iPhone/AT&T $3,000 International Roaming Bill Serves As Cruel Warning

International data roaming charges are out-of-control expensive and can be difficult to dispute, should you accidentally rack them up. It’s not uncommon to be slammed with a $3,000 bill from just looking up a few websites on the go in Europe. We’ve written about it before, actually.

That’s what happened to David. Thankfully for him, his story got picked up by BoingBoing and AT&T has already waved his charges. But this isn’t unusual. This happens all the time to people who are unaware of just how insanely expensive international data roaming is… and AT&T doesn’t always waive the fees so easily.

Here’s David’s letter, which he sent to us and 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.

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 writing you 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.

Soon after his letter was posted to BoingBoing, AT&T waived his charges. David writes:

Word travels fast over the internet…

AT&T just called and agreed to waive all charges due to the “miscommunication.” I think they have a customer for life now!

Traveling abroad? Check out this Consumerist post about roaming internationally. When you open your bill after your trip, you’ll be glad you did. And remember, if you can’t unlock your phone be sure to ask about roaming data packages, or phone rental.

ATT + iPhone int’l. roaming data horror story: $3K bill – UDPATE [BoingBoing] (Thanks, Xeni!)

RELATED: How To: Use Your Cellphone Abroad
Make Affordable Cellphone Calls While Travelling Internationally


Edit Your Comment

  1. B says:

    He was told how much it would cost, and he used it anyways. I don’t have much sympathy for him.

  2. dbeahn says:

    So you wanted an iPhone instead of a Blackberry, but you want the Blackberry plan? Gee, too bad. You knew the plan when you got the iPhone. If you wanted what the blackberry offers, you needed to buy a Blackberry. You wanted what the iPhone offers, so suck it up.

    Another thing – any web developer is going to KNOW that they routinely put numerous pics on websites that are 30kb or larger in size. As a result, it isn’t hard to figure out that an aveage webpage with NO ads and a few pics will be a minimum of 180kb. A pic from a 1.2 mega pixel camera? 1200kb give or take on average.

    So they GAVE you the price, you chose, in SPITE of the fact that you work with web pages and computers for a living, to not bother to check and see what that would total out to, and now because you couldn’t be bothered you think AT&T should foot your bill?

    Bullshit. This should go under the “bad consumer” tag.

  3. ArtDonovansDrunkenLovechild says:

    I used to work for a smaller cell company (just bought by ATT). The plans were pretty harsh for data usage on foreign networks, including ATT/Cingular and international, and our reps made a fortune selling backdated data plans to help out people who used way more then they thought.
    As for being unable to access your usage midmonth that is perfectly understandable, for international or even regular roaming those bills dont get submitted to your carrier till the end of the month/week/cycle so they cant tell you what they dont know.

    This is a case of buyer beware as he said, since the company didnt do anything wrong, but could have done more to help make things understandable…

    IT takes some balls to demand they offer you (and all iphone customers) a new plan that is for another phone, good luck with that.

  4. rmz says:

    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

    Wait, WHAT? What kind of web developer is this?

  5. jamesdenver says:

    If you’re traveling to any major city outside the U.S. there’s internet cafes and kiosks everywhere. Hundreds more small places than the standards “Kinkos” here.

    Any savvy web user can see which cafes exercise good security and which don’t (generally any public PC with a bunch of crapware on the desktop.)

    But there’s no reason to use an expensive webphone or carry your laptop for checking e-mail, printing maps, looking up restaurants, etc.

    I stopped in an internet cafe Europe last May for about an hour each day and it was no more than $10 a day for the most expensive places. My total PC use charges were probably no more than $130 USD, including the lattes I bought there.

  6. bilge says:

    Would it really be that difficult for a cell phone provider to give reasonably current information about how much a user has racked up in roaming/data charges?

  7. B says:

    @rmz: The kind that develops bloated, graphics heavy pages that take forever to load. In other words, a sadly common type of web developer.

  8. dbeahn says:

    @bilge: Nope. No more difficult than a “web developer” taking a few minutes to look at some file sizes so he’d know he was racking up a huge bill.

    But really, isn’t it much better for him to just run up a $3000 bill, then stick AT&T for it so they can just hike the rates for ALL customers, and not just the one poor guy that couldn’t be bothered to figure out how much he was spending sending every pic he took to his mommy?

