How to avoid receiving a $837.20 iPhone bill

Former colleague and iPhoneDevCamp founder Raven Zachary recently got whacked with a $837.20 iPhone bill for international data usage.

Former colleague and iPhoneDevCamp founder Raven Zachary recently got whacked with a $837.20 iPhone bill for international data usage. This was despite securing an AT&T World Traveler plan and a 20GB Data Global plan. He offers the following tips for iPhone users traveling abroad this summer:

  • Disable international data roaming altogether (it’s a preference in the iPhone, Settings > General > Network > Data Roaming). It should be disabled, by default. Avoid the temptation. As a point of reference, a 20MB email attachment over EDGE or GPRS internationally costs $100 once you go past your 20MB or 50MB allotment. I am told that cost is substantially higher over 3G.

  • Rely upon Wifi, instead of EDGE or 3G service. You’re going to save money even if you have to buy Wifi access on occasion to download your email. It’s a convenience to get email continuously, sure, but as I said already, avoid the temptation.

  • If you absolutely must get the Data Global Plan for iPhone, make sure to get clarity from the sales rep about how proration is going to impact you. I was only given 7MB for my billing cycle even though I purchased 20MB! Call the free international AT&T customer service number (916.843.4685) regularly to get an international data usage amount and prepare to upgrade from 20MB to 50MB if needed. Understand that email attachments, which are out of your control, could easily eat up your allotment.

  • AT&T publishes a useful iPhone Travel Tips guide, which I highly recommend before you proceed.

Have you traveled internationally with your iPhone? What was your strategy?

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