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Aspiring Contributor
Message 1 of 7

Problems with USA Roaming

Hi - there’s two of us here both on BT mobile. We landed in USA last week and awaited the text from BT to be invited to purchase a data roaming add on. One of us received the text and the other didn’t. The one who did replied straught away, one minute after receiving the text with “100” confirming wish to buy 100MB add on. After that nothing happened and while still in baggage reclaim we both then received multiple texts from BT warning one of us had already burned £34 worth of data in the last 30 minutes and the other £28, even though we were not actively using our phones. We only had them on as we needed to receive the texts from BT in order to buy have add ons, all as per BT’s online guidance. We immediately disabled data roaming and I managed to contact the web chat team who apologised and said they would manually add the add ons, which they did. Also they appeared to be only aware of this issue and refunded the charges we had been clobbered for in those 30 minutes at the airport.
Then 4 days later the one of us who had originally received the text landing after turning on phone received a text confirming purchase of a second package! This clearly related to the original request but for some reason it took BT 4 days to process. Again I contacted web chat and they apologised and told us we could keep the second (unwanted) add on and they’d refund the £15.
All I’m after understanding is how we should use BT mobile in USA? Why did only one of receive the initial text inviting us to buy the add on? Why did BT take 4 days to initiate that add on when we had already resorted to the chat team manually doing it?
Should we perhaps have bought the add ons prior to flying to USA? If yes, how are we supposed to do that because the “manage add ons button” on does not work and has not worked since I’ve tried to use it the last few days? It throws up an error message. I am desperate please to know what is the correct process for buying an add on because, right now, the only way seems to be manually engage with the web chat team and ask them to add it?
Many thanks
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Distinguished Guru
Message 2 of 7

Re: Problems with USA Roaming

Turn off data roaming immediately!

Most places in the USA have wifi, especially the big chains and use that - and if you want to call anyone in the UK, and they use Skype/WhatsApp - use that.

Do you really need data roaming on at all times? If your phones are set to check for emails, that will use data of course and hence can cost a lot for hardly any use.

Data packages for the USA are extremely high for a lot of companies.

Frankly you should have checked the cost and use of data before you left and is recommended for any travel to anywhere.

The cost of calls isn't cheap either. If your phones are not locked, then buying a local network SIM might be the cheapest option.

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Aspiring Contributor
Message 3 of 7

Re: Problems with USA Roaming

Many thanks for your reply. Rest assured our data roaming is off 90 % of the time and we are only using our roaming add ons when in places with no Wi-Fi. Each of us has plenty left on our 100MB add ons. Like many though, especially when needing to stay in family and work contact we can’t be in Wi-Fi places 100% of the time.
We absolutely had checked the cost of data roaming prior to the trip which is the very reason why we wanted to follow BT’s advice and purchase the add ons!
My questions still stand:
How are we (or anyone) supposed to purchase an add on when the “manage add ons” button on does not work? Have tried various browsers and it’s well and truly broken? Why does BT make it impossible to buy the add on online?

I’m confident our add ons will last the trip but in case I do need to buy another is the only way to enter into a live web chat and have it done manually?

What actually did we do wrong? We had thoroughly researched everything and were acting on BT’s guidance to turn on our phones on arrival and await the SMS from BT. As I said only one of us ever received such a text and replied within 1 minute. Then it took 4 days for BT to process the request.

I’d honesty lovely to know the answers to these questions? I’m very happy with everything else about BT, but this roaming fiasco is just incredible and I genuinely feel that I could not have done anything differently based on BT’s instructions. I have to say the web chat team have been wonderful, but all I want to do is purchase the add on quickly and easily like I did when with Three & Vodafone in years gone past.

Thank you
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Recognised Expert
Message 4 of 7

Re: Problems with USA Roaming

I remember when you still had to by bolt ons for EU roaming that the system was flaky then too. I bought a bolt on in advance via the website but it didn’t activate on arrival and I was charged. So bought a bolt on by text and then 24 hours after arrival the original bolt on activated and I had two, one of which I didn’t need!

Looks like the system is still the same for US bolt ons 🙁
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Aspiring Contributor
Message 5 of 7

Re: Problems with USA Roaming

Fully agree Colin. I’m just keen to be able to follow BT process so that next time I come to USA I get it right. Nobody at BT seems interested in explaining how their heavily advertised 100mb add on is supposed to be purchased. All they do is offer to apply it manually because the “SMS on arrival” process is broken and the “manage add ons” button on mobile is also broken! It seems that any poor person wanting to spend the £15 to avoid being charged astronomical local roaming charges has to go through what I’ve been through. Positively though at least we can ask the web chat team to apply new add ons, also they seem happy to refund any charges that customers are clobbered for on arrival due to their broken process.
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Community Manager
Community Manager
Message 6 of 7

Re: Problems with USA Roaming

@Jimkwatson thanks for taking my call. I'm sorry for the delays in getting the add-ons and credits sorted. This has all been done for you now, please post back if you have any more trouble with this in the future.


Community ModeratorStephanie
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Aspiring Contributor
Message 7 of 7

Re: Problems with USA Roaming

Many thanks Stephanie for your update, and good to talk just now.

Thanks for sorting out my refunds following the difficulties I experienced roaming in USA. As discussed I very much look forward to hearing via the Community when the broken process for anyone to buy a data add on will be fixed. Out of interest I tried again just now and the process is still regrettably broken. When in MyBT the moment you click on the “Buy Mobile Add On” button this message is displayed: “We are sorry, the page you requested cannot be displayed now. We apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused you. To return to at any time, just click the BT logo at the top of the page”.
I tried this in three different browsers and the same happened.
Thanks again – James
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