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Analog roaming is an obsolete cellphone feature that allows users to connect to a service provider's network through advanced mobile phone service (AMPS). Analog roaming was once the best way to remain connected in rural areas. However, the technology behind it was inefficient and costly and has since been replaced with digital networking.
In the early days of mobile phones, devices were connected via the AMPS analog system, which was a first-generation cellular technology that used separate frequencies for each conversation. To accommodate multiple conversations simultaneously, AMPS required a great deal of bandwidth.
AMPS systems became obsolete after the discovery of better technologies like code division multiple access (CDMA) and global system for mobile communications (GSM). However, networks running on these advanced systems were not immediately available in all areas. To ensure cellular communication in rural areas, governments required carriers to continue provide analog roaming where other systems were not available. Even though analog transmissions had poor audio quality, they were better than having no signal at all. However, when digital networks began to spread throughout the country, maintaining these analog networks became unnecessary.
The last AMPS network service was discontinued in 2008. Some of the last phones that supported analog roaming were the LG MM-535, the Sanyo VI-2300, the Motorola V265 and the Kyocera KX444.