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Roaming Charges Abroad

Discussion in 'North America' started by pdmike, Jan 18, 2011.

  1. pdmike
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    pdmike iPF Novice

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    We are going to Hawaii in two weeks on a cruise. We will be taking our iPads, of course. Mine is 3G and Wi-Fi. The wife's is Wi-Fi only. Couple of questions . . .

    First off, the cruise ship has Wi-Fi, but if you are in a regular cabin (as opposed to a big-ass stateroom), you have to pay for it. OK - I can handle that. My question is, do roaming charges apply? That probably sounds like a stupid question, but I have been hearing horror stories about folks who made a couple of phone calls with their cell phones while abroad, and receive a $1,000 bill at the end of the month.

    I am assuming we can use our iPads with Wi-Fi and the only charge will be what we have to pay the cruise ship for Wi-Fi access, right?

    Next - suppose I want to use 3G while in Hawaii. Is there a roaming charge for that? (Here, I suspect there might be.) Anyone have anything on that?

    Last question. The wife and I both have Verizon phones. If we want to call each other while in Hawaii, do roaming charges apply there? (I know, I know - this isn't a Verizon forum, but I figure I'll just slip this one in anyway. With all you techhies out there, I know someone will come up with an answer.)

    Thanks in advance!
  2. pdmike
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    pdmike iPF Novice

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    Aw, come on . . . surely SOMEONE knows something about this.
  3. Al Rogers
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    Al Rogers iPad Enthusiast

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    I used my Ipad while on a cruise ship sailing around Norway and most of the towns were dead as far as 3G. On-board I purchased their plan and used it in the library and lounge,(very slow) as everyone was using the system. You can also buy the 3G overseas plan frrom At&T before you go. Give them a call. They also have a chart on their website.

    Al
  4. pdmike
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    pdmike iPF Novice

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    Thank you - but my question was: do roaming charges apply when you are using Wi-Fi? (NOT 3G.)
  5. MayaD
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    MayaD iPF Novice

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    No, I don't believe so. But to be sure turn off roaming on the iPad. I second the comment about how slow the on board wi-fi is. They tell you it's slow, but the ship's wifi makes the old phone modems look blazing. Don't waste minutes, the best spped comes from the wi-fi lounge itself. Our ship had a sitting area right out side the lounge where I set when the lounge computers were in use.
  6. Al Rogers
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    Al Rogers iPad Enthusiast

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    Reading your post again I see four questions and roaming being one of them. Just call you provider for the answer.
  7. Tim SPRACKLEN
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    Tim SPRACKLEN iPad Legend

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    There are no roaming charges associated with WiFi. The iPad always uses WiFi in preference to 3G, if it can receive both, and only switches to 3G if it cannot receive WiFi. Therefore, as long as your iPad is receiving WiFi you'll not incur any roaming charges. But, as one respondant suggests, you might want to turn off 3G just in case, for example, the ship switches off WiFi for some reason and you're in 3G coverage; then your iPad would (seemlessly and without telling you) switch to 3G. However, on my iPad at least, if you go to 'Settings', 'Cellular Data', there is an option there to turn off roaming which will ensure that, even if you're in range of a 3G network, if roaming charges apply, then the iPad will not use 3G.

    Regarding you and your wife 'phoning each other, yes, definitely roaming charges will apply. I am not 100% familiar with Verizon's home network coverage (i.e. non-roaming) but the situation can get bad. To give an extreme example, if you were both in the UK (where I am now) and you tried to 'phone each other, then your call would (technically) be an international call back to the US, since your wife has a 'phone that's registered in the US and the UK operator who is handling your call has to forward that call back to the US because they don't know where your wife's 'phone is located, so it would attract (a) roaming and (b) international charges. If that's not bad enough, your call would then be forwarded back to the UK to your wife's 'phone (even if she was standing right next to you) because when your call was received back in the US Verizon would, realising that your wife's 'phone was in the UK, forward that call back to the UK again, where she would incur (a) roaming and (b) international forwarding charges. So that would be one very expensive call.

    This may sound totally crazy - and in some ways it is - but there's a fundamental underlying issue here that is part of the way that the original GSM standard was set up and it's all to do with things called the HLR (Home Location Register) which is how Verizon knows where your 'phone is in the US or, if it's in another country, which country it's in, and the VLR (Visitor Location Register) which is where (in this case) the UK operator that's handling your 'phone keeps details of your 'phone and its location within the UK network, since it's not a UK 'phone but it has to have incoming calls routed to it while it's in the UK.

    Of course, the mobile operators have no incentive whatsoever to change this arrangement - hey, would you? You call your wife when she's standing next to you and the two of you together incur two sets of roaming charges and a double transatlantic 'phone bill - it's like printing money. Moral of the story - buy a local SIM card if you want to use your 'phone in another country or somewhere that roaming charges apply. As you know, in most countries you can buy pre-pay (pay as you go - PAYG) SIM cards and 'top them up' at ATMs or supermarket checkouts. It's by far the cheapest way to keep the costs down.

    Finally - enjoy your cruise and your iPad.

    Tim
    Scotland
  8. pdmike
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    pdmike iPF Novice

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    Tim - thanks for the educational and well thought out reply. Duly noted, and yes - we plan to enjoy the heck out of our cruise.
  9. maliu
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    maliu iPF Novice

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    Where is your cruise originating from? If you have Verizon in the mainland you will be able to use your cell phones in Hawaii without roaming. Hawaii is not abroad if you are from the US. I don't know about what happens on the cruise ship while you are in transit to Hawaii but once you get here you should be fine. My fishermen friends use their phones while out on their boats. Same with ATT service on the iPad.
  10. Avog
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    Avog iPF Noob

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    do you know the charges for international use of iPad 2 Verizon?
  11. Dawgluver
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    Dawgluver iPF Novice

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    This may or may not apply to the Verizon question, but when we go to Mexico, I call Verizon and get their international plan for my BB. I put in code 228 (I think) just before we leave. The charge is $35 but is prorated. When we get home, I call and cancel the plan. This way I get my emails, etc. without an outrageous roaming charge. Call Verizon, they are really nice and will walk you thru it. Make sure you confirm that you can cancel when you get home.

    Envious of your cruise!
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2011

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