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A Roaming Holiday

4:30 PM -- If you've ever gotten a surprise $400 wireless bill when you've come home from traveling overseas, then you'll be happy to know the operators are taking some steps to ensure that doesn't happen again.

In the U.S., AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) recently followed Verizon Wireless 's lead and introduced cheaper international data plans. Its new Data Global Add-On packages start at $30 per month for 120MB of data to $120 for 800MB. Rather than charge per megabyte of overage, which is how those $400 bills are usually earned, AT&T will now charge $30 for every 120 MB of overage. (See AT&T Revamps International Data Plans and Verizon Eyes LTE Roaming in Europe, Canada.)

But the most interesting move comes from Salt SA , which last week introduced the MACH -powered Travel Data Control mobile Web service that lets users set their ceiling for roaming spend at zero, €10, €20 or more. That way there's no surprises when they're back on their home turf. (See Orange Launches NFC Services, Roaming Tariffs.)

The carriers took their sweet time to start innovating on roaming pricing considering that they've been losing money to international services and unlocked, pre-paid phones for a while now. But any way they offer more control and visibility into pricing, or make it just plain cheaper, is better late than never.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 5:31:10 PM
re: A Roaming Holiday

Btw, if you're on Sprint or T-Mobile, just use your phone as a paper weight when you're abroad. Their plans will hurt you!

acohn 12/5/2012 | 5:31:09 PM
re: A Roaming Holiday

I assume your comment pertains to data only?.  I have never had an issue roaming overseas on T-mobile, I've done it plenty of times without paying a fortune for voice.  Data might be another story.

sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 5:31:06 PM
re: A Roaming Holiday

Right. For data, T-Mobile charges $15 per MB of data used abroad. Ouch.

sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 5:31:06 PM
re: A Roaming Holiday

Thanks to @fivebuckchuck for pointing out via Twitter that these plans are just for AT&T's postpaid customers. Prepaid customers will pay $200 for 800 MB when abroad. But, if you're prepaid anyway, my guess is you would and should you a different option like a local SIM or plan.

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