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Review: Who says international roaming has to be expensive?

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Travelling can be an expensive affair, and the last thing travelers want to worry about is the cost of international roaming. Well, this is where Roamer comes in: it’s a simple app that links a user’s local number to an international SIM card.

The last thing that travelers need to worry about are roaming charges on their mobile phone (image: Roamer)
The last thing that travelers need to worry about are roaming charges on their mobile phone (image: Roamer)

All you need do, is download the Roamer app, and “park” your number before you depart. When you get to your destination, you simply insert a SIM card from the country you are in (with a minimal internet bundle) and fire up the Roamer app. Once the SIM card has successfully been linked to your number, you are all set to go.

The app makes use of a tiny amount of data in order to connect the user. “We use GSM to connect calls (not WiFi or 3G), thus offering excellent call quality regardless of the Internet connection speed in the area,” the company explains.

What we like about it

Since users will be making use of their current mobile phone, all their contacts will remain in place. Dialling has also been made super easy – for international calls, users simply start the app, launch the dialer and punch in the number. The app makes a connection and calls back the user. Once the callback is picked up, the user is connected. For local calls, users simply go through the mobile device’s native dialer.

Even for international calls, the voice clarity is superb. Depending on where travelers are and which country they are calling, there might be a slight delay in the audio, but it in no way detracts from the overall quality of the application.

In terms of rates, a call from the USA to South Africa costs about €0.22 per minute, with €10 being enough for 45 outgoing call minutes, or 200 minutes for incoming calls.

What we don’t like about it

There are very few things that Roamer can be faulted on, but the biggest problem with the application is that it doesn’t support text roaming. Users won’t be able to receive text messages while overseas, but the company has hinted that they are working on a fix for that. In the meantime, users can simply insert their SIM card in a different phone to send texts, or just swap out the SIM cards every so often.


Roamer is an excellent alternative to beating exorbitant roaming charges while travelling overseas, and the company truly does save users up to 90% of roaming charges. But by far the best part is that users get to keep and use their local number, just as they would if they were in their home country. There is no need to give friends and family an alternative number, making it easy to stay in touch with your contacts anywhere in the world.

Users who travel frequently should definitely investigate Roamer, as there are no additional costs for the user, except topping up the SIM card with credit, which can also be done through the Roamer app. There really is no need for you to worry about bill shock at the end of your trip, as Roamer only uses your local number, but not your local mobile operator to route international calls.

The free app is available for Android and iPhone devices.

Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor

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