THE ROAMING ZONE FAQ:
A: There is a word or indicator on the screen of your phone. Indicators can be a (triangle) or an "R", words may appear that say "Roam" or "Extended Network". Sometimes the name of the network you are roaming on appears.
Q: What is Roaming?
A: Cellular Roaming allows mobile wireless customers to automatically receive service when they are outside of the area covered by their "home" provider's network. Mobile wireless service providers enter into roaming agreements with each other so that their customers will be able roam and receive service automatically, regardless of their location. The FCC has recognized the importance of roaming for mobile consumers and requires mobile wireless service operators to provide automatic voice roaming. In 2011, the FCC adopted rules requiring facilities-based providers of commercial mobile data services to offer data roaming arrangements to other such providers on commercially reasonable terms and conditions, subject to certain limitations. Also, while there are agreements between carriers based in the US with those in foreign countries, those agreements are not as favorable as they are within the US.
Q: How do I call someone who is Roaming in another state or country?
A: You just call their normal cell number. If their phone is on while roaming, their cellular carrier will have a record of where they are and your call will be routed appropriately.
Q: What does a flashing Roam indicator tell me?
A: Flashing normally tells you you are roaming on a "friendly" system and should mean you won't receive any roaming charges. A solid indicator could mean you may receive charges unless your wireless plan includes free roaming.
Q: My plan includes "No Roaming Charges". Can I ignore any roaming indicators?
A: Usually, yes. However all plans are not equal, so you need to ask your carrier what kind of roaming will cause extra charges. Most phones won't roam on systems that will produce charges, but that is not universally true.
Q: My phone says I'm Roaming. How do I know what network it's using?
A: The easiest way is to enter an invalid phone number, like "1234" and try to make a call. The system should return a recorded error message that may include their name or a number that identifies their SID. You might also check among your Display options. There should be a menu selection for "Network" or "Other Information". Most phones will show an "SID" number there. Compare that to our SID List to see what system you are using. Some phones show the network name on the screen.
Q. How do I call back to the US when Roaming outside the country?
A: Normally, you enter the same sequence of numbers the locals use to make international calls. In some cases you add a "01" or a "001" before the US Area Code and number. There is a short cut for most GSM phone users (AT&T, T-Mobile, etc), by entering a "+" before the country code of the number (the country code for Us and Canada is "1"). The foreign system figures out the roaming codes automatically, but you still must make sure you enter the country code (1) for US numbers. Unless you have these codes programmed into your phone book, none of your entries, including the voice mail button, will work.
Q. Will I be charged long distance in addition to the per-minute roaming rate?
A: Normally, calls you make or receive while roaming internationally are charged at the per-minute voice roaming rate, with no additional long distance charges.
Q. How am I charged for Voice Mail calls while roaming internationally?
A: Voice mail calls are charged the same as any call to the US.
A: Yes, most cruise lines offer roaming service for their passengers, but since the connection is satellite-based, it is not cheap. While the ship is supposed to turn off their satellite roaming facilities within 3 miles of an foreign country, be careful that your call is being delivered by the right roaming carrier, and not the ship's.
Q. Can I access data services while traveling abroad?
A: Text Messaging is typically available in all countries. Picture, video messaging, GPRS data and mobile broadband have become universally available in most deleveloped countries.
Q. Do I still have the same data usage limits when I travel outside the US?
A: Most likely, yes. However, if you have an unlimited data plan, limits may be different while roaming..
Q. How do I minimize my charges when I use Cellular Data outside the U.S.?
A: Smart phones have many robust applications, so it's natural for users to transfer more data on their smart phones than they would using other handsets or PDA devices. If you're not sure foreign data roaming is included in your plan, we offer the following tips to keep your bill predictable:
A: First, try calling "611". In many cases the roaming carrier forwards your call to your home system without charge. Failing that, your home carrier also has a regular (non-800) number that does not incur any per-minute charges. Look for these online or before you leave. The number for Verizon Wireless is +1 908 559 4899.