International Roaming is a service offered by mobile phone operators that allows users of mobile phones to use their phones abroad. As mobile phone operators in the UK do not always have a network in other Countries, roaming is the term that is used when you are using another Countries mobile network. In the past few years mobile phone users have been charged ‘rip off' prices to make International roaming calls. Apart from extremely high prices for making calls users of mobile phones abroad have in effect been ‘double billed' where not only there is a charge for the person who makes the call but also the overseas recipient is paying as well. For examples the charges for receiving a call in the UK could be as high as £1.80 per minute and £1.40 per minute for making a call. Even sending a text message could be as high as 99p on some networks.
Both the regulator of mobile phones in the UK Ofcom and the European Commission has been looking into these charges for many years in order to come up with a solution to save consumers money.
From summer 2007 the European Commission announced the introduction of Eurotariff which has made roaming charges considerably cheaper within the European Union. Eurotariff set limits on the prices that mobile phone operators can charge for calls both made and received in Countries that are within the European Union. For mobile calls made abroad from summer 2008 the price is set at 46 cents per minute and for calls received is set at 22 cents per minute. (All prices in Euros) The prices set are gradually decreasing from 2007 to 2009. All mobile phone operators within the European Union are legally obliged to offer the Eurotariff. By contacting you mobile provider they will let you know how much you will pay to make and receive calls from abroad.
Although the new Eurotariff has made roaming charges significantly cheaper in the EU there is another option for users of mobile phones that travel outside the EU and want to reduce their roaming charges further. Also this other option will also reduce prices further than the Eurotariff.
By purchasing an International or Global SIM card, mobile users can reduce their roaming charges by up to as much as 85% in comparison to current roaming charges. An International SIM would be used instead of a standard SIM in any mobile that is unlocked for use on all Networks. If mobile have not already been purchased as SIM free then they can be unlocked via either the network provider or via most mobile retailers at a small charge. Using an International SIM to make a call from abroad starts from as little as 25p a minute in over 100 Countries Worldwide. To receive calls in over 50 Countries around the World is completely free of charge. To send a text message starts from as little as 20p in comparison with most standard networks charging as much as 49p - 69p. The examples and prices given relate to UK mobile phones however Global or International SIM cards are also available to buy in other Countries Worldwide.
by Steve Roper