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Getting started with data roaming

data roaming bill shock

Data roaming is the ability for a cellular customer to automatically send and receive data over the internet when traveling abroad (meaning outside the geographical coverage area of his home network). For example, should you travel beyond your cell phone company’s transmitter range, your device would automatically hop onto another phone company’s service, if available.

Which speed for which use ?

To send and receive data over the internet around the world, you can use 3 main type of devices to connect to a cellular network: smartphone, pocket wifi (mobile hotspot) or USB-modem key. You can then get the following speeds:

– in 2G (EDGE/GPRS/GSM) up to 236 Kbps: OK for chat, email and web browsing

– in 3G (DC-HSPA+/HSPA+/HSPA/UMTS) up to 42 Mbps: good for google maps, Facebook, Skype audio call

– in 4G (LTE) up to 150 Mbps: good for YouTube, video call

Is your device compatible for data roaming ?

To connect to any type of local cellular network across the world, your device needs to be compliant with the following frequencies :

– quad-band in 2G: 1900/1800/900/850 MHz

– penta-band in 3G: B1(2100) / B2(1900) / B4(AWS 1700/2100) / B5(850) / B8(900) MHz

– multi-band in 4G : 2600/2100/1800/900/800/850 MHz

With a both 2G quad-band & 3G penta-band device, you’re set to roam across all countries in the world with the best possible coverage. It is important to check the frequencies of your device before traveling abroad.

Now, what is a bill shock ?

When a customer comes back home after some data roaming abroad , he usually undergoes a bill shock due to very expensive (crazy) roaming rates from his traditional carrier. Then, when he travels abroad again, he usually becomes a silent roamer. More than 80% of travelers don’t use anymore data roaming when abroad, a real paradox while, abroad more than ever, travelers need to stay connected to get directions, use travel apps, social sharing, emails, VOIP calls, messaging…

So why data roaming cost so much ?

Well, your home carrier partners with foreign carriers around the world (usually through bilateral agreements). This partnership allows subscribers to stay connected abroad.  The home carrier buy a yearly/semestral bundle of data to that foreign carrier, usually at a very high cost. Carrier’s profit margin can be crazy and reach up to +1 000 000 % ! That is usually the case when you pay more than 10 EUR/MB. Data roaming has one of the highest margins of any industry in the world.

Now that you have the basics and want to stay connected across the world, check our unlimited data pass. No more bill shock !