Why You Should Never Use Your Verizon Cell Phone While In Mexico

Verizon got the best of me, so be sure not to let the same thing happen to you!
Verizon got the best of me, so be sure not to let the same thing happen to you!

Just a few months ago me and my lovely wife Stephanie decided to head off to Mexico for our much-anticipated (and much-needed) honeymoon. We both currently live in San Francisco, which is smack-dab in the middle of the Silicon Valley, so needless to say we're both pretty attached to our cell phones. Of course, we weren't planning to use our cell phones while on our honeymoon, as it was going to be one of the first times that we would both be able to unplug and get away from the Internet-centric lives that we both now seem to live. Well, I guess that I should clarify that last statement a bit -- neither of us had planned on calling anyone.

Time would soon prove that I, in fact, would end up using my cell phone a few times to check Facebook and to post a few photos from my cell phone so that all of my family and friends could see the awesomeness that was our Mexican resort. Hey, I still didn't call anyone. That should count for something, right?

What happened was that I ended up using Facebook and that logging any type of activity on my data plan while outside of the United States ended up being a very bad idea, so I thought that I would write this so that none of you end up making the same mistake that I did. My problem ended up costing me over $200 on my cell phone bill, but it also taught me a hard-earned lesson in not using a Verizon cell phone while visiting outside of the United States, and more specifically, Mexico.

My Verizon Cell Phone Setup

The cell phone that I was using on my honeymoon in Mexico (and are still currently using) is a BlackBerry Curve 8330 and I have a plan that consists of unlimited data and 900 minutes of talk time. This plan has no type of international coverage and is only priced to be used in the United States. For some reason even though I knew that I wasn't really supposed to use my cell phone in Mexico, I felt like using it wouldn't really be that bad -- especially if I only used my data plan.

Once again I was completely wrong and unfortunately I found out about it the hard way. But, thankfully I can now use my thrashing by the Verizon Wireless warlords (the billing department) as a warning to you and all of the other hopeful Verizon users out there who think that pulling out their cell phones while on vacation isn't going to do any significant damage to their bill. If you're one of those people, consider this your warning and do yourself a favor and leave the phone off and packed up in your luggage.

How Checking My Facebook Status Cost Me $200+

So, like I said, while I was in Mexico I decided to use my Verizon cell phone, but only for checking/updating my Facebook status and for posting a few pics of the resort that we were staying in. Before I did any of this, however, I clearly remember thinking to myself that it wasn't really a very good idea and that it's probably going to cost me some a lot of money to basically play on Facebook for a couple of minutes. But, I continued on with my Facebooking and figured that it probably wouldn't cost me much more than say $5 or $10. I was only sending in a couple of pictures and posting up a few fresh status updates, right? I mean, how much could it really cost me?

Well, if you'd like to know the exact numbers of how much it can potentially cost you, check out these following links:

You may be wondering exactly how I ended up racking up so many charges after only using Facebook for a few minutes? Your guess is as good as mine, but according to the billing statements that you see below, I ended up racking up 54,066kb in data usage, which when multiplied by the $0.005 per kb turns out to be $270.33. Ouch, indeed.

The Verizon bill that let me know to never use a cell phone again in Mexico -- OUCH!
The Verizon bill that let me know to never use a cell phone again in Mexico -- OUCH!

How To Avoid The International Roaming Fees

If for some reason you absolutely need to use your Facebook account (or some other super important application) that's associated with your BlackBerry or other Verizon cell phone, there are some cheaper options out there for you to use, Verizon just happens to be really bad at letting you know what they all are. Hmmm...I wonder why that is? **COUGH** $270 in fees **COUGH**

If you're interested, you can find some plans that are a little more economical for an international traveler over here on the Verizon Wireless International Services page on their website. Good luck with figuring everything out and if anything ends up happening like this to your Verizon bill, you can't say that I didn't tell you so. I'm sure you'll be just fine as long as you take this simple piece of advice: enjoy your vacation and keep all your cell phone packed in your suitcase!