  9. reeg2 says:


    your argument would hold much more water if AT&T weren’t laughing all the way to the bank with the $3000. but, they’ve chosen to make the rates grotesque in hopes that the average user won’t know the difference until the end.

    you can’t defend at&t for sticking him with a $3000 bill that he should have known about when you couldn’t expect more than 1% of the country to understand. when businesses stop being fair and practical, they don’t deserve to be able to get away with such egregious billings.

  10. Macroy says:

    @bilge: The iPhone itself tracks your usage data for you. It’s in the “Settings” menu, handily titled “Usage”.

  11. JamieCon says:

    If i’m right (and there are no guarantees there), then $3,000 of usage = 600mb of data at the price quoted. That’s a fair bit of browsing. He must have been seriously hammering Google Maps. Can’t really see what the problem with AT&T is but hey, if he got the refund then good for him.

    But seriously though – a web developer?!

  12. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    See, if the iPhone wasn’t SIM locked, he could’ve just bought a prepaid SIM in Europe and not worry so much about data roaming fees.

    The best part of this story was..

    “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.”


  13. obfusciatrist says:

    Let’s see, $3,000 at $0.005 per KB means that he used about 600,000KB or 600,000,000 bytes, or 600MB.

    That strikes me as some pretty serious usage. More than the occasional email and text message. If he expects 20MB would be used up in a few days of regular usage then he performed what, in his estimation is a full month of regular surfing on his vacation.

    I agree that $0.005 is exorbitant but it was disclosed and even some very simple back of the envelope math should have shown him he was in trouble.

  14. obfusciatrist says:

    Dumb me. The math was off by a decimal place. 60MB during his trip, not 600.

  15. obfusciatrist says:


    Off by an order of magnitude. 60MB not 600.

  16. Buran says:

    @LatherRinseRepeat: He still could have put his SIM in an unlocked phone rented from a provider over there.

  17. philipbarrett says:

    Exactly, I carry an old GSM Nokia & buy a local SIM card wherever I go. Many places even sell them in stores at baggage claim. The rates (even for international calling) are always reasonable. Many countries have low cost VOIP based international providers, ask a local or your hotel concierge for access numbers.

  18. acambras says:

    Man, sometimes I really feel for some of the original posters. They write a letter, send a copy to Consumerist, and then get torn apart like raw meat in a tank of piranhas.

    Whether it’s this or other posts, people seem want to hate on the OP — saying things like this guy must be a crappy web designer who got what he deserved, that the woman who didn’t want a Borders bag is a high-maintenance treehugger who needs to get over it, or that the JoAnn diarrhea lady should have stayed home. Or people zero in on something not germane to the discussion (that the IKEA couch lady had just gotten back from traveling – um, therefore she’s a cheapass for buying furniture from IKEA?). Or they attack the OP’s grammar & writing skills, or even their personal tastes (Harry Potter, for example).

    I remember on one post, Ben wrote something about how we commenters sometimes seem to “eat our own.” Sure, some OPs don’t handle their situations perfectly, but that doesn’t make them “stupid,” or “douchebags,” or “sanctimonious bitches.”

    Anyway, I’m sick of it — can’t we restrain ourselves – just a little – from rushing to flog the OPs? I can understand a little snarkiness, but can we try to be just a little less vicious?

  19. dbeahn says:

    @reeg2: What the hell is so hard to understand? 1kb costs half a penny. 10 costs 5 pennies. 100 cost 50 cents. It’s not hard.

    I’m sorry, but if you sign up to PAY for something you don’t understand, then don’t bother to learn enough about it to know how much you’re spending, too bad. Most people don’t understand that when they sign up for a $300 a month car payment for the next 6 years, they’ll pay $10,000 in interest. Banks are laughing all the way to the….hmmm. Home? Anyway, does that mean that all those people that paid all that interest should get their money back because they “didn’t understand”?

    What about a Geek Squad agent that doesn’t know copying customer porn is illegal in his state? Should he/she get a pass because they “didn’t understand” that it was illegal?

    Your argument would hold more water if “I didn’t understand” was a valid reason for voiding a contract. But it isn’t. Your argument would hold more water if “per unit” charges were something new, but they aren’t. Per minute ANYTHING on a phone has always meant “this is freaking expensive!”.

    This guy says he’s a web developer. All he had to do is look at the average file size for a webpage (right click and go to “view page source” in firefox and some quick math tels me that THIS webpage, when I posted this comment, is at least 150kb. Or, put another way, at least $0.75 to see on an iPhone if I’m traveling in Europe).

