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BuckeyeMark

Need help - ran up a big cell phone bill but had Net package

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10 of us just returned from a week on Harmony yesterday.  We all switched our phones to Airplane Mode as soon as we sailed from Port Canaveral.  I turned off Airplane Mode when I awakened and saw that we were in port.  As has been posted this issue has been posted on CC many times.  Sorry you didn't see the posts.  I hope AT&T cuts you a break but don't be surprised if they don't.  From what I have been told this has nothing to do with The Key or any other package you may receive as a perk or pay for on your cruise.  You must adjust your phone as soon as you leave Port.  Good Luck.

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AT&T has a cellular at sea program too.  You can get so many minutes of calling and data for a set fee.  For that you turn off data roaming.  When our parents were alive and we needed to be in contact with their care givers we would get that package so that even without wifi we could call on the ship and not have a big bill. 

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I don't know if AT&T offers an international package. I have Verizon and they offer an "international plan" called Travel Pass where if I'm traveling to other countries (Canada/Mexico are complimentary) instead of having to always be on Wi-Fi, I pay $10 a day and it allows me to use my phone as normal. On the ship I turn my phone on Airplane Mode so it doesn't drain my battery looking for new cell towers, but in ports I turn off Airplane Mode. It only charges me for the days that I'm out of the country and it automatically recognizes when I am traveling so if I forget to notify them, I don't have huge overages on my bill. 

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Call your provider claim guilt but the cause was not knowing better and negotiate with them.  Be nice to them and they will more than likely be nice to you.

 

Did you check how much the bill was?  I would imagine it must be quite large.  

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9 hours ago, BuckeyeMark said:

I don't think I was in airplane mode. 

 

If you are not in airplane more, the phone will use the better connection of the two.

 

But YOUR mistake, not putting phone in airplane mode on the ship.   

 

At the top of the phone, it should say something like ATT Wifi Calling as the carrier.  If it says Cellular at Sea, you are hitting the on board cell and racking up bills.

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9 hours ago, BuckeyeMark said:

Would like to better understand how this works.  Should my phone be in airplane mode?  Did Royal drop the wifi and my phone rolled over to the cell service automatically?  I'm unhappy but wondering if this is my fault, and what to do about it. Thanks.

Assuming you have "WiFi Calling" activated.   The way it works is that the phone will hook up to the strongest signal.  If the Cell signal is weak and you are connected to a WiFi system your phone will automatically go into "WiFi Calling" mode.  If your cell is strong, it will always bias into Cell mode. On the ship, the cell signal is strong so the phone will automatically go into Cell mode.  The only way to ENSURE it's in "WiFi Calling" is to take away the Cell signal. That is done by putting the phone in "Airplane Mode."  You eliminate the Cell signal and once connected to a WiFi the phone will go into "WiFi Calling" mode and you can use it anywhere in the world as if you are at your home.  

Programs will run in the background.  If you don't have "Cell Roaming" turned off,  they will automatically run off the cell signal and run up your bill.  I have an IPhone.  I ALWAYS keep my "Cell and Data Roaming" in the OFF position so I will never roam internationally. If you need to Roam internationally you can select "Voice Roaming" on and "Data Roaming" off.  That way those programs won't roam and run your charges up. 

You can verify if you are in "Wifi Calling" or not.  If you look at your "carrier" on your phone (upper left corner on IPhone), it shows who you are currently connected to. We are Verizon.  It will say "Verizon" when on a Verizon cell tower, or "VZW wifi" when in WiFi calling mode.  

Our cell signal in our house is very weak.  So we are always in WiFi calling at home (the phone dictates this).  Here is a screen shot I just took.  Up in the Left corner it say "VZW Wi-Fi" showing it's in WiFi Calling.  Note the weak cell signal on the right vs. the strong internet signal.  

IMG_2296.jpg

Edited by papaflamingo

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16 minutes ago, SherieW321 said:

I don't know if AT&T offers an international package. I have Verizon and they offer an "international plan" called Travel Pass where if I'm traveling to other countries (Canada/Mexico are complimentary) instead of having to always be on Wi-Fi, I pay $10 a day and it allows me to use my phone as normal. 

Yes, ATT has this as well.  My husband and I both do a lot of international travel (a lot of it for work), and it's a godsend to know that, if you need it, your max spend will be $10 per day.  The plan has, I believe, unlimited calling and text, and some amount of data per day.

