What is roaming and how it works
Before getting to the heart of the matter and explaining yourself in detail how roaming works, it is good to understand what this technology is and what it consists of. The word roaming derives from the English “to roam”, which means wandering, and consists in the possibility of using the services provided by one's mobile telephone operator even in areas where the latter's infrastructures are physically absent.
In other words, going “roaming” means taking advantage of the services associated with your SIM by relying on an operator other than the one with which the contract was signed. In jargon, the operator with whom the subscription is in place is said mother operator, while the operator you rely on in the absence of coverage is called host operator.
Understanding broadly how roaming works technically is not difficult: when the mobile phone fails to connect to the parent operator's antennas, it tries to connect to the host network, sending it a request for services. The host network, in turn, contacts the parent operator to obtain information on the number attempting to connect, including whether or not to use the services offered.
At the end of the checks and authorization to use roaming has been obtained, the host operator makes its services available to the telephone number that performs it, taking care to "forward" the information on the activities carried out also to the parent operator. It is easy to understand that, in order for the roaming procedure to be successful, between the parent operator and the host operator, prior arrangements must have been made. agreements relating to the use of infrastructures and the exchange of information.
Although the concept of roaming immediately makes one think of coverage abroad, this system also exists between operators of the same nation, the so-called national roaming. The most striking example, which you will certainly know, is that of 3 city e wind: in the absence of physical proprietary infrastructures (antennas, repeaters, etc.), these operators were able to offer services (almost always excluded from flat rate plans and so-called "promotions") using the TIM.
Today, national roaming has almost completely disappeared, although the "rent" of the infrastructures, by the main operators, to the so-called virtual operators (Fastweb, Poste Mobile, Coop Voice and so on, almost all hosted on the TIM network): in this case, one cannot properly speak of roaming, since the agreements underlying this type of service are completely different.
Now that you fully understand what roaming is and how it works, it should be easy for you to imagine that there is a cost, in terms of money, that the parent operator and the host operator have to face in order to offer this service. : this is the reason why, in order to use your SIM in roaming, some rules may be applied additional costs or used specific tariff plans for incoming calls, outgoing calls, outgoing SMS and internet usage. Using the coverage of the host network (ie being reachable) and receiving SMS are free of charge under any circumstances.
At the time of writing, there is a main difference between roaming applied between European Union countries and that applied outside, which I will tell you about in the following sections.
How roaming works in the EU
As regards the roaming in the EU and the application of the costs I was talking about earlier, you have to keep in mind the date of June 15 2017: starting from that day, in fact, the European Parliament has established that roaming costs between countries belonging to the European Union must be reset, as long as conditions are met which ensure the correct use of roaming itself.
All the major in your languagen telephone operators - TIM, Vodafone, Wind, 3 city e Wind 3 have abolished intra-EU roaming costs, while the so-called virtual operators (Poste Mobile, Coop Voce and Fastweb, for example) can continue to charge a minimum surcharge until June 15 2018, thanks to an extension granted by the European Parliament. Despite this possibility, Fastweb in any case, it eliminated roaming costs on 15 June 2017, but imposed a restriction on the use of the Internet abroad: it is possible, in fact, to use it to the maximum 1 GB on the dati for each subscription renewal period regardless of the quantity provided for in your tariff plan.
Therefore, if you have a SIM with a parent operator belonging to one of the EU countries, you can call, send SMS and use the Internet under the same conditions as your tariff plan. However, it must be said that, in some cases, gods can be applied extra-threshold costs to avoid incorrect use of calls / SMS / Internet available abroad, especially if the tariff plan provides for "significant" amounts of traffic: these restrictions, and the related additional costs, are in any case specified by the individual operators in the contractual conditions of the offers ( in some cases, the customer is notified of the possibility of extra charges before the conditions that require them occur).
One of the conditions common to all operators, for the protection of the correct use of EU roaming, is to spend a lower period compared to the one spent in the country where the operator with whom the SIM subscription is subscribed is located. For more information on limits and over-threshold costs, you can consult one of the resources listed below.
- The section TIM Remember of this page regarding the EU roaming of TIM.
- The section Details of this website for EU roaming of Vodafone.
- The FAQ page dedicated to the EU Roaming of Poste Mobile.
- The roaming page of Fastweb city.
