iPhone International Data Horror Story

PupnTaco

macrumors regular
Original poster
May 29, 2007
143
0
I have a caveat emptor to top them all.

I purchased an iPhone on opening day to use in lieu of a cumbersome laptop while traveling in Ireland and England for two weeks in early July. AT&T promises "easy, affordable, and convenient plans" in their advertising... turns out I got two out of three.

On the way to the airport, I activated the per-use international roaming data plan - the only one offered to me. The rep quoted me $.005 per KB but did not disclose what that would translate to in layman's language (i.e., X amount per e-mail, X amount per web page, etc.). I'm a web developer as part of my career and I couldn't even tell you how many KB the average web page is, no less a text message to my son, an e-mail with a photo to my mother, or a quick check of Google Maps. That's part one of the trap. However, I now pay $40 per month for unlimited data usage on the iPhone, so really -- how much could it be? $100 at the most, right?

Keep reading.

As we know, the iPhone can't be unlocked to use a European provider's SIM card for more reasonable rates while traveling. There's part two of the trap.

To be safe, I went online to My Account at AT&T a couple days into the trip and again a week later and was told "usage data is currently unavailable"... and that's part three. I had no way of knowing specific usage data until I received my bill over the last weekend.

A bill for $3000.

Two weeks of travel with sporadic AT&T EDGE network usage off and on mixed with wifi when available... $3000.

Doing some research, I learned this morning that AT&T offers unlimited international data usage at $70 per month to its Blackberry customers.

Here's my bottom line: I want this same usage plan to be made available to iPhone customers and to be applied retroactively to my account.

Billing phone reps offered me a $400 "courtesy credit" on the $3000 charge if I would agree to sign up for a $300 per year international data plan with a max of 20MB per month. (I'm not planning any international travel for a while anyway, but 20MB would be burned in a day or two of average use - they must be kidding.) I have until August 14th to resolve this or all my family's phones (including my wife's business line) get disconnected. Obviously, there's no way I can pay $3000 for something so egregiously wrong.

I'm sharing this with the media in the hope that the exposure of my story might force AT&T's hand in admitting they have an inadequate solution in place for international iPhone users, that they've discriminated against the iPhone in favor of the Blackberry, that they failed to adequately disclose the exorbitant nature of their rate plan, that they kept me in the dark about my usage specifics until it was too late to modify them, and that by disallowing unlocking to use a European provider's SIM with more reasonable rates, I was trapped without knowing it until that $3000 "gotcha" came knocking at my door.
 

tobefirst

macrumors 601
Jan 24, 2005
4,066
1,168
St. Louis, MO
Just so no one else has to do the math, that's $3000 / $.005 per KB = 600,000 KB, or close to 600 MB. I have no idea how high or low that is; maybe someone else can help out with that.
 

rdrr

macrumors 6502a
Nov 20, 2003
529
771
NH
Dollars and cents...

That doesn't make any sense... :D

Are you saying you downloaded 600 MB? By the quote you were given, $.005 x 600,000 KB = $3000.00 !!! :eek: Did they quote you kilobytes KB, or kilobits Kb? Because that makes a difference.
 

earnjam

macrumors 6502a
Jun 7, 2007
672
0
North Carolina
600MB is pretty darn high.

I used about 100MB for my first month over EDGE. I'm not a real heavy user as I have WIFI a lot, but I'm definitely not a light user. Unless you were using it round the clock, I'd say there is a problem.

PupnTaco, what was your data usage for those two weeks? Is it anywhere close to 600MB? If not, then you were overcharged for the price you were quoted.
 

kellen

macrumors 68020
Aug 11, 2006
2,363
55
Seattle, WA
When I was 16 I once had a crazy high bill due to going over my minutes (like 200$, but I was 16, like 10 years ago). I called and customer service allowed me to retroactively select another plan, so I didn't go over my minutes and helped with the cost.

