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 ]