Understanding the Domestic Data Roaming

Providing mobile network coverage in a country that is as far stretched as United States is not easy. It’s so difficult that American operators are working under an agreement whereby they share antennas to ensure that every operator is able to provide connectivity to its customers, whether or not it has its own antennas in the region. This is called “Domestic Data Roaming”.

It’s an option that major operators like T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon and Sprint propose to their customers. It allows their customers under contract (Americans) to access another operator’s network if and when their network is not giving enough coverage in the area where they are situated. Operators using this service pay a hefty bill to the service providing operator but generally it’s free for domestic and international customers (with foreign SIMs). The service is very limited though. It allows only a few tens to hundreds of Mega-bytes (MB) data in 3G and sometimes international calls are prohibited.

For a tourist, it’s very inconvenient. The phone does not lose network but the services are very slow.

This option is not available with virtual operators like Lyca Mobile, Simple Mobile or H2O that have access only to the personal antennas of those operators with which they have signed an agreement. This explains why sometimes users do not receive signal in some of the most remote parts of United States. Read the post About coverage in Page, Arizona.

Since September 2018 Domestic Data Roaming feature is included in our T-Mobile Plan.

About coverage in Page, Arizona

Many of you are visiting the city of Page in Arizona. It’s famous for its stunning landscapes, canyons and Lake Powell which is a large artificial lake located between Utah and Arizona.

Unfortunately, many of you also face the problem of insufficient network coverage in this region, especially in the small rural areas of Page. We have done our little research and we now know why this happens.

The remote area of Page has sufficient T-Mobile coverage (including Lyca Mobile & Simple Mobile coverage as well since these virtuals carriers use T-Mobile network) but same can’t be said for H2O. H2O is an AT&T Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) that connects with AT&T antennas only.

Till this date, AT&T does not have its own antennas in this city. To provide service in this region, the operator partners with other service providers to share their antennas. This is part of a domestic data roaming plan and this option is available only to customers under AT&T contracts, which means U.S. citizens as well as users with SIMs that do not belong to U.S. Of course, connectivity is very limited in the Domestic Data Roaming plan and one gets a few megabytes (MB) only.

Since H2O does not have access to this Domestic Data Roaming arrangement, your phone will display ‘no service’ until it is connected again to an AT&T antenna.

This article explains the problem faced by people in the city of Page in Arizona. This problem is of course temporary but until AT&T installs its own antennas in the region, things will continue the way they are.

Since September 2018 we are now offering coverage in those remote areas with our T-Mobile Plan.