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Difference Between Mobile Data and Data Roaming

Call it compulsion or obsession, but smartphone revolution has definitely changed the face of the communication industry. May be it’s the urge to stay ahead of the competition or our non-stopping reliance on technology, but smartphone industry has skyrocketed over the past couple of years. Smartphone advances have changed the way we communicate. It is true technology makes us curious, and the smartphone revolution pushed just the right button, taking technological innovation to new heights. However, it was never about the technology, it’s all about unlimited data plan and our constant urge to stay connected 24*7. This is where the mobile data comes to the picture.

 

Difference Between Mobile Data and Data Roaming

What is Mobile Data?

Mobile data is the only thing that allows you to connect to the Internet when a Wi-Fi network is not available. It’s a subscription-based internet service offered by cellular network providers to provide a wireless internet connection anytime and anywhere. Smartphones and mobile data go hand in hand. Today, anyone with a smartphone has some sort of a data plan. They are more like a necessity and one cannot image his/her life without data plans. This brings us the topic of discussion, mobile data. Tap the mobile data switch to toggle it On or Off. Well, there’s more to smartphones than calling and texting. Most activities consume data which include web browsing, sending Emails, checking social media sites, uploading or sharing photos, playing online videos or music and more.

Mobile data gives you unrestricted internet access leveraging your cellular network even when you’re out of Wi-Fi range. The device automatically uses mobile data when Wi-Fi network is not available. Your cellular providers use different technologies to provide internet access including 3G UMTS and 4G LTE Advanced. Mobile data and Wi-Fi both do the same thing: allow you to access internet wirelessly. While some devices such as tablets are limited to Wi-Fi only, others such as 4G-enabled smartphones have both 4G LTE and Wi-Fi access. Smartphone with a data plan is a lifesaver which provides you fast, secure access to the internet on-the-go. Cellular providers provide all sorts of data plans based on your consumption needs with some offering data rollover plans.

What is Data Roaming?

Data roaming is the common term used when you roam outside of your home network to access internet. Let’s say you’re travelling abroad and you just went outside of your operator’s network coverage area, which means your phone roams on some other network, away from your home network. So when you use cellular data outside your home network, you’re simply roaming your mobile data and while you do so, higher data charges apply. Both mobile data and roaming data are basically the same thing except roaming allows you to use internet services using another network. This simply means whenever you try to access the internet, it connects to a network that is not your home network.

You would have been charged with significant rates had it been the good old days of hefty internet charges, plus calling and texting would have cost you dearly. Thanks to the advances in technology, data roaming charges have gone down dramatically with providers offering reasonable data plans even on roaming. Cellular networks now border on “fair usage” limits for users who use mobile data on a daily basis. Fair usage refers to data capping which simply means cellular providers can cap your daily data limit. For example, if a network allows a fair usage cap of let’s say 15GB, you’ll be charged extra if you cross the 15GB threshold. This of course allows you to keep tabs on your mobile data while you’re abroad.

Difference Between Mobile Data and Data Roaming

 

Difference between Mobile Data and Data Roaming

Definition of Mobile Data vs. Data Roaming

The ability to use uninterrupted mobile internet service provided by your mobile operator can be called mobile data service. Your home network provider probably has the entire city or the country covered. On the other hand, the ability to use mobile internet service away from the coverage area of your home network is called data roaming service.

Concept of Mobile Data and Data Roaming

Both mobile data and data roaming are practically same except roaming is when you roam outside of your home network to access internet service. You simply access internet using another network while on roaming. Mobile data simply refers to internet services provided by your network provider for you to enjoy wireless internet access when you’re out of Wi-Fi range.

Access of Mobile Data and Data Roaming

You have to tap the mobile data switch to turn it On or Off. You have to turn the data roaming on if you’re trying to access mobile data when you’re abroad. Switching off mobile data restricts the internet access on any cellular network regardless of which cellular network you are connected to. Switching off data roaming, on the other hand, restricts connection to only other mobile networks while you’re outside your home network but it still allows mobile data.

Data Charges for Mobile Data and Data Roaming

Network providers charge based on your fixed monthly plan regardless of how much data you consume, which of course depends on the fair usage limit. Let’s say you have a fixed price monthly plan with a cap of 15 GB. Users won’t be charged extra up to the 15GB limit. When on roaming, providers charge significantly more for everything on top of standard fees from calling charges to data charges because every mobile carrier employs its own network infrastructure.

 

Mobile Data vs. Data Roaming: Comparison Chart

Difference between Mobile Data and Data Roaming

Summary of Mobile Data and Data Roaming

This digital era is all about social media and the evolution of social networking which pretty much explains the mobile internet dependency of mobile users around the world. And mobile data is the only way other than Wi-Fi to gain access to the internet wirelessly. It comes at a small price though, in the form of a fixed monthly fee. Data charges can be significantly higher on data roaming, which means you access mobile internet services using another mobile network outside of your home network. Data roaming simply means accessing internet on your smartphone or other mobile broadband device when you’re outside the coverage area of your wireless carrier.

 


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References :


[0]Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jim-makos/17937016120

[1]Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/hendry/3000417490

[2]Ahmad, Aftab. Wireless and Mobile Data Networks. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, 2005. Print

[3]Chen, Ming-Syan. Mobile Data Management. Berlin: Springer Science & Business Media, 2003. Print

[4]Ahmad, Majeed. Age of Mobile Data. North Charleston: CreateSpace, 2014. Print

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