Travellers are used to making use of mobile phones and other devices such as laptops and tables and use internet as a basic tool in daily life. Nowadays, they can’t refuse to stay connected to the internet during trips.
However, roaming prevents us from calling, sending sms or mms and using internet as usual when travelling abroad. Nobody trusts roaming! This is not surprising after reading some of the following situations:
Telephone operators are forced to provide transparent information regarding its operation and service cost due to the implementation of several regulations. These operators send confusing messages to the customer as well as offers to stay connected to the internet including hidden paragraphs with misleading clauses that go unnoticed. In many occasions, our devices are setup to be connected to different networks without knowing about it.
Many travellers seek solutions to this issue and until now the most common alternative is to buy a data card in the country of destination. However, this option also includes some inconveniences; for example cards may not work in your device if it hasn’t been previously unlocked. Would you sign a contract with a foreign operator in order to get a card? Companies are now requiring this process in order to use their cards which are normally bought in a shop where the seller probably doesn’t even speak the language.
How can you stay connected in an affordable and secure wayabroad? How can you avoid expensive roaming charges? AlldayInternet offers you a portable Wi-Fi rental service without roaming fees and can be used as many times as required and anywhere you are.
If you rent a Mifi you can stay connected to the internet 24/7 without paying expensive roaming charges. This is a small wireless router that works with a card from the country of destination which is provided by us with all operating guarantees and a really affordable price. You only have to book your Wi-Fi Package via our web and disconnect data in your device; then you will be ready to use your smartphone, laptop, tablet and eBook. You can share connection with your travel partners and surf the net in a comfortable and secure way.
Take note of the following extreme situations on roaming bills.
You can be the next victim!
Nico explains that roaming charges included in his bill amounted to 350 euros after using his devices in several borderlands between Spain, France and Andorra. He claims that charges were related to international calls that were not made, also related to the use of mobile internet connection when using Wi-Fi networks and he didn’t even have a mobile internet ratewith Vodafone (his operator). “I was never told that I was using the phone in international coverage zones, I didn’t know that I was using networks different to Vodafone and I never received a sms warning about the supposed expense”. He adds, as can be seen in his complaint called “Abusive Roaming Billing” in the Vodafone forum, that the company never paid attention to his complaint.
What would you do if you receive a bill including 200 euros for roaming charges in Europe and 2.500 in China? Marta Crespo explains in this forum Infocruceros her case related to an abusive roaming service. She enjoyed a cruise across the Greek islands and later received a bill showing 60 internet connections in only one day, which made a total of 4 hours and she claimed not being responsible for it. Marta explains her case in the comment titled “Problems with Vodafone Roaming” and one of the answers encourages Marta to negotiate the bill with the company. The person who commented this case was called Josep María Martí and also mentioned that his colleague was hit with a bill for 2.500 euros due to a trip to China and finally paid 170 euros after negotiating with his operator on the price.
“Abusive roaming techniques by telephone companies reach unexpected levels and authorities don’t establish any type of fee”, replies Keltic and shows his anger in this forum. Do you agree with him?
We constantly discover new cases regarding abusive roaming and suspicious practices followed by operators. Xater has travelled to Turkey and upon his return he was hit with abill from Orange with roaming for 997€. During the trip, the company sent him many incoherent messages in relation to roaming. “They said that I had already expended 95€ in data, then they said 65€, then 105€, also 305€… Then, they cut the roaming service and if I wish to enable it I have to send this and that…Then again that I had already expended 85€…And all these messages were sent the same day, at the same time”. Finally, this user was told that he had enabled the rate “Go Europe”; this is one of the offers launched by Orange as one of the best solutions for roaming in zone 1, Europe.
In applesfera, another “Notice to Mariners: Roaming” is included. Miguel Michán, editor in applesfera, comments his experience with 50MB free roaming from Vodafone during his trip to Portugal. At the beginning, his iPhone was unable to connect to a foreign network, and in order to solve this problem he enabled Vodafone Passportrate. Miguel didn’t trust the company sore-established usage statistics on his phone in order to know the consumed data at all times. It was a total of 44 MB. The bill wasn’t too high; it amounted to 21.84 euros and of course didn’t include the initial offer of 50MB free.
