One of the challenges when traveling internationally with iPhone or iPad is handling data roaming. There are two reasons that it’s incredibly easy to end up with a large bill when traveling for work or vacation.
One reason is that iOS features and apps can use data without you realizing it (iCloud’s Photostream feature being a great example) – to avoid such issues, you can disable data roaming in the iOS Settings app. The second reason is that the costs associated with international data roaming are rarely spelled out well by carriers.
At least one carrier is hoping to change that. This week Verizon announced that it will be offering customers a new set of international data plans intended to make managing data roaming easier to understand and track.
The plans, which will become available next week (April 23), can be used when traveling anywhere in Europe, South America, the Caribbean, Mexico, and Canada. In its effort for simplicity, Verizon is centering the plan around 100MB blocks of data.
When you sign up for the new plan, it will add $25 to your bill, which nets your your first 100MB block. When you use that up, Verizon will offer you the choice of buying another 100MB block for another $25 or a pay-per-use plan with rates of $0.02 per kilobyte. In countries where Verizon doesn’t offer the new plans, that pay-per-use plan of $0.02 per kilobyte will apply instead. Verizon will also offer users data monitoring options while traveling (and each new 100MB block purchase results in a text message noting the transaction and its cost).
While these new plans are much easier to understand and manage, they’re still insanely expensive. If you’re traveling in North America, it’s also important to note that Verizon offers plans specifically geared for customers traveling to Canada or Mexico with data plans much more in line with the company’s domestic pricing.Related