Monday, May 5, 2008

Big Jumps in International Roaming Rates

It was just a year ago we lamented the increases in roaming rates for American visitors to countries like Mexico. Not only did we lose the availability of Verizon's "North America's Choice" plan, which included free calls into and out of Canada and Mexico, regular roaming rates increased, Mexico's from .69 to .99 per minute. Now, it appears the other shoe is dropping and roaming rates to many other countries are increasing substantially as well. What tipped us off was a release on new international roaming rates that are coming to Verizon Wireless on June 30, 2008.

A sampling of what's to come is that roaming calls made from countries like China and Isreal, countries that have CDMA service, will be increasing from $1.29 per minute to $1.99 per minute. Verizon's new rates show some savings with new "Global" rate plans (at $4.99 per month), however, those rates only apply with a Verizon Global phone (with GSM capabilities) and traveling in a country with GSM service available. At first look, it seems like international CDMA services are becoming a problem for US carriers. But a look at AT&T's GSM roaming rates show equally high international fees both with and without their "International Traveler" package.

In the age of falling international Long Distance rates, you can call England for as little as .02 a minute (or free), it seems back-asswards that cellular roaming rates are not only going up, they're skyrocketing. This, of course underscores our recommendation that you're better off using a local, prepaid phone when out of the country, and even more, not even using cell service internationally. Using email and IP-based services are now much more cost-effective, and potentially free.

While we think our wireless phone is our best connection to the world, we now have a great economic incentive to do something else while traveling abroad. Do you remember the days of calling home, ringing the phone twice, hanging up and the family calls you back for a fraction of the price it would cost you? Well, what's old is new...again.

2 comments:

zxt said...

In the age of falling international Long Distance rates, you can call England for as little as .02 a minute (or free), it seems back-asswards that cellular roaming rates are not only going up, they're skyrocketing.

Exactly just like what Onesuite has been charging me for calling some countries in Europe. You can actually see the comparison here -> http://www.onesuite.com/comparisons_roaming.asp

So I am surprised why the bigtime players in telecom industry still charging high rates.

Bill Radio said...

We often forget that competition is truly alive & well in the US. It's quite a shock to travel to a foreign country and see how different telecom can be. I remember how hard it was to use pay phones in Europe. Stores would not give you 'change for the phone', they would only sell you a calling card.