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Yet another reason to hate your mobile provider

4. [NOTE: (These notes are in reverse chronological order. I have numbered them for your reading convenience.)I unlocked my Blackberry by calling Verizon support. I bought an Orange SIM card in a cigarette store in the Old City of Jerusalem for $10, plus $9 of calling time that times out in a week. So, I now have a working phone. It does not come with a data plan, however.]

3. [NOTE added minutes after the note right below this one: I’m on the phone with Verizon. It is indeed $20.48 per MEGABYTE. But wait…I am now talking with a tech support person who assures me that attachments don’t count unless you actually download them. Well, that’s something. She, however, is also telling me that the first two reps I talked with are wrong; in fact (says the tech support person), Verizon’s international plan gives you 70MB per month for $100, and every megabyte after that is $20.48. That’s still piracy, but the broadsword goes into you slightly more slowly.]

2. [Note added minutes later: Some other knowledgeable people tell me that Verizon must mean $20/gigabyte, not per megabyte. So, this may have been a mistake by the the service rep. I would happily take the blame for any misunderstanding, except that I confirmed that the rep said “megabyte” by inquiring, “PER MEGABYTE? PER MEGABYTE? ARE YOU FREAKING CRAZY!!!!!!!!!!,” to which he replied in the affirmative to the first two of the three questions.]

1. I’m going overseas tonight for a week. In the past, I’d call Verizon and have them switch service from my Droid to my previous phone, which was a Blackberry with “world phone” service. For $2/day, I’d get unlimited data access, so I could check my email and perhaps check the news on the Web now and then. (Believe me, on a Blackberry you don’t want to do a lot of heavy Web browsing.)

Today when I tried to make the switch, Verizon informed me that they have changed the plan, entirely for the benefit of their customers of course. So, now it’s $20 per megabyte. Holy crap! What kind of unearthly profit margin is that?

My knowledgeable friends tell me that that I should figure 50-100 emails per megabyte (although that number is conservative). So, no email for me. That’s what happens when the “free” market is so pwned that it laughs in the face of competition.

And these are the folks we’ve handed our Internet to? Great. Freaking great.

7 Responses to “Yet another reason to hate your mobile provider”

  1. I strongly recommend going to the local cellphone warehouse when you get where you’re going and buying a cheap local SIM:

  2. Yes, I’m taking my Blackberry with me so I can SIM it up. Thanks for the tip and the link, Tim.

  3. Hmm… Verizon is CDMA. Most of Overseas is GSM. Will your VZ phone work at all?

    FWIW, the AT&T deal (for Europe, at least) begins at $25 for 20Mb. That’s Mb, not Gb. I use it only to pull down the occasional map when I’m lost, but otherwise connect for data only.

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  5. Thanks for the chance to unload!!

    I received the other day, with a recent postmark, a letter from Verizon telling me that I changed my password in December 2009! Why they would tell me 15 months later, I don’t know.

    They billed me for 10 months (IIRC) for an office line I cancelled when I moved offices. ( I wanted to keep the old numbers, but the 3 mile move meant that I would be charged for a forwarded call every time someone called me on any of the lines, forever).

    My new office number apparently belonged to a “Colon Health” outfit, which they did not tell me (and I didn’t think to check where the number had been, if you will excuse the expression) when I selected it. At the start, I received a number of call from people looking for something I don’t offer. Now, almost 2 years later, my number comes up on caller ID as “Colon Health”, which it apparently did not before. They promised they would change it.

    It is hard to call them for less than 30 minutes, with most calls being 60 minutes with multiple transfers, often incorrect, and some disconnections and re-calls.

    There is more, but I am out of energy (lucky for you).

  6. In the UK on my recent visit I did what Tim suggested and bought a cheap Mobile for <4GBP.
    I also was able to get a SIM for my jailbroken iPhone 3G from O2 which for 15GBP enabled me to use 500 MB of data and several hours of calls and texts.
    Hope you can find similar.

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