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The iPhone on the road, part 3: Sydney, Australia

The iPhone's international features, Vodaphone AU

Sitting on the plane in San Francisco I knew a few things would happen when I got to Syndey: I would have an international long-distance plan, I would have an international data plan (with a strict diet of 20 MB for a month) with data roaming and auto-email check switched off and I knew that I'd have to call my mom when I got there. Apart from that, I had no idea what the logistics would be.

In fact, I had ventured into an AT&T store on a whim to add these features. As it turns out, you cannot add these features through AT&T's online account management. And here I had thought I was being especially dense when I couldn't find where these features were on the on-line menus of account options. Calling AT&T would be a disaster based on previous experiences. So, in Iowa I went into a local AT&T store wanting to add the international features after reading the horror stories of a $3000 iPhone bill. It took them two days to add it as the nice rep couldn't even find out how to add these features to my account. She called me 2 days later saying that the features (1) required a restart of the iPhone to install software; and, (2) needed to remain on my account until the very last call made abroad had been charged and that date could be a bit delayed.

With all those features installed I was pretty confident that my journey would be fine, but the last concern I had as I sat on the plane was whether or not there was a free extra seat on the plane. Using the iPhone's Safari Browswer and the EDGE network I looked around for free seats near Max's and my seats 41J - none to be found! Oh well.

Thirteen hours later we landed in Sydney, Australia. Mind you, local time it was now two days later and we swtiched on our iPhones to see what they would find.

At first, no service, but within 5 minutes, a new, scrolling message indicator reading "vodaphone AU" took the place of the usual stagnant AT&T message.

The first message I got were text message responses from friends to messages I sent before I left. I knew one thing: SMS messaging worked.

The second message I got was from: "011 04141414" (what kind of number is that?!?" The message read: Welcome to Vodaphone Australia. To call home dial (+)(country code)(number) or (0011)(country code)(number). Oh come on I thought, but I remembered that the iPhone has the International Assistant feature which automatically corrects the number dialed. With that in mind I ignored the message and dialed my mom as we taxied in Sydney. It worked seamlessly. In fact, the reception seemed better than usual. So now I knew another thing, I could phone home.

Stayed for more.