Comments 36 comments

Georgiakevin profile image

Georgiakevin 7 years ago from Central Georgia

Good to know. Thank you for sharing this.


H P Roychoudhury profile image

H P Roychoudhury 7 years ago from Guwahati, India

Happy to know the nice information.


dusanotes profile image

dusanotes 7 years ago from Windermere, FL

We will benefit from your bad experience. Good luck next year when you and your wife decide to go to Canada or to France? Maybe not. Go to Disney World in Florida. You can simulate the same resort experience and save a lot of money.

Don White


alekhouse profile image

alekhouse 7 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

Thanks for the heads up


jbossnack profile image

jbossnack 7 years ago

Phone companies are ruthless about their policies, sorry man, I think we've all been burned at some time though.

This might be a reason for you to upgrade to the new Droid phone by Verizon/Google, because it is WiFi enabled and you can probably find a hotspot pretty easy on vacation next time you're in Mexico. And maybe you can download Skype and still talk.


celljudge 6 years ago

I did the same thing only with a Sprint phone in Cabo on a cruise. My bill just for data roaming ended up being $380 but since I use a touch screen device that automatically connects to the internet to update widgets, I was able to get them to credit my bill $120. Lesson learned good buddy


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 6 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

Be warned!


LPogue profile image

LPogue 6 years ago from Missouri

So much small print, so little time to read. Cell phone companies (I am with AT&T) seem to thrive on fees that are difficult to find in the contracts. Sometimes, I think I need to have a lawyer with me when renewing or purchasing mobile phone coverage.

Thank you for the warning.


Laura 6 years ago

Thanks for sharing this, teen age daughter scheduled to depart for her Mexican Rivera Cruise next week. And I am sure she would have been texting and sharing pics.

Thanks for saving me what I'm confident would have been an enormous phone bill. Bless you!


Research Analyst profile image

Research Analyst 6 years ago

I use boost mobile so I can pay as I go or just use the unlimited text and talk for $50 dollars a month. Those roaming charges are a too much. I think it will cause more people to use pre-paid phones instead.


sagebrush_mama profile image

sagebrush_mama 6 years ago from The Shadow of Death Valley...Snow Covered Mountain Views Abound!

Good information! The expenses can really mount up. We had a Nextel Direct Connect plan at one time that covered a specific area near the Tijuana border, so there wouldn't be any penalty for using it in Mexico, and I know there are international plans with various companies. However, for a one time, short term trip, definitely better not to use your cell.


adviser 6 years ago

never use your phone for calling, only to connect to a wireless hot spot for data use only (you may need a Smart

Phone)


advisor4qb profile image

advisor4qb 6 years ago from On New Footing

They are price gougers! I just let mine go and turned to MetroPCS. Unlimited everything for half the price!


KLeichester 6 years ago

OK you got my attention. Really now. I will take a mental note of that. Thanks.


cellfservices profile image

cellfservices 5 years ago from London, United Kingdom

There are ways of getting around roaming fees. If you unlock your phone, you can use local sim cards in Mexico. The bad thing about Verizon is that they're a CDMA carrier, so only their world phones like their BlackBerries can be unlocked. Thanks for sharing about your personal experience. That's how we get a wake up call!


karen 5 years ago

Verizon has an international plan for 10 a month. That includes calling and data.


John 5 years ago

This is where education is key. If you call ahead of time and change your service to an international calling plan, you can switch over and can use your minutes at no additional cost.

Verizon has a Mexico-USA plan. I know this, because we are about to embark on a trip to Mexico and I wanted to know my options.


paul quick 5 years ago

i am in Mexico now. I have an international/mexico plan with verizon. ten minutes ago i receive a text form verizon stating that i have incurred $200.00 in data roaming charges to date. This is my last trip to Mexico with Verizon. I go often so i'm switching to telcel,or nextel. in Mexico,


Emmanuel Ortiz 5 years ago

If you want come to Mexico, I´ll recommend you that buy a cheaper pre-paid celular phone "Telcel" in Seven Eleven or Oxxo (around 30 Dlls with 10 Dlls in credit). If you want to call USA, the rates are in 0.5 Dlls/minute, then, only you spend around 50 dlls if call around 40 minutes to USA. If you want to call more time, only need to buy a card with credit time (10, 20, 50 Dlls).


