Screwed by Verizon’s International Plan

by Colin Berkshire

Colin Here.

I’m a Verizon customer. Mostly because in my home area I find T-Mobile coverage too spotty. (My wife is now getting 4 dots of coverage and the “E” has been replaced with “LTE” so it may be worth a try again.)

I like the new Verizon international roaming plan. For $10 a day I get full high speed roaming in any of 100 countries. I traveled throughout Europe for a month last year and for a flat, predictable $300 I had super fast data everywhere I went. And, I could call local businesses and hotels for free, too. I thought it was a deal.

But I have discovered two really evil gotchas in the Verizon plan…

The first Gotcha is that you must subscribe to the $10 a day plan in advance. This is just evil, since the subscription is free. So why wouldn’t they just put everybody on the plan? Or, perhaps, cap roaming fees at $10 a day?

The second gotcha got me: Japan isn’t included. WTF! (%^$#!) Really, I found it incredible to believe that Japan wasn’t one of the 100 included countries in the $10 a day plan. And, I learned it the hard way. I arrived into Tokyo and just started using my phone. I “knew” it would be $10 a day and as I was in Japan for just 3 days it would be $30 well spent to have data and maps and WeChat. But within a few hours I got a text message telling me that I had run up a $100 bill!

I called Verizon and they confirmed that Japan wasn’t included in the $10 a day plan. How is that even possible? How could Japan NOT be one of the 100 countries? It didn’t matter that my wife (who was in Japan) got FREE internet using T-Mobile. Verizon went on to explain that Japan wasn’t a country that they had a contract with. I went on to explain that FREE is what the price should be, like T-Mobile. Needless to say, I was unsuccessful in convincing them.

I don’t see how companies like Verizon feel it is at all reasonable to charge $25,000 a gigabyte for international data. (I will reiterate that this is NOT a typo. They are charging the price of a new car for one single gigabyte of data while abroad.) Unethical. Amoral. Evil Verizon. (My opinion.)

This incident, plus the fact that I am seeing 4 dots of signal and LTE coverage on my wife’s T-Mobile phone at home will have me trying T-mobile again on my next visit home.