$3000 International Data Roaming Bill

attsucks

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 13, 2007
3
0
I'm sure you guys are all Einsteins out there and would never make this mistake. I will open up myself to all of the wise ass comments about how stupid I am. But just to try to prevent someone else from making the same mistake I made, please read this if you are considering buying an iphone or planning on taking your iphone outside the US.

ATT, being the fine example of Corporate America that it is, really wants to take as much money as possible from you. No surprise there huh? Well the surprise might be what they consider to be reasonable for their international data roaming charge. My family returned from a vacation in Canada a few weeks ago to receive a $3000 bill from ATT for international roaming charges. My wife works a LOT and being on vacation doesn't put much of a dent in her work schedule. She wanted to connect to her VPN, and I thought I would use the phone's GPRS to connect her laptop to the network. Well 200 MB later at over $15 per MB meant a whole lot of money to ATT shareholders. Don't you love America!
 

damienvfx

macrumors regular
Jul 28, 2006
143
0
Los Angeles, CA
Sorry to hear that dude. I called AT&T the other day to find out if data was free internationally and they said it WAS. I'm headed to Canada in a couple of days and was going to use that feature. Now I'll make sure that I switch to airplane mode.

Call them and see if you can talk it down since it was the first time. They SOMETIMES take pity on people.
 

attsucks

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 13, 2007
3
0
Some more info

My wife and I have a timeshare in Mexico, and in December 06, we were planning on going down there. We called ATT and asked if our phone would work. We were told by the CSR that international roaming only works if you have international roaming turned on. When we were told the rates, we said no way, that's too expensive and we didn't use our phone in Mexico.

The CSR actually should have said that international roaming doesn't work IN MEXICO unless you have international roaming turned on, because in Canada international roaming will work even if you don't have international roaming turned on. So when the phone worked, we made the horribly wrong assumption that since it worked, we were not roaming and were using the unlimited data plan. Like I said, very expensive assumption.

We have been going back and forth with several CSR's and several managers and we got $250 knocked off, but they want their damn money or they are going to turn off the phone. So we are talking to an attorney and the Minnesota Attorney General's office to see if we can fight it any more. ATT is saying case closed, pay up chump. Haven't found ANY CSR's who seem to give a damn so far.
 

tribe3

macrumors 6502
Nov 1, 2005
350
0
Vienna, VA - USA
Wow... I'm feeling a cold chill down my back... I just came from 12 days on Dominican Rep. I only used it to check mail about 4 times (3 accounts each time) and I browsed an internet page 3 or 4 times -- no phone calls and no text messages. I had it OFF or in airplane mode the rest -- or most of the rest -- of the time.

I just logged to att&t account but nothing is showing up yet.

I really feel it for you pal...
 

megfilmworks

macrumors 68020
Jul 1, 2007
2,049
15
Sherman Oaks
I will be leaving for Europe next week and have used ATT roaming there for years (cingular). I am concerned about data charges, but the att website is very clear about roaming and data service charges and have inexpensive plans for all users. If you are traveling abroad you had better be informed or expect to be suprised!
 

mkrishnan

Moderator emeritus
Jan 9, 2004
29,641
12
Grand Rapids, MI, USA
Would the international roaming charges have been less with any other smart phone?
It's a good point. The biggest divider is probably between phones (like the iPhone, Blackberries, etc) that are designed to constantly connect to data services of their own volition to get pushed data or to pull data, vs. phones that only connect to data services when you ask them to (e.g. a Symbian smartphone isn't generally going to incur data charges if you don't actively use its data features).

That's a big difference in the sense that your iPhone or Blackberry is using the data services all the time -- that bill isn't just for those two times you checked the internet or whatever.

It's good to know that AT&T doesn't respect your international roaming preferences in Canada. Usually I make fun of people in these threads :eek: but in this case, I'm not going to. That's actually a big nuisance. If I didn't want a big bill, I'd have to switch my SIM back into my RAZR, for instance. I used to take my Nokia 3650 to Canada once or twice a week or more. I'm not near the border now, but if I still lived in Detroit, I could easily see having fallen on the wrong side of this issue (assuming T-Mo does the same thing -- I know that you do not need to enable their world coverage feature to be able to *talk* in Canada).

Is there a way to specify with AT&T that you do not wish to be able to use Canadian data services? Otherwise, you basically need to have a secondary phone to use....
 

megfilmworks

macrumors 68020
Jul 1, 2007
2,049
15
Sherman Oaks
Because it happened on an iPhone and is a good warning to other owners who might be new to this kind of thing. (Especially since it's probable that a lot of iPhone users never had a data plan before.)
I agree, a lot of people who are not used to data seeking smart phones will get a shock when they first travel abroad with the iPhone. Make sure you fix your att plan a few weeks before you go. I plan to use all my features for a nominal data fee package plan, as I always do with my roaming abroad. I can't wait to use google maps when I wander around and get lost!
 

macrat

macrumors regular
Mar 21, 2003
202
12
Maui
Sorry to hear that dude. I called AT&T the other day to find out if data was free internationally and they said it WAS. I'm headed to Canada in a couple of days and was going to use that feature. Now I'll make sure that I switch to airplane mode.

