Posted by: Lawyer Sanders | September 3, 2009

Kentucky lawyer Sanders says i-Phone requires some advance planning before heading out of the country.

Like many others, I dumped my Blackberry and purchased an expensive i-Phone for my business.  Although it is a great electronic device and a reasonably adequate phone, it has a huge hidden downfall for business travelers that you should be aware of the next time you are leaving the U.S.   

International data usage is not covered under your existing U.S. data plan. Any voice or data usage outside the domestic coverage area is considered as an International Roaming charge.  Some might call it “reaming charges” by ATT, as in reaming out of the cash from your  bank account.

International data roaming can get expensive quickly.  International data roaming is very expensive. For example, opening an email with a 5 megapixel picture in it, or downloading a 3-minute video on YouTube, each takes about 2 MB of data. The cost would be almost $40, based on pay-per-use international data rates of $0.0195/KB. 

Here are some helpful tips for traveling outside the country:

  • when traveling abroad,  turn off your iPhone’s international data-roaming feature.
  • use Wi-Fi instead of a 3G network to access e-mail and the Web. 
  • turn off the phone’s Fetch feature and download e-mail manually instead of automatically.

This last item is the hardest one to remember as a business person, especially as a lawyer whose  clients believe they should have instant access to information on a 24/7/365  basis.  It is however, an expensive lesson to learn if you have to pay the international roaming rates for email and one that cannot be passed onto clients unless an agreement is made prior to the trip. 

My advice is drop email service while out of the country or use a free Wi-Fi service to access the internet and pick up your mail for free or a lump sum rate.  Same with sending pictures of all the sights of Europe or Asia to your friends back home in America!


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