    • CarlSteefel says:

      So from what you say, you check the size of every Web page you download in advance. Impressive…

      No, this guy’s problem was that he didn’t think people would rip him off. Come on, $3,000 for 60 MB of Internet usage. That is pretty much a ripoff by anybody’s standard. So yes, he screwed up, he figured ATT would charge a half way reasonable rate. I have made similar mistakes…

  20. TechnoDestructo says:

    I guess they figure it’ll be mainly business travelers who aren’t paying for their own data usage who’ll be using international (particularly overseas) data plans. People who just HAVE to have it.

    Making sure there are no cheaper options available for those people makes sense for AT&T. Sure, you might get a hundred thousand tourists willing to pay a few dozen bucks a month for international data while they’re on vacation. But those hundred thousand tourists’ business isn’t worth ten thousand business travellers if they’re paying even a little bit over ten times as much. And if you can sucker a few tourists into unknowingly paying those rates, too, so much the better.

    Same reason food is so expensive in airports. You’re probably 5 miles from the nearest anything else, and in secure areas, you’ve got the hassle of leaving and coming back. So if they’re charging 4 bucks for a bottle of soda, and 3/4 of people who would have bought at 1 dollar decide to go without, they’re still making just as much on that bottle of soda…probably more, since they don’t have to refill the vending machine as often.

    This doesn’t explain why many other countries do not fuck you like this.

  21. dbeahn says:

    @obfusciatrist: Right. And using this rather sparse page (150kb give or take) as a benchmark (a google map page will average around 260kb unless you go to satellite view, at which point it doubles to half a meg or more. And remember, if you zoom in or out, that means another quarter to half meg. Use satellite or hybrid view, zoom in twice and out once and you’re looking at 2mb just for that “quick check of google maps”) it would only take 400 web pages to hit 60mb. So I can see if he’s checking e-mail once or more a day, and checking google maps once or twice every few days, and checking for this and that, and showing off his iPhone to the Europeans that couldn’t get one yet…

  22. DudeAsInCool says:

    It’s pretty simple, guys. ATT tried to rook the guy for $3000 bucks, and would gladly take it from other suckers, if people like this didn’t stand up and yell fowl.

    Stop tearing down consumers and lay the blame where it belongs, which is not in the fine print of his contract, but in the corporate policies that allow attrocities like this to happen.

  23. dbeahn says:

    @DudeAsInCool: OK, so then if I were to say “That car costs $5000” then according to you, that would be “fine print”?

  24. EtherealStrife says:

    @obfusciatrist: I count that as 586MB (.005*1024= $5.12/MB), which is a huge amount of traffic. Either this guy was tremendously gluttonous with his connection, or there was some sort of error. Based on his idiotic “I’m a Web Developer” comment, I’ll take a risk and blame the “victim”.

  25. cac67 says:

    @DudeAsInCool: Stop tearing down consumers and lay the blame where it belongs, which is not in the fine print of his contract, but in the corporate policies that allow attrocities like this to happen.

    The Holocaust was an atrocity. The killing fields of Pol Pot were an atrocity. Terrorists beheading civilians kidnapped off the street are atrocities. The genocide in Darfur is an atrocity. You’re equating a consumer being charged more than you think is fair with these acts is insulting to the victims and the families of victims of real atrocities.

  26. overbysara says:

    if they offer the 70 dollar plan for the blackberry… I would agree that it’s unreasonable not to offer something similar for the iphone.

  27. Onouris says:


    Say what country, not ‘Europe’ :-/ Europe is as good a description as ‘I went somewhere on the planet’ >.<

  28. Cowboys_fan says:

    AT&T gets billed by the roaming company so it is entirely possible they have to pay alot of that $3000 either way.
    IMO its a ridiculous amount, but roaming on cruise ships can cost upwards of $9/min, so its not inconceivable to have that happen legitimately. They should let you unlock it though, and if this guy truly is a “Web Developer”, a 10 second google search shows how to unlock it.

  29. jamesdenver says:


    Hey – it’s a public forum. If someone says “You’re an idiot”, but logically and clearly details WHY you’re an idiot – I think it’s a fair comment.


    Fair enough. (See Onouris can write a criticism and I can take it – it’s no big deal) I was in Munich and Prague last May. I’ve also been to Mexico City, Merida MX, and Buenos Aires within the past two years. In all of those major cities I’ve found many internet places about the size of a Subway shop. Just like a Kinkos you sit down, compute, print and pay. Also some have phone booths and easy int’l dialing.

