Data roaming: What it is & how it works?

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When it comes to talking about data roaming, or simply roaming, as known by many people, we are talking about a feature that allows subscribers to get internet in different places around the world. Even though there’s no local coverage for your cellphone to use, customers will still be able to go online thanks to the roaming feature.

Therefore, it is necessary for buyers to keep in mind what data roaming is, how it works, and other important features of this service.


How does the roaming service work?

Let’s talk about how the data roaming service works to begin with. As for now, this can be used in three different ways:

  1. Roaming in a specific country while traveling.
  2. Roaming while going on a cruise ship or similar.
  3. Flight-roaming services.

Even though there are three ways to get roaming services, here we will focus on roaming in a specific country. It’s important to know about this because when traveling, time spent on land is definitely more than on a flight or a cruise ship.

So, let’s discuss what there is to know about roaming a bit more to help out travelers understand how this will work and where they can use it. 

How much does the data roaming cost for travelers?

When using the roaming service, it is important to remember that the rates will vary a lot depending on the provider people are using. Not all cellular carriers will have the same prices, which is important to remember.

This is important to keep in mind, especially because there’s more than just data roaming. People need to remember that if needed, they can also use the service to make phone calls or send text messages, which, of course, will have a different rate.

By keeping all of this in mind, travelers can prepare their budgets before traveling. But what’s more important about this is that users need to be really careful when using this service, or they can end up spending a lot more money than initially predicted.

Roaming rates: How much it costs for different cellular operators?

For customers to get an idea of how much they can spend when using the roaming service, some information will help them understand more about this. Here’s a list of different cellular companies that offer data roaming services worldwide.

Cellular Operator/CountryDestinations AvailableData Roaming Price
AT&T USA 210 destinations10$/Day
T-Mobile USA215 destinations85$/5GB a month
Verizon USA+210 countries10$/Day
Three UK71 countries$3 Europe/Day – $6 Worldwide/Day
O2 UK 103 destinations 7$/Day
Rogers Canada Over 185 destinations15$/Day
Telstra AustraliaOver 70 countries$5/10/10 per day, depending on the Traveling Zone
Optus Australia+100 destinations$10/Day 
Table 1: Data roaming plans and rates by the operator and by country

As seen in the list, there are different prices depending on each company. So, let’s talk a bit about this.

  • Some operators will vary the rate according to the place where the user is traveling.
  • The roaming rates are activated after traveling, by default.
  • People can deactivate the data roaming if needed through the cellphone settings.
  • Some carriers have a daily limit that can’t be exceeded, or the customer will be charged an additional fee.
  • Roaming must be deactivated when not in use to avoid extra charges.

As for some providers located within Europe, they let their customers travel using their local data allowance. But this is something users need to check out before traveling to avoid extra charges. Of course, this is something only offered by companies like O2 or Three, not by companies that are outside the European zone.

How does the grouping work with roaming services?

Some cellular companies offer customers the opportunity to travel to certain areas for more or less money. This is due to the existence of roaming zones, which allow splitting the price of the roaming service in certain places. Even though all cellular companies do not do this, it is something that’s worth keeping in mind.

To get to know more about this, we’ll Optus as an example. The Australian operator offers their roaming service, but they also split it into different countries to allow users to have more control over their budget.

It is important to mention the fact that people need to verify how much roaming services will cost at the location or destination where they’re travelling to. Also, Optus is not the only one with roaming zones; there are other carriers with data roaming services that offer this feature as well.

How can people activate the roaming service?

One of the biggest questions customers may have on their minds comes with how they can activate the roaming service on their cellphones or smartphones. This is something that will vary from one company to another, and it is something important to keep in mind.

For example, companies like Three or O2 only require for their customers to activate the roaming option through the cellphone settings, and that’s it. On the other hand, providers like Verizon or even Vodafone, which are other major carriers within Europe, require that their subscribers complete the process through their website.

Therefore, it is important for people to check how the company they use enables the roaming service. And it’s also important to keep this in mind at the end of the trip, as in some cases, it is needed to deactivate the service through a website as well.

Roaming rates with an eSIM: How expensive is it?

Nowadays, one of the main alternatives for people to use when traveling comes with international eSIMs. There’s no doubt this has become a major feature for plenty of travelers, especially because eSIMs have become quite easy to buy. But that’s not everything that has made the virtual SIM card important, as other features are also worth noting.

The thing with eSIMs is that the buyer will need a cellphone, smartphone or device that is compatible with these digital chips. Basically, without an eSIM compatible cellphone, consumers won’t be able to use one. But if the buyer does have this device, they can use different eSIMs, such as local alternatives coming from a cellular provider or from a carrier such as Holafly.

