$20,000 per GB

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We live in a world of almost free telecommunications. If you buy an IDDD SIM card in Hong Kong for USD$15 you will get 4 months of service and 240 minutes of talk time. Your local calling area will be 31 countries. A SIM card in most SE Asian countries will cost $3 and you will pay about 3-cents a minute for calls within the country and about 10-cents a minute to call far-away places like the United States. A few gigabytes of data in Asia costs ten or twenty bucks.

But under no circumstances should you travel with your US SIM card overseas.

Here in the US you pay about $5 per gigabyte for data. (Verizon charges $10 per two gigabytes.)

What do you think you would pay when traveling to Hong Kong? Verizon will charge you more than $20,000 per gigabyte. No, the comma is not in the wrong position. A single gigabyte of international data using your Verizon phone costs as much as a brand new car. A single email can easily cost $10 or $20 when roaming.

You know and I know that using VOIP or FaceTime or Skype the cost to call overseas on the Internet is free. But a voice call on Verizon is about $150 an hour. A Facetime call is–hang onto your wallet–over $100 a minute!

I had an opportunity to ask a Verizon rep how such charges were even ethical. His response was that if you go to a hospital and get a CT scan the insurance company will pay about $350 but if you don’t have insurance the fee would be about $7,500 for the exact same thing. Was that any more ethical? It is really hard to argue with logic like this.

I asked what the Verizon policy was for writing off charges for customers who just had no idea how enormous they could be.

Colin Berkshire