Experience: Implications of Roaming in Europe
Abstract ''Roam like Home'' is the initiative of the European Commission to end the levy of extra
charges when roaming within the European region. As a result, people are
able to use data services more freely across Europe. However, the
implications roaming solutions have on performance have not been
carefully examined. This paper provides an in-depth characterization of the
implications of international data roaming within Europe. We build a unique
roaming measurements platform using 16 different mobile networks deployed in
six countries across Europe. Using this platform, we measure different
aspects of international roaming in 4G networks, including mobile network
configuration, performance characteristics, and content discrimination. We
find that operators adopt common approaches to implementing roaming, resulting in additional
latency penalties of 60ms or more, depending on geographical distance.
Considering content accessibility, roaming poses additional constraints that
leads to only minimal deviations when accessing content in the original country.
However, geographical restrictions in the visited country make the picture more complicated and less intuitive.