    Unless you are writing constantly or have some Powerpoint presentation you need to give I really see no reason for the average traveler to need to carry along their own internet access (by laptop or cell phone.)

  30. dbeahn says:

    @overbysara: “if they offer the 70 dollar plan for the blackberry… I would agree that it’s unreasonable not to offer something similar for the iphone.”

    The blackberry doesn’t offer “the real internet” like the Apple iPhone claims to. Pardon the pun, but it’s not a berries to berries comparison – it’s an apples to berries comparison. This guys also had the choice to buy a Blackberry and GET the cheap-cheap plan that is available. He chose an iPhone instead.

    To apply the same logic, a Toyota Prius gets 48mpg. Isn’t it only fair that Toyota offer similar milage for the Sequoia? I mean, they’re both vehicles made by Toyota after all. Why should I have to be stuck with 14mpg just because I decided to buy a Sequoia?

  31. agraham77 says:

    This article made me crap my pants. I was in the exact same situation two weeks ago in Italy. Signed up for the ‘international plan’ for $6, with a “discounted” rate. Used my phone over there for about 11 days. I read the article today and immediately checked my account.

    My International data usage came out to $271, my calls to $37. Expensive, but not unreasonable, considering the high cost of mobile service in Europe compared to the US.

    This guy must’ve used his phone ALOT. My wife and I used my iPhone to check email and do google map directions (which worked great, even on small rural roads in the middle of nowhere). Even surfed the web a bit. I didn’t download email attachments or anything, and turned my phone into airplane mode whenever I wasn’t using it. He probably left his phone on the entire time and had it check for email every minute.

    Caveat emptor, dude.

  32. keenclce says:

    Haha interesting article. This reminds me of when the owner of ProBoards.com went to England a few weeks ago and racked up a similar charge when browsing over EDGE. Not quite $3000, but around $2000 of international roaming fees. Ha. I asked him if he knew what he was doing when he was there in England. Just like the article said, he didn’t think it would “be that much”.

  33. bilge says:

    @acambras: I think the reaction would be different if the guy had said, “I didn’t realize how much it would cost” and admitted to f’ing up. Maybe he should have just written about his experience as an FYI to other unaware travelers. Instead he’s accusing AT&T of setting up a “trap” with “gotchas” and that iPhone users are victims of “discrimination.”

    I’ll agree with the original poster that the charges for international roaming are exorbitant, but I’m not seeing how AT&T did anything inappropriate or unethical. In fact, if he knows that he’ll go through 20MB in two days, a little simple math could have given him an idea of what he’d have to pay.

  34. TVarmy says:

    @dbeahn: But shouldn’t the gas cost the same, gallon per gallon, no matter what you’re driving? I’m using a Mac right now. Sometimes I browse with my PC. I don’t have to pay different fees on my broadband, even though I use the two computers online very differently.

  35. Iron_Dragon_2.0 says:

    $3000 / 0.005 per kilobyte = 600,000 kilobytes
    600,000 kilobytes / 1024 = 585.938 megs

    He used up around 585 Megs on the go and racked up a $3000 bill in the process… I don’t feel sorry for him

    “layman’s language (i.e., X amount per e-mail, X amount per web page, etc.).”

    Emails with pictures and html code or just plain text? 10 character emails or 10 page emails?

    There is no standard size and I would be pretty pissed if they tried to feed me a bullshit number like “Ohh that’s 30 emails sir.”. Any number they gave people would be inaccurate and just raise complaints later. Ohh why was my email 500 times bigger (With an image it could be) than you said it would be?

    “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.”

    Is he for real? Character = 1 Byte. You get 1024 (Kilobyte) characters for $0.005

    Webpages on average come in at about 20 KB ($0.10) for just the Html page. Sure it ranges but not by much. Google for example comes in at 6 KB for a search page. I’m sure they optimize it. The real trouble is with image heavy sites.

    The average web image ranges from 50 KB ($0.25) to 250 KB ($1.25) standard. Large bitmaps can range up to 2 MB ($10.24) and higher however.

    He’s a ****ing web designer and he doesn’t know about the size of documents on the internet? He works with them all day. It’s like a plumber who doesn’t know what diameters pipes come in. Give me a break.

    Also web access on mobile devices was developed for business use people could retrieve and send plain text emails on the go. Then didn’t design it so the average person could visit google maps and whore bandwidth every time he shifts the view or zooms.