Is there another data plan for phones for international plans? See if they will retroactively apply that to your account.

Good luck.
 

daemontrader

macrumors newbie
Jul 31, 2007
25
0
I think the numbers are incorrect. It would have to be $0.05 (not $0.005) per KB since the pay-per-use in the US is $0.03. It wouldn't make sense if roaming were cheaper. This would equal about 60MB, which is still a lot but I have used 150MB since I purchase my phone.
 

hotsauce

macrumors 6502a
Sep 7, 2005
662
90
Wirelessly posted (Apple Communication Device: Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU like Mac OS X; en) AppleWebKit/420+ (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.0 Mobile/1A543a Safari/419.3)

rdrr said:
That doesn't make any sense... :D

Are you saying you downloaded 600 MB? By the quote you were given, $.005 x 600,000 KB = $3000.00 !!! :eek: Did they quote you kilobytes KB, or kilobits Kb? Because that makes a difference.
no about 600 mb. About .6 gb.
 

earnjam

macrumors 6502a
Jun 7, 2007
672
0
North Carolina
I think the numbers are incorrect. It would have to be $0.05 (not $0.005) per KB since the pay-per-use in the US is $0.03. It wouldn't make sense if roaming were cheaper. This would equal about 60MB, which is still a lot but I have used 150MB since I purchase my phone.
This makes sense. The question is, were you actually quoted $.005 or did you just have a typo?

If the former is the case, then I'd say you have a shot at not having to pay as much. Otherwise, you're plum out of luck.
 

kellen

macrumors 68020
Aug 11, 2006
2,363
55
Seattle, WA
600MB is pretty darn high.

I used about 100MB for my first month over EDGE. I'm not a real heavy user as I have WIFI a lot, but I'm definitely not a light user. Unless you were using it round the clock, I'd say there is a problem.

PupnTaco, what was your data usage for those two weeks? Is it anywhere close to 600MB? If not, then you were overcharged for the price you were quoted.
Perhaps a dispute with the amount of use, versus the plan, is the way to go. What does your old bill say? If you only used 100 MB, then argue that way, saying there is no way you could have used 600 MB.

Good luck. Again.
 

Noumenon

macrumors regular
Jun 30, 2007
126
0
Your a web developer and you didn't know what $0.005 per KB would mean to a "laymen"? Either the story is bogus or you screwed up. In anycase you still may be able to convince AT&T that you made the mistake in understanding the plan, ....but they did spell it out for you.
 

PupnTaco

macrumors regular
Original poster
May 29, 2007
143
0
Wifi was mostly unavailable during the day & about half of the evenings I was there - we were traveling by car first week, walking around London second week.

Usage was typical, but not heavy in my mind anyway - checking e-mails for my business, sending the occasional reply (maybe four or five with photos attached from the iPhone's camera), some web use, some Google Maps, and texting my son & daughter back home.

AT&T's bill says:

MEDIA MAX UNL MNET 45,125KB
Short Message Service 143KB
General Packet Radio Service Mobile to Web 141,701KB

AT&T came out with an international iPhone plan after I had left that offers 20MB/month for $25. :lol:

Their web site says:

For just an additional $24.99 per month, iPhone customers may add a Data Global Plan to their existing domestic data plan and receive 20MB of data usage in 29 countries, including Canada, China, Mexico and many additional countries in Europe/Asia. Overage rate is $.005/KB. Outside the 29 discounted countries, the data usage rate is $.0195/KB
 

rdrr

macrumors 6502a
Nov 20, 2003
529
771
NH
I think the numbers are incorrect. It would have to be $0.05 (not $0.005) per KB since the pay-per-use in the US is $0.03. It wouldn't make sense if roaming were cheaper. This would equal about 60MB, which is still a lot but I have used 150MB since I purchase my phone.
That make more sense... there is a blog here, in which Verizon was saying .002 cents when they meant .002 dollars.
 

