Why Cellular Roaming is expensive

Using your cell phone outside of your home network is convenient, but can be very expensive

Why is this?

As a cellular phone user, you have an account with some service provider and have committed to spend a certain amount of money each month for an extended period of time. This service provider is your HOME NETWORK provider. Your account agreement sets the price per minute for using your service provider's network and services.

One of the great features of today's cellular network is that your cell phone can operate as a VISITOR on compatible networks through out the world. Connecting to a network other than your HOME NETWORK is called ROAMING.

ROAMING is convenient, but it is an extra fee service. This fee covers the costs of setting up and maintaining a business relationship and interconnection path between the VISITED NETWORK and your HOME NETWORK.

  • The business relationship assures the VISITED network operator payment by your HOME network operator of all cost you incur while on the VISITED network.
  • The Interconnection path assures that calls to your phone are rerouted to the VISITED network.

Although cellular operators do incur extra expenses in providing you with a ROAMING service, they often charge very high fees, typically in excess of $1.00 per minute no matter if you are making or receiving even a local call, just for the privilege of ROAMING. To that you must add international toll charges, so when a person in the US calls your US cellular number when you are in Italy, your cost can be as high as $2.00 per minute or more.

An example of how high these costs can be is highlighted in this article to Europeans traveling within Europe.

(c) 2008 RSN