Mobile phone international data plans are moronic


My spouse traveled to Canada for a few days. She just went a few miles over the border into Vancouver, BC.

She neglected to add an international data plan to her mobile number before she left. Because of this, she racked up $300 of data charges in 24 hours.

Every wireless carrier has at least one, and you have to add it to your account before you travel outside the country, and then delete it when you return home. But, why? My carrier knows when I’m out of the country! In fact, multiple systems between my cellphone and my account know it!

The destination country’s roaming server sends information packets to my wireless carrier, and charges zip across the ether, resulting in charges added to my account.

Why can’t the software decide when I need the international data plan?

if x > y:
    add_plan("international")

Jeepers, that’s not hard.

Even better, why have international data plans at all? You need “plan x” if you go out of the country, and you don’t need it if you don’t. Why can’t the mobile carriers do this account nonsense for me?

Some setting has to be changed on the phone? Um, you can also do that for me.

“You have to initialize the fuel injector circuits before starting the car.” You know when I’m turning the key, so initialize the fuel injector for me. You know when I’m not in the US, so do whatever you have to so the right thing happens!

Gah!

2 comments
  1. David Glick said:

    T-Mobile now has plans that include international data without having to do anything special: http://www.t-mobile.com/simple-choice-international-plans.html

    • John said:

      Awesome! So sensible!

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