The Roaming Dilemma in Countries without 3G Networks

In today’s digital age, our mobile phones have become extensions of ourselves, indispensable companions on our journeys near and far. Whether for work or leisure, staying connected while traveling (roaming) is a must.

However, what happens when mobile users travel to a country that lacks 3G networks?

As this technology sunsets, it’s essential to understand how the 3G shutdown affects voice and SMS services for roamers around the world. In this blog post, we’ll explore the challenges and solutions for mobile users venturing into regions where 2G and 3G networks are but a memory.

The 3G Sunset: Why It’s Happening

The decision to shut down 3G networks is primarily driven by the need for more efficient and faster wireless technologies, namely 4G LTE and 5G. These newer networks offer higher data speeds and better performance, making them the natural choice for the modern mobile ecosystem.

As 3G networks are phased out, some regions of the world lag behind in this technological advancement. Some countries, particularly those with limited infrastructure or remote regions, have yet to embrace these older network standards, leaving mobile users in a unique predicament.

Impact on Roaming Voice and SMS Services

Roaming is the ability to use your mobile phone while traveling outside your home network’s coverage area. Certianly, roaming is a game-changer for travellers and businesses alike.

Voice services, a fundamental part of roaming, are undergoing  the following significant changes as 3G networks are phased out:

  1. Compatibility Issues: Devices not supporting 4G may face compatibility challenges. Therefore, roamers relying on such devices could experience disruptions in voice calls while abroad.
  2. Lack of VoLTE roaming agreements: Voice over LTE (VoLTE) is becoming the new standard for voice calls. Indeed, many countries have already made the switch to VoLTE. Unfortunately, there is a significant lack of solid VoLTE roaming agreements, which leads to voice service interruptions.

Travellers looking at their mobile phones abroad while roaming.

Concerning messaging, SMS services typically rely on 3G networks as well. SMS services are still a critical communication method for many, particularly for bank authentication and for accessing other services while traveling. As 3G networks are phased out, ensuring compatibility between different networks for roaming SMS becomes more complex.

The most immediate challenge is the absence of mobile connectivity as we know it. Without 3G networks, making voice calls, sending traditional SMS messages, and accessing mobile data services may become impossible. Roaming agreements may not cover areas without 3G networks, leaving travellers in a connectivity abyss. In some cases, travellers might need end up purchasing local SIM cards, which represents business loss for the home mobile operator!

Adapting to the Changes

To navigate the changing landscape of roaming voice and SMS services under a global 3G shutdown, telcos have the urge to find fast and reliable solutions to ensure a smooth transition. Delaying the 3G sunset poses the potential risk of leaving behind those operators who are not transitioning to more advanced and efficient networks as the world progresses.

Is your telco switching off the 3G network? Encountering difficulties?

Exomi has partnered with mobile operators to preserve their business and ensure that roamers continue to enjoy reliable mobile communication while traveling. Allow us to assist you in smoothly navigating this transition. Get in touch today to learn how our voice solutions help mobile operators in tackling the 3G sunset.

Do you want to know more about Exomi Voice over Any Data? Read here or ask for a consultation.


About Exomi 

Exomi has been a trusted technology partner of major mobile operator groups for over 25 years. We are known for our technological expertise, adaptability and dedication to solving challenges with a no-nonsense attitude.