Ask 3 people, “What is data roaming?” and you might get 3 different answers. 

The real definition is simple: data roaming refers to scenarios in which you’re still able to make and receive voice calls, send and receive data or access other services while outside your primary network coverage. Anytime your mobile device is connected to a non-Verizon Wireless network, that’s roaming. Whether you’re making a domestic or international call, roaming is simple to understand with just a few key details.

Roaming charges definition.

Here’s the great thing about domestic roaming: for the most part, you don’t really need to worry about it. 

Domestic roaming occurs when your mobile device connects to a non-Verizon Wireless network in the U.S., Puerto Rico or U.S. Virgin Islands — you may see the word “Extended” at the top of your device. Because Verizon has the nation’s largest, most reliable 4G LTE network (covering more than 98 percent of Americans), you’re unlikely to encounter this roaming indicator very often. And even when you do see the “Extended” signal, there’s usually no need to shut your phone down or switch it into airplane mode to avoid roaming charges. Instead, you can mostly continue using your device as normal. 

A roaming charges definition

You should notice only a few small differences between domestic roaming and your regular service. You may need to enter a “1” before the area code when making a call, for example. Also, you may need to turn on Data Roaming in your device’s settings to use data while roaming domestically. 

It’s also possible that you’ll experience a change in the quality and speed of your connections during periods of domestic roaming. This can lead to trouble streaming video, for instance, since data speeds may be limited or slowed to 2G or 3G (depending on your plan). And in some domestic roaming areas, HD Voice isn’t supported. If you encounter this, you can use Wi-Fi Calling to access HD Voice. 

Otherwise, you can talk, text and surf the web with your mobile device the same way you do when you’re connected directly to a Verizon Wireless network. You can even make international long distance calls while roaming, as long as you have the International Services Enabled feature on your line. 

When using your device and roaming domestically, you’ll be charged the same as usual (exceptions include a few older plans). You can view the roaming details of your specific plan on the My Plan page in My Verizon. If there isn’t any information about roaming, then domestic roaming won’t lead you to experience any additional charges.  

See how far Verizon coverage takes you.

How to avoid roaming charges internationally.

If you’re outside of the U.S., Puerto Rico or U.S. Virgin Islands and still connected to a cellular network, you’re in international roaming territory. And unlike domestic roaming, international roaming usually results in additional charges to your account.

Using plans to learn how to avoid roaming charges

If you think you might need to rely on international roaming during an overseas trip, it makes sense to explore options ahead of time. 

For shorter trips, you can use either Pay as You Go pricing or opt for TravelPass, which allows you to use your domestic plan abroad for a flat daily fee.  For longer trips, the Verizon Monthly International Plan allows you to set a monthly allowance of talk, text and data for your account for international use.

The Verizon International Trip Planner can help you decide which option is right for you when you travel abroad.  

Roaming costs.

For international roaming, you’ll be billed according to the plan you’ve selected (or you’ll be billed at Pay as You Go rates if you utilize international roaming without a plan or TravelPass in place). 

  • TravelPass costs $10 per day and is available in more than 185 countries around the world. It lets you use your domestic call, text and data just like you would at home for one flat, daily fee.
  • Verizon Monthly International Plans range from $70 to $130 per month, depending on the number of voice minutes and amount of data you choose.  For $70 per month, you’ll get access to 100 minutes of talk, 100 sent texts (unlimited received) and 0.5 GB of data. Those numbers go up to 250 minutes of talk, 1,000 sent texts (unlimited received) and 2 GB of data with the $130 option.
  • Pay as You Go rates start at $0.99 per minute for voice calls in Canada, Mexico, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands and range between $1.79 and $2.99 per minute in other countries. Text messages are $0.50 per message sent and $0.05 per message received, regardless of country (with additional charges for multimedia messages). And the Pay as You Go rate for international data use is $2.05 per MB. 

Learn more about roaming.

Whether you’re traveling internationally or not, it’s important to understand data roaming and all of the costs that come with it. For more information about roaming within the U.S., click here. For more information about roaming while traveling abroad, click here.