iPhone News Desk
Can You Afford the iPhone Bill for International Data Roaming?
If you want to pay a flat fee for data roaming, that phone is not the iPhone
By: Kevin Hoffman
Sep. 12, 2007 02:15 PM
Kevin Hoffman's Blog
Firstly, the person who got the bill says:
"They have periodic updates on their data files, and they translate into megabucks," Levy said. "This is akin to your bank having automatic access to your ATM machine and is siphoning money out during all times of the day and night without your knowledge."
Because the iPhone, according to this Newsday story, checks for service updates and email whether it's turned on or off.
Ah the smell of sensationalist manufactured crap. Its sweeter than horse manure, yet more pungent than cow dung. So, if you go to the article that I linked, the one from Newsday, you'll see this statement:
The iPhone regularly updates e-mail, even while it's off, so that all the messages will be available when the user turns it on.
Bottom line: Yes, AT&T's terms of service agreement is 6,700 words long and its hideous and difficult to read. However, so are the terms for every other cellular provider. If you have the patience to read through them, go for it. Everyone knows that even if we don't read the terms, we're bound to them by signing up for service, so not reading the terms is a calculated risk based on the idea that you might not accidentally violate a term you didn't read about. No, the iPhone does not automatically check for e-mail when powered off, and it can even be configured to not check for e-mail when powered on. Yes, AT&T could be a little more clear about how this works, and Yes, they could benefit from providing some kind of higher cost "international unlimited data roaming" plan to alleviate this problem. No, these are not charges for time the family did not use. Their phones were powered on, actively checking e-mail and probably downloading attachments from an international roaming location.
In addition, the person in the article complained and was offered a $1500 refund by AT&T.
While I certainly think AT&T could have done a lot more to avoid this situation, I don't think they should be refunding the charges in this case. If you leave your phone on, and your phone is configured to automatically check for e-mail, and you go abroad or into a roaming area, you will get charged for data roaming and you deserve to be charged accordingly.
If you want a phone that can connect to any network anywhere for data plan and pay a flat fee for data roaming, you are NOT going to find that phone on the AT&T network, and that phone is not the iPhone.
And before you ask - if this was me in this situation, I would be ridiculously pissed off. I would be punching walls and yelling and screaming and trying to convince AT&T to refund me all of my money. However, deep down I'd know that it was my own fault for letting my phone connect to download mail while I was abroad. If you really need to check your mail abroad, step into a cafe with a wireless hotspot and manually check for mail.
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