These cases are common and there are many consumers’ associations worldwide claiming this issue. The protagonist of the last situation knew very well the case and reported that Jesunet, his friend, was hit with a bill for 850 euros after a 4-day trip abroad.
There are cases with bills amounted to 10.000 and 20.000 dollars; we have even found a user in Florida to whom the company claimed 201.000 dollars in relation to roaming charges. The reason: Many smartphones are setup to update apps automatically, to access social networks from time to time and many users are unaware of this or believe that rates are the same than the ones in their home country.
The information provided by operators is not clear, best practice required in order to guarantee a transparent service to consumers aren’t carried out, and not all users know that usual and simple actions like connecting to Youtube can cost up to 1.000 euros, receive an email with 2 or 3 pictures attached around 60 euros and watch a series online over 3.000 euros.
If you don’t want roaming to ruin your next holidays, we encourage you to continue reading in order to be fully informed.
- 1 ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT ROAMING FOR YOUR NEXT TRIP
- 1.1 What is roaming?
- 1.2 History of Roaming
- 1.3 How does roaming work?
- 1.4 Steps to setup roaming on your devices
- 1.5 Do all my devices work with roaming?
- 1.6 Types of roaming
- 1.7 How do agreements between operators work in order to allow roaming abroad?
- 1.8 “Best practices” regarding roaming. Commitments from operators
- 1.9 How is roaming billing carried out?
- 1.10 Beware of the so-called “Cross-border or inadvertentroaming”
- 2 Alternatives to avoid expensive roaming fees
- 3 What about roaming in the rest of the world?
- 4 Do you find possible the end of roaming?
ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT ROAMING FOR YOUR NEXT TRIP
We explain you the structure elaborate by telecommunication companies about roaming, the way agreements and alliances work in order to make calls, send text messages, surf the net, access social networks, send emails and use usual apps when travelling abroad. We offer information about real and abusive bills from travellers reporting their personal situation. Market tendencies about regulation and rates are also included in this post. In addition, we give you some tips to put an end to roaming on your next trip abroad and we explain how our Wi-Fi rental service works abroad.
What is roaming?
Roaming is a concept used in the field of telecommunications to designate the service that allows you to have coverage and use your mobile telephone (as well as the rest of portable devices)abroad, and therefore, guarantees mobility around the world with coverage and connection. Roaming allows you to receive and make calls or send and receive data, without having to change your usual telephone number. This is possible due to a series of agreements between operators which are explained below. In other words, if you travel abroad roaming will allow you to use all your devices even though your usual telephone company doesn’t have coverage in the country of destination.
Roaming is one of the widest communication services offered to consumers when travelling abroad.Due to this service, the customer can use Voice services, receive and make calls in a foreign country; send and receive text messages SMS between countries; send, read and receive emails; make use of mobile broadband, including downloading images, videos and programs, web search, social media and apps requiring the consumption of mobile data abroad. The term roaming covers any wireless technology, including Wi-Fi networks.
The term roaming comes from the verb “roam”, which means to wander or to go across. Applied to wireless technology, this word refers to the capacity of a device to become available at all times when transferring from one network to another one. GSM, the Global System for Mobile Communications, was the first to use this technology.
History of Roaming
Roaming technology originated in the Scandinavian countries and was initially invented for first generation mobile technology. The first roaming agreement between operators was entered by the companies Telecom Finland and Vodafone United Kingdom in 1992. However, the need to offer mobility in the field of telecommunications led to the proliferation of this type of agreements. Nowadays, there are over 20.000 agreements between operators worldwide providing international roaming.
How does roaming work?
How is it possible to use my mobile and stay connected to the internet if my operator hasn’t coverage in the country which I am going to visit? You have surely asked yourself this question more than once already. Roaming is responsible for this situation. Your devices will work with a network belonging to an operator from the country you are visiting (visited network/Visited Location Register, VLR). This way, when you turn on your smartphone abroad, the phone will pick up radio signals from a GSM network 3G/4G from a local operator which will then connect to the home network (Home Location Register, HLR) of your usual operator in order to make sure you are a valid client and that you have contracted a roaming service. Once your home operator verifies the service and confirms that you have activated roaming, the visited operator is aware of the fact that you are a visitor and, since then, you will be able to have network access.
