This is a long story. I have had my Samsung Galaxy S on Virgin Mobile for about 3 years, and for the first year or so data roaming was fine. I should explain that the phone is rooted and I am currently running Android 4.3.3 (CyanogenMod 11). Initially after rooting, data roaming was fine. For example in September 2011 I used it extensively in France, Italy and Germany, and it was fast enough to use for navigation with maps downloaded on the fly. In those days I was on Vodafone. After I switched to Virgin (while upgrading Android as new versions came out) data roaming continued to work fine. Then in May 2013 I started to get problems. In France and Belgium it worked, then stopped working as we moved into Germany, and stayed disabled all the way down Italy. There were repeated very long calls to Virgin tech support, culminating in a detailed discussion via my wife's phone while we were on a campsite in Sicily. I was eventually told that certain settings had been refreshed on the server, and miraculously mobile data came back on. At this stage it was obviously not a fault with the phone hardware or software.
Our next trip abroad was in May 2014, to France. There was no data roaming, and despite long calls to Virgin (for which I was charged a great deal) there was no solution. I was told it was because the phone was rooted. I have searched the web and can find no evidence that this is true. Then in April this year we spent the month in New Zealand. I used a NZ SIM card and had no problems at all with mobile data. In August we went to France, Italy, Germany, and Austria, and have just returned. No mobile data again, after buying a 50 MB travel pass. Virgin tech support (I'll be charged for the calls again no doubt) could offer no solution but they have sent me a new SIM card out of desperation. But still with the old SIM card mobile data came back on the very instant Le Shuttle emerged from the Channel Tunnel, and back into the UK network.
While in Europe I have had to rely on sporadic wi-fi. Interestingly on some wi-fi connections I was able to receive Virgin emails but not send any. My wife had exactly the same problem on her iPad. I could though send GMail emails. I am convinced that European networks seem to treat Virgin traffic differently.
Of course, even if Virgin offers a solution, I can't test it until I go abroad again, and then if it doesn't work I have no way of getting data. I notice that Virgin keeps telling us to visit their website for help with problems, but how do we do that if we have no mobile data? I can't disrupt my holiday schedule by stopping at internet cafes every day.
Just thought I should mention that I have tried 2G networks with no success. The phone just displays the R flag for roaming and not the H or 3G flags as it should do.
OK my phone is old and I am thinking about replacing it. But there is no evidence at all that this problem is confined to the phone itself, as I can get data with another SIM card in another country. I think Virgin needs to do a bit more analysis than just to blame the phone.
Thanks for your post and all the information you've provided.
Appreciate the points you've made and understand this is frustrating considering the other SIMS have worked.
I would suggest taking a look at this previous post here which gives you all the things you would need to check on your online account. Obviously though as you've pointed out you would not be able to check any changes have worked until you go abroad.
Thanks Stephen but connecting to a network is not the issue. I don't have any problem with calls or texting. All my account lets me do is to turn roaming on or off. Roaming has been on for all the time I have had the phone. Needless to say I have hard rebooted the phone until I am tired of doing it. I suspect something is wrong with my account settings on somebody's server, and I don't want to buy a new phone, go abroad and then find it's exactly the same. This has been going on for two years and nobody has a clue (least of all me!).