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What is Data Roaming and how to reduce roaming charges?

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  • 3 min read

Data roaming is the extra charge that you have to pay when you are outside the network’s coverage area. This usually happens when you are travelling internationally or in several cases, even while travelling domestically. The charges are incurred whenever you use the mobile’s services like calling, web browsing, checking email, among others.

In this article, we will explain how data roaming works and will give you a few tips to reduce data roaming charges.

How does Data Roaming work?

We can say that roaming is the ability through which the users, through their phones, can perform the same functions outside their service provider’s coverage area, as efficiently as they use the services in their domestic geographic area.

When you travel to another country, your mobile will attempt to communicate with the networks available in that country. In some handsets, this process is pre-configured, while in other handsets, you will have to select the network manually.

The country’s local network will pick your device, note that you are a visitor and will check for your previous network service provider. If the two network service providers have an agreement, you can use the data roaming services.

Photo by Bernie Goldback | Flickr

So, when you will use the mobile services in any form (sending/receiving SMS, using the internet, calling), the visited network operator (in the country that you are currently visiting) will collect all the usage records including the Call Detail Record (CDR), KBs of internet data used, location as well as time of connection. The visited network operator will use the mentioned data points to calculate the wholesale roaming charge, that the network in your home country will have to pay.

All the data collected along with the wholesale charges are stored in a Transferred Account Procedure (TAP) file and then send to the home network.

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Simple tips to reduce your roaming charges

Data roaming is expensive as there are several charges involved. Therefore, you must be careful while using mobile services while roaming. There are several ways by which you can reduce your data bills while on roaming, which are as follows.

  • Make calls only when necessary.
  • Use internet services through WiFi.
  • Turn off roaming when not in use.
  • Use GPS services only when necessary.
  • Regularly monitor your data usage.
  • Turn-off sync.

With these simple tips, you can reduce your data roaming charges to a great extent. Happy roaming!

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Featured image by Kai Hendry | Flickr

Kumar Hemant

Deputy Editor at Candid.Technology. Hemant writes at the intersection of tech and culture and has a keen interest in science, social issues and international relations. You can contact him here:

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