All this is possible thanks to a complex communications network between companies; however this process is almost performed automatically and within minutes customers can use the network providedby the visited operator and make calls or have access to the internet by using a different company’s network.
These types of communications are channelled through a complex gateway network, although this process does not justify the costs affecting users.
What happens when I make a voice call, send SMS, MMS or use Internet with roaming?
Roaming voice calls, SMS and MMS
When you make a call or send a voice message SMS or multimedia MMS from a foreign country, your device sends a call message signal to the visited network, which at the same time informs your usual operator, and your operator establishes connection with your contact or delivers the message. If it’s you who receives the call or message, your contact’s operator will setup connection with your operator and your operator will locate the roaming network in order to establish a connection.
Internet Roaming – PSD Data Package
When you are connected to the internet abroad with a broadband to visit websites, send emails or use social networks and mobile apps, your devices connect to the home operator, which sends the data traffic to your local operator through international transit services and finally your local network establishes connection.
Can you identify when you are using roaming?
Make sure you know when you are using a network different to your usual network in order to avoid unpleasant surprises on your next bill. The way to identify if you are using the roaming service or not is very simple. You only have to check the name of your mobile phone’s company that can be found at the top part of your devices. If you see a different name, it will probably be the visited operator the one establishing connection. Another way to discover if you are using roaming is to pay attention to messages sent by companies when they detect that you are entering in their area of action. Furthermore, we suggest you pay attention to service costs that normally are included in these types of alerts.
Steps to setup roaming on your devices
Do you know how to enable and disable roaming on your devices? You can call your operator and they will take care of enabling and disabling the service on your devices, although nowadays roaming is enabled by default on most devices. You can also do it by yourself manually on phone’s settings.
If you use Android, check the section: Settings / Wireless Connections & Networks / Mobile Networks. Check whether the roaming option is enabled. You can enable and disable roaming as many times as you like. In addition, it is recommended to limit the use of mobile data: Settings / Wireless Connections & Networks / Data Usage / Limit Mobile Data.
If you use iOS, you should visit: Settings / Mobile Data / Mobile Data & Data Roaming. You can also enable or disable this service by choosing the option. On your iPhone and iPad you can choose the apps where you wish to use data or not, in order to make a more reasonable internet use abroad: Settings / Mobile Data / Use Mobile Data for (list of apps).
If you prefer, you can select on your devices the operator you wish to use for roaming abroad. Android (Settings / Wireless Connections & Networks / More / Mobile Networks / Network Operators). iOS(Settings / Operator / Disable Auto and See list of operators).
Do all my devices work with roaming?
The need to stay connected now goes beyond limits and now we wish to stay connected with all our devices. Laptop, tablet, smartphone, video console or eBook are normally carried with us daily as well as during trips abroad. They all have the ability to provide a network and internet connection service; and therefore all of them work with roaming when visiting a foreign country. The roaming service is available not only on your mobile phone, but also on your laptop, Tablet, PDA, PsP… The “Network” section on your devices will allow you to manage connections and so be aware of your consumption.
Types of roaming
There are different types of roaming depending on the region in which the service is established as well as the networks involved in the roaming process.
Regional roaming is not very common these days, although some large countries like USA and India have operators that activate certain rates for specific regions, even for villages or cities. Regional roaming allows using your devices from one region to another within the same country, with coverage from the same local/national operator.
National roaming refers to the possibility to move from one operator to another one within the same country; this can only be made in accordance with a series of business regulations.
The most famous roaming isthe international roaming, which is the most interesting and concerning one regarding your holidays or business trips. This service allows you to move from one local network to a foreign network to be used on your smartphone as well as the rest of devices in a country different toyours.
The current need to stay connected on the go and the constant borderland movement has led to the so-called permanent roaming,which refers to a fixed roaming service. Some operators offer packages that don’t make distinctions between national rate and roaming rate.
You might also be aware of the term Inter Standard Roaming. It refers to roaming between two standard technology regulations like the ones experienced between CDMA networks (used in America) and GSM (in Europe) using different mechanisms. In this way, this type of roaming is used by users who wish to use their devices in areas where no agreements on roaming coverage have been entered or their usual network doesn’t work.