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9 hours ago, EDiamond22 said:

also to note, if not in airplane mode your phone will biggyback on the cell service if the wifi signal is weak to help keep speed up for you. ship wifi is not always the best it could have been sharing between the two the whole time 

 

Also, the on board wifi will sometimes log you off when you are not actively using your phone.   So, then the phone reverts to call service, UNLESS you are in Airplane Mode or have Cell Data and Roaming turned off.

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Always turn off data roaming, and data.  Secondly, if you don't want texts (which I do want texts) than put in airplane mode.  Phones will always jump back and forth between data and wifi.  You have to turn data off or this will happen.

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3 minutes ago, zotzer said:

Yes, ATT has this as well.  My husband and I both do a lot of international travel (a lot of it for work), and it's a godsend to know that, if you need it, your max spend will be $10 per day.  The plan has, I believe, unlimited calling and text, and some amount of data per day.

 

Even better, switch to T-Mobile if you travel a good bit.

 

Unlimited text and data (not fast, but data) and 25 cents per minute for calling, in over 240 countries.  I was just in Mauritania and Burkina Faso and had use of my phone. 😄

 

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OP, You are absolutely correct that when WI-Fi is working properly there is no need to put your phone in airplane mode. Problem is, Wi-Fi on cruise ships is not the best, even with the best service  you can purchase.   If the signal is weak or you are in a dead zone it will default to your cellular data if you don’t have cellular data turned off.   At home, I assume you have a good Wi-Fi signal so no need to worry about it bumping over to cellular data .

 

 Have you found out how much AT&T wants to charge for the overage? Just curious .

 

Dan

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10 hours ago, BuckeyeMark said:

So a lot of folks are saying "You need to be in airplane mode."  Okay ... why?  

 

I literally just turned my cell phone's CELL DATA to OFF.  Not hitting a tower.  And it works fine.  Why?  Because it's on wifi.

 

So why did my phone go talk to the ship's tower when it had wifi? It doesn't need to.

Btw, this was day 5 of the cruise.  I used my phone a LOT during the week, surfing all kinds of Internet stuff.  You'd think I would've got a text from AT&T way sooner if this was an issue.  Something happened Saturday afternoon where the phone needed to serve me something off the Internet (probably college fb scores) and it couldn't get them from the wifi.  So it pinged the tower and the meter started running.  WHY DID IT DO THAT?

It doesn’t quite work that way. Think of WiFi and cellular as two different paths for your data. Your phone will use whatever path works unless you have specifically restricted it by either turning cellular data off, data roaming off or having the phone in airplane mode. Most apps and functions will use WiFi only but there are some phone functions that will use cellular data even when on WiFi, if you let it. At $6/mb, it does not take much data to run up a big bill. 

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1 minute ago, The Fun Researcher said:

OP, You are absolutely correct that when WI-Fi is working properly there is no need to put your phone in airplane mode. Problem is, Wi-Fi on cruise ships is not the best, even with the best service  you can purchase.   If the signal is weak or you are in a dead zone it will default to your cellular data if you don’t have cellular data turned off.   At home, I assume you have a good Wi-Fi signal so no need to worry about it bumping over to cellular data .

 

 Have you found out how much AT&T wants to charge for the overage? Just curious .

 

Dan

No, that is not true. Even when on WiFi, a smartphone will use cellular data if you let it. It may not be much but it doesn’t take much to run up a bill on a cruise ship. There are some functions like location services that will use cellular data even when connected to WiFi. You don’t have to be in airplane mode to prevent data use but you must then either turn cellular data off or data roaming off. My default setting is data roaming off and I’ve never gotten unexpected data usage on a cruise ship. ATT charges $6/mb on a cruise ship. It does not take much data to run up a huge bill.

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15 minutes ago, blackshirt said:

No, that is not true. Even when on WiFi, a smartphone will use cellular data if you let it. It may not be much but it doesn’t take much to run up a bill on a cruise ship. There are some functions like location services that will use cellular data even when connected to WiFi. You don’t have to be in airplane mode to prevent data use but you must then either turn cellular data off or data roaming off. My default setting is data roaming off and I’ve never gotten unexpected data usage on a cruise ship. ATT charges $6/mb on a cruise ship. It does not take much data to run up a huge bill.

 

Yeah you are correct when you consider the small amount of cell data some apps use for something like location services.  The insane charges that cellular providers charge for cell data while at sea causes this to be an issue.  

