Mobile data vs. data roaming abroad
July 25, 2021 4:40 PM   Subscribe

Hello, I'm in the US, travelling abroad and just realized I forgot to turn off my cellular data. I'm scared I incurred a huge amount of charges that I will face I return home.

I signed up for an international travel plan with Verizon. My cellular data says 228 GB for the current period (!!!), but my roaming charges are 466 MB. Will I be charged for the cellular data? Even though I forgot to turn off cellular data I noticed that I couldn't used my phone except when I was connected to wifi. I did turn off cellular data for all but a couple of apps, like the NYT. I've only been abroad for 1 week.
posted by cardamom to Travel & Transportation (6 answers total)
Current Period is usually more like a manual odometer. It’s almost certainly not your “current billing period”.
posted by sixswitch at 4:59 PM on July 25, 2021

So, you’re probably only on the hook for 466MB
posted by sixswitch at 5:00 PM on July 25, 2021

If you’re looking at the cellular data/current period on an iPhone, the current period is from whenever you last reset it ,and if you don’t reset it, it’s likely for the entire time you’ve had the phone. So you likely don’t need to panic! The roaming data is likely what’s been used out of the country.

When I traveled to a country in which AT&T didn’t have an international plan several years ago, I reflexively turned my phone on at the layover in Spain and a small amount of data downloaded at an insanely high rate as I hadn’t signed up for a plan. I called AT&T after the trip and they honored what the rate would have been on the international rate, so you may have some luck if you end up with a strange charge. Good luck on your travels!
posted by icaicaer at 5:01 PM on July 25, 2021

Call Verizon. They will be able to tell you and maybe change it if you plead ignorance and demonstrate you purchased an international travel plan to avoid this situation.
posted by AugustWest at 6:04 PM on July 25, 2021 [2 favorites]

+1 that the 228GB data figure and 466MB figures are tracked from whenever you last reset them which may be "never", so your liability would be ~466MB at most. Your phone will track roaming data usage whenever you are off your home network, regardless of your plan add-ons.

I use Verizon internationally. When you first started roaming in Country X you should have received a text message from Verizon that says something like "Welcome to Country X! You have the International Plan with xyz allowances and pay rate 1 for voice calls and rate 2 for data". If you don't have an international plan add-on you'll still get a text message with a metered rate breakdown. Did you get a text like that and does it reflect the correct international plan? If not, get in touch with Verizon customer support.
posted by 4rtemis at 12:42 AM on July 26, 2021

You don't say what kind of phone you have, but on my iPhone there are distinct roaming settings and mine's set to "Voice Only." There's a separate switch for data roaming, and if that switch wasn't turned on your phone couldn't have used more than an administrative (small) amount of international data (that you might not even be billed for, and if you are the charges would be small). If you did have data roaming turned on, contact Verizon as soon as is practical and they may backdate the international plan for you.

Nthing what's been said above about the "current period" data usage being misleading, as the period is arbitrary and determined by when you choose to reset it. It does not know or care about your billing cycles, and if you need to be aware of usage that way you'll have to reset it yourself when your billing cycle ends.
posted by fedward at 8:52 AM on July 26, 2021

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