AT&T’s international roaming and data plans for Apple iPhone

“Referring specifically to these $3,000 bills some owners are getting when they head overseas without bothering to check in with AT&T before they leave,” David Chartier reports for Ars Technica on how to avoid just such a fate.

“To find just about everything you need to know about AT&T’s roaming and data rates for the iPhone, you’ll need the iPhone Center, easily accessible from the main AT&T wireless page (click the iPhone ad, then iPhone Center instead of searching for a local iPhone stock). Scrolling to the bottom of the compact iPhone Center page are some informational links for AT&T World Traveler, the wireless provider’s suite of international plans and options that should cover most travelers (iPhone-toting and otherwise). AT&T allows users to add World Traveler to their plans for $5.99/month, giving them access to these discounted rates in over 80 countries,” Chartier reports.

“Now, the appeal of those rates can fluctuate depending on the destination country and length of stay, but an unofficial poll among Ars staff and some of our acquaintances says that going this route is worth it in many of these countries if you’re staying for a week, maybe up to a month. Plus, if you’re on business, keeping the same number and phone (with all of your contacts and data in it) is an additional value that should be factored into going the AT&T World Traveler route,” Chartier reports.

“Owners could still use the iPhone’s iPod features safely, however, by turning on the iPhone’s Airplane Mode, or wait for this month’s iPhone software update for the ability to disable EDGE completely,” Chartier reports.

Full article, with links, here.

MacDailyNews Note: Ars published this article on Monday, but we’ve had many questions on this issue, so here you go!


  1. The problem with those AT&T;rates is that frickin’ AT&T;wants you to sign-up for a two year contract for that $5.99 rate. Which is fine for business travelers who cross the pond often.

    Casual travelers making their first trip overseas are better off just replacing their SIM when they get to Europe because $144 for a month’s worth of phone service doesn’t cut it.

  2. the international phone service… $5.99/mo is able to be cancelled without penalty, and can be used for a minimum of one month…

    the international data plan… $24.99/mo must be used for a minimum of one year, with a $175 penalty for early cancellation.

    not very useful for the occasional traveler…

  3. @Jake – That is for calling Europe, not roaming in Europe.

    I have tried the $5.99 plan. You are still charged $0.99 per minute plus other fees and taxes. That is still very high.

    Also, when your phone is not in airplane mode, it just loves to connect to Edge even if you are not using anything that would require edge. There is no way to turn edge off. In addition, if you have Wifi, the iPhone will first connect to edge and then eventually connect to Wifi.

  4. “wait for this month’s iPhone software update for the ability to disable EDGE completely”

    Didn’t know that was a feature of the coming software update. Or is this a reference to your phone becoming permanently disabled because you tried to unlock it? ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

  5. With this plan, AT&T;’s international roaming rates are the same as T-Mobile (at least in the countries I care about — UK, Singapore, China), except that T-Mobile doesn’t charge you $5.99/month — T-Mobile does it for free.

    Next time I go overseas I’ll find out what happens when I put a pre-paid local SIM in my iPhone. I expect it won’t work in China, but maybe an O2 pre-paid sim in England might have a chance.

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