What is roaming and how does it work?


If you usually search for phone plans or have already taken an international trip and found out what this foreign word means when you returned to Brazil and got scared with your phone bill, you must have heard of “roaming”. But if it still doesn’t make sense to you, follow the explanation below.

What is roaming?

Roaming is when a cell phone line needs a network other than the one where it originated for the transmission of data or voice, that is, the technology exists to allow users to be able to communicate as if they were in their local area code even when are far from their coverage area. This second network that can identify your phone line belongs to another company, which has a contract with your operator.

The DDD is the indication of where your cell phone number was generated, so roaming becomes necessary when you transfer to a different code area and without infrastructure from your telephone company.

Virtually no cell phone plans charge for national roaming, but international travel is often expensive. In Japan, the automatic service for the three largest operators operating in Brazil ranges from R $ 33 to R $ 70.90 per day, and the bill can be even more salable if it includes charges per megabyte trafficked.

The operation of roaming is relatively simple: each cell line (chip) has a global identification code, called IMSI. When using your smartphone in another country, your line will attempt to connect to a compatible network, defined through agreements between operators around the world.

Thereafter, the network will use IMSI to identify your line and provide the necessary connectivity to transfer your data between the local operator and your home operator. This provision of services generates costs that the local operator will charge from the original operator.

Why is roaming so expensive?

What makes roaming a service with a price well above the average in relation to other telephone services is the dependence on agreements between operators from different countries. This account also includes eventual companies that act as intermediaries and, finally, providers still need to pass on the costs of services to the final consumer. However, there are several agencies that regulate and supervise the provision and collection of this type of service, in order to avoid abusive prices.


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