I've borrowed an Android phone so I can decide whether to buy one. I have a GSM SIM without a data plan, but I am using Wifi that is broadcast from my other smartphone which does have a data plan.

The phone's GSM signal icon has a tiny "R" that indicates that I am roaming -- why?

My phone is an HTC Desire Z with (I think!) Android 2.3. Under Settings > Mobile Networks I have these settings:
Data enabled = unticked
International data roaming = unticked
National data roaming = unticked
Use only 2G networks = ticked

The notification list sometimes shows me a message that is too long to be displayed, but some googling tells me that this is the complete text:

"You have lost data connectivity because you left your home network with data roaming turned off"

The notification list also shows that I am in fact on the correct network: My SIM card is from the provider "bob" and the phone shows that I am on the "bob" network.

Am I consuming anything related to roaming? How can I ensure that I will not use roaming?

  • In some ROM the display of 'R' will be bit confusing. The 'R' might be displayed in different colours to highlight roaming or not. To ensure, can you go to Settings -> About phone -> Status and see what the item "Roaming" shows? In my LG P500 when not in roaming it shows "Not Roaming". Probably this could clear if you are a victim of ambiguous display of 'R'.
    – Narayanan
    Commented Jan 2, 2013 at 10:38

1 Answer 1


Maybe this post from XDA will answer your question.

This isn't an APN problem, it is a SIM problem.

Your provider has one set of numbers on your card, and another set of numbers that actually identify the network, and they don't match. Technically, from the phone's point of view, you are roaming, even if it is the same provider. From the provider's point of view, you aren't roaming.

Up until cupcake, we had that same problem here in Canada when using the "Fido" network (which is owned and operated by "Rogers"). The network identified itself as "Rogers", the SIM cards identify themselves as "Fido", the phone think's its roaming.

So; you don't need to worry about roaming charges when you are actually connected to the correct network.

BUT; You don't have an easy to read display to tell you when you are really roaming, nor can you make configurations that are based on whether you are or are not roaming.

  • 1
    This could make sense, thank you! The "bob" network is a low-budget provider that operates on top of another provider ("A1"). So if my phone sees that it's on "A1" then this matches your explanation. It's just confusing because it still shows "bob"... Commented Jan 2, 2013 at 10:45

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