How do agreements between operators work in order to allow roaming abroad?
Roaming coverage abroad is provided by an important agreement between the home operator and the visited operator;and establishes the technical and business aspects of the service.
Since the late 1990s, mobile users are concerned about the arbitrariness of roaming services provided in different countries by different companies. In 1997, processes regarding the service’s standardization started when the Memorandum of Understanding MoU was signed and promoted by the European Union in order to facilitate agreements between European and international operators.
Operators involved in roaming agreements analyse case by case and often agents like Comfone or RoamEO negotiate contracts on behalf of operators. These international agreements make possible the existence of roaming and are regulated by GSMA (GroupeSpeciale Mobile Association) which brings together the main operators, through regulations such as STIRA (Standard Terms for International Roaming Agreements), and IOT (Inter-Operator Tariff). These agreements try to simplify the implementation of these relationships through a general regulation and rate framework, which include minimum standards of safety and financial security, by facilitating the exchange of information between the involved operators. This is a necessary framework taking into account that there are thousands of agreements to offer roaming and one operator can have over 200 alliances. However, for the moment, there regulations don’t establish a fair roaming price for travellers.
“Best practices” regarding roaming. Commitments from operators
Within the international context with hundreds of operators and thousands of agreements between them in order to provide a roaming service, campaigns have joined the proposed regulation by GSMA to ensure a transparency level and benefit users. Since 2012, mobile users should have more transparency in relation to costs and the use of data services when travelling abroad.
You probably know some of these measures that should be carried out by companies to guarantee a more controlled and effective use of the service. They include: Sending messages reminding the use of data roaming when travelling abroad and turning on the devices. In addition, many companies allow you to setup a monthly roaming limit; this service can be provided with other alerts as SMS when reaching the contracted limit.
This is the theory but the practice is quite different. Many cases can be found regarding abusive roaming billing like the ones explained at the beginning of this post.
How is roaming billing carried out?
When using your devices with a visited network operator, this foreign operator will record your activity and it will be sent to your local operator, including charges. Your operator will include roaming charges on your regular phone bill, showing details on all calls that are charged per minute, and data in megabytes per second. All these roaming charges are included on your bill and converted into your local currency.
Note that the visited operator and your usual operator include a specific rate in order to offer a roaming service and both operators ensure profit margins.
Beware of the so-called “Cross-border or inadvertentroaming”
It seems simple controlling when to use roaming and when not to use it, but the truth is that it can be much more surprising. There is a so-called “inadvertent roaming” and you should know how to use your devices to avoid connections on the go in border areas. In order to prevent losing the coverage of your local operator and to prevent the phone from connecting automatically to a foreign network, we suggest you use the manual Mobile Network option that can be enabled on the phone’s settings. This way, your telephone will not connect to another roaming network until you personally choose an operator from the list.
Cross-border or inadvertent roaming is a problem mainly for many users in Latin America, although this situation happens in any border area. This situation benefits companies because operators take advantage and charge users who don’t even know they are using a different network.
Companies, mainly in Latin America, are leading the solution to this problem by establishing special border rates and instant messaging alerts that inform users about coverage loss and roaming from other networks. Similarly, efforts are been carried out in infrastructures in order to solve this issue that affects millions of users around the world, mainly by adjusting antennas and addresses to minimize partial network changes.
Alternatives to avoid expensive roaming fees
If you travel abroad regularly and you wish to avoid or minimize the expensive roaming fees, there are several alternatives for you. Some people choose to disable the service and seek Wi-Fi networks available at accommodation, restaurants, cafes, shopping malls, airports, even public areas like parks or stations. In case of having to locate public Wi-Fi networks to contact your family and friends, we recommend you use Apps such as WhatsApp, Viber, Skype, Line or Tango, in order to avoid unnecessary charges for calls or messages. You should take into account the fact that public Wi-Fi networks are normally saturated and security isn’t guaranteed.
