Traveling is a whole lot of fun, and if you're traveling to a new place it could come with some jaw-dropping experiences, but I hope you don't have to pick up your jaw for the wrong reason. . . like roaming fees.
Accumulating roaming fees is one of the most annoying things to experience when traveling, this is because it could pile into the thousands before you even realize it. Why is roaming so expensive anyways? But first, let's talk about what roaming is.
What is roaming
Yes, you're right if you say roaming is wandering or moving around. In mobile communication, however, it means using your device in a host network and not your parent network. There are two types of roaming. International and national roaming and these two situations are also divided into two types of roaming, voice/text and data roaming.
How does roaming work?
Well, the whole process is divided into multiple steps. The main ones are location updates to access the visitor's network and mobile terminal calls. Data roaming also uses a lot of steps but as a user, it doesn't matter whether you are voice or data roaming.
Roaming begins when the phone is turned on, the airplane mode is turned off or the network is scanned for the first time. The device needs to be connected to a network and since it can't connect to the parent network it's looking for a host network. To be able to do that the host network is asking for certain information from the parent network, and as soon as it receives the information and the authorization, the user will be able to connect to the host network which will then forward everything to the parent network.
Why is roaming so expensive?
Roaming charges are so high because telephone providers can charge each other as much as they want. For example, let's say you're a traveler to Ghana from the UK, because you're not using your home network anymore, you are now using a host network I.e. one of the operators in Ghana. The host network allows you to use their network but they'll be charging your home network in the UK because the Ghana operator has to maintain the network and keep it up whereas your UK provider doesn't have to do anything for the host network.
When it comes to charging, your home network could charge $10 for 1 GB of data but then the host network could be charging an extra $70 for hosting and maintaining your home network. It's called inter-operator charges. Now that's where the exorbitant prices come from.
How do you stop your phone from roaming?
When you land in an international destination, make sure you;
- turn off your cellular capabilities,
- turn off roaming.
These are two separate things that both have to be turned off in your settings. If you do one and not the other your phone will still try to connect to the international cellular towers and you'll get charged for roaming and using your phone data.
Another option would be to put your phone on airplane mode until you figure out what other source to get data.
Generally, roaming plans do not give you any bargaining option, it comes with unknown cost expectations and eventually a bill that slaps hard.
Here's a better option for travelers to Ghana.
When you download an Afrosim e-SIM you can choose a prepaid data plan that suits your budget. Our plans are affordable and come on the back of an easy activation process right from your mobile device. Should you need help at any time, we've got 24/7 customer support to meet your needs.
Choose ease with Afrosim e-SIM and stay connected.