T-Mobile's G1 Can't Turn Off Data Roaming, Should Be Left In The U.S. - InformationWeek

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Commentary
12/3/2008
07:38 AM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
Commentary
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T-Mobile's G1 Can't Turn Off Data Roaming, Should Be Left In The U.S.

A user of the HTC G1 Android phone was unhappy to receive a cell phone bill that included $102.85 in data roaming fees -- even though he had turned data roaming off. In the G1's case, off doesn't really mean off.

A user of the HTC G1 Android phone was unhappy to receive a cell phone bill that included $102.85 in data roaming fees -- even though he had turned data roaming off. In the G1's case, off doesn't really mean off.Remember the summer of 2007 when iPhone users brought their then-new toys on their Europe vacations? Because those users were unaware of the high cost of data roaming when traveling abroad (and the iPhone uses serious amounts of data), they were met with outlandishly high bills after returning home. Well, a G1 user thought he'd be avoiding roaming charges on a recent trip to Europe by turning off the phone's data features. It didn't quite work.

Here's what he had to say:

Before I left I asked about International calling & text to be added, which they did. Calls were 99¢ a min and texts were 35¢ each. I was also told that data roaming would be charged at $10 per MB. Before I left the store the store reps told me not to use the internet features and I would be ok. So I took it one step further and before I left I did the following:

* Turned off data roaming * Turned off data sync * Turned off 3G

Now, my data roaming bill just landed and its $102.85. I am seeing approx. $0.15 charges (0.0097MB on average) for the whole trip every 3 to 7 minutes - almost as if the phone is pinging.

I called the t-mobile customer service line, and after lengthy conversations with a CSR and his supervisor I am told there is nothing they can do. The CSR told me that the way the G1 works it will always access the internet, whether it is for texts or calls, even if the data roaming features are off. I asked him why have the ability to turn data roaming on or off if it makes no difference - he just replied that the phone should have been left in the USA to avoid these charges.

As far as I can see, if this is truly the way the G1 works, then why didn't the tmobile store inform me? Now I have to pay because of the lack of tmobile training their staff on the "features" of their phone. I wanted to inform you so that maybe you can let others know through your website, as this is a hidden charge that should be put out in the open.

I just love that the customer service representative told this user that he should have left the phone in the U.S. Is he serious?

G1 users should consider themselves warned. Either pull out the SIM and bring another phone on your trip overseas, or resign yourself to the fact that you're going to be hit with a bigger bill when you get home.

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