Why You Should Never Use Your Verizon Cell Phone While In Mexico
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:
- Verizon Data International Roaming Costs: For Mexico it costs a Verizon user $0.005 per kilobyte, which is $5.12 per Megabyte and let me be the first to tell you, that adds up quick.
- Verizon Voice International Roaming Costs: For Mexico it costs you $0.99 per minute, which is still a lot of cash, but it still sounds a little bit more reasonable.
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.
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!