Roam at your own peril

Comment on this story


st cellpic

Many South Africans travelling overseas with a smartphone for the first time have made the shocking discovery that the data downloads they get free at home come at a massive cost beyond our borders.

Allan Bartram is the CEO of a Kempton Park-based business, and has travelled overseas annually without any resultant cellphone “bill shock” on his return.

But on his most recent 10-day overseas trip, he took his new iPad and iPhone with him, unaware, as he puts it, “of the data roaming dangers lurking within those devices”.

About 10 days after his return, his HR manager told him his cellphone bill – normally in the region of R1 200 a month, was R10 500.

“While overseas I had downloaded data I usually download at home – financial and forex info, weather and news – and I left the apps on.

“It’s not a problem at home, because the downloads are free, but overseas it’s a bill killer, as I’ve discovered on talking to friends and colleagues.”

Bartram is angry that his network, MTN, didn’t warn him to deactivate data roaming on his smartphone and tablet when travelling overseas, because of the massive costs involved.

“Surely they could send an inexpensive SMS to those people who have gone overseas with these smartphones and quickly start racking up an inconsistently high bill, in the way that we get a call from our banks when they pick up unusual spending behaviour on our accounts?”

Lina Sadler of Durban, who is also an MTN subscriber, had a similar experience, only she’s ended up with a bill of R34 000.

She also recently upgraded to an iPhone and has had international roaming activated on her account since her previous overseas trip three years ago.

She travelled to London at the end of March and a week into her stay she got an SMS from the network to say her phone had been blocked because her balance, at that time, had topped R32 000.

“I could still receive calls and SMSes, but all outgoing usage was blocked,” she said.

She later discovered the iTunes content her son had downloaded – thinking it was free on a relative’s WiFi – was being charged at international rates, and the bill kept mounting because of automatic updates.

Sadler is angry about the shock bill because she had always felt protected by the R5 000 bill limit she had in place on her MTN account. But her bill hit R32 000 before MTN notified her that her service had been blocked. When she queried this with the network, she was told that billing from overseas was delayed, so it would seem such bill limits are meaningless when it comes to international roaming.

Also, despite barring Sadler from making any further calls, she was still able to receive calls and SMSes while overseas, which are not free, so her bill continued to climb in this way until she returned home.

I sent MTN a detailed set of questions about both cases and asked what steps the network takes to warn its subscribers about the dangers of data roaming, in particular, when travelling overseas.

I also asked whether the network would consider waiving part of the bills in question.

Responding, customer services executive Eddie Moyce said the charges in both cases were “valid”.

“Mr Allan Bartram and Mrs Leonor Sadler are both MTN account holders who have had roaming activated for a number of years.

“Mr Bartram’s concern is that MTN had not notified him about the high roaming costs.

“MTN acknowledges that it may not have directly liaised with the customer before he left the country, as the company was not contacted by the customer prior to the business trip.

“But MTN has on numerous platforms and channels communicated informative tips to its customers – at least two press releases were issued during the latter period of 2011.

“Furthermore, MTN on its website, www.mtn.co.za, has a dedicated web page that educates customers, as well as warns them on costs related to roaming.

“MTN views this matter as closed.”

Sadler’s MTN account remains barred for outgoing calls and messages, and the best deal the network has offered her is paying off that R34 000 over three months.

She has no choice but to take it.

Bartram is unimpressed, and remains adamant that MTN “should communicate these warnings directly to all its customers annually in the form of an e-mail or SMS”.

Interestingly, the Apple iPhone itself carries a warning about this issue. Under the data roaming setting are the words: “Turn off data roaming when travelling to avoid charges when web browsing and using e-mail, MMS and other data.”

And as a user goes to select data roaming on the Samsung Galaxy smartphones, the following warning pops up: “Attention! Allow data roaming? You may incur significant roaming charges!”

But of course, if the data roaming option has already been selected,, it may not occur to a new smartphone user to go to settings and make the necessary selections to turn it off.


sign up
 
 

Comment Guidelines



  1. Please read our comment guidelines.
  2. Login and register, if you haven’ t already.
  3. Write your comment in the block below and click (Post As)
  4. Has a comment offended you? Hover your mouse over the comment and wait until a small triangle appears on the right-hand side. Click triangle () and select "Flag as inappropriate". Our moderators will take action if need be.

