22 Jan 2011

Blackberry BIS over WiFi on SMS Roaming

I was in the UK with my Vodacom South Africa Blackberry Bold 9700 on SMS roaming. The setup worked great as I could SMS when I was out and about and make use of full BIS functionality when I was in range of a WiFi network. I was receiving push email, using Twitter for Blackberry, sending BBM and making use of all my applications as I usually would back in South Africa. BIS over WiFi really works great on the Blackberry Bold.

However, I made the mistake of inserting a Vodafone SIM card into my BlackBerry to make a voice call. I didn’t realize that Vodafone would push its Blackberry service book settings onto my BB automatically. So at that point my BB was reduced to plain old WiFi hot-spot browsing. I lost push email, Twitter, BBM etc. and I couldn’t find a way to restore my Vodacom BIS settings manually. I had to make do with using the BB browser (and Opera Mini) for all my web needs. Of course I could have just signed up for a BB data plan on the Vodafone SIM but I figured I would learn my lesson and just manage without BIS.

Within 10 minutes of returning to South Africa (and deactivating SMS roaming), I received push email on my BlackBerry again – Vodacom had restored my BIS settings. I don’t know if there is a way to prevent your BB from downloading provider service book settings automatically, but do be aware that your BIS can be messed up if/when you use an alternative provider’s SIM. This can be particularly troublesome when you are on SMS roaming, as you won't be able to get your native provider's BIS settings back until you return to their local network.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Do you need to have sms roaming on?

I'm going to USA next week and was thinking of just getting a local sim there for sms and calls and then using wifi for emails, bbm etc.

Rich said...

I think you do need to have some form of roaming on to use BIS over Wifi while you are in a different country, because I think your device does need to register on the network in some way. I may be wrong about this point though...

But the problem I found in the UK was that I lost my Vodacom BIS settings when I put a Vodafone UK SIM card into my Blackberry. You will need to activate BIS with the local provider if you want to use a local SIM card and still have BIS. My Vodacom BIS settings were not restored when I replaced my Vodacom SIM card(until I returned to South Africa).

My advice would be to rather use another handset for local calls and SMS and don't replace your BlackBerry SIM card unless you are going to activate BIS on the new SIM card as well, or you will loose your BIS settings until you return to your home country/network - This was certainly my experience...

Anonymous said...

O ok thanks. My plan was to also take another phone and get a local sim card. I can also use the other phone to create a wifi hotspot for my blackberry.

Rich said...

That sounds like a good plan! Hope it all works as you want it to...

Anonymous said...

If you do a hard reset (take battery out whilst phone is still on for 1min) and put in you BIS sim then it seems to work for me.

Rich said...

So did you manage to use a local provider's SIM card and then revert to your SA SIM card and get your service book/bis settings back? Were you on SMS roaming?

mrs simpson said...

Hi, while on the sms roaming and using wifi spots to use your bbm services and receive mails were you charged for any data on your vodacom account?

Rich said...

Hi Mrs Simpson, no I was not charged extra by Vodacom to use BIS through wifi hotspots while in the UK.

Nikolay Nedev said...

The solution of the problem is very easy. Just get the roaming data working after the SA SIM is back in the phone. This will download the South African service books. 5min are usually enough - the actula data transfer is 32KB. Once this is done, one could switch off Data Roaming option again and the BBry would have worked quite happily via WiFi.