There is another common use amongst frequent travellers called “Plastic Roaming” and consists on buying a local SIM card from the country of destination. This card normally works under prepaid conditions,which allows having expenses under control and avoids unnecessary roaming. This option has been the favourite one by travellers in the past; however it has been replaced by more modern and comfortable alternatives. In fact, travellers are increasingly thinking that this option imply too many disadvantages. If you choose to substitute your SIM card, you must unlock your phone; go to a store where this service is provided upon your arrival to the place of destination, and you can have communication problems with the seller which can make you feel less comfortable with the service. Another disadvantage: Companies require signing a contract in order to get a card and you might probably not be willing to sign any contract in a foreign country for a few days of holidays. If you wish to use a connection offered by this local SIM card on all your devices, make sure you know who the option “Share Internet” works in order to prevent your devices from having a connection error in roaming.
Hiring an international rate or a fixed roaming rate are another two alternatives highly used by travellers, mainly people used to travel often such as business people. If you are planning on using this alternative, we suggest you read carefully the terms and conditions.
Increase in Mifi usage
Technology adapts constantly to needs demanded by users with a desire to prevent abusive roaming costs; therefore the use of Mifi is growing tremendously. A Mifi is a portable Wi-Fi that connects to a 3G/4G destination network, and provides an internet signal allowing to be connected to all your devices abroad and even share signal with several partners at the same time.
The word Mifi originates from “My Wi-Fi” and refers to small dongles that allow the traveller to have an optimal Wifi network, which is always available and completely secure.Thus this alternative is increasingly becoming the perfect option for internet connections without roaming. A Mifi is simply a pocket router, is very small and lightweight and can be carried at all times in the purse, bag, backpack, device cover…. It needs very little space and guarantees connection 24/7 anywhere you are.
Many companies have launched this device including a card inside from the local operator of the country of destination; therefore you don’t have to worry about roaming, and this device is normally rented under an affordable fixed rate.
AlldayInternet. Rent Portable Wifi HotSpot.
As already explained, Mifis are currently the most comfortable and secure option for internet connections abroad and this is the reason why AlldayInternet strongly believes in this technology with the aim of providing travellers a connection without roaming charges for their holidays or business trips. Do you know how this service works? We currently offer coverage in 35 countries and the list will soon grow. France, USA, Italy, Australia, Mexico… you can benefit from our Mifis in the most tourist countries worldwide.
The wireless Wi-Fi of AlldayInternet offers connection 24/7 on the go. Book your Wi-Fi abroad in our website (simple process that will take you just a few minutes) and you will receive your Wi-Fi package at your door before starting the trip.If you prefer, you can receive it directly at your accommodation, hotel, campsite or business centre. In order to use this device, you only have to turn on the wireless router, search in all your devices the AlldayInternet’s signal and enter the password provided. Very important: Don’t forget to disable the 3G/4G option on your devices. The package of AlldayInternet also includes a charger and a cover to be carried with you at all times.
Thanks to AlldayInternet, you can connect your laptop, tablet, iPhone, Android, iPad, video console, eBook, etc. to the Wi-Fi signal and 8 devices can use internet simultaneously. You can share internet connection with your travel partners; therefore AlldayInternet’sMifi is a perfect alternative if you travel with a group of people or with your family. Have access to your favourite social networks, download data, surf the net, send emails, make use of your usual mobile applications and VoIP services! Once the trip is finished, you have to re-enter the Mifi in the package provided and return it without additional costs.
If you are planning on using this service, we would appreciate you share with us your personal experience regarding the trip and the connection. We will share your comments with other users to prove that anyone can stay fully connected without paying expensive roaming charges. You can share your comments by adding the hashtag #NoRoamingCharges to your photo updates and videos in main social networks.
Roaming within the European Union
Users and consumer associations have been claiming for years a market regulation on roaming in Europe. Since 2007, Europe aims to have a single telecommunication market that can eliminate the expensive roaming fees affecting travellers. Regarding institutions, in 2014 the roaming issue along with network neutrality have become top issues for the digital agenda.
In April 2014,the European Parliament approved by majority the elimination of roaming within the EU. This agreement aimed to start in December 2015 and will allow users to pay the same rates for making voice calls, sending messages or using data in any of the European countries. Thus, telephone operators would no longer take advantage of abusive charges regarding roaming within the European Union. It is not surprising that since negotiations, in relation to the elimination of roaming in the EU, most users are suspicious about another delay on the announced calendar.
Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission and Commissioner of the Digital Agenda, has been one of the major defenders and promoters to end roaming in the EU. However, her plans became frustrated and negotiations regarding a single market became stagnated due to disagreements between European countries. They are committed to further study the impact that a common rate framework would have for users and companies. On the other hand, operators’ expected pressures, including directly some companies such as Orange, Telefonica, Telecom Italia and Deutsche Telekom, are probably the main obstacle for roaming disappearance. Does it have something to do with the fact that over 10% of its revenues come from roaming service?
EU plans regarding the fact that users can choose operator, rate and services without having to face pre-established payments in a foreign European country are vanished. The year 2017 is now the time aimed to adapt current regulations to new challenges such as internet calls and the installation of a European speed network that can guarantee safety and effectiveness. All member states initially supported this roaming initiative; however the truth is that several member states have become dissociated due to the pressure performed by companies. In return to the initiative related to roaming removal in Europe, the EU has ensured the establishment of new mechanisms and new offers as of summer 2016, and some people call it “the end of partial roaming”. Limits are set on 2.25 cents per minute for voice calls and 1.5 cents per megabyte in data roaming, as well as launching special offers like the so-called “Basic Roaming Authorization”, although it needs to be established, could be 5 minutes for calls, 5 MB of data and text messages per year. This offer is rather absurd because the consumer is constantly linked to technology on the go and expects to receive much more as consumption is also much higher.
Although there is a great controversy in order to regularize and standardize roaming, there are common limits on roaming rates (latest rates were stablished in July 2014): At present, the cost of calls made from the EU can’t exceed 19 cents per minute; receive calls costs a maximum of five cents per minute and internet connection is 20 cents per megabyte, to which taxes must also be included.
What about roaming in the rest of the world?
Now you know more about roaming regulation and standardization in Europe, but what about roaming outside the continent?
In the USA, FCC (Federal Communications Commission) tried in 2011 to establish the first agreement regulating roaming which required providers to offer reasonable prices for the consumer and to choose freely the operator to connect roaming. However, this issue led to a series of legal actions by main companies which stated that the telecommunication commission wasn’t entitled to set restrictions and requirements on the market. Nevertheless, AT&T (major American telephone company) launched in 1996 the first special rate regarding roaming known as “Digital One Rate”. This first step led competitors to launch similar pricing that somehow has cut the prices of this service for American users. Rent portable wifi hotspot to travel to USA.
In Latin America, service costs have been reduced by over 65% in data and 40% in voice calls since the year 2010, according to GSMA research that includes over 40 local operators. In general, this service is improving by applying good practices that guarantee transparency in the service for users, in accordance with the Data Roaming Transparency Plan in Latin America (2012), as well as flat rates and multi-service packages the allow users to benefit from some discounts. However, the service is still affected by a great amount of taxes and high levels of fraud. Latin America leads efforts to solve the problem of inadvertent roaming which is highly common in countries such as Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Mexico, Guatemala and Panama. Companies like Movistar Peru, Personal Arg., Movistar Mexico, Telcel Claro and Claro Brasil are offering special packages for people living in these cross-border regions. There is no framework that establishes limits on the cost of the service as can be found in Europe; nevertheless operators claim that are developing initiatives in order to stop the feared “bill shock”, by sending welcome messages and alerts about limits, rate information via SMS and rate publication including taxes in user’s currency.
In Africa and the Middle East the main mobile operators are Bharti Airtel, Etisalat Group Africa, Millicom, MTN Group, Ooredoo Group Africa, Middle East and Asia Orange, STC Group, Vodafone Group and Zain Group; representing more than half of current mobile connections in Africa and Arab countries. They are developing improvements regarding connectivity and regional mobility, focusing on technical efficiency and cost reduction (GSM research set the decline by 60% from 2007). Bear in mind that both regions include a mobile market where 95% of users use prepaid services, economic and market conditions change substantially from country to country, and aspects like inflation taxes or citizens’ low mobility rate are conditioning any improvement on the service. In fact, it is estimated that Africa holds only 5% of global roaming and for the moment there are only a few agreements such as the development between the Telecommunication Regulation Assembly of Western Africa and the Economic Community of Western African States with the aim of following the standardization strategy on roaming developed in Europe.
