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International Roaming Glossary

We wrote this short glossary to help you understand our products and what roaming is, we hope the glossary and explanations are interesting and enlightening and if you think there is words, or concepts we should write more about in depth please contact international Roaming Advisor

3G is the third generation mobile phone technology, It's part of the speed of the network, and 3G networks allows faster download of data, and sometimes even video calls. See mobile data for more information.

Activate Roaming
Some mobile operators, need you to activate roaming before your go abroad, this is usually because roaming charges are high and then need to ensure your credit rating on your subscription allows you to use your mobile abroad. Roaming is usually activated by calling your operator.

American Roaming
Roaming in the United States is notoriously high, as the US mobile operators have high charges when roaming on their network, to find the best roaming solution for roaming in the US.

Auto-top up, or Automatic top-up
Some providers of roaming SIMS offer this convenient solution when using their SIM card, so you won't run out of credit while on an important call.

See Call Credit.

Business Roaming Agreement
Businesses with high volume usage and high number of travellers can receive benefits form using one supplier of roaming SIM cards, contact our business roaming department to get consultancy on roaming for your business

Business Roaming Rates
When having more than 10 users travelling the world, it's possible to negotiate business roaming rates contact our business roaming department for prices for your company.

Call Back
Used to describe how a call is made, a normal call is called Direct call, and call back is when you make the call, either initiated via the web, text message, or via a call that's terminated immediately, and then your receive a call rather than making the direct call.

Caller ID
The number of the Caller, also called the caller identification or the calling number identification, also described as a telephone number.


Code division multiple access is a radio network technology like GSM.

Cellular Roaming
The Same as mobile roaming.

Compare Roaming
We compare roaming charges, both for inbound, outbound, text messages and for data roaming, see our roaming comparison feature to find out the perfect roaming SIMS.

Conference Call
Some Roaming SIM cards offer conference calling with their service, a conference call is where the initiator, the person setting up the call can invite more people to join in on a call, this could be an international conference call with people form different countries meeting in a conference call.

Country Calling Code
Each country has it's own international number for identification on the network, we have a country calling code tool to locate what country have which international country calling code


Credit means the amount you have left on your account, we suggest using auto-top up to avoid running out of credit while on a call.

Customer Service
Customer service is important, it's what makes a difference in the product, we recommend that you read the reviews and comments that other users have left about customers service for the company we review. We have tested all the companies we deal with and rated their customer service, click here to read the reviews of different roaming sim providers.

Data Roaming
Data Roaming happens when a subscriber is roaming and using data services such as Internet access, data transfer or text messages. Read more about data roaming.

Data Roaming Charges
Charges occurred when using mobile data, while on a foreign network, these charges can be very high but it's possible to get specific data roaming contracts, see data roaming

Direct Dial-In (DDI)
Another name for Direct Inbound Dialling, we often use the phrase dial-through or direct dial rather than the full sentence. This is meant as a call that's direct, i.e. you call a number and then get connected to that number directly without being transferred through different routes or systems, this is often the highest quality connection, but also often the most expensive.

Direct Inbound Dialing (DID)
This is meant as a call that is directly connected to the caller, as opposed to call-back. i.e. you call a number and then get connected to that number directly without being transferred through different routes or systems, this is often the highest quality connection and often the most expensive.

Dual Band GSM Phone
Dual band, Quad band and Tri band, are all part of the GSM network standards for how many radio frequency bands a mobile phone can handle, check with your operators, or your mobile handset producer which radio frequencies your handset supports, most modern handsets supports tri-band.

US, Canada, Latin America support the 850 Mhz band and the 1900 MHz band
Europe, Brazil, Asia excl Japan and S. Korea uses the 900MHz band
Europe and Brazil uses the 1800 MHz Band

Dual Sim
Dual SIM is used to do more than one SIM card, now a days there are many phone models on the market, mainly for use in China, and where roaming nationally can be very high. It's not often live and means you have two inbound numbers that's live and ready to accept calls, there is also SIM splitters, and dual SIM cables and dual SIM tool kits. See our Roaming Accessories for more items

Dual SIM Cables
These are cables used to replicate, or to add a multiple SIM card to your current phone, so you can make calls using two different SIM cards.

Dual SIM Phones
Dual SIM phones are used to describe a mobile telephone that can hold more than one SIM card, there were a few of these phones on the market, but in present days more and more cell phones are released on the market, mainly for use in China, and where roaming nationally can be very high.

Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution (EDGE), Enhanced General Packet Radio Switching (EGPRS) See Mobile Data

Eliminate Roaming Charge
This is what aims to do, at least to give an advice on roaming, so that you'll have the lowest roaming costs.

EU legislation
See Eurotariff

EU Regulation On Roaming
See Eurotariff

EU roaming
When roaming within the European Union, the European Commission have set some guidelines as to what the operators are allowed to charge for roaming see eurotariff.

European Union
The European Union.

The European Union's recommended prices for roaming within the European union, read more about the eurotariff.

Free Inbound Calls
When roaming on a different network from your home network, you often occur charges for using a different network, however some roaming SIM providers and networks allows you to receive calls free of charge, use our roaming SIM comparison table to find out where you can receive free inbound calls. Some operators are using an access number which the caller pays a premium for, such as Icelandic mobile numbers or other premium numbers, so the caller pays to call you and you receive free inbound roaming calls.

Free Roaming
Often misunderstood, and most often it refers to receiving roaming calls free of charge, use our roaming SIM comparison table to find out where you can receive free inbound roaming calls

General Packet Radio Service is another slower form of mobile data access, surpassed by EDGE, 3G, UMTS, HSDPA see Mobile data.


Global System for Mobile communication, it's the most popular mobile standard and forms part of why international roaming is possible, as more than 212 countries allow GSM access.

GSM Data
See Mobile Data

The mobile phone or the PDA or Blackberry or Smart phone.

Holiday SIM
Another word for roaming SIM, travel SIM, or SIM card for travelling see Roaming SIM.

Home Network
The network that you are subscribed to or the network your pay as your go telephone belongs to, also called the Operator, or network operator.

High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) is a protocol for mobile data, and supports download speed up to 14.4 Mbit/s using your mobile, it's a 3G or third generation protocol, and it is available in most metropolitan areas.

Inbound Roaming Calls
Is a phrase often used when discussing or describing roaming, roaming is depending on being available on a different network and hence can generate charges for inbound roaming calls as two providers or operators is taking a fee for the calls, with inbound roaming calls, we mean the call received when on a different network than your home network.

Initial Credit
Some providers offer initial credit on your roaming SIM, this is the credit.

International access code
An international access code is the code used to determine which country you are making a call to, often when roaming you can't use all your contacts in your phone book and may have to add the international calling code in front of the number i.e. +44 for United Kingdom. See our international access code table

International Calling Prefix
An international calling prefix is the same as the international number or the international access code, you can use our International Calling Prefix table to find out which international Calling prefix to use.

International Calls
International calls is when you make a call from one country to another, we suggest using when making international calls from your land-line. international calls from your landline.

International Conference Call
An international conference call is where users from more than one country is participating in a conference call.

International GSM Roaming Service
Same as GSM.

International Mobile
Used as an expression for mobile phones that work on several networks.

International Number
Each country has it's own international number for identification on the network, we have a country calling code tool to locate what country have which international number.

International Number Format
Each country has it's own international number formats, also called Telephone Numbering plans, some countries for identification on the network, we have a country calling code tool to locate what country have which international number format.

International Roaming
International Roaming happens when a mobile phone subscription is being serviced by a network other than the network to which the subscription was created. For most subscribers this means that, Mobile Roaming is experienced when travelling, and using the mobile telephone abroad, that's why it is called international roaming.

International SIM
Another popular name for roaming SIMS, travel SIMS, or SIM cards for travel, the term is also used for SIM cards that we call local SIM cards which are cards you buy in one country but are local to another country.

International SIM Card
Another name for roaming SIM, travel SIM, and holiday SIM cards, see roaming SIM for the best description.

International SMS
International SMS, means an sms that's sent from one country to another. We recommend for sending international sms via your pc See SMS.

Inter-Standards Roaming
Used to describe roaming between two standards, commonly used to describe roaming between the more widely available GSM network and CDMA network.

JAVA Application
Java applications are small programs run on your phone, written on the programming language JAVA, it can run with very little processing power and are ideal for adding to roaming SIMS and roaming solutions, also it can add extra features such as topping up and checking credit.

Java Program
See Java Application

Landline Number
Also Called Fixed line number and home telephone number, this is a number best described as a geographical number which belongs to a fixed line, in the country of origin.

Local Network
This is the network where your mobile phone belongs to, i.e. O2, orange, or Verizon etc.

Local Number
Is the same as a landline number and a geographical number.

Local SIM
As opposed to a Roaming SIM, a local SIM is a SIM card that made for use in one country, i.e. Canada, these can be useful in some countries where roaming costs are very high, however they are limited and give you a local mobile number in the country you are roaming.

