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Globe vs Smart on International Roaming

For the longest time, I’ve been wondering what’s the deal with the different procedures when activating international roaming for these two networks.

My wife and I travel abroad from time to time. She’s a postpaid Smart subscriber while I’m a postpaid Globe subscriber. Every time we go abroad, we would leave her phone at home. Why? Because it’s a hassle activating outbound international roaming on SMART.

Globe Smart on international roaming

Globe International Roaming

Way back in 2005, I had to leave for the US so I need International Roaming on my phone. I went to a Globe Business Center and asked them to activate it for me. They did and that was it. I didn’t have to pay for the service. And they said that once it’s on, it will stay on unless I will have it deactivated. I’m on a cheapo plan by the way so it’s nice that they didn’t make this service exclusive to business plans.

Right now, you can also call 211 from your handset and have international roaming activated.


Smart International Roaming

The first time my wife went abroad, she had to activate her International Roaming. We went to a Smart Wireless Center and she had to fill up this activation form and pay a deposit of Php2,500! SMART will refund her payment when she gets back but in the form of credit to her bill. Not only that, you have to personally go back to a Smart Wireless Center just to get it done. There was also this issue one time that we had to go back yet another time because the change hasn’t reflected. It was quite a hassle I should say.

If you want a hassle-free international roaming from Smart, you need to be on Plan 1800 and up. With those plans, your number is automatically set for international roaming.


So what gives? Why can’t Smart adopt the automatic international roaming to its lower plans? Based on experience, a Smart Wireless Center is not a place that breeds quick and efficient people (to be fair, Globe Centers are not as well). The time that is required to activate international roaming for one person can be spent servicing three people who have simple queries.

Note: I found this other roaming instruction from Smart where you only need to register on a website to activate. Now I’m confused what’s the difference between this and the link above.

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  • Noo

    Some of your info are very inaccurate. I have been on Smart global roaming for EIGHT YEARS now at plan 1,200. Please get your facts straight. It is not good that you are not double-checking your facts before publishing, you might create a perception that you are being biased.

    • lemuel

      Hello Noo Says,

      the posted procedure is true. i went to china last may, same procedure as posted. u need to personally pay the 2.5k after filling-up the form. but this activation application is once only if you will not withdraw the 2.5k deposit.

      in my case, i’ve withdrawn the 2.5k and when i travel to singapore, i am here right now, they require me to do the same thing… but thanks… i have friends out there, they do the processing for me even if without authorization. bcoz u need to send an authorization for ur representative.

      still the procedure is not good specially for those that don’t have friends…

  • Been using Smart roaming for some years now, I am pre-paid customer and I only need to maintain 300peso credit to activate roaming. Before I leave the Phils I send ROAM ON to 333 when I get back I just send ROAM off to 333. How much hassle is that. I am out of the country 11 months every year and in the phils only for 1 month yearly vacation …. Same goes woth my wife, who travels back and forth every 4/5 months or so without hassle …

  • hi guys, thanks for sharing your experience. this is from experience. and yes i did check their website for instructions. please see the link above, it says on the page:

    “*SMART Postpaid subscriptions to Plan 1200 or lower require a non-refundable roaming deposit of TWO THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED PESOS (P2,500.00) prior to activation of the International Roaming Service.”

    So do you think Smart needs to update their website?

    And I also saw the send ROAM instructions (second link at the bottom of the post), and I was asking for some clarification if anybody know the difference between the kind of international roaming on both links.

    • Noo

      You could have called someone from their office to validate versus just depending on their website. By the way, I have been on auto-roaming since eight years ago, and have been taken off the redirect list because of good credit standing with Smart.

      I am on both Globe and Smart postpaid right now. Global roaming performance is nearly identical, they have credible partners abroad. It is in local service where Globe suffers awfully by comparison. Almost a year ago when Ondoy pestered the Metro, my Globe postpaid was out for four days and my Smart phone just kept going.

      So please – be more painstaking when you do your research.

      • Shaley

        The information on the website is the company’s responsibility. If the info in the website is different than the info provided by the service center or customer service is different then they have credibility issues

    • still doesn’t change the fact that they require a Php2500 deposit for Plan 1200 and below which is something that can be a burden to some. maybe your auto-roaming is a special case because of your good standing?

      I was e-mailed by Smart and they confirmed that they do require that Php2500 deposit for activation and can be used up for incurred charges or credited back to the next billing statement.

      the hassle is going to a wireless center every time to do activation (if you don’t do the web connect thing) when they can easily auto-roam it for you.

      • jx

        smart gold roaming sucks

  • Air Battle

    You can also enjoy the roaming service with Globe even if you are a pre-paid subscriber, unlike in Smart, they require a certain fee.

  • Harley Son

    i have been on postpaid plan with Globe and I am automatic roaming when I am out of the country…that is so nice of globe…just giving out my personal experience…


  • tebenets

    Globe’s roaming service is the best against Smart. that non-refundable deposit is just plain robbery… But it’s better if you had it automatically activated. they won’t charge you for anything unless you go abroad.

    Cal, maybe you should try SUN cellular. that way everybody can see the difference between the carriers.

  • Becky

    hi calvin we have the exact same experience which is why for my 3 trips abroad this year i didn’t use smart. postpaid ako and corporate account so it’s really strange for me bakit napakalaking hassle mag-on ng roaming. 600 lang plan ko and ang naalala kong sinabi nung CSR ng smart, plan 1800 pataas nga lang yung auto-on ng roaming. buti pa ang mga prepaid. sana magka-roaming partners na ang sun sa US and other countries para di na ko ma-hassle sa roaming.
    isn’t it strange na ang roaming charges eh on top of the monthly plan pa? di ba parang sobra2 na yun chncharge ka for local services you won’t be able to use? dapat consumable na lang un.
    ewan ko basta they should improve their roaming services na talaga. especially for prepaid. dapat yung foolproof/friendly gamitin. 🙂 saka diba dapat alaga din nila yung postpaid subscribers kasi kung tutuusin captured market na nila yun and dapat merong premium on customer loyalty? wala lang 🙂
    tc 🙂