Quick Tip – How to turn off data services

BlackBerry 101
By Alicia Erlich on 11 Jan 2011 09:20 am EST

Hey folks, remember those cell phone bill shock commercials? You know, the ones where customers would faint, break furniture, or scream when finding a bill with extremely high charges. Those of you who travel internationally have probably felt the sticker shock from a large bill or two. Even those with international data and voice packages still pay higher rates than usual. When traveling internationally, you can can expect to see additional charges on your bill. You'll use data "minutes" when you use the browser, send and receieve PIN; MMS messages; and email, or use an application that accesses the internet. Be sure sure to stand near something soft and cushiony when that international data bill comes in the mail.As a bonus, using the Manage Connections menu is a quick and easy way to turn off your radios during flight operations (a.k.a. Airplane Mode).

Minimizing service fees and turning your phone off for flight operations is a simple process. You can even choose which services get cut off. Turning off the radios is simple enough, and disabling data services whether roaming or not, is just one step further. After disabling data services, you'll still have access to your phone and text messaging services (SMS only). In addition, you can turn this feature on and off at-will so you can still check your emails periodically.

How to turn off data services

OS 4.7 (Storm 9530) and earlier

Click on the Manage Connections icon and select Mobile Network Options. Under the Data Services drop down menu choose from three options: On, Off, and Off When Roaming. After you make your selection, press Menu > Save.

Data Services OS4.6

OS 5 & OS 6

Click on the Manage Connections icon; it may be located in your setup folder.  OS6 users can simply click at the top of the screen.  Here, you can enable and disable access to Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and your carrier network.  Clicking Turn All Connections Off will, oddly enough, disable all radio communications. 

Manage Connections in OS Five 

Quick Tip - OS6 Manage Connections 

To leave the phone functions enabled and just stop data services, you can set that after clicking the Mobile Network Options in the Manage Connections menu. If you want to keep data services going, on but only when you're not roaming (i.e., not on your home carrier's network), you'll see the option beside While Roaming option. You can choose from On, Off, and Prompt. Press Menu > Save and you're good to go. 

Manage data while roaming 

See that wasn't too hard was it? Next time you decide to travel you'll be better prepared and won't have to worry about getting charged for all those Twitter, Facebook, and BBM notifications.

Reader comments

Quick Tip – How to turn off data services


i get 5 meg a day for european roaming, so im good, what is helpful is if you NEED your emails then you can use filters from the BIS end of things to reduce the ammount you get so u use less data

Here's another tip:

I'm about to travel abroad. According to AT&T, incoming SMS/MMS messages are billed at the domestic rate according to your plan, so for me that means free since I have unlimited texting. Outgoing SMS messages are only $0.50/each.

What I also learned is that if your phone is turned on and someone calls you, AT&T's network will route the call to you. Even if you drop the call (or let it go unanswered), AT&T will still bill you for 1 minute of international roaming (if your phone is turned off, AT&T's network will not know where you are located and will not try to forward the call).

So, what I plan to do is this: before I leave the country, I will disable my data services. Next, I will set up call forwarding to forward ALL calls to my work phone here in the USA. This means that I can now leave my BlackBerry turned on without fear of a call being forwarded to me internationally. And, with data services turned off, no worries about ringing any data charges. And, I'll still be able to receive TXT messages FREE OF CHARGE. If I choose to respond to a TXT, it will only cost me $0.50 (fifty cents). And, should I need to place an emergency voice call, my phone will already be turned on and ready to use.

How's that for staying in touch (internationally) on a budget?

I think you got billed one minute per dropped call since your voice mail was probably still getting the call, thus make seem the call to have been answered.

Another risk is to have your phone calls diverted to another number while roaming. If the call comes to your phone, then gets diverted because you didn't answer or you dropped it, it will be billed as both an incoming call and an outgoing call, with the roaming prices.

On AT&T's network, call-forwarding is done at the network switch (i.e., the call is not routed to the phone). This is why AT&T's call-forwarding still works even if the phone is turned off. So, if you forward your calls to a domestic number before you leave, you can rest assured that you will not be charged.

" To leave the phone functions enabled and just stop data services, you can set that after clicking the Mobile Network Options in the Manage Connections menu."

however i dont see Manage Connections menu anywhere that it should be, HELP i dont like the radio turned off thats not fair

I have data services off while roaming when in Asia but still get all my email and other notifications through Wi-Fi at my appartment, office and favorite eateries so have data service about 90% of the time for free:)

I'm travelling to America in March and will need to turn roaming off. However, my hotel will have wifi, so if I wanted emails/BBM etc while in America via WiFi, do I need to turn data off or have WiFi as my preferred setting?

Have WiFi as your preferred setting. If you lose connection for a moment, it switches back to your regular provider. You don't know that it did, and it uses your data plan. To be double sure, unclick your regular provider and keep WiFi as your preferred setting. You will get a message that there's no connectivity if you lose the WiFi. You can move to a better spot where there is WiFi.