    Also… International data rate charges are high you say? Well then LEARN TO LIVE WITHOUT YOUR CELL PHONE FOR A WEEK OR TWO.

  36. Buran says:

    @jamesdenver: People are not idiots for posting something others disagree with … idiot. ;) (I kid! With the second half anyway)

  37. Buran says:

    @cac67: In other words, you think you can rightfully judge what people feel is massively offensive. You’re not them – you have no right to make that choice.

    This may be the internet, but that doesn’t mean it’s OK for everyone to be high-horsey on everyone else they disagree with.

  38. dbeahn says:

    @TVarmy: Again, that’s my whole point. The blackberry doesn’t get the same internet as the iPhone. You can’t GET google maps on a blackberry. It’s not the same “broadband” you’re using.

  39. Beerad says:

    @dbeahn: Uh, actually you CAN get google maps on a blackberry. Unless I’m just special like that.

  40. weave says:

    Data roaming rates are way out of control. I can understand reasonable fees, but can’t believe it really costs anywhere near that much to provide that level of data service.

    It’s also a sum of all upload and download traffic.

    Last year in UK I knew about this and was very careful, turning off images in my browser on the phone and only checking a few web pages and sending about 10 pics over email and I was still whacked with $80 in data roaming charges.

    I *also* got a prepaid O2 sim. It had a “free” megabyte of data per month and then its domestic rates were almost as bad.

    Unlimited wireless data is a bit unusual. Just ask anyone from Canada. I wonder how Apple is going to work these phones out in other countries.

  41. dbeahn says:

    @Beerad: Really? I didn’t know that. Everyone was making such a huge freaking deal out of google maps being the “killer app” for the iPhone, my assumption was that it was some sort of first in mobile access.

    Looks like I was wrong on that.

  42. weave says:

    I’ve been using google maps on my Nokia N-series phones (n90 then n95) for well over a year now. The current S60 browser on these devices renders pages like a real computer as well.

    A lot of Apple’s stuff is just marketing bullshit — but regardless, I’m still a big fanboi of them.

    Oh, and the map app on my n95 will also tell me where I am as well as give directions and find businesses, unlike the iphone! :)

  43. Jasmo says:

    No sympathy at all. Would you walk into the trendiest new restaurant, order wantonly off the menu, and then complain when the bill arrives? The prices were laid out, and he agreed to them.

  44. vladthepaler says:

    It was certainly nice of ATT to waive the charges here, but I’m not sure why they did. There was no miscommumication, the cost of the service was clearly disclosed. It’s not as though there were a heap of hidden fees or anything. If the poster is truly such a moron as to not know what a KB is, he could have asked the rep to explain.

  45. Nytmare says:

    @Macroy: Does it show charge amounts too?

  46. raedances says:

    It shouldn’t be difficult to be agressively proactive about your data usage. If you have the quoted rate in front of you, take five minutes to do a little research from home. Load the pages you think you’ll need, check the size, do a little math, and then decide whether checking the sports page is worth a few dollars per page load. Also, most email clients (online or offline) will display the size of your messages. You don’t need AT&T to quote you some random “average” email size, you can get a much more precise number yourself, based on the type of emails that you typically recieve. Even better, filter your inbox or sign up for a free email account to use during your trip, and only give the address to a few people.

    As for the Blackberry data plan, I don’t think the difference is in the type or amount of data being transferred. It’s likely that RIM(Blackberry) has worked out an international deal with AT&T to offer the discounted rate. RIM could easily pay a premium to secure this rate for their customers, making the money back through increased sales. Or, AT&T could be giving the cheaper rate because of the large volume of business it gets from RIM. Either way, it makes no sense for AT&T to offer this same deal to users of a phone that hasn’t entered the international market yet.

  47. muckpond says:

    i r dum and me no have iPhone, but…

    i thought it had wifi built in? i know there was some hooplah about needing an AT&T data plan to get the wifi enabled, but if that’s the case, couldn’t he just have used it wherever he could get a wifi signal and then the data would have been free?

    i was in estonia (it is TOO a real country – look it up!) for a week last summer and everyplace was saturated with wifi hotspots. i would imagine that there are a good number of available wifi hotspots everywhere in “europe.”

    so am i wrong about this wifi bizness?

  48. cac67 says:

    @Buran: You are an unmitigated ass. Are you really going to sit there and self-righteously claim that this is equivalent to the genocide in Darfur? Is that what you think? If you don’t think that, but you do think this is an atrocity, then what do you consider Darfur?

