Going Abroad? Leave Your G1 At Home!


Yesterday, a Gizmodo tipster wrote in to tell a G1 nightmare story. He was an American travelling to Europe and called T-Mobile in advance to arrange for international calling and texting while overseas. He was told that roaming would cost $10/MB and told not accessing the Internet would be best and as a precaution, he turned off roaming, data sync and 3G. Have a nice trip!

Not so fast. He was horrified to learn that during his trip he accrued over $100 in fees. But he didn’t even access the mobile web? He was charged approx $.15 every 3-7 minutes on average and according to the article it was “almost as if the phone is pinging.”

Could this be from applications that check and alert you to updates, for example the “Homes For Sale” finder or the “Woot Checker”? Did T-Mobile refund this poor guy his money back? We want some answers!

In the meantime, we suggest you keep your G1 in your country of origin and hopefully some folks will share their own G1 travelling/roaming experiences here!

[Via Gizmodo]

Rob Jackson
I'm an Android and Tech lover, but first and foremost I consider myself a creative thinker and entrepreneurial spirit with a passion for ideas of all sizes. I'm a sports lover who cheers for the Orange (College), Ravens (NFL), (Orioles), and Yankees (long story). I live in Baltimore and wear it on my sleeve, with an Under Armour logo. I also love traveling... where do you want to go?

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  1. Is it possible to remove the SIM card and still use the WiFi feature? Could this be an easy workaround for the pinging problem?

  2. In my car I keep my G1 near the FM radio and every few minutes I hear the G1 working via little squeaks on my speakers.I haven’t tried turning off roaming and sync to see if I still get communication.

  3. I have a Co-Worker who says he had his G1 unlocked before taking a trip to Europe. He didn’t receive any abnormal charges for roaming, etc…

  4. I got back from Europe 2 days ago and I sad to say that the Dutch, Belgian or German networks would not recognize the phone. No calls in or out even though I was assured by the T-Mobile folks that all voice services would be working and that any talk time would cost 90 cents/minute. I was told that none of the data services would work (WiFI included) and that was true as well. I tried to connect through WIFi with both the SIM card and without but no dice either way.

  5. This is with most smartphones… the best solution is to go buy a pre-paid phone…

  6. his charge came from talking and not roaming if he turned data off.
    Always wondered why Tmobile to Tmobile does not apply when you are in Germany. they have Tmobile there too.

  7. The solution is to modify your APN (just some random, nonsense settings). If you have an invalid APN the phone cannot connect to ANY mobile data service (GPRS, EDGE, UMTS) so no traffic can be accomplished. Voice calls can stil be made. Beleive me, I had the same problem with my Treo 650 (Chatteremail working in the background to push mail) and got ~ 100euros bill once. I never travel abroad without modifing APN since then.

    I would still like to know if it’s still possible to use the G1 on WiFi WITHOUT a SIM card.

  8. Blah. Lots of bad press about this. I was in Mexico for a week in November. Turned off data roaming, no additional charges were incurred.

  9. Here’s the solution (or it should be; I haven’t been overseas yet):

    1. Use Anycut to create a shortcut to “Testing”
    2. Click on Testing.
    3.Click on Phone Information
    4. Hit Menu button
    5. Click on More
    6. Click on Disable data connection

    This turns off the network access. Note that GPRS service now switches to “disconnected”.
    Now you should have a phone that does voice calls, but no data access.

    I’ll be testing this next week.

  10. MK,

    Did you call T-mo (or log on to their website) and enable WorldClass International Service ? My understanding is that you have to do this to enable international roaming on your phone.

  11. Simple solution – when going to Europe buy a local T-Mobile pay-as-you-go SIM, they work WITHOUT UNLOCKING which surprised me but was just as well because my unlock code took over a week to arrive, by which time I had already returned from my trip!

    On my recent trip to the United Kingdom and enjoyed full data access using my T-Mobile UK sim including 3G (not as fast as here though) for only 1 GBP per day (5 days free included). Of course your US friends wont be able to reach you with your US number, but you can set up call forwarding or tell them to call your UK number or have them text you instead. Plus since you’ll have data access they can just email you. For local calls remember when in Europe you don’t pay for incoming call air-time so although pay-as-you-go rates are pretty high (10 to 40c/minute depending on plan) you probably only use half as much as you would in the US. For me the advantage of having full data

    Maybe someone could confirm if Duetesche-Telekom SIMs also work in the G1 without unlock codes – they should as DT owns T-Mo.

  12. the solution is to have skype working on G1?

  13. Hi people, anyone that’s worried about taking their phone out of the country should check out this link. http://surrealnetworks.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=1480
    I just tried it ou and it does disable all data, but will try it when I go away soon

  14. I will be traveling to South America shortly and will try using the “Any Cut” / “testing” suggestion. I will post my findings in about 3 weeks!

    I really do not comprehend why it has to be so so expensive to use my G1 phone abroad in South America especially since it does have WIFI ability and telephone long distance calling via the INTERNET is so cheap. So why must it be so expensive to use my G1 – WIFI enabled over seas to make a call back to the good old USA?

  15. Lately I’ve seen a “No Service” message when the phone is initially powered which led me to search for what may be causing this. Not sure if is ACTUALLY related, but it started happening AFTER the RC33 update. Coincidence?

    At any rate, my search led me to this page, and since I’ll be traveling abroad next month, I figured I’ll try the suggestion above (Lrrr wrote on December 3, 2008). I managed to “Disable data connection” as instructed. As a matter of fact, I also chose to “disable data on boot”.

    However, I was immediately curious to find out if the settings actually hold upon reboot.

    However, being a developer myself, I’ve seen my endless number of careless programmers so I decided to reboot the phone to verify that the settings are persistent. Since I also chose to “disable data on boot”, the logical expectation is for at least THAT setting to hold upon reboot.

    Settings did not persist.

  16. hey i just took out my sim card and am able to access WiFi in my house.

  17. I just got off the phone with a T Mobile Rep. I would still be on the phone and insisting on speaking to her superiors but she hung up the moment I asked for an address to have my attorney sending a letter – not to mention it was the end of their shift. Truly world class service !

    I called them before I went to Europpe in September and advised even of all the countries I was going to visit. I specifically recall the conversation but not the date. I have had the phone since December of last year. The rep claims she can not find the record of my call. I explained I was never told there would be charges associated with just having the phone on the ON position not when I purchased the phone or later when I called. Thank God I did not have the phone on for all 3 weeks I was there. I did use the internet 3 times and made a few phone calls. They want to charge me close to $300 for updates the phone did on its own. She said the conversation would be much different if she had a record that I called ( how convenient). I explained there was nothing in writing advising of such charges and I was never told verbally either even when I inquired. She offered $75 and then $100 off and refused to transfer me to a superior. I advised I would be glad to pay for the calls but not the roaming, asked for the address where to send a letter disputing the charges and she said … you already disputed and that is all we are going to offer you. They make it sound like it is my fault I did not know they were reaching for my wallet without my consent not to mention there was no good customer service skills to even apologize for the inconvenience – which is not just my perception it’s obvious to anyone. Since it’s 1:30 AM EST and they were about to close I will be calling back again tomorrow morning and in the meantime sending them an email to contact me. If they don’t waive those fees I will contact my attorney and write a letter to the Best Business Bureau as well. I will come back to give updates on the outcome.

  18. I am currently overseas. I had my data package turned off and removed my sim card. I am still able to use my phone on WiFi networks, however I can’t seem to download any new apps. I can browse and find the apps but when I try to download them, there appears to be no progress on the animated bar. Also, it seems that I can’t use any online apps that I already have downloaded.

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