Friday, January 29, 2010

Phone card query...

I noticed that Maddy managed, without trying, while she was in the UK, to run up a $600 phone bill, using data on her phone. Which mostly came from a day when she was stuck in an airport that was closed, and her cousin browsed the web for a bit on Maddy's phone to kill time. T-mobile now charges $16 a meg for data when you're out of the US. To put that in context, according to Vodaphone's site, "On Mobile Broadband 50MB is approximately 100 Emails & 4 Hours browsing", and on T-mobile's rates 100 emails and 4 hours of browsing (running google maps etc) is $800. I asked T-mobile if they didn't have any plans that would work better if you're going abroad and, no they don't.

Which just seems wrong. And, strangely, I was pleased to find this out, as I've got my Nexus 1 and was planning to use it when I travel abroad over the next couple of months, particularly during the middle of March, when I go from the US to New Zealand to the Philippines to Poland to Moscow to the UK... and had Maddy not set off alarm bells, I could, I have no doubt, have come home to a $5,000 phone bill without even trying.

What I'd like is an international SIM card with cheap international data rates: I don't really want to come back from that trip with another 4 SIM cards I'll never use, having lost a morning in each country trying to find a Phone company with a SIm that'll give me data. There has to be someone out there -- and I don't care where they are -- with a decent international data service that covers the world, or enough of it that I don't have to switch it out all the time, and for the kind of rates that don't cost an arm, a leg, a spleen, a different leg, a kidney and both lungs.

Does anyone out there have any suggestions? ("Buy a new Sim everywhere you go" does not count as a suggestion, although it was the most popular thing I heard on Twitter.) Let me know -- and if I find anything good, I'll report back.

Edit to add,"why don't you use wifi and hotspots?" while a bright idea,isn't really a useful suggestion either. Not if I want to use the nexus 1 for things like Google maps or Twitter as I travel. And I  will use skype for my phone calls home, yes.