18000 Reasons Why iPhone Data Roaming Should Always Be OFF!

If you are an iPhone owner, or any user of a data plan in Canada, you should know that data roaming should always be turned off. Why? Well, because if you turn it ON and surf the internet freely and liberally, you’re going to get a hurt real bad.

Winnipeg Student Gets $18,000 iPhone Data Bill: Ouch

We’ve all heard the same story before. Some Canadian wireless customer takes their iPhone overseas and decides to turn ON data roaming. They use data here and there. They come home and are shocked to find a monstrous bill–and one painful lesson.

According to the Winnipeg Free Press, here’s the story of Miguel Yetman’s travel experience (read our top iPhone travel tips here):

…the precise amount on the Rogers bill — $17,913.14 — was closer to $18,000. And the full amount was due on Sept. 20, which, just to upsize the pain, happens to be his 18th birthday.

He said it happened in July, while he was out of the country on vacation.

He and a friend spent two weeks in New York City, checking out jazz bars, but judging by the bill he got in August, most of the damage was done while he was visiting his mother’s family in Trinidad.

All I can is..OUCH. Miguel is a university student and he didn’t clue in that data roaming in Trinidad wouldn’t cost him an arm and a leg? He says he used his iPhone to go on eBay to sell his saxophone, some Facebook, and texting. How much data did he use? 452MB to be exact! That’s more than what some of you are using in CANADA!

This $18K bill has been reduced by Rogers to $6000. Even then, that is still a massive chunk of change and the ultimate lesson learned for using your iPhone data plan overseas. His family does not have the resources to cover the remaining balance–and Miguel just entered university.

On one side of the coin it’s the consumer’s responsibility to be educated on your cellphone plan and overseas roaming charges. But the other side is how can a wireless carrier get away with charging a customer $18,000 in data roaming? It’s mind-boggling!

Rogers iPhone Terms on Roaming (if only Miguel read this prior):

Roaming

Substantial charges may be incurred if your iPhone is taken out of Canada even if no services are intentionally used. Voice and data usage while roaming, including data usage incurred from delivery of Visual Voicemail messages, will be charged at our regular roaming rates. Visit rogers.com/roaming for our roaming rates and destinations. If you subscribe to a data plan, then your data roaming usage (including receipt of Visual Voicemail messages when roaming) are charged at the roaming rates applicable to your data plan. If you subscribe to an international data roaming plan, then your data roaming usage (including receipt of Visual Voicemail messages when roaming) will be deducted from the number of kilobytes included in the roaming plan. If you want to reduce data charges while travelling, please ensure that the Data Roaming toggle is set to “OFF”, which will block data roaming when the iPhone is outside Canada.

This is just another story of why it is imperative that you DO NOT turn on data roaming on your iPhone (unless you’re rich and feel like giving Rogers some of your cash). By default, data roaming is turned off. So Miguel made an extremely expensive mistake to turn it ON, don’t you agree?

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Founder and Editor-in-Chief of iPhoneinCanada.ca. Follow me on Twitter, and @iPhoneinCanada, and on Google+.

  • GC

    As much as I despise Rogers and their lack of mercy on us paying mortals, I do believe the teen of this story is rather clueless.

    The bottom line: he should've checked with Rogers about roaming fees before going. It's no secret that just about every wireless carrier in the world enforce heavy charges for roaming calls, SMS, and data. Had he been a bit informed, he would know to keep the roaming data feature off. Even it had been left on, he would've then quickly realized something was up before 452MB of roaming usage.

    On a side note, Rogers actually offering to REDUCE the bill down to a third of its original is quite shocking. Where do I sign up, without the $18,000 balance?

  • djelimon

    I'm on fido and have it turned on but I'm only in Canada. I haven't been whacked with any major bills which I think is normal, but I'm wondering what the use of this feature is. This is a good reason to unlock your phone if you leave the country (if you have to use your iPhone as a phone anyway)

  • Dusty

    How many times has this happened now with customers going over thousands of $$$? There are quite a few stories.

    $6000 is still a good chunk of cash I would hate myself for to pay towards a phone bill, ouch!

  • Peter Gowdy

    I recently went on holidays to Washington DC, and called Rogers to add some roaming options. I didn't talk much, but used about 60 MB of data while there. At $10 + $1/MB, the $60 charge wasn't so bad. It certainly pays to set this up when you're out of the country. Darwin had a theory about those who don't.

  • User error 100%.
    I would have charged him the full thing.

  • montymon

    I've used the US Data Roaming add-on. It reduces the fees from $6/MB to $1/MB. Still outrageous, but not crazy. Had we not had the plan, I would have paid $10/day for access at the resort we were at, so my 9-day trip cost $200 instead of $90, but I had access 24/7 instead of only when we were in the room. I figured it was worth it.

