RANT: Data Roaming Charges Suck!

By Kevin Michaluk on 16 Apr 2008 05:19 pm EDT

Data Roaming Charges Suck!

Another Rogers bill, another Rant! Last month it was the $7/MB surcharge for going over my 25MB/month data limit that I was ticked about. But I learned from my mistakes and moved up from the $60/25MB/mo plan to the $100/200MB/mo of data plan thinking I shouldn't be in for any surprises. I thought wrong.

This time my rant is on Data Roaming charges! Rewind a couple of weeks back to our CTIA Wireless 2008 Live Coverage and my posting images to our CrackBerry Flickr account on location from Las Vegas. Well, it turns out each photo posted to Flickr straight from my Curve cost $5/pop!!! With data roaming charges costing $10/MB and the average picture taken on the Curve's camera coming in at ~500kb, the damage piles up fast. And keep in mind that while this bill is in Canadian dollars, the USD/CDN exchange rate is basically at par these days.

I landed in Vegas around noon on Monday, the 31st of the March, and got off the plane in Canada late on April 3rd. My billing cycle ends April 2nd, but looking at the image above, for some reason they did not include April 2nd data roaming charges  even though my roaming voice charges appear right until midnight of the 2nd. Maybe it takes time for the US carriers to report back to Rogers with the data usage info, which wouldn't make it Rogers' fault in that case... although I am getting used to finding errors on my monthly bills from them.

Rogers Bill
The Damage for the Month!

So with this bill only covering 1.5 days of roaming data charges, I'm guessing next month's bill will have roughly (maybe slightly higher even) similar charges as well. Basically $300 for roaming data-- nevermind voice or SMS -- for a few days south of the border. Am I wrong, or does that just seem slightly criminal in this day and age? Now that I'm on an unlocked T-Mobile BlackBerry 8320, I think the solution here is actually for me to get set-up on a T-Mobile BlackBerry plan in the United States and just keep it year round (go for minimum voice minutes). It'll actually workout cheaper for the times I travel to the US than having to pay this kind of data roaming (and WES is coming up in just a few weeks and I'll be live Flickring again) and I could even swap SIM cards when I'm in my home/office in Canada and connected to WiFi so I can place calls via UMA (just need to make sure I never lose that WiFi connection or the bills will pile up equally bad).

Rogers Bill
And this only covers HALF of the CTIA Vegas roaming... April 2nd data  and all of the
3rd to come -  notice how they get you on roaming for Voice, SMS and data!

A lot of this is my fault...I know that. I should have looked into data roaming charges more carefully before I jumped on the plane knowing I'd be sending photos and such, and while I can get mad at Rogers for the mistakes I find on my bills and their rip-off data charges (and be even more mad that their data overage protection is only for business customers even though it's linked to from their consumer website), I can't get mad at just them for the roaming charges, as the US carriers I am actually roaming on are taking their fair cut, but still... I'm a CrackBerry Addict... I just want to use the device, not research how much I should limit my device use! Can't we make this a little more affordable? When your monthly bill equals the cost of a new smartphone, something just seems a little out of whack to me.

Maybe it's time for me to move south of the border... some place warmer and where the data is cheap and roaming wouldn't be required for me to cover BlackBerry events! LA? Vegas? San Diego? Somewhere in Florida? Anybody looking for a roommate?!?!

[ apologies on the greenish images - I snapped photos of my invoice with my digital camera and the white paper didn't turn out very white ]

Topics: Editorial

Reader comments

RANT: Data Roaming Charges Suck!


Man, now I don't feel that bad with my $120.00 T-Mobile bill which includes unlimited everything. I know your going to be happy when T-Mobile comes over there.

I just moved over to Rogers last month and i also went over by 25 megs... luckily i get unlimited data for a few months otherwise i would have paid somewhere of upwards of $300 bucks.

What a ripoff by Rogers...

That stinks!!! I didn't know that roaming charges still happened! I use a blackberry pearl with Sprint and have gone to Los Angeles to Nebraska to Chicago with no troubles. Does Sprint work in your area? It may be worth looking into because they don't charge for data roaming... Especially with that new everything plan they have.

I pay 99 bucks a month (plus a bunch of tax) and that is unlimited blackberry data and unlimited talking. I never have to worry.
Good luck to you!

Kevin doesn't live in the States so he would be charged roaming charges if he came to the States and used data or made calls. Sprint will charge you extra fees if you go out of the country and make calls or use data.

If you are traveling alot internationally, Sprint has an option of adding unlimited international data for an extra $30 a month. I was a Rogers users before I moved to Arizona and my highest bill was $1500 for one month when I spent 25 days out of the month roaming in the US.

Just talked to Fido about this issue with my 8700r. I'm going to Detroit as well as Toronto next month and was curious. I think I'm going to turn it off while I'm in Detroit! :) Data charges suck for Canada.

Are you kidding me? I would be jumping off the roof of my house right now...

$29.98 for Unlimited BES on TMobile, plus the H@H, etc...

I don't understand, why doesn't Rogers have an Unlimited BB plan???

Do you know the Unlimited BIS plan on Tmobile is $19.99/month??!!!!

Sorry Kevin...come down south..

Not sure i understand why you are paying for your cell phone plan in the first place. Your doing Blackberry and the carriers favours here.
Pick up the phone and call the head of marketing. No reason you should be paying for a plan.

That Plan sucks! TELUS data = Unlimited. Plus, their voice plans are half decent as well. I know you won't always have the new Berry's right away but it's money.

Your comments about roaming are right on- Canada has some of the worst rates in the world. To grind it in, be assured that Rogers never even 'pays' AT&T for the data...every month they swap minutes, mb, text messages with AT&T for minutes used by AT&T customers who travel to Canada. So if Rogers customers used up - say - 1,000,000 minutes in the USA, and AT&T customers used up 950,000 minutes in Canada, Rogers only pays for the 50,000 - and at wholesale rates too.

The net effect: Rogers gets to charge the highest rates in the world while providing the same old local service which you pay normal rates for. Very sneaky.

PS Rogers does have a North American plan for data and minutes which might help if you travel there with any frequency.

I have also thought about signing up on just a tmobile data plan for 40 a month and just taking advantage of the wifi capabilities while im in canada.
Would rather pay the 40 a month than the ridiculous amounts of roaming charges i get from rogers

it's about time the CRTC does something about these outragous cell charges in Canada. I have a Rogers account for when I'm in Vancouver and the charges are almost criminal (especially when compared to the Sprint/TMobile/Verizon one-rate plans). Retarded system access fees, way-over-priced data rates, lack of coverage (try explaining 'sector optimization' to the technical agents when you call them up to complain of dropped calls). What ever happened to the class action lawsuit over the system access fees?

Exactly, what ever happened with this class action law suit?! I hate reading these threads because it gets me so mad. It's why I hate contracts, but unlocked phones and know I can jump ship whenever. Not to a better ship mind you living in Canada.

I wish we had something that used free wifi to chat (voip/skype) and surf without any cell service involved. The cell companies would be so scared if free wifi was everywhere.

Your bill is bad, but I had about 1 1/2 weeks in Mexico in February for work, over $1700! That stinks. The worst part is that I think over half of it wasn't work related, $1.49/minute adds up. I am heading to Germany soon and think I will be making use of a German prepaid sim while there, same goes for the next Mexico trip. Actually, like Kevin mentioned, my friend who lives in Mexico only pays $90/month for 1500 minutes, unlimited data and 100 international minutes....I think I need to talk to him!

Wow... just... wow...

I can't believe what they charge you guys for data up there! I will never again complain about the $30 a month I pay for my unlimited BIS plan.

You aren't kidding, that does border on criminal.