     

Newspaper Subscriptions
NotADog
I'm a 42 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 50.
View Profile
JULIET_001
I'm a 51 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 49 and 63.
View Profile
Lady_101
I'm a 31 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 28 and 38.
View Profile
Denie_28
I'm a 50 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 45 and 53.
View Profile
Pussycat69
I'm a 42 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 40 and 50.
View Profile
ContagiousLaughter
I'm a 41 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 36 and 44.
View Profile
RobzMolecule
I'm a 24 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 22 and 30.
View Profile
sweets1987
I'm a 27 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 32 and 42.
View Profile
Butterfly_effect
I'm a 38 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 36 and 48.
View Profile
Lala8610
I'm a 28 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 27 and 32.
View Profile
butterflyzzz
I'm a 48 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 45 and 55.
View Profile
Isabel_33
I'm a 34 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 33 and 42.
View Profile
Plattelandsenooi3
I'm a 32 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 33 and 45.
View Profile
Angdt
I'm a 21 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 23 and 30.
View Profile
LeilaM
I'm a 40 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 40 and 55.
View Profile
chloeeeee
I'm a 44 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 52.
View Profile
Mickey101
I'm a 25 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 30.
View Profile
Doeksa
I'm a 33 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 33 and 39.
View Profile
SalsaHoney
I'm a 34 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 40.
View Profile
Hopeful_dreamer
I'm a 37 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 33 and 45.
View Profile
Bluebell531
I'm a 46 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 40 and 60.
View Profile
Crispy990
I'm a 24 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 24 and 35.
View Profile
Teleporter1612
I'm a 48 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 43 and 100.
View Profile
Warmsmilewarmheart
I'm a 47 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 45 and 55.
View Profile
Minky3001
I'm a 30 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 32 and 40.
View Profile
CTBLONDE
I'm a 38 year old woman looking to meet men and women between the ages of 40 and 50.
View Profile
Lilakii
I'm a 21 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 23 and 31.
View Profile
Blu
I'm a 28 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 27 and 33.
View Profile
Rarefind
I'm a 55 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 52 and 63.
View Profile
Gemima
I'm a 38 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 40 and 50.
View Profile
SweetiePie_123
I'm a 23 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 30.
View Profile
miesies
I'm a 29 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 29 and 40.
View Profile
Smurfette
I'm a 36 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
TuffLove
I'm a 34 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 45.
View Profile
jinxie_007
I'm a 32 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 28 and 38.
View Profile
Persephone101
I'm a 31 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
GlasswingButterfly
I'm a 35 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 33 and 55.
View Profile
Vuurvliegie1974
I'm a 40 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 39 and 47.
View Profile
Kelbels0201
I'm a 34 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 36 and 42.
View Profile
Kay_722
I'm a 29 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 40.
View Profile
Enkellopende
I'm a 42 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 43.
View Profile
Sonskyn83
I'm a 31 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 45.
View Profile
Unicorn17
I'm a 21 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 23 and 26.
View Profile
sonskyn27
I'm a 56 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 45 and 55.
View Profile
Authenticity1425
I'm a 39 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 34 and 47.
View Profile
Jenny84
I'm a 30 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 33 and 40.
View Profile
nirina
I'm a 37 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 50.
View Profile
Dollie81
I'm a 33 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 49.
View Profile
JayAnne
I'm a 56 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 56 and 70.
View Profile
Lesel
I'm a 46 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 45 and 55.
View Profile
Jimmyhgirl
I'm a 37 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 18 and 100.
View Profile
KW82
I'm a 32 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 29 and 40.
View Profile
sexyhair
I'm a 42 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 50.
View Profile
Bienkie01
I'm a 35 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 34 and 48.
View Profile
0044MJM
I'm a 49 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 48 and 61.
View Profile
BMull08
I'm a 19 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 19 and 30.
View Profile
EMT2014
I'm a 30 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 40.
View Profile
klouise
I'm a 32 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 31 and 39.
View Profile
Bebe1000
I'm a 53 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 49 and 57.
View Profile
FaiRy9
I'm a 26 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 27 and 36.
View Profile
Judith78
I'm a 36 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 38 and 48.
View Profile
FootballCrazy
I'm a 42 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 39 and 50.
View Profile
ChooseToLoveLife
I'm a 27 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 28 and 35.
View Profile
JanieL
I'm a 24 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 32.
View Profile
esk123
I'm a 36 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 37 and 45.
View Profile
Chriz_1985
I'm a 29 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 18 and 100.
View Profile
JustChat76
