Recently as a good Apple geek I got an iPhone on my last trip to the US, and got it unlocked so I could use it with my Swisscom SIM Card.
I’ve been a happy camper all along, got a nice business data package (50Mb per month) and also the roaming preferential package (CHF 5 per month) so the price per Mb of transfer while roaming would be lower (CHF 3 instead of CHF 14).
The iPhone works wonderfully in Switzerland’s Swisscom network, the phone takes advantage of the extended EDGE Swisscom network so I can fully use Google Maps or check the weather or my e-mail no matter where I am, even in the middle of the Alps, all of this joy turns into a nightmare when roaming in foreign countries.
This last month I’ve been visiting the UK and Spain for business affairs, being confident of the iPhone’s ability to measure EDGE/GPRS traffic I used Google Maps to guide myself around London city center and to find good restaurants in Barcelona, all of this only consumed 1.9Mb of transfer (800kb upstream and 1.1Mb downstream) so I was expeting a 2Mb or a 3Mb charge maximum.
I’ve got a 28.6 Mb charge, which amounted to CHF 140 approximately.
To my disbelief I called immediately Swisscom customer line, even if the helpdesk was a bit harsh at first (calling me a liar for saying that the bill was wrong) I finally got them to pass me through to a technical support person, which helpfully investigated the matter.
I’ve got a call back from the technical support to confirm that the bill amounted to 28.6Mb due to the fact that Swisscom roaming partnerships force Swisscom to charge a minimum of 30kb per session (up t0 a minimum of 300kb per session in Spain!!!), and they consider a session each time the telephone connects to the GPRS network, so this means that each time that I was checking Google Maps in Spain I was being billed 300kb even if I was using 1kb or 2kb maximum, a shameful ripoff.
Even if I kept complaining about this fact pointing out that it’s not my problem that Swisscom has such a bad partnership deals of which I were not warned about at any time, I’m now forced to pay the full bill and I’ve been told by the technician that my telephone is defective and I should get another one that only connects into the GPRS network once and leave the connection open so I can avoid multiple charges, so it looks like now an iPhone is defective in Swisscom eyes, amazing.
This is the kind of treatment and very user unfriendly deals that screws up us European users, and the kind of torment that Canadian users of Rogers suffer as well, this telephone is clearly ahead of its time and it looks like it’s way ahead the comprehension of my mobile phone network, which is not up to the challenge of making a user friendly comprehensible charging data network.
Shame on you Swisscom.