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roaming

7

EE lights up 4G LTE roaming in China

UK mobile operator EE has become the first British network to offer 4G LTE roaming coverage in mainland China.

The carrier's list of 4G roaming countries has not yet been updated to reflect the change, however we've been seeing solid LTE coverage through China Unicom on our EE SIMs in the Beijing area in recent days. Unicom operates FDD-LTE — the flavor of 4G used by most Western networks — on Band 3, which also happens to be EE's main LTE band at home. Its main rivals, China Mobile and China Telecom, only use TDD-LTE frequencies, which are incompatible with most 4G phones sold in Europe. So naturally, the Unicom pair-up makes most sense for a Euro network like EE.

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New legislation could be in the works to effectively force UK operators to offer roaming options for customers where signal is poor. The UK government continues to work with mobile carriers on a solution to address black spots and areas where signal is hard to come by. The plan is to offer said roaming support to make it possible to switch between networks to maintain service, something mobile operators previously rejected.

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16

AT&T launches new Passport international plans

AT&T has a new set of international plans, and while they'll still hit your wallet hard, they're an improvement of what came before. AT&T's new plans, dubbed Passport, Passport Plus, and Passport Pro (not to be confused with plans for the new BlackBerry Passport), bring the same data allotments, but at least offer easier billing international data packages than we've seen before from Ma Bell, though heavy users will still find themselves shelling over the big bucks.

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Mobile operators in the UK have rejected government proposals on setting up national roaming, according to the Financial Times. Earlier this year, operators were urged by officials to look into the possibility of sharing infrastructure in rural parts of the country, as well as locations where consumers seemingly loose signal coverage. While this would help prevent customers experiencing drop outs in connectivity, mobile operators didn't believe the plans to be viable.

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If you're looking for a sweet deal with regards to using data abroad on this year's holiday, O2 may well have the right bundle price at just £2 a day. We've all been in that situation, looking at pricing and being stunned by just how expensive roaming can be, even when travelling within the EU. UK mobile operators are attempting to tackle the issue of high charges (as is the EU, which hopes to have said charges abolished by 2015).

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The European Commission has announced that charges to roam within Europe will fall by as much as 50 percent this summer. The EC is imposing yet another limit on mobile operators, further reducing the caps from July 1 to pave the way for removing roaming charges altogether by 2016. Currently, calls within the EU are capped at 24 euro cents per minute but will fall to 19 cents per minute. More importantly (particularly in 2014 and beyond), the fee for using data abroad is falling too.

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Sprint has signed agreements with 12 carriers to expand the LTE footprint of everybody involved. The dozen carriers, all smaller regional and rural networks, cover 34 million Americans not touched by Sprint's fledgling LTE network. The roaming agreements will expand Sprint's LTE coverage into those areas, as well as giving those carriers access to Sprint's network.

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