international

AT&T socks me with over $400 of international data roaming charges!

I recently went to Zurich for a week-long business trip (training developers on Jive Clearspace). I knew I'd need to use my iPhone for a variety of reasons, such as email, web access, chat, and google maps.

So like any responsible employee I went into the AT&T office and spoke directly with a rep about what international data plans I'd need to purchase, and how much it would cost me.

I bought a 100 MB data package for $129.99, and paid a $5 international plan that brought phone calls down to $.99 a minute (otherwise they'd cost me $1.29 a minute). I reset my iPhone usage before boarding the plane, and watched it like a hawk the whole time I was there.

Here's what it looked like as I stepped off the plane at the Chicago airport for my connecting flight, on October 25th:

Figured I couldn't have cut it any closer, but was only about 5 megs over the limit, give or take a few megs that might not have been reported by then (although it was a 10 hour flight, so it should have been pretty accurate by then).

That next day, AT&T calls me to let me know I had a bill of $2350 from my data usage! I calmly explained that I had purchased the data plan and after a little digging and keyboard clicking on their end they were able to find that I had indeed bought the plan and only owed for the 14 MB of overages and owed about $54 extra for those kilobytes.

I wasn't sure where they came up with 14 megs, but the $54 didn't sound to outrageous and so I let it go.

Fast forward a week to November 1st. I go online to check my bill and find that they've tacked on $460 of data roaming charges. They're calling them mobile-to-web "calls" and told me I must have been in an area where roaming charges applied.

Traveling to London With My Blackberry Curve

I'm heading to London tomorrow for a week long business trip and will need to have access to phone, email, and internet on my Blackberry Curve (I'm the Education Manager for Jive Software and will be delivering 4 days worth of training on Clearspace, our collaboration application).

Phone calls are crazy expensive internationally, with rates of $1.29 per minute in the UK.

Fortunately I spend a lot more time on email and the web then I do on the phone, and AT&T has an international data plan that's $64.99 a month for unlimited email and internet. I'll be able to check email, browse the web (tweet on Twitter, etc), and text home occasionally.

When you sign up for the international data plan, it drops your phone calls down to 99 cents a minute. Still not cheap, but if I have to make a business call then Jive will reimburse me.

I'll switch back to the regular Blackberry data plan when I return home, which is only $30 a month.

I also have an Aircard for broadband internet tethering on my laptop, but the data plan for that was something like $130 - too much in my opinion, and the training facility will have high speed internet, as will my hotel.