I'm a 38 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 45.
View Profile
Smileawhile
I'm a 45 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 38 and 52.
View Profile
Jobaby10
I'm a 36 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 38 and 45.
View Profile
Apple_853
I'm a 35 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 45.
View Profile
Cathwhite
I'm a 29 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
Artistixoxo
I'm a 23 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 23 and 28.
View Profile
optimistic_36
I'm a 37 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 32 and 46.
View Profile
AgentI
I'm a 39 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 45.
View Profile
dragonfly86
I'm a 28 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 28 and 35.
View Profile
JillieB
I'm a 61 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 55 and 70.
View Profile
WandaLove
I'm a 19 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 22 and 26.
View Profile
tigerlady28
I'm a 30 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 22 and 34.
View Profile
Infin8
I'm a 36 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 42.
View Profile
Fire_and_Ice81
I'm a 33 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
Mo1979
I'm a 35 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 29 and 43.
View Profile
liefilyf
I'm a 42 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 38 and 48.
View Profile
FoXyLaDy444
I'm a 56 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 50 and 65.
View Profile
BlondeBerry
I'm a 33 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 29 and 40.
View Profile
Dee37
I'm a 38 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 38 and 45.
View Profile
PowerPrincess
I'm a 41 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 38 and 47.
View Profile
LielaZ
I'm a 27 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 28 and 35.
View Profile
your_wildest_dreams
I'm a 36 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 40 and 55.
View Profile
MissMoneypenny_13
I'm a 28 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 42.
View Profile
Foreverinhope
I'm a 48 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 45 and 56.
View Profile
Bastet_11
I'm a 43 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 45 and 48.
View Profile
ShanJo
I'm a 35 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 42.
View Profile
HenrietteF
I'm a 32 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 42.
View Profile
Rosesandlace
I'm a 49 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 49 and 53.
View Profile
fabstanious
I'm a 29 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 40.
View Profile
luvlie
I'm a 48 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 46 and 52.
View Profile
Okidoki_63
I'm a 51 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 45 and 60.
View Profile
LimitlessSoul
I'm a 45 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 40 and 50.
View Profile
Leigh1979
I'm a 35 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 29 and 40.
View Profile
kannieworrynie
I'm a 56 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 45 and 55.
View Profile
matiekat
I'm a 66 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 50 and 68.
View Profile
jacuwig
I'm a 25 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 20 and 25.
View Profile
5star
I'm a 57 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 40 and 55.
View Profile
Bryn
I'm a 41 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 20 and 55.
View Profile
CreativeExplorer
I'm a 50 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 100.
View Profile
Stdave
I'm a 38 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 28 and 42.
View Profile
Tiemie85
I'm a 29 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 22 and 32.
View Profile
Fred58
I'm a 56 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 100.
View Profile
henisright
I'm a 50 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 37 and 53.
View Profile
JustCallMeBwana
I'm a 47 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 28 and 45.
View Profile
Guardian_24
I'm a 41 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 37 and 43.
View Profile
BossMorne
I'm a 43 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
Gambino_Family
I'm a 59 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 42 and 70.
View Profile
Jericho2010
I'm a 41 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 49.
View Profile
cknneth111
I'm a 46 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 41 and 70.
View Profile
ClassicRocker
I'm a 52 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 42 and 52.
View Profile
virgo5
I'm a 62 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 45 and 65.
View Profile
6s6s6s
I'm a 43 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
goldenhat
I'm a 52 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 36 and 66.
View Profile
daniel101
I'm a 44 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 32 and 38.
View Profile
TLS11
I'm a 53 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 40 and 57.
View Profile
versl_550
I'm a 55 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 45 and 60.
View Profile
MLACOME0147
I'm a 55 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 49 and 79.
View Profile
Elem_ce
I'm a 35 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 35.
View Profile
IrishBoy11
I'm a 45 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 27 and 40.
View Profile
VirgoMan1970
I'm a 44 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 30 and 50.
View Profile
Ironstein06
I'm a 36 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 37.
View Profile
charl1906
I'm a 57 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 49 and 53.
View Profile
willing_915
I'm a 54 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 55 and 70.
View Profile
cornrlius205
I'm a 46 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 50.
View Profile
philip_unplugged514
I'm a 62 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 50 and 68.
View Profile
Kitchenslave
I'm a 52 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 35 and 50.
View Profile
gavinzn
I'm a 57 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 50 and 57.
View Profile
jsetrader
