Wednesday, June 18, 2008

You Can't Get There From Here

Until now, our method of operating our wireless phones in Mexico involved either not answering our American phones, or leaving them off completely, then periodically calling our US voice mail to see if we need to return any calls. The hope was that our Mexico cellular accounts were able to make calls back to the US much cheaper than our Verizon, AT&T, Sprint or T-Mobile phones. Now that we’re not sure what will happen with our outgoing calls, our plans have changed, but as expected, even our best attempts at economizing with our original phones fall flat.

Wouldn’t be nice to look at caller ID and determine if the person calling justifies the $1 per minute expense? Good idea. The problem is none of our CDMA phones pass through caller ID. Ah, but we also have a handy GSM phone that does. So it shouldn’t be a problem for us, right? We can just call Verizon customer service (it’s a free call from here on a Verizon phone) and have them forward our calls to our T-Mobile phone. Good idea, right?

Not so fast! If we receive a call on our GSM phone, and see on Caller ID it’s crazy Uncle Larry, we can choose to not answer his call and save the roaming charges it would cost us to tell him we would prefer to call him back at a less expensive time, right? No, because when you allow calls to go to voice mail on a GSM system, you are still charged roaming air time, and that could add up if Larry leaves a wordy message. And our T-Mobile phone charges $1.49 a minute in Mexico, even for voice mail deposits. Yikes, change that call forwarding to the AT&T phone and pay only $1 a minute.

So far, we can’t find a way out of this quagmire of unreasonable charges.

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