Going to China: Got the AT&T international data plan for a few days...Automatic?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by iHavequestions, Dec 19, 2011.

  1. iHavequestions macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2011
    #1
    I got the international data plan. Just wondering if there are any settings to tinker with when I get there, or does it automagically start working? I only got it for 5 days so it's not that expensive! :)

    Also, I wonder what the coverage/speed is like there...

    Can you get blocked sites like Facebook since you're on your home carrier?
     
  2. rdowns macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2003
    #2
    How many 'going to China' threads do you need?
     
  3. iHavequestions thread starter macrumors regular

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    Oct 23, 2011
    #3
    This is a different question. Sorry, maybe I should've consolidated. :rolleyes:
     
  4. Stealthipad macrumors 68040

    Stealthipad

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2010
    #4
    If it does do it automatically it will cost more than your plan ticket!

    I would look into getting a cheap unlocked smart phone and buying a local prepaid SIM
     
  5. iHavequestions thread starter macrumors regular

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    Oct 23, 2011
    #5
    It only costs $17 for 275MB for 5 days.
     
  6. Diode macrumors 68020

    Diode

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    Apr 15, 2004
    Location:
    Washington DC
    #6
    No changes needed. Just remember that if you terminate the plan before the billing cycle is over or enable the after the billing cycle has started - it's prorated for both the data amounts and the charge.

    IE - turning the 125mb plan on when you only have 15 days left in your current cycle will only give you about 62mb of data. So be careful if you are trying to avoid overage fees.
     
  7. iHavequestions thread starter macrumors regular

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    Oct 23, 2011
    #7
    Hmm. They said they give you the full amount of data. Weird.

    ----------

    My billing cycle starts on the 11th. I am using it only from 22nd to 26th.
     
  8. LapsangSouchong macrumors 65816

    LapsangSouchong

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    Jul 15, 2010
    Location:
    the burrows
    #8
    They do NOT give you a full month. It follows your cycle, and as he said it's prorated.
    The rates you quoted don't sound right either.

    ----------

    275mb is $99 dollars.
     
  9. Diode macrumors 68020

    Diode

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2004
    Location:
    Washington DC
    #9
    My guess is the rep quoted him the pro-rated price for 5 days of use on the 275MB plan but did not quote him that the data would also be prorated - or about 45MB of data for that plan for 5 days.
     
  10. nepalisherpa macrumors 68020

    nepalisherpa

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    USA
    #10
    $99/30 * 5 = $16.5 ... so, it does look like the rep quoted him a prorated charge for 5 days! :)
     
  11. LapsangSouchong macrumors 65816

    LapsangSouchong

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    #11
    Exactly. I just don't want him, or anyone else thinking roaming rates are that reasonable.... because they aren't.
     
  12. iHavequestions thread starter macrumors regular

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    Oct 23, 2011
    #12
    I called AT&T again just to make sure, and the second representative said the same thing. The cost is prorated and the data isn't. So I get the full 275MB for the 5 days for that cost.
     
  13. Diode macrumors 68020

    Diode

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    Apr 15, 2004
    Location:
    Washington DC
    #13
    While I'm not doubting the reps are telling you this, I'd have them note the account so you can be credited when you go over because that's not how it works in their system. Both data and the cost are prorated for any feature on AT&T and going over the pro-rated amounts will subject you to overage fees.

    I can show you SS's of the international package prorated on my bill if you really care to see it.
     
  14. iHavequestions thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2011
    #14
    Maybe you're looking at the roaming charges? You guys are scaring me... lol
    Maybe I'll just keep my iPhone off altogether when I am there.
     
  15. LapsangSouchong macrumors 65816

    LapsangSouchong

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    the burrows
    #15
    I've used their international roaming several times. This is not correct information.
     
  16. slykens macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2011
    #16
    Listen to others on the pro-rating. You will not get the full plan for a partial month's payment.

    I was just in Shenzen and Beijing - coverage and speed in both is decent. In most cases it was as good or better than ATT in the US. I used Skype to make and receive calls as I still have unlimited international - call quality was decent. There is little to no coverage in the metro. I was spoiled by ubiquitous 3G in Hong Kong before I went to the mainland.

    And yes, since your data comes back to the US to go out you are not subject to the Great Firewall. I had no problem accessing anything I liked via the cellular network.

    Depending on your usage habits, the 45 MB you would buy for the prorated month might be enough for you. Certainly if you only use email and light Facebook usage you would be ok. I heavily used my data plan for Skype and regular data, downloading apps, maps, etc. and used 56 MB per day while overseas. My usage there was several times my regular domestic usage as I am on Wifi at work and home.

    One suggestion would be to set up a GV or Skype-In number and set all-call-forwarding to it before you leave - if anyone calls you it will be forwarded on the US side and will not incur any roaming charges. If a call does come to your phone, even if it goes to VM, you will pay international roaming for it.

    Incoming texts will come our of your regular plan but sending texts will be $0.25-$0.50 depending on your plan. (This is another good thing about GV - you can text to/from US and some international destinations for free over data)
     
  17. iHavequestions thread starter macrumors regular

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    Oct 23, 2011
    #17
    Great info. Thank you.
     
  18. scaredpoet macrumors 604

    scaredpoet

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    Apr 6, 2007
    #18

    I'm guessing this is because the iPhone's APNs are pointed at AT&T so they go there even when roaming, though I would think that the carrier in China would still be going some sort of blocking/monitoring.

    In any case, maybe I'm just stupid paranoid, but if I were going there and using data on my iPhone, I'd connect to a stateside VPN if I could. Most employers have 'em, if you're traveling on business, and if not then there's personal VPN services that can be had for cheap. Some VPNs even do some basic lossless compression, which might reduce your data usage a little.
     
  19. Diode macrumors 68020

    Diode

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2004
    Location:
    Washington DC
    #19
    If you're concerned about data usage look into Onavo - it compresses the data going into and out of your phone.

    Worked great when I was in Europe.
     
  20. slykens macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2011
    #20
    Yes, it did concern me that the packet data is not encrypted from my device to the AP in the US, however, I didn't do anything of interest unencrypted over that connection, unless they really want to see my Facebook updates and pics. It would have been somewhat impractical to run my VPN all the time on the phone. As mentioned, this packet data is not filtered (but I am sure it is monitored).

    I believe it is possible for the carrier to "locally" terminate the packet data directly to their closest internet connection regardless of the APN configuration but in my experience (where I've been) it always goes back to ATT to be delivered to the internet. This option would be defined in the roaming agreement.

    Any work I did was via an any/any VPN to my office from the hotel's broadband. This was also very helpful as geo-locating sites would then recognize me as being in the US instead of presenting a Chinese page for me to try to figure out. :)
     

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