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With iPhone abroad: do your math well

Call, surf the web and email leaving your laptop at home and bringing only the new, trusted iPhone 3G with us. The temptation to leave for the holidays by abandoning the computer replacing it only with the strong Apple mobile phone and it becomes even irresistible we approach a long trip abroad, where every extra weight runs the risk of becoming unbearable after a few days. To push us towards this solution not only the manageability of the iPhone, but also the convenience of always carrying a tool in your pocket to consult e-mails and to surf the Internet using the cellular connection.

Too bad that going abroad means abandoning your mobile operator and embracing the roaming mode. An interesting opportunity that runs the risk of turning into a real economic "blow". Using the iPhone as you do in Italy can easily turn into a higher (and not a little) cost than that of the entire holiday and this even if your holiday takes place in exotic places and in luxury hotels. The reason for this lies in the monstrously high rates required by data roaming operators, a price that ranges from about ten euros (in the most favorable cases) to mega to even 36 euros per mega. Since a not too sparagnino use of the iPhone leads to download 15/20 mega per day of data, the bill soon made. Using iPhone as you do at home for ten days on a tropical island costs 7/8 thousand euros …

The ideal solution to not have any surprises, or rather there are two: leave the iPhone at home or disable the data roaming connection (there is a special switch) and use only the Wifi l where it is available. But if you really can't do without iPhone in data mode on a cellular network, you should know how to save or, if nothing else, what you're going to spend.

The four main operators have all, more or less clearly, exposed connection costs on their sites. Our editorial staff has reviewed them.

Vodafone and data outside ItalyVodafone of all mobile operators, the only one that provides a foreign option designed for iPhone. All you need to do is activate Vodafone Facile for iPhone and you have the Daily Travel Tariff offer for iPhone already functional. The amount of data included minuscule, just 5 MB per day, and the not really cheap cost, 5 euro per day, but surely it is an interesting alternative that costs significantly less than the consumption rates. Unfortunately, the rate is valid for Europe, while it rises to 10 euros for some (not all) non-European countries. All the details of Vodafone Daily Travel for iPhone are available on this page. The calculation of the 5 MB daily starts at the first connection and continues until 24.00, while the charge made immediately at the first connection. Traffic generated beyond the threshold and by midnight is charged at 1 euro per MB in Europe or 3.6 euro per MB in non-European countries, with advance releases of 100 KB.

For those who use iPhone with a rechargeable, the activation of Daily Tariff for iPhone is free, while it is already active and included for those who have signed up for a subscription and also for those who have activated the Vodafone pack for iPhone.

In this link it is possible to consult the list of European and non-European countries: we recommend reading it carefully because in reality we can use the cheapest rates even in countries far from Europe but which Vodafone has added for practicality in this section. For example in Australia, Egypt, Fiji, Japan, New Zealand and some other countries, the tariffs applied are those for Europe.

In this regard, it should be noted that there is a Daily Travel Tariff that has the same name as the one just examined for the Apple smartphone, with the exception of the final wording "for iPhone" absent here. Daily Travel Tariff is already activated on all subscription data SIMs, for example Vodafone Internet Key, and can be activated on request on subscription SIM cards. This offer offers a limit of 50 MB of data per day (therefore 10 times higher in quantity compared to the Daily Travel Tariff for iPhone) at the price of 15 euros for European countries and 30 euros per day for non-European ones, therefore in all and two cases, at a price only (so to speak …) 3 times higher than the iPhone offer but for 10 times more data. After observing this difference in treatment for the Daily Travel Tariff for iPhone promotion, Vodafone runs the risk of exposing itself to other criticisms after those received for domestic tariffs.

iPhone with Vodafone for business customersAlso for business customers there is the Daily Travel Tariff offer for iPhone 3G: 5 MB of data to be used every day for 5 euros per day for European countries, 10 euros per day for non-European ones, prices are excluding VAT. Above the threshold, traffic costs 1 euro per MB for Europe and 3 euro per mega elsewhere, also here the prices are excluding VAT. Always for iPhone, it is possible to choose the Monthly Travel Tariff 30 and 45 which can be activated to replace the Daily Tariff just seen. The first costs 30 euros per month and offers 50 MB per month of traffic, while the second costs 45 euros per month for 200 MB per two months of data. Traffic can be generated with any Super UMTS, UMTS and GPRS technology, over the threshold 1 euro is charged per MB.

With TIM from abroadOn this page we find the costs for TIM's data roaming traffic, both for prepaid (rechargeable) and for subscriptions. The rates shown apply for any technology (GPRS, EDGE, UMTS, HSDPA) and vary according to the area of ​​origin of the traffic. For the countries of Europe and zone 1 the cost of 0.8 euro cents per KB, equal to 8.192 euro per MB – for zone 2 of 1.8 euro cents per KB, equal to 18.432 euro per MB – for zone 3 and zone 4 of 3.6 euro cents per KB, equal to 36.864 euro per MB. The 10 KB advance payment tariff with the note that the data traffic in roaming scaled directly on the remaining credit for TIM prepaid, even if the charge for the costs of Roaming calls on credit card has been activated.

