iPhone + Travel = Expensive

by Joey deVilla on July 31, 2007

iPhone + travel = expensive

Here’s a story contributed by Dave Stolte who wrote in to BoingBoing:

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.

There’s more — click here for the full story.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dave July 31, 2007 at 12:29 pm

Follow-up: I just realized the AT&T rep quote me “point oh oh five cents per kay bee” over the phone – which I agreed to verbally – when she meant to say “point oh oh five dollars”!

2 Joey deVilla July 31, 2007 at 12:58 pm
3 Daniel Nearing August 13, 2007 at 7:37 pm

I’ve just received a new bill for $800+ after a one week trip to Canada. I made MINIMAL use of the internet and email on the phone, but made the mistake of having it set to check email automatically every 15 minutes. I used my Blackberry there last year for about the same amount of time and paid less than $30 in data usage charges — which I thought was high! I called AT&T and got it sorted out (I’m paying a compromise fee), but don’t know what to do when I travel except leave the iPhone at home. T-Mobile / Blackberry has a $20 unlimited international data rate. AT&T is offering 20mb of international data for $26. I just looked at my phone’s usage indicator after a month and a half — something like 288 mb coming in and 30 mb going out. In other words, if you want to use the internet on your iPhone internationally, prepare for MASSIVE bills. It’s extremely disappointing, and for the first time, I am regretting letting go of my Blackberry because of my faith in Apple and the companies it chooses to work with. I want to believe that once AT&T really gets what they’re doing here, or enough iPhone users let them know about it, they’ll do the right thing & offer an unlimited international data plan that allows them a significant profit without breaking the backs of their customers.

4 Sharon Needles August 21, 2009 at 12:56 pm

“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.”

Maybe it’s time to find a new career?

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