PupnTaco

macrumors regular
Original poster
May 29, 2007
143
0
That make more sense... there is a blog here, in which Verizon was saying .002 cents when they meant .002 dollars.
That's exactly what the phone rep quoted me: "point oh oh five cents per kay bee."
 

iJon

macrumors 604
Feb 7, 2002
6,562
130
I would call ATT and raise some serious hell about this (assuming you already haven't). There is no way they would get $3,000 out of me for some web browsing over seas. I know rules are rules but those are some s**** rules. I would have to get a lawyer or something involved with this.

jon
 

Togroovy

macrumors newbie
Mar 14, 2006
4
0
I call BS

This story is bogus anyways, guys didnt you read? For one, web developer knows exactly how many kb the average email is, web page, etc. You have to for hosting purposes. Second, he sent a lot of emails with pictures he attached using the iphone camera. Now unless he knows something I dont, you cant do that as of yet (as I look through my iphone email settings to be sure). So forget about this lame sob story, just some bs where the guy didn't understand simple math and got a hefty bill and now wants to see if theres a way out. Dont waste anymore breath than i already have, the phone companies are for the most part fair, they shouldn't pay for negligent customers.
 

sdm1130

macrumors newbie
Jul 12, 2007
11
0
Second, he sent a lot of emails with pictures he attached using the iphone camera. Now unless he knows something I dont, you cant do that as of yet (as I look through my iphone email settings to be sure).
If that's the case, then we all know something you do not.
 

earnjam

macrumors 6502a
Jun 7, 2007
672
0
North Carolina
Go to your photos, tap on the picture you want to open. when it is open, tap on the screen, then tap on the little mail icon on the bottom. address the email and tap send.
 

kellen

macrumors 68020
Aug 11, 2006
2,363
55
Seattle, WA
This story is bogus anyways, guys didnt you read? For one, web developer knows exactly how many kb the average email is, web page, etc. You have to for hosting purposes. Second, he sent a lot of emails with pictures he attached using the iphone camera. Now unless he knows something I dont, you cant do that as of yet (as I look through my iphone email settings to be sure). So forget about this lame sob story, just some bs where the guy didn't understand simple math and got a hefty bill and now wants to see if theres a way out. Dont waste anymore breath than i already have, the phone companies are for the most part fair, they shouldn't pay for negligent customers.
So quick to file away as false. Go to pictures, select a picture, then on the bottom left there is a button that looks like an arrow. You can email a pic that way.

Why someone would make this up and subsequently post about it is crazy.

Spunds like you have a good case op.
 

Revolutionary

macrumors newbie
Jul 26, 2007
12
0
Second, he sent a lot of emails with pictures he attached using the iphone camera. Now unless he knows something I dont, you cant do that as of yet (as I look through my iphone email settings to be sure).

I do it with mine all the time...:rolleyes:
 

dagger55

macrumors regular
Jun 23, 2007
143
0
Austin, TX
This story is bogus anyways, guys didnt you read? For one, web developer knows exactly how many kb the average email is, web page, etc. You have to for hosting purposes. Second, he sent a lot of emails with pictures he attached using the iphone camera. Now unless he knows something I dont, you cant do that as of yet (as I look through my iphone email settings to be sure). So forget about this lame sob story, just some bs where the guy didn't understand simple math and got a hefty bill and now wants to see if theres a way out. Dont waste anymore breath than i already have, the phone companies are for the most part fair, they shouldn't pay for negligent customers.
This post is bogus anyways, guys didnt you read?
 

earnjam

macrumors 6502a
Jun 7, 2007
672
0
North Carolina
I agree with you on the web developer part though.

I'm a web designer and while I couldn't tell you the exact size of everything, I definitely have a rough idea of how big emails, web pages, etc are.

A rate of $.005/KB is $5/MB for those of you who don't do math. With the iPhone loading full web pages, you will burn through that data pretty quickly. He should have stopped and thought about it a bit after hearing the quote from AT&T.