The iPhone user experience while traveling and ridiculous roaming charges.

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by VulchR, Jul 22, 2010.

  1. VulchR macrumors 68020

    VulchR

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2009
    Location:
    Scotland
    #1
    Before I get the usual 'The phone companies are charging what the market will bear, so suck it up (or jailbreak and unlock)', please follow my argument and the question I pose before flaming me:

    1. Apple sells the iPhone on the basis that it provides a premium user experience. For instance Apple advertise how handy the iPhone is during traveling.
    2. People who can afford an iPhone are probably more likely to travel to foreign countries than the average person.
    3. The charges for data roaming are ridiculously high - much higher than charged for domestic users.
    4. Because of the absurdly high data roaming charges, I and many others turn data roaming off while we're traveling, depriving ourselves of the full iPhone experience and the phone companies of reasonable profits.
    5. Apple decides which companies can have the iPhone, so Apple has leverage over the phone companies who offer the iPhone.

    My question is this: Why hasn't Apple used its leverage with phone companies to force them to accept a better international data roaming deal for iPhone users?
     
  2. jonnyb macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2005
    Location:
    London, UK
    #2
    I've not got much to add to this other than that I completely agree. It's seems crazy to me that we have this amazing device yet we're not able to use it to its fullest extent. On holiday, where you could argue a device like the iPhone comes into its own and becomes truly useful, it can't be used because of ridiculous romaing charges.

    The dream of an always-on, always-connected device didn't take into account the greed of the telecoms companies.
     
  3. Carniphage macrumors 68000

    Carniphage

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2006
    Location:
    Sheffield, England
    #3
    Apple don't currently have the power to tell networks how much to charge.
    Charges for roaming calls are ridiculous over-priced.
    Charges for roaming data are beyond ludicrous - perhaps criminally insane would be a better description.

    In the EU - legislation has been used to limit this abuse.

    The business model for mobile telephony is the real problem. If our network over-charge for an occasional trip overseas, we can't quickly leave them for a better network. The lock-in makes price competition unimportant.

    One solution would be to make locking phones illegal. Land overseas, pop in a local sim and avoid being robbed. If enough people do this, the networks might be tempted to compete on roaming charges.

    C.
     
  4. samcraig macrumors P6

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2009
    #4
    I wouldn't point the finger at Apple. Why should they care or have any say. It's not unique to the iPhone. EVERY PHONE when roaming uses an international data plan. The iPhone just happens to eat more/use data faster.

    I was just away for 3 weeks to Italy and Croatia. I bought the $59.99 international data add on which was plenty for 3 weeks. There are a ton of wifi hotspots all over and I clearly didn't use my iPhone as much as I normally would when I was only on 3G.

    I'm not sure what other people do/need while traveling and I can understand wanting to not have to worry about the data they are using. But I don't see it as THAT big of a deal. Yes - I'd love an international unlimited plan you could put on and take off like they used to have. But given that ATT has stopped unlimited plans altogether now - it's unlikely to happen.

    But again - this isn't an Apple or iPhone issue.
     
  5. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #5
    Why lambaste apple when its your carrier that charges you the high roaming charges, and why complain about your carrier's fee structure when you could and should have disabled the roaming in the first place. :rolleyes:
     
  6. kdarling macrumors demi-god

    kdarling

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2007
    Location:
    First university coding class = 46 years ago
    #6
    With any other GSM phone, customers can ask for an unlock code, so they can use cheaper local SIMs when out of country. Even Verizon world phones can be unlocked to use local SIMs.

    Instead, iPhone owners are often advised to buy a throwaway phone to use overseas.

    So the question is, is it the carrier or Apple that won't allow an unlock?
     
  7. Carniphage macrumors 68000

    Carniphage

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2006
    Location:
    Sheffield, England
    #7
    In the UK, if you ask O2 for an unlock, they do it in a couple of days for free.
    So my guess is that it is AT&T - not Apple.

    C.
     
  8. samcraig macrumors P6

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2009
    #8
    It's ATT - not Apple. Apple doesn't care what network you use. Again - it's ATT not Apple people need to complain to
     
  9. bmwhd macrumors 6502a

    bmwhd

    Joined:
    May 22, 2008
    #9
    I've learned this lesson the hard way. I never dreamed calls could be $2 a min for example or how painful checking email could be. Skype and wifi only for me now.
     
