Australians who travel overseas with an iPhone face the prospect of being hit with Internet access bills despite the Wi Fi and data roaming function being turned off.
According to web site, moneysavingexpert.com, founded by Martin Lewis, several people including Australians have been hit with iPhone charges after getting back from trips to places like the USA, Singapore and Hong Kong as well as Europe.
One user says she was charged almost $3,000 even though she had turned off data roaming on her phone throughout her trip to the US.
Normally if you turn off data roaming you cannot download internet data on a handset overseas using a mobile network, but you can search the web using Wi Fi you switch it on. What has not been explained by an of the carriers involved is how broadband charges were calculated when most Wi Fi services require a security code or are free Wi Fi services provided by hotels and cafe’s.
Many users who have complained to their network have been given refunds.
According to the UK Daily Mail who first identified the problem, one user wrote on the site’s forum: ‘I travelled to Egypt in March and made sure my data roaming and all push notifications were off.
‘On my return I had a bill for $160 for “data use”. I admit I used the free Wi Fi in the hotel to browse the net on my iPhone but at no time made calls or texts and data roaming remained switched off.’
Another said: ‘Received extra charge of $140 in March this year – Singapore. Used wireless service in hotel – but this was free.
‘I have always used free wi-fi so I was very surprised to have been charged this extra from o2. ‘I phoned o2 and told them my data roaming was off so can this happen???
‘Their reply was that I should have turned my wi-fi off as the iPhone automatically switches to internet when out of range of free wi-fi. I consider this to be absolute rubbish!!!’
Some networks including Vodafone and the UK network o2 believe that the problems lie with Apple and their iPhone technology.
Moneysavingexpert.com advises users to avoid being charged by making sure they have downloaded the latest software for their phone and switched off the data roaming facility before leaving their Country of origin.