This type of roaming refers to the ability of moving from one region to another region inside national coverage of the mobile operator: users roam moving from one region of a country to another, without switching carriers in the process.
National Roaming: users roam moving from carrier A to carrier B inside the same country while still being a subscriber with carrier A, although this is something they may not want to do, or if they’re doing it they may be unaware of it happening.
For commercial and regulatory reasons (e.g. license reasons), this type of roaming is not allowed unless under very specific circumstances and under regulatory scrutiny. For example. When a new company is assigned a mobile telephony license, to create a more competitive market by allowing the new entrant to offer coverage comparable to that of established operators (by requiring the existing operators to allow roaming while the new entrant has time to build up its own network).
This type of roaming refers to the ability to move to a foreign service provider’s network. Broadly speaking, international roaming mostly use the GSM standard, as it is used by over 80% of the world’s mobile operators. However, even then, some countries have allocated different frequency bands for GSM communications (there are two groups of countries: most GSM countries use 900/1800 MHz, but some other countries have allocated 850/1900 MHz): for a phone to work in a country with a different frequency allocation, it must support one or both of that country’s frequencies, and thus it has to be a triband or a quadband phone.
Inter Standard Roaming refers to roaming between two standards. i.e. GSM standard and CDMA standard (widely used in USA or in the Far East, for example).
A number of the standards making industry bodies have come together to define and achieve interoperability between the technologies as a means to achieve inter-standards roaming.
This is when the signal from a mobile phone is picked up by a different network without your knowledge. This can occur close to an international boundary, for example the border between two nations. If this happens, the customer will probably have to pay higher call charges and he will also be charged for receiving calls as if they came from outside his country.
In many cases, differences in frequencies used for mobile devices or existing geographical barriers eliminate the occurrence of accidental roaming. However, where a border is divided by a street or river, for example, this is much harder. Some operators offer competitive roaming packages for mobile users in these zones and are continuing to invest in technical measures to eliminate inadvertent roaming in narrow border zones.
Permanent roaming describes a situation where a device is permanently connected in a country other than its nominal ‘home’ territory, as defined by the Mobile Country Code of its IMSI. It relies on its operator’s roaming partner(s) for connectivity.
This becomes possible because of the increasing popularity and availability of “free roaming” service plan, where there is no cost difference between on and off network usage. The benefits of getting service from a mobile phone operator that is not local to a user can include cheaper rates, or features and phones that are not available on their local mobile phone operator, or to get to a particular mobile phone operator’s network to get free calls to other customers of that mobile phone operator through a free unlimited mobile to mobile feature. Most mobile phone operator discourage or prohibit permanent roaming since they must pay per minute rates to the network operator their customer is roaming onto to, while they can not pass that extra cost onto customers.
According to BEREC (the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications), permanent roaming raises questions on “fair” and “unfair” usage, therefore it should be addressed by commercial negotiations between the parties involved, considering e.g.:
- The length of a single stay within the country
- The length of multiple stays within the country during one year
- The average pattern of voice calls (80% of voice calls of a typical roamer are back home, whereas 80% of calls are local in case of a domestic use of mobile services)
- A maximum of the total number of MVNO SIMs being used within one country.
- The prior knowledge of the visited network of the use of permanent roaming by the home network.