Mobile Telecommunications Namibia (MTC), has noticed that majority of customers, especially those that are placed or living near frontier towns, are not aware of the subject of accidental roaming and the impact it has on their calls and data plans.
As background, electro-magnetic spectrum is a limited resource and is assigned by the respective regulative authority in each country. As a consequence, there are many cases in which mobile networks of neighbour countries are assigned the same bands of frequencies.
When this happens, different implications to the provision of the service may occur. Particularly, interference problems can disable the possibility of placing calls and generate cases of accidental roaming inside the country of the customer.
The overlapping of network signals is a common activity at the borders of a country and often locals tend to latch onto the network signal which in most cases happens to be the foreign operator’s, and subsequently results in a customer getting charged more than usual cost.
Often this activity happens automatically unbeknown to the customers – whilst it may also vary from device set up and network preference selection modes.
Once roaming is activated and a customer latches onto the foreign network, a customer normally receives a welcoming SMS from the foreign network, which is a sign that they are roaming.
MTC thus wish to state the following to its customer, especially those that are in the immediacy of/or at frontiers towns such as Rundu, Nkurenkuru, Katima Mulilo, Oshikango, Ruacana, Oranjemund, Noordoower and Buitepos of some of the solutions to control “Accidental Border Roaming.”
The issue of accidental border roaming affects customers differently, depending on the product package or service plan. The prepaid customers are the most affected because their communication is cut upon depleting their credit in the account, which is contrary to the post-paid.
MTC therefore urge its customers that instantly when they receive an SMS from a foreign network provider to do the following:
Switch your cell phone to a manual network search which will assist to stay on your current network.
Deactivate voice and data roaming by dialling *682# and then follow the instructions.
Act immediately when they receive the SMS mentioned by dialling MTC Customer Contact Centre for a guided roaming deactivation set up by our Service Advisors.
Advised MTC’s Chief Human Capital and Corporate Affairs, Tim Ekandjo, “roaming is quite a costly exercise and some of the customers are not informed of the necessary preventing measures to employ in order to avoid receiving a high bill”.