Apple must hate international travelers

Apple has made its international data roaming plans insanely expensive. Why?

This is my first trip overseas with my iPhone, and it's hard to express in polite language how disappointed I am with Apple's international data roaming packages. I say "Apple's" instead of "AT&T's" because with my old Blackberry on AT&T I didn't have the problem, so I'm laying the blame at Apple's feet.

What's the problem? The cost. With my old Blackberry, I paid an additional $9.95/month for unlimited data while roaming internationally. With my iPhone, I pay $24.99 per month for just 20MB. Scratch that: Last night I upgraded to the only other plan Apple/AT&T offer: $59.95 per month for 50MB of data (on top of the $40/month I already pay for domestic data).

Sound like a lot of MB? Nope. I hit nearly 10MB in just one day, and that's with Saturday email traffic (not much) and very, very little web browsing. No pictures or attachments.

Apple fan that I am, I'm trying to think of a good reason why it should be so much more expensive to access email and browse the web internationally on my iPhone than it was with my Blackberry. (Same sites, same email volume.) It has put a huge crimp on how I use my iPhone. I'm actually frightened to use it at all, lest I go over the 50MB limit (when overage prices hit $5 to $20 per MB(!!!)).

I love my iPhone, Apple. I'd just like to be able to use it internationally. On the plans you currently offer through AT&T, I can't.

P.S. Don't tell me this is AT&T's fault. Apple has had so much control over everything to do with the relationship that if international roaming is ridiculously pricey, it's with Apple's blessing or direction.

Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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