MMS Multi Media Messaging Service
MMS is like MMS a system for sending messages via your phone, MMS can include files such as pictures, audio, video and rich text, most roaming SIM providers do not allow Multimedia messages to be sent using their cards, all MMS are normally charged more than a standard SMS, and in some cases they also incur a data charge.

Mobile Data
Is a term we use to describe a data connection between your mobile carrier and the handset, there are several types of access, GRPS, HSDPA, EDGE etc. All these are protocols must be supported by your handset to receive mobile data, the different protocols depends on the network and availability. Check your mobile roaming SIM if it supports mobile data, or find a roaming SIM that supports data roaming. See also Push e-mail for the Blackberry standard for receiving emails.

Mobile Network
Is the GSM network that works to connect your mobile to the radio network and further to your destination.

Mobile Operating System
Mobiles have different operating systems, and there are many operating systems in use today, Nokia have several series of Operating systems such as Series 40 and series 60, and Symbian, where iPhone have apple's mobile system, and Smart phones have Windows mobile, such as HTC and other PDA's, Blackberry have their own operating system and Google have also built a mobile operating system, and there are many more Mobile OS's. The mobile OS matters for roaming SIMS as some OS's are not supported by applications and some OS's do not support dual SIMS, and other settings, as rule of thumb if your phone is new i.e. post 2006, and is unlocked it's more than likely it will work. However the Apple iPhone is not yet unlocked and available to accept roaming SIMS.

Mobile Phone
See handset.

Mobile Unlocking
Most roaming SIMS require your mobile to be unlocked and on our mobile unlocking page you can see a list of mobile unlocking services.

National Roaming
National roaming is different from international roaming, it's when a mobile phone is moving to a region, other then the region where the subscription was made, this is like regional roaming in India, and most often used in large countries where different regions occurs different charges while roaming nationally within a country but in different regions of the country.

National SIM
See local SIM.

See Mobile network.

Network Handover
When a mobile goes from one network to another seamlessly.

No Roaming Charge
See Free Roaming.

Number Origin
The place or network the mobile number originates from, i.e. an international calling code such as +44 see our table of Calling Codes to find out where a number comes from.

See Mobile network.

Overseas SIM Card
Like travel SIM, holiday SIM Overseas SIM card is used to describe a roaming SIM.

Pre Pay
See Prepay.

Prepaid Roaming SIM
Same as a Roaming SIM, but paid in advance for call credit. See roaming SIM.

Means Paying in advance for credit, see credit.

Push Email
A service from RIM (Research in Motion), that allows you to receive emails when they are sent, rather than when you ask your phone to pick them up. Work on Blackberry and Blackberry enabled devices.

Quality of Calls
Calls can be of various quality, this is most often down to the bandwidth used to support the call, the lesser the bandwidth the more chances there are that a call can be noisy and cracking or even get disconnected, this is often the case when using VoIP (Voice over IP), or certain call back services, we test the roaming SIMS we review and report if we find the call quality to be low or poor. See VoIP.

Receiving Calls
See inbound calls.

Regional Roaming
Regional roaming is different from mobile roaming, it's when a mobile phone is moving to a region, other then the region where the subscription was made, this is like national roaming in India, and most often used in large countries where different regions occurs different charges while roaming nationally within a country but in different regions of the country.

Roaming happens when a mobile phone subscription is being serviced by a network other than the network to which the subscription was created.
The basic definition of Roaming was formulated when the standards for mobile telephony (GSM) were laid down, and defines Roaming as "the ability for a mobile / cellular customer to automatically make and receive voice calls, send and receive data, or access other services, including home data services, when traveling outside the geographical coverage area of the home network, by means of using a visited network."

Roaming Accessories
We have a range of Roaming Accessories, such as dual SIM cables, roaming charge checking, rate alerts, and SIM free phones, and how to unlock your mobile.

Roaming Agreement
An agreement in place between two operators, to allow subscribers from each service to roam on each network.

Roaming Agreements
See Roaming agreement.

Roaming Call
A call made while Roaming.

Roaming Card
Another word for Roaming SIM Card, See Roaming SIM.

Roaming Cell
Another word for Roaming SIM.

Roaming Charges
The charges occurred while you are on another network than your home network, these are non standard charges and you can check Roaming Charges here.

Roaming Chip
A phrase for roaming SIM card see roaming SIM.

Roaming Contract
A Contract on Roaming.