Michelle 5 years ago

Some how with the Mexico plan and in 3 1/2 days racked up $752 in data charges. Verizon never told me how much it would cost if I went over the plan, nor did they provide me with a plan that would meet my needs. I have been with them 18 years and really pissed. Supposedly they are knocking my bill down by $500, but I'm going to fight for them to remove the rest. First off there is no way that I used the data as much as they said on my bill. I did an average over the last 3 months for data in MB's and it doesn't make sense at all.

I did see Carlos Helu's yacht while in Cabo, the richest man in the world, who happens to own the Mexico phone companies. Yeah, major crook!!!


jen 5 years ago

thanks for letting us know dude! and yes, ouch! :/


Pickle 5 years ago

I am reading this $600 too late. We went to Mexico a month ago, planned ahead and modified our plan during that time. Unfortunately, that only covered a small amount of the data they tell me we used. My husband's phone (iphone) racked up a $600 charge...that they say was from Pandora. He has no recollection of using Pandora, and specifically made sure he wouldn't stream music (to avoid going over the small amount of data in our modified plan). I have been calling Verizon for an explanation. I have not been at all satisfied!!! The details of the usage don't show up online (date only, no data usage by time of day, etc) the way they do for domestic use.

They are charging us an extra $600, and their explanation is "trust me, you owe us".


Iberkenbosch profile image

Iberkenbosch 5 years ago from Amsterdam, Netherlands

Thanks for telling me, Im going to Mexico this summer!..


Will 5 years ago

If you have the technical/engineering knowledge then unlock your phone and insert a Mexico prepaid GSM SIM card and pay the local rates. Or buy a prepaid phone+SIM if you aren't technical (not using your own phone that's been unlocked).


June 4 years ago

Switch your plan BEFORE you go. You must pay for a full month, but it works. I do this every year and I have not yet had a problem. Don't use the data at all just texts and calls. Use my netbook for data and there is free internet all over in many restaurants. Or just go to an internet store and pay 10-12 pesos (about .80 cents) for a half hour of internet service. This will keep your bills down and you in contact with the US and anyone inside Mexico you need to talk with.


Patty 4 years ago

That's why education plays an important role. Im actually satisfied with Verizon, reason being that if you would have checked out their international plans you would've avoided this dilema. I travel to Mexico each year with my Verizon Android Phone and have never paid anything extra.


Casey Strouse profile image

Casey Strouse 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

I too have a BB 8330 on Verizon. I have a hard enough time paying me nearly $300/mo bill here in Phoenix and doubt I would ever try to use it when abroad given how greedy they are here domestically. It's nice when people like you share stats and numbers on how bad they gouge you so we know the damage going into things.


Jose 4 years ago

Upgrade to a Mexico-USA plan and currently is 140 for two lines shared 2000 minutes but text is .05 incoming and .50 outgoing when in mexico, I have an iPhone and you can go to the settings and set it to don't use data roaming but auto conect to wifi when available to do all the application updates like Facebook


Tess 3 years ago

Just wondering why you wouldn't ask Verizon first before going to another country where you know there won't be coverage on your current U.S plan. I know you learned the hard way and that's unfortunate. We are heading to Mexico and I did ask Verizon how that will work first.


Vincent 3 years ago

I didn't want to have that nightmare bill so I bought my SIM online from www.mexicosimcard.com. It didn't even cost me 50$ for the whole vacation and I called the US daily used a ton of data.


Rayma Reno 3 years ago

tracfone will do the job in mexico


co 3 years ago

WiFi .....


Brandon 3 years ago

I just noticed that on AT&T, they charge $0.0195 per KB while roaming! Can you imagine getting a bill for over $1,000??


Myssy 2 years ago

You should turn off your data service while you are traveling out side of the US, and turn on the Wi-Fi, in places where is available. That way you will not pay any cents. I did it in Mexico and no problem with my bill payment,


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

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