On the one hand, satiating a burning desire to hear the sweet, sweet vocal stylings of Neil Diamond piped directly into your ear at the exact moment you want to hear them could make anyone act crazy. But one woman didn’t realize that getting Diamond-on-demand isn’t so great for the old wallet if you’re downloading an entire album while your phone is roaming. [More]
RL isn’t arguing that his wife made a roaming call to a co-worker from a hotel in Venice, Italy. His dispute with Verizon wireless is regarding how long that call was. His wife says that it was ten minutes long. Verizon counters that it was ten hours and nine minutes. Considering that the call was to a voice mail box, that must have been an epic, almost close to the the actual meaning of the word “epic,” voicemail. [More]
What’s “data roaming?” Lisa was under the impression that it meant roughly the same thing as voice roaming: using up one’s data allotment while in an area outside of your carrier’s coverage. The phone will indicate when you’re roaming so you don’t rack up expensive roaming minutes or megabytes. Except that’s not how it works: Lisa’s phone just roamed invisibly. Her mother’s apartment is in a previously undisclosed T-Mobile black hole, and she ran out of data while traveling.
Chris had to go to Japan recently to help out with his deathly ill grandmother. He brought his new Verizon iPhone4 with him. While he was there, Verizon pushed a series of updates to his phone, and that racked up over $600 in global roaming charges. When he called customer service, they told him the charges were valid and nothing could be done. He couldn’t even get retroactively added to an international plan as Verizon says they don’t have one anymore that covers Asia/Japan.
Travel tip: If you haven’t arranged for international phone service while traveling abroad, take the battery out of your phone so you can’t accidentally turn it on and dial.
Stacey says while she was on vacation with her family in Cancun for a week recently, she checked her Facebook page from her Evo phone “maybe 5 minutes a day,” but never uploaded or sent any photos, “only a handful of texts.” Sprint says she managed to burn through either 600 MB or 4.7 GB of data during that period, and now owes them $11,667.73. (Note: Stacey doesn’ t specify whether the 4,918,228 kb of data is in kilobits or kilobytes, so I don’t know which number is accurate.)
Verizon Wireless now says that the astronomical bills some customers received after making cell phone calls from Haiti shortly after the catastrophic earthquake there last month were due to a computer glitch. According to the Fayetteville Observer, mobile calls placed in Haiti showed up in their system as being placed in Jamaica. Calls from Haiti to the United States should have been free all along, and Spc. James Crawford does not owe Verizon almost $2,000 for phone calls he placed to his pregnant wife back in North Carolina.
For as long as there’s been mobile Internet, there have been outrageous roaming charges for using mobile Internet abroad. Now, people affected by this issue have a celebrity spokesman: Adam Savage of “Mythbusters” fame.
If you’re going out of the country for more than 15 seconds, don’t forget to turn off, remove, leave at home, freeze in a block of ice, disable, or otherwise render unusable your wireless card. Above all, do not download Wall-E for your nephew to watch on your computer. Unfortunately, we do not have any more details about what was going on here, because Clark Howard apparently has to get back to his NASCAR pit.
Wayne has an AT&T wireless card that he uses in combination with his Slingbox to watch TV while he travels. It’s normally a good system, but he recently got a shockingly huge bill after watching about 2 1/2 hours of a Bears game while waiting for his cruise to depart Miami.
Having the ability to make calls all over the world is a pretty amazing communications milestone, but that doesn’t mean it’s cheap and easy. The Consumerist is filled with stories of poor fools who come back from parts unknown with thousand-dollar roaming bills—and it doesn’t just happen to clueless iPhone users. Here’s our attempt to help make some sense out of the mess.
We hate to say this, but in the interest of fairness we must: sometimes it really is the customer’s fault. A man took his three iPhones out of the country, and now he’s got a $4800 roaming bill because he didn’t turn them off and they kept checking for email. Well, he didn’t turn them off off. You know, there’s standby off and off off. Or maybe you didn’t know? It’s all in the Apple iPhone User Guide—we just looked at it online and it’s right there on page 14: how to put your phone in standby (which just turns off the screen) and how to shut it off completely.
The FCC announced yesterday that commercial mobile phone carriers are obligated to provide roaming connections, including mobile voice calls, text messaging, and push-to-talk services, for a “reasonable” cost. This matters most to customers of small and rural carriers, whose sometimes pay as high as $0.79 a minute to access large carriers’ networks. The political response was as expected: Democrats said the FCC should have included data transfer, and Republicans said the “light regulatory approach” was just right. Sprint said the average roaming cost per minute was four cents, and that no FCC intervention was necessary. And then Sprint ate a newborn and cackled maniacally.
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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.
People often write in and ask us how to use a cellphone abroad without roaming. Roaming can be insanely expensive. We don’t recommend you do it. But what should you do? The answer depends on what type of cellphone you have.
Sprint will cancel the accounts of CDMA customers who “excessively” use roaming, starting March 15, 2007, according to a company document provided by an internal Sprint source.