With Rogers for ever and i can tell you that i called then so many times for making me pay what i didn t spend. I always got credit back and free minutes but this is very tirying to double check every bill. it should not be like that. The thing is rogers or fido are pretty much the same comp and i need gsm. So no much choice than checking every bills :(

quote kevin: It'll actually workout cheaper for the times I travel to the US than having to pay this kind of data roaming (and WES is coming up in just a few weeks and I'll be live Flickring again) and I could even swap SIM cards when I'm in my home/office in Canada and connected to WiFi so I can place calls via UMA (just need to make sure I never lose that WiFi connection or the bills will pile up equally bad).

not a bad solution i think i should do the same that completly make sens!!

Some of you need to make the distinction between DATA and Roaming DATA fee.

He is mentionning about ROAMING fees, which I agree, are pretty outrageous. I'm lucky enough that my Blackberry is provided by work and they handle all of my fees (voice and data even for personal use). I regulary go in the US (Chicago area, we have another plant there) and I've been there 1 week and came back with a 500$ cell phone bill (previous, we were with Rogers).

The Company switched back to Bell Mobility (in the process we got rid of the old 8700r model to get the newer 8830 WE model) and I beleive bell is a little better with roaming fees.

At least, with Bell, if I know in advance when I travel, I can switch my plan, for a single month, to something a little bit better (roaming wise) so the company avoid having to pay the huge roaming fees.

well that's very silly of rogers for not trying to offer you a free plan...i'm sure a few minutes and some data is a drop in the ocean for them, and certainly not worth bad publicity.

I'm on O2 network in the UK, I pay approx $20 a month for unlimited data and so far haven't been charged a thing (they have a fair use policy though in case you try and use it as a modem). Let's face it though, they would charge the same as rogers if they could get away with it. You guys need a bit of competition to stir things up...

I know what you mean! I just got a BB Pearl 8110 for work. Was in Hawaii for a week and did a couple emails/web browsing per day and am VERY scared to see what my roaming charges are going to be.... Rogers really is getting away with MURDER with their DATA charges...

I remember when Rogers (then called "Rogers AT&T") didn't charge to roam to the States.

But apparently more Canadians roam to the States than Americans roam to Canada - by a wide margin.

I suspect many Canadian companies that do business in the States have an account with a US carrier.

4 years ago while travelling on buisness in Europe, i racked up a $2500 bill, both for voice and data roaming, needless to say, i was shocked!

It took me 4 hours and multiple calls with Rogers to sort out the invoice (There was over $400 in credits that needed to be applied) but saying that, the roamong charges were outrageous.

My advise, If you can, get off Rogers. I do know some people who use AT&T and roam in Canada fulltime and there bill is cheaper on a monthly basis that the similar package on Rogers (Only downside, you dont have a local CDN #)

I now live in a warm and sunny place with Rogers no where in sight and when i do go back to Canada for a visit, i use another provider to roam, never again willi use Rogers for wireless service.

I did hear that T-Mobile may be setting up shop in Canada, lets hope so!

Sorry tell you this but T-mobile or any of the large cell provider didn't apply to the CRTC for setting up shop in Canada, thats why we are still stuck paying HIGHER price to use our Data & Voice plans.
Was in Mexico paid $150, for one week chatting BB messenger.
Learn my lesson, by a sim card next time im there.
CRTC is a joke here.

People, people, PEOPLE!

I found this thread through Google search while looking for "data charges class action suit rogers".

The sneakiest and most INTEReSTING part of your bill/s is that it's not the roaming charges, it's the " system glitches".

Let me explain...
I looked for data charges class action suit to see if anybody's with me on this:
Rogers is known as robbers, scammers, etc.

Lookie here- I have the minimoni working day and night telling me of my charges. I am on the unlimited three months of call and data for another month (ends June), but still - I've been receiving 25MB data charges the first two bills. Today I've received bill three, with over 41MB (which they call reasonable data usage), meanwhile, my minimoni gives me 1.5MB per half month. How do you figure?
Rogers is not charging you extra for anything, they are charging you for what isn't yours!!!

Do the words "our system shows that it's getting signals from YOUR simcard, from YOUR phone" sound familiar??

If anybody has any information on this issue, please email me. I will keep looking. I will not give up.