    Why dont you tell me which you would prefer: being charged more than you want to pay to use your cell phone in europe, or having your head sawed off with a dull machete. Both of these things have happened recently, and you seem to think they both reach the same level.

  49. Msgundam84 says:

    They should have stuck him with the bill. You bought an I-phone the day
    it came out and you are whining about international use and the lack of
    an adequate data plan. BOO HOO! “The blackberry has a plan…” Then you
    shoulda bought a blackberry JACKASS. YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO

    Early adopters always get screwed and first generations and plans of
    products are there to work out the kinks. Now if the I-phones were
    faulty and they didn’t work (i.e. xbox 360’s) then you’d have a case.

    And you’re a web developer? I wouldn’t hire you for shit. You
    dumb-as-bricks son of a bitch. It’s simple math to figure out what
    $0.005 per KB would cost you. Dumbass. How about you do a $3000 job for
    $100? or free. See how you’d like it.

    ATT should waive the bill for people who have their phones stolen, not
    for idiots who don’t understand how much stuff is going to cost them.
    That’s complete crap. ATT should have stuck it to this moron good.

    The $3000 would be unpaid, go to collections, and haunt his ass forever. That’s how it should be.

  50. cbear says:

    Just to throw in a few comments as an AT&T CSR:

    1) Intl data roaming is exorbitant, just like intl voice roaming. That being said $0.005/kB is half the pay-per-use rate for domestic data usage, and just shy of a quarter of the rate for standard data roaming (which is $0.0195/kB). The tale of the kid who decided to download the Lord of the Rings DVD by tethering his phone to his laptop while in Germany is still whispered in my center. That charge was more than $95000, and you better believe Cingular didnt let that one go – all intl roaming charges cost nearly as much to a carrier as they do to the customer on the next bill.

    2) Blackberrys get a great deal on intl data service because the Blackberry.net APN has substantial international coverage, whereas phones like the iPhone roam ad hoc.

    3) Sort of a tangent, but pity the poor CSR who has to explain to someone what data usage is. I get the question about the size of the average email/webpage/download all the time. Its like asking what the length of the average phone call is – even if we had access to those kind of metrics, who would they apply to? (At least he knew what a kilobyte is, those conversations are great…”Well, sir, computer language is written is sequences of ones and zeroes…”)

  51. muncyweb says:

    Excessive Roaming Charges — My Story:

    I just checked the mail, and my cellular bill from AT&T (previously Cingular) was a whopping $753.22! As soon as I had opened the envelope my heart started racing. Where in the world did these charges come from? My bill is usually between $40-$60 here lately, so I thought this was really weird.

    Read more here:

    The rest of the story…

  52. BrianH says:

    I hope everyone realizes that these whiney crybabies are costing all of us in the long run.

    (“Waaaahhhh, I want my $200 iPhone idiot tax back!!! Waaaahhh…. I’m a web developer who probably throws a few animated GIFs of dancing unicorns on a web page for 13 year old girls, and I don’t want to be charged for the usage that *I* incurred at the rates *I* was quoted because I can’t do elementary math!!!”)

    Personal responsibility and fairness aren’t relevant when you can squeal like a stuck pig.

    I’d hate to be in the shoes of AT&T right now (or anytime for that matter.) Next person who racks up $3k overseas can use the same line. As soon as AT&T starts denying these requests (their right), just watch the lawsuits fly. “You’re denying me because I’m a 3-headed midget with dyslexia!!! I’m gonna take you to court!!!”

    Whatever. You reap what you sow.

  53. Anonymous says:

    I think everyone is missing the point.
    Basically, the cost of international roaming data fees are day light robbery! I am a web developer as well, but when some says 2 cents a kilobyte, that sound cheap. I can understand that when the say 50 cents a text message, I realise this is around twice the price. But when I look real close and compare what I am being charged per kilobyte on my normal phone plan and then what I am charged with overseas roaming, it works out to be a 6,600% increase!!!!!!!!! (Yes – six thousand and six hundred percent). That in my opinion is an absolute RIP-OFF by the phone companies who know you are not going to realise this until you are back from you nice relaxed trip abroad. Then you realise that you could be charged $40 just to view an email, that is getting seriously stupid!
    People do not understand the huge difference in charges and that all that date really adds up fast to a major headache.
    Luckily, know everyone is starting to understand thsi and you can now do something about it: