What is roaming and how does it work?

If you usually search for phone plans, or have already traveled internationally, you may have heard of “roaming”. Worse, it was discovered what that foreign word means when he returned to Brazil and was shocked by the telephone bill. Now, if it still doesn’t make sense to you, follow our explanation below.

What is roaming?

Roaming is when a cell phone line needs a network to function, whether for data or voice transmission, other than the same network where it originated. Basically, the technology exists to allow users to communicate, as if they are in their local area code, even when they are far from their coverage area.

In this case, this second network that can identify your phone line, belongs to another company, which maintains a contract with your operator.

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

Nowadays, virtually no cell phone plans charge for national roaming. However, it is inevitable on international trips, and it 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 account can get even more salty if it includes charges per megabyte trafficked.

Source: Pixabay / ReproductionSource: Pixabay / Reproduction

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

Thereafter, the network will use IMSI to identify your line, and will begin to provide the necessary connectivity to transfer your data between the local operator from which you are located and your originating operator. This provision of services generates costs that the local operator must charge the original operator.

Why is roaming so expensive?

Basically, what makes roaming a service with a price well above the average, in relation to other telephony services, is the dependence on agreements between operators from different countries. This account also includes any companies that act as intermediaries. Finally, providers still need to pass on the costs of services to the final consumer.

Even so, there are several agencies that regulate and inspect the supply and collection of this type of service, in order to avoid abusive prices.

Source: Pixabay / ReproductionSource: Pixabay / ReproductionSource: Pixabay / Reproduction

In the IoT sector, Brazil has chosen to use eSIM (virtual chip) instead of permanent roaming. The decision aimed at reducing costs and problems due to regulatory difficulties.

What should I do before traveling?

If you are traveling, and want to avoid surprises on your phone bill, it is best to write down some tips. In the case of a trip within the country, just use the Carrier Selection Code (CSP) associated with the line, before making long distance calls.

For international travel, there are three options:

  • Contract a plan from the operator itself
  • Buy an international chip valid for the countries you will visit
  • Buy a chip from an operator in the destination country

The option to hire a plan from your operator is indicated if you insist on using the same line while you are away. In this case, it will be necessary to contact the provider to evaluate the available plans.

Other than that, if you do not intend to use roaming, or use telephone services in other countries, you will have to configure your device to avoid automatic activation of the service, as well as unwanted charges. On Android phones, go to “Settings”> Networks> Mobile Networks and disable the “Data roaming” option. On the iPhone, you can access a tutorial on how to disable the function by clicking here.

I used roaming and noticed excessive charges… What do I do?

If you have used the service and think that your operator is abusing the amounts charged, Anatel recommends that a complaint be registered with the provider.

If the problem is not resolved, and you continue to feel injured, you can file a complaint with Anatel, using the service protocol provided by the operator.

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