In case of emergency, just don't call me, okay?

Don't get me wrong. I still love my iPhone. But before going on our honeymoon to Costa Rica, we decided to really make sure we knew what we were doing. We've heard the horror stories of the huge AT&T cell phone bills. One guy went to Europe and got a $4000 phone bill afterwards because he was charged for every single kilobyte of data his phone downloaded. Another family of three went on a cruise, had their cell phones turned off, and came home to a $3000 phone bill because apparently even while the phones were off, they were collecting information.

I know that in the iPhone's last update, a feature was added so that we can turn off this data roaming; our cell phones won't download stuff while we're abroad. But, because I am smart, I decided to call AT&T before we left anyway to ask what we can do to avoid any unexpected charges. We wanted to at least have our iPhones to watch movies on the airplane.

I explained that we were going to Costa Rica and wanted to have our iPhones in case of emergency. What could we do to avoid charges?

The answer is to not turn them on at all any time we are in Costa Rica. Because if we turn them on and our phones receive voice messages, we'll be charged $3 a minute for that usage. Yikes! Then I asked a lot of other questions, but she couldn't really answer them because she's unfamiliar with the iPhone, and suggested I call Apple. Of course, I could call Apple, but ultimately, they won't know the answers to any of my questions because AT&T are the ones who bill me, so all billing questions should be referred to them.

What this means is that Murray and I will bring one phone with us. We will not use it to watch any videos because as soon as we cross any boarders (even on the plane with the phone in airplane mode, the AT&T rep seemed to indicate, which doesn't make sense to me because in airplane mode the phone shouldn't be transmitting any information, but then she confessed that she doesn't actually know what "airplane mode" means) we'll start getting charged for random, unexpected things. It will simply be in the off position the entire time, unless we have our own emergency and want to make a $1000 call for help.

This means that if someone back home dies in a tragic car wreck, wild fire, bull fight, or volcano while we're on our honeymoon, we just won't hear about it until we get back, okay? And that is our right as honeymooners and iPhone owners.


Murray Terreno di Amore said...

I mean I was concerned, but once we discovered that data plan off switch I thought that was the end of it.
I guess I thought wrong.

I hate to say it because I love Apple as you well know, but they have got themselves mixed up in a lot of bureaucratic red tape.

Actually I blame AT&T. I gotta place the blame somewhere

Janssen said...

Too bad for Apple to now be associated with the frustration that invariable comes when you deal with a cell phone company.

Also, if I came home to a $4000 bill, well, I would just die.

Audrey said...

You will be fine on your honeymoon. If you have an emergency, I guarantee you will find tons of people willing to help you out. Costa Ricans are awesome like that.

Once, the car I was riding in got TWO FLAT TIRES in the middle of the night on a pothole-ridden highway that traversed a Costa Rican jungle. A trucker pulled over to help us change the tire, followed us to make sure we were safe, changed the tire a second time and again followed us to the next town where we could purchase two new tires. We got to the town mechanic's home at nearly 10 pm and he was more than happy to help us with tires. He also invited us in to eat some dinner and look at his family's photo albums. I'm not kidding.

I don't know what to tell you about iPhones, but I do know that you couldn't have picked a better place to go on your honeymoon. Have a WONDERFUL time!!!

C. said...

I fully support you in your 'not turning cell phone on' decision. Even though we didn't leave the country, we still turned our phones off and it was 8 days of beautiful silence.

spart said...

This sounds like a ruse to have as few interruptions as possible while enjoying your honeymoon. Clever, clever.

Amber said...

Sounds like Comcast, nobody at customer service knows anything. On our honeymoon cruise, our phones didn't work on the ship and I do have to agree with some of the comments that it is quite nice. We wonder how people ever lived without cell phones, somehow there must have been a way.

Anonymous said...

What about buying a prepaid cell phone or even a throw away cell phone?

I don't know all of the rules or the costs that could drain it, but at least then you would know exactly what your bill would be.

Example - last year we bought a T-mobile to go phone. $60. It came with $10 credit for minutes. When you activate it you can put more minutes on it. You pay it all up front and when its gone, its gone (although you could always call and add more minutes if you needed to.)

I don't know anything about throw away cell phones, but that is another option.

Anyway, my point is that if you really want a cell phone for emergencies, you don't have to go with what you already have.

$4000 cell phone bill, That scares me to death.

Cicada said...

Anon, I asked about a prepaid phone, but they don't receive service internationally. Anyway. We'll have Murray's phone with us; we just will never turn it on unless we have a real emergency. And then we gave the neighbor's number to our parents because there's no phone in our condo. So we'll be just fine, and it will be nice to have no phones.

TheMoncurs said...

I second what Audrey said...Costa Ricans are some of the nicest people. If you get in trouble, there will be someone there to help you. And they'll really go out of their way too.

Also, I don't know if you're renting a car, but our rental place gave us the option of renting a cell phone for the duration of our stay. We meant to take them up on it and then forgot (never ended up needing it, fortunately).

Also, Costa Rica rocks and I am so stinkin jealous!

Science Teacher Mommy said...

I can't believe you had time to worry about this before your wedding. The only thing I could thing about for a week was, "is he going to show. . . is he going to show. . . is he going to show?" He did.

Happy wedding.