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28 Thousand Dollar Per Month Phone Bill

Verizon Global Data Plan to Cost 28 Thousand Dollars Per Month FARMINGTON, New York- My year long subscription to Verizon’s Global Data Plan for a Blackberry expired last month. Good thing, as due to changes in this plan my bill would have jumped from $65 to $28,000 per month. This is not a joke. Read [...]

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Verizon Global Data Plan to Cost 28 Thousand Dollars Per Month

FARMINGTON, New York- My year long subscription to Verizon’s Global Data Plan for a Blackberry expired last month. Good thing, as due to changes in this plan my bill would have jumped from $65 to $28,000 per month. This is not a joke.

Read the new Verizon Global Data plan page

Using Verizon’s own data calculator I estimated that I have been using roughly 1,400MB, or around a gig and a half, of data bandwidth per month with my Blackberry. 1,400MB equals 1,400,000KB, and the new cost of the Verizon Global Data plan outside of the USA and Canada is 2 cents per KB.

1,400,000KB X $0.02 per KB = $28,000.

According to Verizon, 1,400MB of bandwidth usage per month is around 5 emails sent, 25 webpages browsed, and 10 photos uploaded per day. The cost for this amount of internet usage per month is more than double my yearly earnings. For $28,000 you could buy a luxury home in most countries in the world; for $28,000 I could live for three years. This is how much money Verizon now wants per month to use their Global Data plan.

On the new webpage for this plan it is also stated that if you use it for over three months in a row in countries outside of the USA and Canada, your plan will be terminated.

Note: Verizon Wireless will terminate your service for good cause if less than half of your voice or data usage over three consecutive billing cycles is on the Verizon Wireless National Enhanced Services Rate and Coverage Area. -Verizon Global Data plan

It was my impression that a plan called “Global Data” which was once advertised as working in hundreds of countries should be designed to be used abroad. But, apparently, consistent international use of this international phone plan is prohibited.

I first purchased this plan on a one year contract on the recommendation of Andy Graham of Hobotraveler.com. He received promotional smartphones from Verizon along with a Global Data plan to test and review. Without warning, Verizon notified him of the price hike only after he racked up an $80,000 bill.

Read 80,000 Dollar Verizon Phone Bill

This Global Data plan once provided provide me with UNLIMITED 24 hour data usage on my Blackberry in 200+ countries for the flat fee of $65 per month. I used this plan in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Mexico almost continuously over the past year. But the price has gone up . . . considerably, to say the least.

The new cost for a conservative estimate of my previous Global Data usage would now be around $28,000 per month.This is not a joke, use the data calculator that I linked to above and then run the costs yourself.

The Verizon Global Data plan has obviously changed over this past month, and I am unsure if all customers were explicitly notified. I have it on good authority that these excessive charges are being passed on to Verizon customers, and I want to make sure that anybody who has purchased this plan on my recommendation knows that they need to cancel it immediately — or at least phone a Verizon representative.

I don’t want your $28,000 phone bill on my hands.

Filed under: Technology, Travel Gear

About the Author:

I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. I’ve been traveling the world since 1999, through 91 countries. I am the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China and have written for The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3703 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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20 comments… add one

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  • craig | travelvice.com March 1, 2011, 5:35 pm

    (jaw dropping) — wow, they get tossed by a provider of their own, or something? Sounds like a massive restructuring of the service.

    OH, and that’d 1,503,239KB, for 1.4GB — pushing you over US$30,000/month.

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    • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com March 1, 2011, 8:19 pm

      Yes, if this plan that was made specifically for international use (200+ countries) is use over 50% of the time in foreign countries for three consecutive billing periods Verizon will drop you. It is my interpretation that they will just turn off your Global Data usage.

      Yes, this seems like an interim period before the service becomes extinguished. This is truly insane. Andy was also not notified of these changes until he had accumulated a large bill (for Verizon to pay, sort of ironic) so other people who are paying for this themselves may also have gotten hit hard.

      This is truly insane. How can they even justify having a service that costs so much in the first place, let alone changing the price from $65 to tens of thousands. Funny stuff.

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    • Gazman March 31, 2011, 12:47 pm

      Yep I just found out. Used to use the 65$/ month plan. Great. no problems. got me on the calls at 1.99 I said to the girl on the phone – I’m good at maths so it will cost me about 2000$ for a week in the UK. Are these people insane. I can take a yearly plan in the uk for about 40$/month admittedly on a two year contract. This is so not right

      I just sent a note to FCC – this is daylight robbery especially after i purchased the tour for international travel.

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      • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com March 31, 2011, 5:44 pm

        There seems as if there must be some legal recourse you could take. I mean, Verizon has violated the contract on the once unlimited Global Data Plan in a major way. Let us know if you choose to pursue legal measures against them.

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      • Regina I April 27, 2011, 9:33 pm

        I bought D2G just for that international capabilities, and now found out about this change since Jan 2011. Talked to global rep over the phone, and she suggested to unlock the phone and use local sim card. Well this would work if you are only in one country, but I will be visiting at least 3 different ones. What a shame, that old plan is gone. She said if enough people complain they might make some changes and maybe return the old plan. Not sure if I am that hopeful.

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        • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com April 28, 2011, 10:04 am

          Unlocking the phone and using local SIM cards is the best option here. Just get a new SIM card each time you go to a new country, they usually cost around $15.

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  • Bob L March 1, 2011, 8:03 pm

    I couldn’t believe it. I thought you had to make a mistake somewhere. I searched Verizon, and see that you are correct. Someone at Verizon is seriously deranged.

