A Bell Mobility customer is upset with the way the carrier handles accidental roaming, a phenomenon whereby a U.S. cell phone tower picks up a Canadian cell phone signal in close proximity to the border. This causes extra charges on the customer’s bill.  According to a telecom overseer at Precision Drilling Corp., an oil fields services firm in Calgary, Bell Mobility refuses to remove the questionable charges from its invoices. Janice Vickery, Precision’s telecommunications specialist, suggests Bell’s current policy could jeopardize the business relationship the Calgary firm shares with Bell. Although located in the West, Precision has some employees in Eastern Canada. "I may have considered some more business with Bell in the future, but based on this experience, I’m sorry. I don’t want to pay for your problems," she says.  Canada’s wireless operators are aware of accidental roaming, but they deal with it in different ways. Bell Mobility advises users to set their handsets to "home only," eliminating the possibility that a U.S. tower will pick up a Canadian phone signal. Should accidental roaming charges appear, however, the company doesn’t remove them from customers’ bills. The carrier argues it has to pay U.S. service providers for Canadian roamers, so why shouldn’t those charges appear on the user’s bill?  Bell Mobility does have an accidental roaming agreement with certain U.S. carriers, but that deal applies only to analog calls.  Telus Mobility, meanwhile, will remove accidental roaming charges if the user notifies the company. The company identifies "border zones" where accidental roaming is prone to pop up.  Rogers Wireless employs a similar strategy to that of Telus Mobility in that it has identified zones where accidental roaming is most likely to occur. Rogers Wireless says that it has worked with its U.S. partners to minimize accidental roaming occurrences, but stresses it is impossible to prevent this completely.  The company notes that software in its network makes it possible to reduce the chances of accidental roaming happening. The home locator recorder recognizes the customer as being on a home network even when the subscriber is in one of the zones close to the U.S.-Canada border. Accidental roaming could be construed as a sign of solid relations between carriers on both sides of the border. The networks are smart enough to provide the strongest signal, no matter where the host cell tower might reside.  On the other hand, accidental roaming is an indication that mobile networks could use a bit more intelligence, to distinguish just where the caller happens to be when she’s dialing out. Adding an extra level of scrutiny is no easy task. It would require that carriers on both sides of the border install technology that automatically recognizes the caller’s location and provides the strongest, least-expensive hookup. The technology would have to work fast, too: any lag in connection time would count as a quality-of-service downer – something most carriers work hard to avoid.  But customers don’t necessarily care about how much work it takes, just the end result. Consider Precision’s situation. The company is also a Telus Mobility customer, and therefore well placed to compare Bell’s and Telus’ accidental roaming policies. "From the Telus perspective I’ve never had a problem," Vickery says. "I bring it to their attention and they adjust it."