Google to add a data roaming notification warning so you won’t get a surprise bill

Google is tweaking Android to make its mobile OS better at letting users know when they’re about to start roaming with their phone

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Opening up a bill and noticing that the total amount is two or three times the expected amount is never a good thing. Most bills are predictable to a certain degree but a cellular phone bill can often be completely different than what you expect. This is especially true when you start traveling around the world.

 

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Your wireless carrier may offer certain features on its home network; but there are times when you are shifted to another carrier’s network in order to reliably offer you a connection, an act which is popularly referred to as roaming. A new commit merged to the Android Open Source Project says a future update will add a way for the OS to alert you via a notification when you begin data roaming.

According to a new commit in the Android Open Source Project, future versions of Google’s operating system will inform users, via a system-level notification, when they’re about to start roaming away from their home network. “Data roaming is on,” says the title of the new notification, which was first spotted by XDA Developers.

“Roaming charges may apply. Tap to modify,” adds the message that follows. By default, Android users need to enable data roaming through their smartphone’s Settings menu.

Otherwise, the operating system disables data access when it detects its roaming away from its home network. By adding a new notification to the equation, Google presumably hopes to help some people avoid a situation in which they might misconstrue their phone’s inability to access data overseas as a bug or a symptom of their device not working properly, which in turn could lead to a surprise bill down the road from their carrier.

For most people, the additional message probably won’t be necessary, since most carriers, especially in Canada, notify their customers when they’re about to start roaming.


Still, when it comes to roaming, every bit of extra warning is helpful. XDA says it’s unsure when Google plans to add this notification to Android. It’s possible it could launch alongside Android Q, which is likely at most a few short weeks away now. Alternatively, Google could add the notification at some point after Q’s public release. (Source: XDA Developers)

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