I'm a 58 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 30 and 45.
View Profile
JPretoria
I'm a 38 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 28 and 40.
View Profile
TheDuke_99
I'm a 36 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 28 and 42.
View Profile
Banker009
I'm a 56 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 34 and 46.
View Profile
Dazz7605
I'm a 38 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 44.
View Profile
Lovelyn111
I'm a 53 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 51 and 63.
View Profile
Smartboy_102
I'm a 60 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 47 and 57.
View Profile
Natureboykie
I'm a 60 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 43 and 64.
View Profile
koolstoof55
I'm a 59 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 45 and 63.
View Profile
breeze001
I'm a 49 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 40 and 55.
View Profile
BENTLEY292
I'm a 45 year old man looking to meet men between the ages of 45 and 55.
View Profile
LEANMAN
I'm a 39 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 39.
View Profile
wiedahunk
I'm a 57 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 50 and 70.
View Profile
Natural123
I'm a 52 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 35 and 45.
View Profile
Firefox_771
I'm a 63 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 42 and 56.
View Profile
karooboertjie15
I'm a 40 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 40.
View Profile
gentlebutcrazy
I'm a 58 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 35 and 55.
View Profile
Coolfun
I'm a 52 year old man looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 55.
View Profile
brightday111
I'm a 55 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 48 and 59.
View Profile
Bruce_308
I'm a 47 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 41 and 70.
View Profile
LiveLifeAlways
I'm a 43 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 33 and 41.
View Profile
Lastgreatwhite
I'm a 56 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 40 and 50.
View Profile
plodof
I'm a 58 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 35 and 55.
View Profile
Andy_Leo
I'm a 46 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
DaveB_791
I'm a 49 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 35 and 45.
View Profile
Lonomor
I'm a 46 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 35.
View Profile
Denali
I'm a 45 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 40.
View Profile
Stand64
I'm a 50 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 36 and 55.
View Profile
TheRealMrRight
I'm a 43 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 28 and 42.
View Profile
cccdovy
I'm a 56 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 48 and 56.
View Profile
stumpjumper
I'm a 54 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 40 and 50.
View Profile
contour
I'm a 43 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 34 and 39.
View Profile
pieterl
I'm a 59 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 45 and 62.
View Profile
Ons2alleen
I'm a 30 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 24 and 29.
View Profile
Fitwithhealth
I'm a 72 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 48 and 65.
View Profile
Alachison
I'm a 46 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 30 and 45.
View Profile
freddic1
I'm a 52 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 47 and 55.
View Profile
naughty_sporty
I'm a 41 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 35 and 45.
View Profile
LovingSerenity
I'm a 38 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 24 and 45.
View Profile
FamilyMan72
I'm a 42 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 30 and 43.
View Profile
lvebird53
I'm a 54 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 50 and 65.
View Profile
TallDreamer
I'm a 37 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 28 and 38.
View Profile
Agent_K1
I'm a 46 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 38 and 40.
View Profile
Suidwester27
I'm a 53 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 35 and 50.
View Profile
pinsnow
I'm a 55 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 45 and 65.
View Profile
ScottRanger1987
I'm a 27 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 30.
View Profile
Yvard
I'm a 46 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 30 and 44.
View Profile
HappyEnding
I'm a 49 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 36 and 45.
View Profile
rjscm
I'm a 48 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 30 and 45.
View Profile
DutchDelight_
I'm a 45 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 30 and 46.
View Profile
richy10
I'm a 57 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 49 and 70.
View Profile
SingleNSearching60
I'm a 60 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 55 and 70.
View Profile
cloudhopper
I'm a 56 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 45 and 55.
View Profile
OohCharles
I'm a 53 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
Propriety
I'm a 56 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 35 and 45.
View Profile
dinnerfortwo
I'm a 54 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 40 and 50.
View Profile
KTM1190A
I'm a 59 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 50 and 58.
View Profile
CL4ptp
I'm a 28 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 22 and 28.
View Profile
captainkid
I'm a 55 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 47 and 56.
View Profile
Dn212
I'm a 51 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 45 and 60.
View Profile
tommy351
I'm a 61 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 48 and 59.
View Profile
Kiwiana
I'm a 39 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 39.
View Profile
Officer_Gentleman
I'm a 46 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 35 and 48.
View Profile
Ryno_56
I'm a 26 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 34.
View Profile
Marius_P
I'm a 40 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 30 and 55.
View Profile
ekke_706
I'm a 50 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 40 and 55.
View Profile

Business Directory