Watch out for Mobile Roaming Charges

Every mobile phone user knows that if calls are made or received while in a roaming zone, the user will probably get billed for it. Yes, many plans have a 'no roaming cost' clause, but listed in the fine print of those contracts is a limitation of roaming coverage. Sometimes a no-restriction notation doesn't mean 'always free.' What it means in actuality is that your provider has included in its monthly bill an escrow override to cover roaming costs: Once you exceed that amount, you could get billed additional amounts. But how does your mobile phone provider know when you are in a roaming area? Aren't the larger networks national?
The immediate answer to that question includes both 'yes' and 'no.' The top carriers in most countries do have coverage across the country in question. However, that doesn't mean every one has proprietary towers and authorized coverage areas in every corner of the country: Sometimes, mobile coverage providers lease from each other.

Excluding dead zones and physical barriers between a mobile phone and satellites or towers, through one carrier or another, most of the geographic area of developed countries form a comprehensive coverage picture. If you live in or travel through areas in which your carrier has its own towers, your mobile plan applies: In-network stipulations are determined by your network plan. If you travel out of your carrier's area, you can still use your mobile phone, but your signal isn't travelling along your carrier's equipment. Your carrier will lease another carrier's equipment to continue your call. That cost, plus a surcharge, is included in roaming charges you incur.

As your mobile phone moves through a coverage area, the radio signal, for that's precisely what a mobile phone is – a hand-held radio that operates at specific frequencies – is relayed from tower to tower, satellite to satellite. Your home network relays via and to those towers and satellites the basic message, “This is one of ours; we authorize use of frequency ranges A, B, C., etc.,” where A, B, and C are the numerical entries next to “GSM,” and “CDMA,” “HSUPA,” and HSDPA” in mobile phone specifications.

Between the ranges your mobile phone can use and the equipment those service providers use, minus those dead zone and structural barrier areas, you can travel from a home carrier zone to a roaming zone and to a different home carrier zone, all on the same phone call – if you stay awake that long.

The signal your mobile phone – a.k.a., radio – is transferred from one tower to the next in line, based on signal strength: As you signal weakens from the last tower, it gets stronger from the next one in line. When the upcoming tower's signal is stronger than the departing one, the satellite switches transmitting and receipt control to the upcoming tower.If that upcoming tower belongs to another network, a roaming-signal designation will appear on your mobile phone display until you leave that roaming zone, regardless of how many primary towers you use until that happens. Meanwhile, the new network is 'billing' your own carrier for your use of their equipment, bringing us back to how you incur roaming charges on your mobile phone bill.

Author Bio:
This article was written by Chloe Parker, who works for - one of the leading UK mobile phone sites. Click here to visit the site anc check out Chloe's work in the News section.
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