Motorola Droid: Verizon Data Roaming

by Chris Guld

We use our Droid cell phones for Internet browsing, email, Facebook, Google Earth, and many other data applications.  We *Love* it!  So we were quite distressed this summer when, in Bowling Green Kentucky, they did not work.  Voice service was fine, but there was simply NO data service.

Kentucky is not a Verizon State

We called Verizon and were told, very apologetically that, indeed there was no data service in Bowling Green, Kentucky (and much of Kentucky.)  Luckily there was Wi-Fi in the RV park where we stayed.

From Bowling Green, we went on to Cave City and had the same experience.  In conversations we heard that “Kentucky is not a Verizon state!”

But wait!  We met people who had Verizon data cards and they were online just fine.  What the …?

We soon moved on from southern Kentucky, and our data service returned to normal thru most of our travels this summer, but that discrepancy kept haunting me.  If data cards could get service, there’s *got* to be a setting somewhere on the Droid to allow access to data service.

Data Roaming Setting worked in Washington

The next time we experienced the lack of 3G connection was in Mary Hill, Washington.  I talked to someone else in the campground who was using a Verizon Mi-Fi very happily, yet I had no Internet connection on my Droid.  I hunted thru all the settings until I happened upon the ‘Data Roaming’ setting.  Oh – that sounds promising!


Turning it on produced a scary “You may incur significant roaming charges” message.  But I tried it anyway, deciding I would quickly turn it off and check my bill at the end of the month to see if there were charges.  It worked!  I was browsing the web, checking email and posting to Facebook.  I turned off Data Roaming, and was back to no 3G service.

I didn’t use Data Roaming again for the rest of the month.  My bill showed no extra charges.  I researched the issue and found discussions that the data cards have the Data Roaming setting always On.  All comments I read indicated that roaming charges will only apply if you’re not in the United States.

Data Roaming Setting worked in Kentucky

I still couldn’t be sure this was the answer to our Bowling Green issue unless I could test it.  So, I was thrilled when our route took us thru Bowling Green again yesterday.  Sure enough, No 3G service turned into full 3G service by turning on the Data Roaming feature.

Here’s a video showing you how:



4 replies on “Motorola Droid: Verizon Data Roaming”

  1. Jack – we haven’t actually seen it on an HTC Droid, so can’t answer definitively. The pdanet software, by is billed as ‘PDANet for Android’ … so, my bet is that it will work the same on the HTC. You might want to check out some of the Droid specifici forums like

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