Huge iPhone Data Bills If You Cancel Your International Plan

Huge iPhone Data Bills If You Cancel Your International Plan

Ben Wilson
2 min read

If you're planning to travel overseas and want to use your iPhone for data transfer with AT&T's international data plan, don't count on canceling the add-on plan as soon as you get back. Readers report that canceling the plan before 90 days after the transfer has occurred will trigger charges for data at the full, non-international-plan rate.

One iPhone Atlas reader writes:

"After receiving a huge international data roaming bill for my iPhone account -- even though I had added a sufficiently large International Data Roaming Plan before my trip -- I was informed by an AT&T service rep that AT&T had charged me the exorbitant per KB rate for international data usage because I had cancelled my International Data Roaming plan after I returned to the United States.

"The plan is available on a month-to-month basis, so canceling it when I got home seemed like an obvious thing for me to have done, since I have no plans to go overseas again in the foreseeable future. But the service rep said that AT&T's policy (unwritten, so far as I can tell) is that one needs to leave the roaming plan in place for 90 extra days, so that it is still in place when the foreign carrier finally reports the subscriber's roaming back to AT&T. If the plan is not in place when the foreign data usage gets reported to AT&T, then AT&T's billing system -- which was fully capable of charging me for the International Data Roaming service when it was in place -- is incapable of recognizing that I had an international data roaming plan in place on the dates that the foreign carrier says I used its data connection"

AT&T's 100MB iPhone plan costs an additional monthly fee of $119.99, while the 200MB plan runs an additional $199.99 a month. During the plans' rollout, AT&T stated that both could be added or dropped from users' existing plans at any time, without penalty.

On a pay-per-use data basis, users could pay as much as 0.0195 cents per kilobyte, which translates into nearly $40 for 2MB of data, according to AT&T. "AT&T has worked diligently to provide affordable options for international roaming because the feature-rich mobile experience of iPhone is indispensable to users," Bill Hague, AT&T wireless operations international executive vice president, said in a statement. "With these new international data plans, iPhone users can access more data in more countries for less cost."

The 90 day restriction, however, makes these plans significantly less cost-effective.