- The Euroroaming page of Coop Voice.
- For wind e 3 city, any violations of the rules on correct use and extra-threshold costs are promptly communicated to the user before being charged.
Therefore, if you have a tariff plan that includes a certain number of minutes, SMS and a certain amount of Internet, you can continue to use everything in the EU countries without any additional roaming price, paying only the weekly or monthly fee provided by the subscription. same.
Just to be clear, the countries where you can use roaming at no additional cost with an in your languagen SIM are: Austria, Belgium, Blugaria, Cyprus, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg , Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, United Kingdom (up to different provisions due to Brexit), Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Hungary and, due to special individual agreements, also Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
As for the Switzerland, a nation belonging to European physical soil but not to the EU, Fastweb is currently the only operator to have zero roaming costs: starting from January 28 2018 it is possible to use, always subject to the limitations for fair use, calls, SMS and Internet included in your tariff plan, even on Swiss soil.
How non-EU roaming works
As for the countries not mentioned above, not belonging to the European Union, the roaming costs are still present and vary according to theoperator and tariff plan provided by your subscription.
Since the surcharges on calls, SMS and Internet can also be very important in terms of price, many telephony operators offer discounts specific tariff packages for the use of services abroad, which make it possible to obtain a certain amount of voice, data and Internet traffic, for a certain period of time, paying a fixed cost. You can find more information on this in the Roaming Offers section.
How to use roaming
Now that you understand how roaming works, the time has come to learn how to activate it and how to deactivate it on your smartphone. Specifically, if the conditions of your travel provide for additional costs that you do not want to face (non-EU countries without any type of dedicated package), all you have to do is take care not to answer incoming calls, do not send SMS and deactivate the data roaming, which you can manage with one of the methods that I illustrate below.
Use data roaming on Android it's very simple: just intervene with a few taps on the dedicated system settings! So, to enable roaming, tap the icon Settings present in the app list of your device, tap on the item Other next to the box Wireless and ret, then on the voice Cellular networks, finally move up On the switch at Data roaming. To disable roaming, however, all you have to do is move to Disabled the same switch.
Please note that due to the advanced location via GPS (A-GPS), the smartphone could still connect to the Internet to receive location information: if you have disabled roaming and want to avoid additional costs caused by GPS, go once again to Settings, tap on the items Gelolcalization e modality, then set the check mark on the item Only device.
It was arranged di iPhone, you can manage data roaming in an extremely simple way: to begin with, tap on the icon Settings placed in the main screen of the iPhone, presses on the voice Mobile phone, then on the voice Cellular data options and, to enable roaming, set to ON l'interruttore Data roaming. You can disable roaming, if necessary, by turning the aforementioned switch back to OFF.
Also in this case, when roaming is disabled, the location services based on the cellular network could be a problem, causing you to incur additional costs: on the iPhone, however, it is not possible to disable the high precision location, so you must completely disable the GPS. . To do this, log back into the panel Settings, touches the voices Privacy e Location, then move up OFF the switch at the item Location. You can reactivate the GPS at any time by flipping the aforementioned switch to ON.
You can find out more about what roaming activation is all about in my specific guide on how to activate roaming.
As I have already explained to you in the previous sections, using roaming for voice, SMS and data traffic in countries outside the EU area can be extremely expensive: this is the reason why many national operators provide real tariff plans, dedicated to calls, SMS and Internet from abroad, which offer real dedicated packages, many of which include calls, text messages and the Internet for a "fixed" price. Below I show you the ones that I consider most convenient.
- TIM - Traveling World Pass - provides 100 minutes of calls, 100 SMS e 500 MB 4G Internet at the price of 30 € to 10 days. If the thresholds are exceeded, the rates of the Tim in Viaggio Full offer are applied.
- Vodafone - Smart Passport World - provides 30 minutes of calls (15 incoming and 15 outgoing), 30 SMS e 30 MB of Internet 4G per day at the price of 6 euros / day. It is activated only if used.
- Wind - All Travel Weekly EU & USA - provides 300 minutes, 300 SMS e 500 MB per day at the price of 10 € / week + 2€ activation.
- Three - World Pass - Depending on the country, you can make and receive calls up to 500 minutes (with connection fee of 0.30 €) and browse up to 500 MB per day (+ € 0.30 for opening session), at the price of 10 euros / week.