September 17, 2009

Welcome to Verizon/Canada

Today I learned some interesting things about Verizon's billing policy for US customers traveling to Canada. I didn't understand the policy before my recent trip to Montreal, and the Verizon website didn't help much. Searching on the web yielded more confusing and often conflicting anecdotal evidence, so I decided to learn by using the crappiest method of evidence collecting--do the damage then wait for the bill to arrive.

[Just so you know, my monthly plan is currently the NATIONWIDE BASIC 450. I also have unlimited nights and weekends, unlimited mobile-to-mobile calls, V Cast with unlimited data transfer, and a 250 text/picture/video message package.]

Interpreting my bill with the assistance of a Verizon billing rep (who wasn't completely sure about their policy either), I've gleaned this information:
  • In Canada, you are considered roaming.
  • Free unlimited nights and weekends does not apply while roaming. My calls were charged $.69 a minute, regardless of what time or day I placed them.
  • Free unlimited mobile-to-mobile does not apply while roaming. One of my calls was to another US Verizon mobile customer, and the other was to my own number for the purpose of checking voicemail messages. Fortunately, I only made those two quick calls.
  • Free unlimited data transfer does not apply while roaming. You can argue until you're blue in the face that it's the World Wide Web, but according to Verizon, it's just the National Wide Web. In Canada, it will cost you $.002 per KB, which can add up quickly when you're looking up maps and menus on the go. I racked up almost $15 in 5 days. Not terrible, but in other countries such as Israel, India, and the Dominican Republic, the rate is 10 times as high.
So far everything has been pretty straightforward--"No" across the board. The peculiar exception to the rule is text messaging. I assured the Verizon representative that I sent quite a few text messages while in Canada, but neither of us could not find any charges associated with them. She assumed that they simply had not been assessed yet, as there can often be delays with roaming network charges. Since the trip was over a month ago, she acknowledged that it may be something else, and dug deeper. After being on hold for a few minutes, she told me this:
  • In Canada, a text message sent to a US customer by another US customer is still considered "domestic" and is only subject to "domestic" rates.
How bizarre, how bizarre. This was good news, of course, but isn't it sort of borderline hypocritical? Why shouldn't I be able to domestically abuse my Voice and Data features like I can with SMS? What is the explanation for this inconsistency? Did someone just spill coffee on the coverage map in Verizon's Text Messaging Department?

(Does Pulitzer give a Prize for awesome blog graphics?)

I'm sure there's a technical reason for this practice, but wouldn't it behooVe 'rizon to just go one way or the other for all services in order to clear up confusion with their customers?

What do I know, eh?


Anonymous said...

You shoulda just ast Wall-e. He know dis aw-reddy.

Stupid fat lil kid hu live nee-ah Wall-e

Anonymous said...

Looking at that blog graphic is like staring into an infinite abyss.

Mork, from Charlestown said...