In Asia Pacific region, operators led by China Mobile are mainly launching some packages with fixed prices per day, week or month in the most tourist regions. These operators are investing in order to guarantee interoperability and future technical quality for the service. The mobile sector in these regions implies over 485 million dollars and 2.7% PIB; therefore market and policy differences between countries prevent a common regulatory framework to benefit the consumer concerned on the expensive roaming charges in the vast majority of these countries.
Tendency: Towards a decrease in roaming prices?
At present, operators and main international associations refer to a marked tendency due to a general reduction in roaming prices, and studies prove this reduction of service costs worldwide in 82% since the year 2007. In case the fall in prices takes place, it could be promoted by the competition between companies themselves more than by the need of having an affordable service for the user; these companies have started to launch global rates and specific discounts.
Do you think that 40% of business travellers currently paying their data connections abroad (due to the inability to control roaming costs) would pay roaming if their usual operators offer interesting and affordable offers?
Below we provide you some examples on roaming rates established by main operators. If you are planning on hiring any of these operators, we suggest you don’t trust discounts at first sight and take time to read carefully the information so to calculate the real and final cost of the service.
Vodafone is one of the companies that may be heading towards lowering roaming prices and is currently offering several alternatives such as Travel Rate (3€ per day in Europe: 1GB per month, 1000 minutes of calls and 1000 messages; and 8€ per day in the rest of the world: 50MB per day, 50 minutes of calls per day and 50 daily messages) or Vodafone World Contract or Prepaid.
AT&T offers special packages such as AT&T Passport or AT&T Global, including calls, messaging and data with rates ranging from 30$ per month (including messages and unlimited Wi-Fi access in 18 countries) to 1$ per minute for calls and 120MB ($0.25/MB).
Orange offers a specific rate to lower the price of roaming in zone 1, Europe, through “Go Europe” (100 MB per day and 60 minutes of calls per 1€/day).
T Mobile provides numerous special packages such as the Simple Election Plan, with unlimited data and texting in 120 countries and 0.20 cents per minute in calls.
Opinion of the most tourist countries regarding roaming
Regarding the current debate on roaming standardization and lowering roaming prices, the opinion of countries linked to tourism is highly surprising. Spain, Italy and France are some of the most tourist countries and they disagree on the fact of eliminating or lowering roaming rates because they will experience a reduction on the huge income from roaming services by tourists visiting these countries each year.
The opinion of operators located in these countries is not exactly a model to be followed, and very few companies are committed to launch a service that can solve consumer’s needs at a fair price. These telecommunication companies linked to tourism always refer to the heavy investments carried out in order to adapt infrastructures with the aim of supporting and providing sufficient quality required by telephone traffic which is multiplied with tourists.
Why don’t you access Google abroad? The tech giant also wants to put an end to roaming
Google is very aware of the debate regarding roaming and has experienced a significant decline in traffic during periods of holiday and when users are on the go; therefore Google also agrees to put an end to roaming by developing a project on global mobile network where users can surf the net, make and receive calls or messages without roaming charges.
Recently leaked conversations between Google and the English operator Three showed their aim to make Google’s OMV (Virtual Mobile Operator) a reality; this is a proposal that will not be supported by expensive investments on infrastructures but on strategic agreements with operators from different countries.
Do you find possible the end of roaming?
We have explained the way roaming works, some attempts to standardise it led by the EU, as well as the relevant role played by operators and their economic and business interests regarding this issue. Do you think roaming can come to an end? You already know that there are alternative to travel abroad and avoid expensive costs, and we have recommended you the MIFI technology by AlldayInternet due to its price,effectiveness and safety. Now we would like to know your opinion:
Do you think operators will be willing to give up their huge benefits derived from roaming in order to benefit consumers? What are the internet connections that you use when travelling abroad? Have you ever heard of anoutrageous case of roaming billing that you would like to share with other travellers?
Can you please make a comment about Roaming?