    I think Rogers should by default send an SMS to any customer who starts accessing data while roaming, just letting them know they are being billed and what the billing rate is at the time for where they are. Then no-one could claim they had no idea.

  • rorypiper

    Oh shit!! Kid gets pwned!

    His own fault for not turning off that data roaming. Even staying in Canada I leave mine turned off!!

  • My june bill from my 2 week trip charleston sc .. was $900.00 , suppose I was shocked ?
    rogers bent a bit on the Bill .. but I took my time paying it also ,,,

    Buy a Prepaid phone .. when in the USA ,,,
    Dont give Rogers any extra $$$$

  • hub2

    You'd think Rogers (and Fido, and AT&T, etc) would offer an account setting to hard-cap roaming data, either by amount transferred or roaming charge limit.

  • Seriously though, as much as it's the kids fault, when will someone step up and say that using 452MB should NOT cost $18,000 or even $6000. That is borderline criminal. Rogers and every wireless company should be ashamed of themselves.

  • That's what I was thinking about Roger reducing the 18K balance. Maybe the headline on this post should've read:

    How to Get 66% Off Your Rogers Data Roaming Bill

  • djv7075

    Well, I'm not planning any trip out of the country any time soon, but just to be safe, I just turned it off anyway.
    Thanks for the tip

  • Data Roaming should be off by default

  • Cheese

    You're sent a message the moment your phone connects to a signal when you are outside of canada informing you that you are now roaming and will be incurring charges outside of your regular charges. It also states that you can, at no charge, call Rogers and add a roaming package to your account. They should however start having texting plans for when you are roaming

  • djv7075

    Well, I'm not planning any trip out of the country any time soon, but just to be safe, I just turned it off anyway.
    Thanks for the tip

  • Ex

    Data Roaming should be off by default

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  • Cheese

    You're sent a message the moment your phone connects to a signal when you are outside of canada informing you that you are now roaming and will be incurring charges outside of your regular charges. It also states that you can, at no charge, call Rogers and add a roaming package to your account. They should however start having texting plans for when you are roaming

  • Ski_like_hell69

    Um…Just cancel your plan?
    Costs only like $30 bucks a month to cancel your plan.

    Cancel your credit card as well.

    Rogers legal fees would cost that much to take him to court/

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  • Anime_kat1993

    Does data roaming only apply if the phone is taken outside of Canada? I live in Alberta and am currently on vacation in Ontario. I’m not entirely sure if my roaming has been on the whole time I’ve been here but am slightly freaking out.

  • Anime_kat1993

    Does data roaming only apply if the phone is taken outside of Canada? I live in Alberta and am currently on vacation in Ontario. I’m not entirely sure if my roaming has been on the whole time I’ve been here but am slightly freaking out.

  • Anime_kat1993

    Does data roaming only apply if the phone is taken outside of Canada? I live in Alberta and am currently on vacation in Ontario. I’m not entirely sure if my roaming has been on the whole time I’ve been here but am slightly freaking out.

  • Guest

    On Telus,for iPhone 4s,  are  there any apps to set data alarms, so when I reach set amounts from a given date, alarms go off,… with warnings along the way??? this would REALLY help for travelling.  Telusmobility bill seems to be designed to make it difficult to track running totals.

  • Guest

    tracking data on TelusMobility on iPhone 4S is not very user friendly., is it?

  • Marc Anderson

    um… when you cancel your account you have the pay the montly cancellation fee AND any outstanding balance….

    Cancelling the credit card won’t work as the outstanding balance would be sold off to a collection agency who will call you day and night until they get the money…

    also a great way to ruin your credit score…. not smart advice

  • Erikschm

    Data roaming lets telcos  pick pockets without breaking any laws.  What is needed are new laws.  

  • Yolah

    I just hope he’s got a few dozen more saxophones he could sell on eBay.

  • Manny12

    It does not cost Rogers anywhere near that amount to use other network towers… $18, 000 for 452 MB is a sick joke… I don’t know how anyone can justify this type of gouging?!

  • Michael Yaremchuk

    I love my Unlimited Data plan for only 10 bucks a month (: used about 4 gigabytes already 😀

  • J Karas

    If you live near the US border, be sure to turn data roaming off. I live in Victoria BC and have a friend who called his wife from the beach to discuss what they were going to have for dinner….call linked to a Port Angeles, Wash cell tower, the call cost him over $50! Just an FYI why you need to turn off roaming even in Canada….

  • Logical Person

    Not really cuz he was actually connecting to another service provider that was not Rogers without even being a customer so a bill like that is to be expected

  • interwebsurfer999

    So…your point?

  • Logical Person

    He shouldn’t have connected in the first place dumbo

  • Logical Person

    Btw I meant cell phone tower