The Mini-Me solution
I spent an hour with AT&T’s international department today and worked out all my anxieties about data access from the road. They even sent me an email summarizing the FAQ of international data plans and cellphone telephony.
While I’ve been madly unsubscribing from all listserves, email lists, groups and newsletters– in fear of having to pay per kilobyte as I did a few years ago when I went to Mexico City to report for the AP– this time I’m more informed on the data plan front. Here’s what I signed up for:
- $64.99 per month gets me unlimited data access anywhere in Mexico, Central and South America
- It’s cheaper for me to send and receive emails than to send SMS texts
- It’s free to receive text, but 50 cents to send a text message. Those texts still cost me money to send even though I have the $15 a month plan for 1, 500 texts The AT&T representative whistled when she saw the total 9, 035 texts usage last month
- 160 characters =1 50 cent message. If longer than it’s considered another message
- $5.99 a month – World Traveller plan means I can get and make calls for 59 cents a minute in Mexico, $1.99 in Guatemala
- I still have my 450 minute plan- that rate plan is $39.99 per month
- The option exists for me to make my phone a data machine, meaning I get ride of my calling plan and ask for a “Data only plan” which mean AT&T would remove the voice plan and I would be paying the data plan only. I can set it up with voice or have voice restricted. I would still keep my cellphone number. Sorry, the data only options does not yet exists for iPhones
- If I forward my calls, I can still make calls out, and I can still send and receive texts
- Number to call internationally from cellphone, free call: Dial +1-916-843-4685
My next line of attack: setting up my forwarding of calls to my GoogleVoice or VOIP and tethering my blackberry to my MacBook. Adelante!