 

However in the case of the OP, it sounds as though he actually had a significant data overage, and to me it appears that he kicked over to cellular from Wi-Fi. 

 

It is is best to turn off cellular data altogether when on the ship.  

 

One thing I like about Verizon is the fact that you can sign up for their Travel pass which allows you to use your domestic data and cellular plan in many of the Caribbean islands for a single day $10 charge(per island).   It doesn’t help when on the ship but it is awfully nice to be able to make unlimited phone calls and use your plans domestic data to catch up with family and friends back home.

 

Dan

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Many good responses here. The one I haven't read is to simply remove your SIM card. Then you are absolutely assured that your phone will only be functioning on the WiFi and not accessing any cell towers.

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6 minutes ago, Anita Latte said:

Many good responses here. The one I haven't read is to simply remove your SIM card. Then you are absolutely assured that your phone will only be functioning on the WiFi and not accessing any cell towers.

Sure, that will work too but airplane mode is so much simpler. 

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8 minutes ago, Anita Latte said:

Many good responses here. The one I haven't read is to simply remove your SIM card. Then you are absolutely assured that your phone will only be functioning on the WiFi and not accessing any cell towers.

Why go through that hassle? Airplane mode does exactly the same thing 

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8 minutes ago, The Fun Researcher said:

 

Yeah you are correct when you consider the small amount of cell data some apps use for something like location services.  The insane charges that cellular providers charge for cell data while at sea causes this to be an issue.  

 

However in the case of the OP, it sounds as though he actually had a significant data overage, and to me it appears that he kicked over to cellular from Wi-Fi. 

 

It is is best to turn off cellular data altogether when on the ship.  

 

One thing I like about Verizon is the fact that you can sign up for their Travel pass which allows you to use your domestic data and cellular plan in many of the Caribbean islands for a single day $10 charge(per island).   It doesn’t help when on the ship but it is awfully nice to be able to make unlimited phone calls and use your plans domestic data to catch up with family and friends back home.

 

Dan

ATT has an International Day Pass similar to Verizon’s Travel pass. As you said, that doesn’t help onboard but my understanding is Verizon doesn’t even allow data usage on cruise ships anymore, so Verizon customers don’t have to worry about those huge bills.

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12 minutes ago, The Fun Researcher said:

 

 ....

 

One thing I like about Verizon is the fact that you can sign up for their Travel pass which allows you to use your domestic data and cellular plan in many of the Caribbean islands for a single day $10 charge(per island).   It doesn’t help when on the ship ...

 

I believe Verizon has eliminated cellular data capability while at sea.

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2 minutes ago, blackshirt said:

Sure, that will work too but airplane mode is so much simpler. 

 

1 minute ago, not-enough-cruising said:

Why go through that hassle? Airplane mode does exactly the same thing 

 

I don't think it's a big deal to deal with SIM cards. Use the back of an earring to press in the release...out pops the tray...take out card. Put card in wallet. Replace when needed. We dealt with SIM cards recently with international travel and it was so easy.

 

Didn't think it was a negative to offer another solution.

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25 minutes ago, Anita Latte said:

 

 

I don't think it's a big deal to deal with SIM cards. Use the back of an earring to press in the release...out pops the tray...take out card. Put card in wallet. Replace when needed. We dealt with SIM cards recently with international travel and it was so easy.

 

Didn't think it was a negative to offer another solution.

No one said it was a negative. I only said airplane mode was simpler. If you want to remove your SIM card and advise others to do so, you go right ahead.

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39 minutes ago, not-enough-cruising said:

Why go through that hassle? Airplane mode does exactly the same thing 

 

Not quite.  Airplane mode also turns off all other radio transmission/receiving, so it also disables Bluetooth and GPS (and it's possible you still want those).  Just turn off 'data roaming'.

 

 

 

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8 minutes ago, scottbee said:

 

Not quite.  Airplane mode also turns off all other radio transmission/receiving, so it also disables Bluetooth and GPS (and it's possible you still want those).  Just turn off 'data roaming'.

 

Then just turn them back on.

 

Data roaming does not turn off cellular roaming.

 

And if your phone is connected to the Cellular at Sea, if someone calls you, and leaves a voice mail, you will likely to charged for the call.  When I was with ATT in the past, they charged you the per minute rate for the duration of the voice mail message, PLUS long distance charges back to the voice mail system in the US.

 

 

Edited by SRF

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