Free Wireless Roaming – the Wave of the Future?
There was a time, not so long ago, that wireless roaming used to cost an arm and a leg. Much like most other things relating to cell phones used to be a lot more expensive.
These days, however, with more carriers competing for the same market, all of the carriers out there have had to sweeten the deal to keep their existing clients, and to win new ones, and in many cases, that means free services, including roaming.
There are still costs involved in international roaming, but in many cases, wireless roaming alerts have become free. This isn’t always the case though, so how do you know if your cell phone carrier offers this free service?
What Is Roaming?
Before we confuse the issue here, let’s clear up what roaming actually means.
Roaming is quite simply, using a cell phone tower that is not owned by your cell phone provider. So, for instance, if you are a Sprint client, but you’re in an area where Verizon has a stronger signal, your phone will automatically use the network with the strongest signal.
Who Decides About Roaming?
None of the major carriers has perfect coverage, so it stands to reason that somewhere, each of them will have areas with limited coverage, where their clients can’t get proper signal strength. Another carrier may cover that area a lot better. So, in the interests of keeping their clients happy, the carriers arrange roaming deals, where their clients can use each other’s towers when necessary.
What About the Cost
As I mentioned at the start of this article, in most cases, roaming used to cost around thirty or forty a cents per minute, and there were costs for texting and other services too.
Some carriers, however, are opting to make this service free, albeit in some cases in limited volumes, to their clients. The only way to tell for sure whether your carrier is one of those, is to ask them, or read their roaming policy if they have one.
Can You Avoid the Cost?
If your carrier is not one of those who have decided to allow you free roaming, then you will probably need to do something to avoid the extra costs of the service, which can quickly add up! A bill that you thought would be low can suddenly become hundreds of dollars if you’re not careful.
Usually, your cell phone will alert you when you are using roaming, and some even have a function where you can ‘block’ roaming. This does mean that there will be times when you may not get signal, because your carrier’s coverage is poor, but it can save you a bundle in cell phone bills!
The best advice, if you have not signed a contract with a carrier, but you plan to, and if you are likely to use a service like roaming often, is to find one of the carriers that offer free roaming, and sign up with them.
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