    What does Andy have to say about this. Did his plan go crazy?

    Bob L

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    • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com March 1, 2011, 8:14 pm

      Andy was the one who notified me of it. He racked up an $80,000 bill, though he has a promotional device and plan so he does not need to foot the bill. It seems as if these changes in price were made without one hand at Verizon knowing what the other was doing.

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  • Dave from The Longest Way Home March 2, 2011, 2:18 am

    Even the wonders of mtn in west africa offered packages 3 years ago that allowed very cheap internet access.

    USA seems to be really far behind in mobile networks.

    Would hate the idea of being attached to a network.

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    • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com March 2, 2011, 11:41 am

      Yes, it is really interesting — the USA does seem to be lagging behind much of the world in this regard. The technology is there, but there seems to be a lot of complicated legal and economic webs that stand in the way of providing good service at a good price. It is funny to me that cell phone plans can be priced low enough so that people who make a dollar an hour can afford it, but Verizon feels they need to charge tens of thousands of dollars for an international plan?

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  • Dave from The Longest Way Home March 2, 2011, 3:15 am

    Just a subnote to the the above. Unlimited Mobile access in Malaysia is a $5 a week, voice over IP is possible when it’s not raining or too far out of coverage. Sim card = $2.50 for an old number.

    Philippines is similarly prices, but voice over ip is not possible.

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    • Brian March 2, 2011, 8:55 am

      Hi Dave,

      Just a short note, you’re spot on with prices in Malaysia and Philippines. I wanted to note that VoIP is not an issue here in the Philippines, as I use it for my remote work on a daily basis (both via USB broadband stick and traditional DSL2 landline).


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  • Gashwin March 3, 2011, 10:53 pm

    I was stunned when I just got off the phone with a Verizon rep. I had just used the $65 unlimited data access in India in December, and on several other international trips in the past few years. In fact, I just upgraded my phone to a Droid 2 Global, just so I could have a phone that would work both in the US and overseas (earlier, I’d switch it out to an old Blackberry Storm before each trip). Well … at some point in the past month, Verizon changed the game. And they most certainly didn’t notify me. The only option outside Europe is now the $20.48/MB plan. That is absolutely atrocious! Of course they didn’t say a word when I upgraded my phone and signed my life over for another two years to them!

    America’s cell phone providers have us in a stranglehold and what suffers is the quality of service we get and are used to.

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    • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com March 4, 2011, 9:28 am

      This is truly amazing. Thanks for sharing this. My plan had coincidentally just ended and Andy’s is promotional, so he doesn’t need to personally pay for it. We really needed an example that Verizon was not notifying their customers of this change, which seems to be a huge violation of the terms of service — raising the price of a service drastically mid-way through a contract.

      How is Verizon dealing with this? Have they just tossed your contract for the $65 Global Data plan into the trash? Did they stick you with an incredibly large bill? How was this all resolved?

      It is my impression that Verizon themselves do not even know what is going on with their Global Data Plan. Back to Andy’s example, which can be read about in the link in this article, Verizon essentially stuck themselves with an $80,000 bill. Odd situation to be sure, but what that can be expected when dealing with a large company for such a complex service.

      Thanks for this feedback.

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  • wa1den March 4, 2011, 2:11 pm

    I sincerely hope you folks use some of your inside contacts with the media to make sure Verizon gets some serious adverse publicity over this. Those people need to have the light of day shone on them in the eyes of the public at large so that there will be a backlash. Maybe with some attention of that kind they could be pressured into making some concessions to benefit customers rather than “raping” them every month (speaking economically, of course). I wonder what the reaction would be if something like this were to surface in some congressional committee having some clout over these turkeys. Especially if there had already been a LARGE public outcry ahead of it.

    Oh well… I guess the likelihood of a large public outcry over what happens to cell/data users outside the U.S. is about equivalent to the probability of the government cutting our taxes back to only 10%. It would have to be happening to U.S. customers domestically in order for them to give a serous hoot. Nevertheless, it still would make good fodder for some sensational news attention, if you could get it in front of some of your contacts in major media outlets.

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    • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com March 5, 2011, 10:37 am

      Thanks Walden,

      Very right on about two points here: 1) this is news worthy and should be distributed everywhere, a phone plan that goes from $65 to $30,000 a month without properly notifying people is incredible, and 2) nobody will probably care too much because it has to do with a plan that is used outside of the USA.

      I believe that Andy is putting out a press release about it. This is more his game as he was an official promoter for Verizon of the Global Data plan for a couple of years.

      If you would like, it would be incredibly helpful if you could distribute this article around to your email contact list or publish links to it wherever you can.


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  • brhippie March 10, 2011, 7:53 pm

    This is terrible.
    My question is what happens now for those of us who are global travelers?
    Any ideas? What are the other carriers like? Who has the best global plan out there?

    Please let me know!

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    • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com March 10, 2011, 9:26 pm

      I have no idea of a global data plan that is as flexible as the Verizon one once was. I am looking as well. But, ultimately, unless you are traveling really fast, I feel that it is best to go with an unlocked phone and buy local SIM cards as you go. Most countries have unlimited data options for a monthly fee. Or just use a USB modem in your computer.

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  • Laura June 24, 2011, 6:36 pm

    I bought a D2G back in January because I occasionally go to Guatemala and I am thinking of heading down there to teach. How do I unlock my phone, and where do I get an SIM card? If nothing else, I will just buy a cheap cell down there and buy Tigo or other phone cards.

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    • Wade Shepard June 25, 2011, 4:00 pm

      You can take your phone into a shop there and they can unlock it for you.

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