  10. gregk205 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2008
    Location:
    New York
    #10
    I use my Verizon Blackberry overseas and get the Blackberry international unlimited data plan for $60 and then when I get back home I can cancel it. I do think RIM forces carriers to have reasonable Blackberry roaming plans. Last I checked on At&t Blackberry international data plans are cheaper than the iphone's.
     
  11. Tarzanman macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2010
    #11
    Actually, the phone companies are over-charging because the spineless FCC is impotent, powerless, and useless unless you happen to flash a boob or use a 4-letter-word on TV.

    You're kidding, right? I know plenty of broke people who have iPhones.

    Correct. This is the current norm.
    You just lost me there, bud.

    ...because Apple isn't a cell phone carrier.

    Cell phone companies make roaming agreements with each other. It has nothing to do with what kind of phone you have. The back end of the cell phone network looks at your handset and determines what your 'home' network is (the VLR). If your carrier has an agreement with the local network then they allow your traffic and you get billed accordingly. The rates are so high because:
    1. The local network
    2. Your home network
    3. Intermediate carriers who transfer voice (or data) between these networks
    all want to get paid for the service. Basically, you end up paying 3 companies instead of just one... and two of them will charge you out the yin-yang because they will probably not see you (or your phone) again anytime soon.

    Again, apple has nothing to do with any of these agreements. Cell phone carriers would tell Apple to get bent if they tried to horn in on their revenue streams.
     
  12. VulchR thread starter macrumors 68020

    VulchR

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2009
    Location:
    Scotland
    #12
    Apple doesn't control the telecoms companies, but it sure can influence them - and play them off against each other. You'd think that be enough leverage for Apple to make an upper limit on data roaming charges a part of the commercial agreements with the phone companies regarding the iPhone.

    I use Orange in the UK and even with their overseas package it's still ~£1 per megabyte. Think about using Google Maps with charges like that and the inevitable conclusion is that most will enable data roaming only in the event of emergencies. In the EU we have the right to tell the mobile phone company the maximum acceptable data roaming charge, but that's not the same thing as making the prices reasonable.

    EDIT: The point made above about Blackberry's having cheaper rates suggests that Apple could have some influence.
     
  13. Tarzanman macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2010
    #13
    You are vastly over-estimating Apple's influence. The telecom companies don't need Apple. There are literally dozens of other companies making smart-phones and dumb-phones that earn just as much money for them as the iPhone. If Apple tried to throw any of their weight around by cutting significantly into that stream, the carrier would stop doing business with them.

    The EU has its own issues... you have sovereign nations with different markets and laws and economies and lots of competition. Small wonder that local providers are protective.

    What most people should do over there is unlock your phone and buy SIM cards for local providers to keep your charges down.

    It won't solve the problem of receiving calls on your main number, but its a workable alternative.

    You clearly don't quite understand how things work. RIM manages Blackberry data traffic on their own servers and push it through to the cell phone carrier networks. Basically the cell networks don't really have to very do much at all compared with other smart phones that use the carriers' own backbones for data routing.
     
  14. gdlcjr macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2009
    #14
    The only solution for this is one you are out of contract. Let our iPhone be unlock.. So when you travel oversees. You can by a sim card that you will use on that country.
     
  15. jonnyb macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2005
    Location:
    London, UK
    #15
    I already have an unlocked iphone 4. Most countries sell sim cards for calling and testing but pre-paid data cards are much rarer. I'm more bothered about the latter when I'm travelling.
     
  16. Tarzanman macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2010
    #16
    Internet cafe?
     
  17. DoNoHarm macrumors 65816

    DoNoHarm

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2008
    Location:
    Maine
    #17
    I used to share this view, but lately I've been realizing that it's often done with Apple's collusion. For example, if you go an purchase an iphone directly from Apple without contract, it's locked to AT&T? Why? You didn't even talk to anyone from AT&T. You paid Apple whatever fee AT&T would leech off it's customers..... It's just Apple being inflexible, colluding with AT&T, etc.

    I hope Apple looses the class action lawsuit currently underway.
     
  18. scaredpoet macrumors 604

    scaredpoet

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    #18
    You also forget: they lack jurisdiction outside the US.

    Oh, and: recent court decisions have weakened their authority somewhat on profanities, too. :)
     

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