Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Food For Thought: Cellular Data Roaming Charges

I spotted an article last week about a Regina man who incurred $10,600 in data roaming charges from SaskTel when he travelled to Phoenix, Arizona and let his grandkids watch Netflix movies over a mobile data stick for his laptop.

The man in the article was honest about his mistake and I'm not going to judge him. What I think is ridiculous is the extremely high data fees he incurred, and how they were dealt with. The article says:
"[The man] followed up with SaskTel which decided to take mercy on him and promised to reduce the $10,668.38 bill by $9,600."
That's good PR for SaskTel, but I think it highlights the worthlessness of data fees on mobile devices. While cellular carriers do incur expenses creating international roaming agreements with carriers worldwide, the $9,600 bill reduction demonstrates that data fees are mostly pure profit for telecoms.

In other words: SaskTel gave up $9,600 in pure profit to get some good PR by taking mercy on a grandfather, but their roaming data rates (and the rates of their competitors) will remain sky-high to scalp profits from ignorant consumers.

I'm not villainizing SaskTel - cellular carriers all over the world do this. So be careful with your smartphones, tablets, and mobile data sticks while travelling!


  1. I pay $100 a month for my standard iPhone billing which is retarded expensive. My friends in America get what I get and more for $40 a month.

  2. I got hit with over $7000 in data roaming charges on a wireless stick that just sits in a window...i never travelled anywhere and had been using the stick for over two years then suddenly..i started getting roaming charges ($800)...i took the stick in to sasktel and they ensured it was set to home only and didn't make me pay the roaming charges..however after using the stick again i was hit with more raoming charges...except this time they said I was responsible for paying these insane roaming fees....crazy...then they disconnected my wireless stick as well as my cell phone and charged me a $600 disconnection fee for my cell...something has got to be done about this..i hear stories of other people who are getting hit by raoming charges and have not gone anywhere...pls remember that this is a net stick that was just sitting in a window of my house and is never used for travelling.

  3. the us carrier would have billed sasktel, sasktel then bills the customer, what actually happened is sasktel ate $9000 worth of charges, and will never see a profit for that customer.

  4. You can turn off Data Roaming in the Settings facility .Doing this you should not be charged when you are abroad Settings, wireless and networks, mobile networks, data roaming off and packet data off. Or put your phone on airplane mode so you don't get calls or texts.Data roaming will only turn off your data(mms and internet) you'll still have the ability to call and text and depending on your carrier even if you receive texts or calls you'll be charged.To avoid data roaming completely get a new local sim card with data packet in abroad or get free WiFi if possible .For this you may need to unlock your mobile from country lock by getting the unlocking service from an provider like ClassicUnlocking.com