Call them and see if you can talk it down since it was the first time. They SOMETIMES take pity on people.
Good Luck with that. Be ready for a $3000 bill as well. Each time I visited Canada with my Treo 650 I always got a bill around $250 - $500 and that's simply checking email, minimal internet surfing, and very few calls. With the Treo, you can even turn off Edge but NOT on the iPhone. On my next trip there, I will definitely switch my iPhone to airplane mode and forward my calls to my wife's no-frills cellphone and do my internet browsing and email stuff on my Macbook like the "old days" :eek:
 

beate

macrumors regular
Jun 8, 2007
246
0
She wanted to connect to her VPN, and I thought I would use the phone's GPRS to connect her laptop to the network.
I thought that you couldn't tether the iPhone or is there another method of connecting a laptop?
 

raghauler

macrumors newbie
Jul 30, 2007
12
0
International Roaming

I just contacted AT&T as we are spending time in the UK. To get better international rates.....once must subscribe to an international data plan. It is a minimum one year subscription with a $175 early termination fee. You get 20MB/month. Data overages are $.005/kb (1/2 penny per kilobyte) instead of the normal $.02/kb (2 pennies per kilobyte). This only applies to 19 countries. Roaming goes from $1.29/min to $.99/min.

I calculated, over the past two months, that I use a total of 5MB/day (sent + received). At "normal" rates, that works out to $100/day ! It is very easy to have a $3000 monthly bill.

AT&T offers no way to "shut off data". So, I may have to delete my email configs (I use yahoo so I do get push mail sometimes) and just not use the browser or other data apps.

Unless you travel abroad several times a year, the international data plan does not make sense. For those of us just on vacation abroad, I guess we do without the iphone.

To the person who just came back from the DR....be prepared for hugh roaming changes. Almost $5.00/minute as you get charged by AT&T and Verizon. We learned this lesson last year. One month of cell phone cost us $500.00.

Cheers
 

JonboyDC

macrumors regular
Jul 19, 2004
201
0
AT&T offers no way to "shut off data". So, I may have to delete my email configs (I use yahoo so I do get push mail sometimes) and just not use the browser or other data apps.
Rather than deleting e-mail configs, can't you just set the mail app to check for new mail manually (rather than on a schedule?) I suppose you'd also have to do something about the push mail from Yahoo.
 

SalsaShark

macrumors member
Jul 5, 2000
36
0
Actually, I was in Canada a few days after I got my iPhone at release. I asked about data in Canada, they said it was included, and I certainly put that to the test. Aside from Rogers' EDGE network being rather slow, I didn't get charged for any of it. I did get charged for voice roaming, but I expected that.
 

mkrishnan

Moderator emeritus
Jan 9, 2004
29,641
12
Grand Rapids, MI, USA
Actually, I was in Canada a few days after I got my iPhone at release. I asked about data in Canada, they said it was included, and I certainly put that to the test. Aside from Rogers' EDGE network being rather slow, I didn't get charged for any of it. I did get charged for voice roaming, but I expected that.
Can anyone else confirm this? Why is everyone else getting charged for EDGE then?
 

Paix247

macrumors 6502
Jul 26, 2006
364
1
Minneapolis
I used the Google maps feature and email on my iPhone while in Toronto for 4 days. I called at&t as soon as I saw this thread, but the data has not appeared on my account yet... all I can do now is wait (and not do any shopping). $0.02 per kilobyte is total crap.
 

sinemacula

macrumors newbie
Jul 9, 2007
10
0
Actually, I was in Canada a few days after I got my iPhone at release. I asked about data in Canada, they said it was included, and I certainly put that to the test. Aside from Rogers' EDGE network being rather slow, I didn't get charged for any of it. I did get charged for voice roaming, but I expected that.
Did your bill even show the data use from while you were in Canada (i.e., did it show the how much you downloaded, but then show $0 as the cost)?

I've been in Canada for a couple weeks, and when I've looked at my AT&T account online, I found the data use I had at the beginning of my trip only showed up a day ago (i.e., just over two weeks behind). If your bill didn't show the use at all,you may find that your use of Rogers' EDGE will show up on your next bill. :(
 

method525

macrumors member
Aug 14, 2007
45
0
It takes time for roaming charges to appear on your bill. The line we give is that it may take up to 90 days for other carriers to report roaming charges back to us, so after we receive those charges they will appear on your bill.
 

eRondeau

macrumors 65816
Mar 3, 2004
1,023
96
Canada's South Coast
This is not directly related to the topic at hand, but -- I live in Canada and I am dreaming about seeing/touching an iPhone in person. They're not available here yet, not even in the Apple Stores. But last weekend I was having a few drinks in a little bar I frequent and evidently I left two minutes too early, because all my friends called me the next morning to say that I just missed an iPhone demonstration. Yes sad but true, just as I left, an American with an iPhone walked in and proceeded to show it off to all the Apple-ignorant customers. Damn I'm kicking myself for not staying for one more drink!
:mad:
 

megfilmworks

macrumors 68020
Jul 1, 2007
2,049
15
Sherman Oaks
Great post. I am going over to Benelux and Great Britain next week and have the data plan etc. How are the edge speeds? Anyone else know about speeds in Amsterdam, Dublin, London, Paris, etc?
 

PupnTaco

macrumors regular
May 29, 2007
143
0
Anyone else know about speeds in Amsterdam, Dublin, London, Paris, etc?
I can speak for all but Amsterdam... plan on EDGE (think $3000) everywhere. You'll see free wifi at few places. Here's what I specifically recall:

IRELAND
Kilkenny - free wifi at our b&b Butler Court
Kinsale - maybe at a coffee shop
Ennis - I came across an open Linksys downtown near a bunch of shops
Dublin - pay wifi in the Jurys Inn hotel lobby

LONDON
Free wifi at some bookstores
Pay wifi at my B&B Aster House

PARIS
free wifi at cafes along the Seine

Otherwise it's EDGE. Pull out your SIM!
l