What is Roaming?
When you travel to a foreign country, your mobile phone keeps working: you are roaming. You can make & receive mobile phone calls, write text messages (SMS) or download songs. Your calls, SMS and other data services are operated by a foreign network because your home provider does not normally operate in that country. For providing this service, the foreign network operator charges your home operator and your home operator passes this additional cost on to you.
1. SMS Roaming
When you send or receive an SMS while abroad you are SMS roaming.
When you send an SMS while abroad, your operator will charge you a higher fee than the normal cost of an SMS. This fee includes additional costs for using the visiting network and transferring the SMS back to the home network. Operators do not charge for receiving an SMS abroad.
2. Data Roaming
You can also use various data services while abroad: sending & receiving multimedia messages, reading & sending emails, using the internet via your handset or even connecting your laptop to the internet via a data card.
The price of a mobile data service is very often based on the volume of the data, which is measured either in kilobytes (KB) or megabytes (MB). An email is normally between 1 and 50KB; a page of your favorite online newspaper can be 100KB or more. To download a song you would have to transfer 2 to 5MBs of data. Your operator will charge you a price that also includes the fee that the visited network charges the home operator to provide the service.
3. Voice Roaming
When you make or receive a call while abroad you are using voice roaming.
European roaming rules
On June 30, 2007, new EU rules on roaming (roaming regulation) entered into force: citizens travelling within the EU could now phone across borders at affordable and transparent prices. The Eurotariff set maximum prices for phone calls made and received while abroad. These maximum prices applied to all consumers unless they opted for special packages offered by operators.
In 2009 these rules were modified and a Eurotariff for text messages was established, as well as some rules for data roaming.