By keeping this in mind, the question is how good is the eSIM from Holafly. Currently, it is one of the major players in the communications industries offering this service with good coverage, an excellent price, and fast delivery. 

Roaming vs. eSIM: Which one works better?

Accessible PriceYesNo
Coverage QualityYesYes/No
Unlimited InternetYesYes/No
Extra ChargesNoYes
Internet SharingYes/NoYes/No
Easiness to UseYesYes
Table 2. eSIM vs. Roaming comparison

One of the major features of an eSIM is that consumers won’t spend more money than expected. This is because when someone decides to buy an eSIM, they choose the eSIM that will suit them better for their trip.

It is important to mention that, depending on the destination, there’s the possibility of getting unlimited cellular data. This will depend on the provider, so it is important to check out what their eSIM carrier offers when buying one for traveling.

Alternatives for travelers to avoid data roaming

When traveling, most want to save some money. Of course, when using roaming from a cellular operator, chances are this won’t happen. Therefore, other alternatives such as Pocket WiFi devices, free WiFi hotspots, or eSIMs can help you to stay connected when traveling around the world!

For us, the eSIM is the best alternative to use instead of the data roaming service. And a perfect recommendation for this one is the Holafly eSIM, which works in over 160 different destinations and allows travelers to buy one wherever they are in a matter of seconds. But what’s best about the Holafly eSIM is undoubtedly the price and the amount of data that comes included.

Advantages of the Holafly eSIM

  • The Holafly eSIM works in over 160 destinations and offers different data plans for each one.
  • Customer service is not only available in English; it is also available in over 5 different languages.
  • Users don’t need to pay a monthly subscription when using the Holafly eSIM.
  • There are unlimited data plans for certain destinations.
  • Travelers can buy the eSIM whenever they prefer; it can be before or while traveling.
  • There’s stable coverage in the destinations where the eSIM works.

With the Holafly eSIM, there’s nothing to worry about when traveling!

How to make proper use of roaming when traveling

Before traveling

Before you go on your trip, there are some things for you to check beforehand. First of all, make sure that the provider you are using offers a roaming service. If it does, check if there’s a data plan included for travelers with the one you are using. That way, you can worry less about needing cellular data and enjoy more about adventuring.

Also, people need to check that their cellphone allows them to use the roaming feature. If it doesn’t, then the cellular connection won’t work when traveling abroad.

While on the trip

When traveling, you must confirm how much data you spend to know how much you have left to use. Some companies allow their customers to set a daily limit, but others don’t, and that can end up in unexpected extra charges.

Also, customers should take advantage of free WiFi hotspots in order to save more cellular data for more important occasions.

eSIM: The best alternative to avoid using roaming

Most people want to have an internet connection when traveling abroad. That’s why using a roaming service is not the best idea due to how much it can cost. But on the other hand, eSIM is a great alternative for travelers who don’t want to spend a lot of money.

But what’s most important in this case is to use a reliable eSIM, such as the Holafly eSIM, which provides the following features:

  • No surprise charges when using the eISM.
  • There’s no need to change your phone number.
  • There are different data plans available for travelers to use.
  • People can buy as many eSIMs as they prefer.
  • The purchase process is completed within a few seconds.
  • Easy to activate through a QR code.
  • There’s no waiting time as the QR code is delivered through email.

Thanks to all of these advantages, customers have a new way to travel and stay connected with ease. It is simple to use, an efficient service, and it’s very helpful for travelers!

Frequently Asked Questions about data roaming

Is there a difference between the different roaming rates?

Yes. The roaming rates differ according to the service people are using. For example, cellular data is more expensive than making a phone call while abroad, so that’s something to keep in mind.

Is there a different type of roaming?

Yes. Even though roaming is known for being a service that works internationally, there are some companies that actually have a domestic roaming alternative, but that’s something that travelers don’t have to worry much about.

How much can people spend when using roaming while traveling?

This will all depend on the provider that tourists are using when traveling. Some companies charge $10 per day, which means that on a 10-day trip, people would have spent $100 just to get an internet connection.

Is there a way to manage roaming from a cellphone?

Yes. Even though some people might think that once the roaming is activated, it can’t be deactivated, it can be managed through the cell phone settings in order to avoid extra charges when traveling.

Is it easy to activate the roaming service?

This will mostly depend on the cellular operator you are using. Some companies simply require customers to activate the roaming option located in the “Mobile/Cellular Data” menu, while some others require their service to be activated through a website.

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