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How Do I Avoid International Phone Charges?

Here is a tip and a question: I traveled to The Dominican Republic and Mexico and wanted to avoid the international charge. Each morning I would try to remember to check to make sure “Cellular Data” is set to off. But I recently found out that is not enough. You need to disable “Wi-Fi Assist” on an iPhone. Go to Settings->Cellular. Then scroll all the way down and disable “Wi-Fi Assist”. If it’s checked (enabled) then you may incur cell charges if you wander away from Wi-Fi like we do at vacation resorts. I have looked at the AT&T wireless forums and it appears that the whole issue is driven by gremlins. In other words inconsistent answers both at the forum and calling the support desk. Does anyone know if what I explain above is sufficient to avoid the international charges?

Comments: 2 Responses to “How Do I Avoid International Phone Charges?”

    2 years ago

    I would think that turning off Cellular Data would also render Wi-Fi Assist impotent. I’d be shocked if otherwise. But it doesn’t hurt to turn it off too.

    If you are using AT&T then I would encourage you to sign up for their plan where if you use International data you pay $10/day. But it only happens if you use it on a given day. So if you successfully avoid data, then you pay nothing. But if you accidentally use it, you have a limit to how much it will cost you.

    I’d sleep easier knowing the the worst that could happen on a 7-day trip is $70, instead of hundreds or thousands.

    Also, this feature is useful if you decide you do want to use data on a given day. For instance, if you are exploring a city and feel that the $10 would be well worth access to Maps, Yelp, Wikipedia and the like. I love looking up Wikipedia pages and the like for architecturally-significant buildings, monuments or paintings in museums while traveling.

    2 years ago

    Yes, my wife has that feature for her number. If we have to call the house sitter it only sets us back $10. But like I mentioned earlier, AT&T uses words like “should” when asked how to avoid international charges. I asked about “wi-fi calling”. They just don’t seem to have definitive answers.

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