Roaming Fees
See Roaming Charges.

Roaming Network
The opposite of the home network, so the network you are roaming on.

Roaming SIM
A mobile SIM Card that enables the traveller to roam in other countries using their SIM card, a roaming SIM is for offering least cost routing and calls via call back and direct dial, for making savings both on inbound, outbound but also data, and sms charges while in a foreign country.

Roaming Tariffs
Special rates offered by Roaming SIM Providers to lower your roaming costs.

Roaming Technology
The technology behind roaming SIM cards, and how the call back, the direct dial and the connections and the sms call back is made.

SIM Card
A smart card called Subscriber Identity Module, also knows as SIM, it's used for mobile phones and securely store the IMSI, used to identify a subscriber.

SIM Card Backup
A device available in our mobile roaming accessory shop, that allows you to back up your SIM card and the contacts stored there.

SIM Card Cutters
A special cutter that can cut out SIM cards to the smallest size, often used for making dual SIM cables.

SIM Card Price
The SIM card price on is the price the provider charges for the roaming SIM.

Sim Toolkit
There is a lot of different types of SIM tool kit, most often it's features that allows you to go to specific places and bookmarks, or get GPRS setting or MMS setting on your mobile, but the SIM tool kit can be expanded and some of the roaming SIM card providers explore this and offer fantastic services on the SIM card.

Sim Card Replicator
A machine that can copy a SIM cards details and transfer the details to another SIM card.

Short Message Service, originally developed as an additional feature to support the network, now proven to be very popular for sending messages to each other, SMS messaging is simple and fast, but international SMS is more expensive and when roaming SMS messages can be even more expensive. See our Roaming Comparison Table for finding the cheapest SMS service while roaming.

See mobile operating system.

Telephone Numbering Plans
Each country has it's own telephone number plan, also called international telephone number format, we have a country calling code tool to locate what country have which international number format.

Text Message
A popular word for SMS, used mainly in the United kingdom, see SMS for more details.

See Auto top-up and topup features, some allow online top up where others require you to buy vouchers or top up via credit card on the phone.

Travel Phone
Sometimes used to describe a roaming sim and a less technical explanation of a roaming service.

Travel SIM
A popular and often used name for roaming SIM, see roaming SIM for more details.

Travel Telephone
A name used to describe a roaming SIM.

See Dual Band.

Unlocked Handset
All Roaming SIM cards require you to have an unlocked handset, unlocked handsets are available on our sim free handsets page or you can find out how to unlock your mobile.

Voice Mail
IVR system that records people messages when they call you and your are not available. See Voice Mail Abroad.

Voice Mail Abroad
Using your voice mail abroad, where you normally dial 901 form your mobile you will be given another number by your networks to get access to your voice mail, most operators charge you for receive voice mails while you are abroad, its recommended to change your voice mail from when you are home and setting it to direct to your mobile roaming SIM number.

Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP)
A protocol used to create data packets of sound and carry it via the internet protocol (IP), on broadband computers and when you have high bandwidth this can be almost as good as a direct call and you wont be able to hear the difference, but some providers or at peak times, then VoIP is not so reliable, and can cause metallic and robotic noises or event terminate the call. It's not always reliable for business calls and can make calls very frustrating and take much longer as you can't hear the other speaker. However VoIP offer low cost and sometimes free calls and can be a benefit when roaming and your data connection is fast reliable enough.

Wireless internet connection also called 802.11 a,b,c,d and g, which is a standard for carrying data via wireless in small areas.
More and more handsets support Wi-Fi now and allows you to connect to hotspots in e.g. hotels or airports, however these hotspots can be unreliable, and not always of the bandwidth required to carry on a conversation or make Voice over IP calls. There are a couple of JAVA Applications that allows you to make roaming calls this way, and allows you to do roaming, it's still in early stages and we are still investigating the providers and when we find a reliable VoIP JAVA applet that can be used on Wi-Fi, then we will compare it with the other roaming services.

A slightly lesser supported version of Wi-Fi, but with much higher bandwidths and wider range, it has been said that it's already been replaced by HSDPA, and the soon to come Evolved HSDPA. It's in still early days and there is a lot of companies trying to make reliable services for roaming using WI-Max, and as soon as we find an application, we will review the roaming solution, See VoIP, Wi-Fi, JAVA Application.

World SIM
A popular name for roaming SIM, see roaming SIM for details.

Quad Band
See Dual Band

Information on mobile roaming, international roaming, international roaming charges, and using your mobile abroad

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