners manuals ( which are usually available online). If there is a Network Mode option, have them pick the one that offers the most available modes. Get them to save any changes, and power off the phone, or pull the battery. Once the phone has rebooted, get them to check the connection.

  • Call the carrier.

Make sure that international roaming has been enabled ( if applicable) and make sure there isn’t any international roaming blocks on the line. If there are no blocks, ask them to refresh the switch. You will likely have to get the user to reboot / power cycle the phone again.

  • Have the user call the carrier’s international help line.

If they are still having trouble connecting to the network, the carrier may need to troubleshoot with the device. Most carriers have a specific international number to call for customer abroad.


Here are the numbers for some common Mobile service providers:

Rogers: +1 514 734 7699

Bell Mobility:  1 800 667 7626  for users in the US or +1 800 328 2123  option 3 for users roaming internationally.

Telus:  1 866 771 9666 for the US or 1 416 940 5955 for international

AT&T: +1 916 843 4685

Verizon:  800 992 0204 for Canada and Peurto Rico, 001-800-922-0204 for Mexico, or the exit code followed by 908 559 4899 for other countries.

Sprint: 1 817 698 4199


While it is hard to know, whether or not they will have service once they land, sometimes preparing before hand can avoid these issues, other arrangements can be made, and you and the traveler are spared an enormous headache.  There remains a chance that they will just not be able to connect, because roaming agreements don’t exist between the service providers.  In these cases, rentals may be available or they can look into activating a prepaid phone (keep in mind – not all service providers will let them because they do not live there).


Share your International Roaming Mishaps with us!

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  1. Roaming Issues While Traveling Abroad | Telecom Expense Management http://ow.ly/6i12P