Monday, May 14, 2012

AT&T International Phone Plan

Before we leave the States, we need to get our AT&T international cellular phone plans figured out.

-What we want is to be able to use the available WiFi for data. 
-What we don't want is to have to pay for an international data plan.
-What we want is to be able to make and receive calls on our phone in an emergency. 
-What we don't want is to have to pay international roaming fees every time someone calls or texts us, especially unknowns such as telemarketers.

For an extra $5.99/month/phone, we added the AT&T World Traveler Plan, which is the international cellular service that allows us to make and receive calls. 

We opted out of any international data plans.  We will solely rely on WiFi access for data usage.  Which also means that we will not be able to text. 

With WiFi accessibility, we will still be able to FaceTime other iPhone/iPad users. 

Here's the information from AT&T on setting up our iPhones to ensure we aren't surprised by outrageous international  charges:

>>> Mail, Contact, Calendars: turn OFF "Fetch New Data" > turn OFF "Push" notifications > Change the "Fetch" schedule to MANUAL.  We don't want the phones constantly searching for data and automatically pushing items to our phones.

>>> General Settings > Network > Enable 3G, Leave ON.  In order to be able to make or receive calls, this needs to be left ON.  Unfortunately, by leaving this on, we risk taking calls from people we don't want calling!  To prevent this, AT&T suggests activating Airplane Mode, which will send all calls automatically to voicemail - avoiding any charges.  Of course, Airplane Mode also disables any use of WiFi....My brother told me that we can still enable WiFi in Airplane Mode - nice to know.

>>> General Settings > Network > Cellular Data, Leave ON....which makes us nervous.  We definitely do not want to incur huge data costs, but AT&T reassures us that we will not because we did not purchase an international data plan.  AT&T explains that we need to have this left ON in order to send and receive phone calls. Soooooo, why is this called "Cellular Data"????  Who knows. To be careful, we can monitor data usage through General > Usage > Cellular Usage > Reset Statistics and keep track.

>>> General Settings > Network > Data Roaming, Leave OFF.  A precaution to avoid roaming charges. 

So, we'll probably keep the above settings, and leave our phones in Airplane Mode, unless we want to access WiFi. 

FAQ Sheet from AT&T