TIM for data roaming of Business customersTim's connection costs abroad improve significantly for business customers who can activate the Daily Data Europe offer. Activated for free, this offer available only for zone 1 countries with a daily rate of 12 euros (excluding VAT) up to a maximum of 30 MB of traffic generated from 24:00 until 23:59 on the same day. The excess traffic is charged according to consumption at the price of 0.008 euros per KB excluding VAT, equal to 8.192 euros per MB. Business customers traveling beyond Europe and want a data roaming package can use Data World 20 and Data World 75. These two offers include monthly navigation packages: the first costs 25 euros excluding VAT and offers 20 MB per month, while the second it costs 60 euros per month and includes 75 MB of monthly traffic. In both cases, after exceeding the threshold, the different tariffs apply according to the zone (zone 1: 0.008 euro per KB; 0.024 euro per KB for zone 2; 0.020 euro per KB for USA and Canada which are zone 3; finally 0.030 euro per KB for zone 4). Recall that after the first day the Daily Data Europe costs 10 euros for 30 MB daily newspapers instead of 12 euros.

Three and access to data when roamingThree have always been one of the mobile operators to offer attractive rates for data access via cellular network. When we write the Tre.Dati Time offer on the website page dedicated to the Internet, we offer a time plan of 100 hours of surfing per month for only 19 euros. We note that the hours of access and the cost refer only to the traffic generated under 3 cover: data traveling in GPRS are not included and must be counted according to consumption at the price of 0.6 euro per MB.

Another offer called Navigate 3 is a weekly option which at a cost of 3 euros includes 100 MB per day to access the Web, always under cover of 3. Alternatively also available in monthly form: 9 euros for 30 days and 50 MB of traffic per day. In Italy iPhone 3G not equipped with an operator lock, so you can buy an iPhone and then use it on the three network. In this case, the advice is to pay close attention to the area and coverage available, to avoid accessing the Internet with a connection other than that of Tre, and therefore generating traffic that is not included in the operator's promotions but is taxed according to consumption .

In early July, operator 3 decided to eliminate the expiration of the promotion Abroad as at home. In practice, the latter allows you to connect to the Internet when we are abroad with the same rates valid for Italy, as long as we are under cover of a group 3 operator. The offer, available as standard for all customers 3 certainly interesting because it allows you to browse and access the Web using the same low-price subscriptions valid for Italy, remember that this option is valid only in certain countries: Austria, Australia, Denmark, Great Britain, Hong Kong, Ireland and Sweden. We should keep in mind that even in these countries it is always necessary to check the real coverage to ensure that we are not in GPRS roaming with another operator, finally of course, in all countries not included in the list the standard roaming rates apply. The Tre tariffs for roaming data are 0.015 euros per KB for Europe and zone 1 (15.36 euros per MB) – 0.020 euros per KB for zone 2 – 0.040 euros per KB for zone 3, finally € 0.050 per KB for zone 4 (approximately € 50 per MB!).

Wind and abroadOn this web page, the operator divides the roaming data rates into two categories: Internet and BlackBerry in the first, finally Wap and i-mode for the second. Access to the Internet and via Blackberry terminals costs 0.0125 euros per KB for Europe, zone 1 and also zone 2 (equal to 12.8 euros per MB). For zones 3 and 4 the rate rises to 0.025 euros per KB, corresponding to 25.6 euros. As for the Wap and i-mode rates, the latter valid for data connections via the first generation iPhone, the costs are: 0.02 euros per KB for Europe, Zone 1 and Zone 2 (20.48 euro per MB), finally for zone 3 and 4 0.04 euro per KB, equal to a good 40.96 euro per MB.

ConclusionsAll iPhone users who are used to using the data connection via iPhone assiduously run the risk of being surprised if they do not change their style of use when they are on vacation or on a business trip abroad. For private use, the only operator to offer a packaged solution for Vodafone roaming data, with the Daily Travel Tariff, but only for a total of 5 MB per day and for a not exactly contained cost of 5 euros. The traffic sufficient to manage emails but strictly without attachments, while for browsing and more substantial operations such as the upoload of the photographs to our album on MobileMe or elsewhere, the 5 MB of traffic is unfortunately reached very quickly. However, the Vodafone offer appears convenient when compared with the consumption rates applied by other operators to private customers. With TIM the 5 MB of traffic of the Vodafone package just examined make a total of about 40 euros, while for 3 we go up to 76 euros. With Wind for 5 MB of data traffic from abroad we are faced with a cost of 64 euros, for an Internet connection or about 100 euros for the i-mode version. All consumption costs seen so far are destined to increase significantly if we take a country outside Europe or Zone 1 as the country of origin of the connection.

Beware of bill shockAfter looking at the high prices for roaming data traffic, it is worth mentioning that after the launch of the first iPhone in the United States, several documented cases of smartphone users affected by monstrous phone bills have occurred. In addition to the ease of use of the iPhone, which actually pushes the use of most of the integrated functions, and so also of the Web and the numerous services associated with it, this type of "accident" also due to the habit of using the smartphone in the tranquility of those who feel covered by an all-inclusive monthly fee. This obviously does not apply to data in roaming and only in a few subscriptions including a maximum limit of calls to and from abroad. As soon as we go beyond the limits of our all-inclusive subscription, the pain begins. If we do not pay close attention to the contractual conditions and to use the functions of the iPhone carefully when we are abroad, we risk swelling the ranks of those who in good faith generate stratospheric bills. The conclusion that all operators worldwide, and those of Italy, do not differ, have tried to understand the effect and change brought by the iPhone with all-inclusive rates, but the limits of this new approach to pocket communication emerge conspicuously when we take a plane.