Wednesday, September 26, 2012

AT&T International Plan for my iPhone 5 and iOS 6

Today, I signed up for an International Calling Package for a Family Member for a short to Europe. AT&T continues to change their International Calling features and for this trip, my family member wanted to leave on her iPhone during the entire trip, check email, receive text messages and use her the iPhone for browsing the web. Here are the details:

1. AT&T International Plan Customer Service 1-800-335-4685 - I decided to call AT&T Customer Care rather than use the myAT&T App on my iPhone. In the past, the AT&T Customer Care Reps were very helpful and courteous.
  • AT&T World Traveler- $5.99 per month (calls in most European Countries and back to the United States are $.99 cents per minute)
  • AT&T Global Messaging -- They had plans for 50 messages-$10.00/200 Messages-$30/500 Messages-$50. These plans are for Sending Text Messages since Text Messages Received are covered under your current U.S. Plan. Some things to consider: 1) A $.35 cents per text message applies to overages; 2) Photos and Video Sent/Received will apply against your International Data Plan. 
  • AT&T Data Global Add-On for the iPhone -$30-120MB; $60-300MB; $120-800MB. These rates have decreased against since the last time I was abroad. That said, some of us in the U.S. are use to Unlimited Data Plans. AT&T bills this Data on a Monthly Plan so your vacation dates and the AT&T Billing Cycle will affect the pro-ration. In my case, the AT&T Rep back dated the Data Plan to the beginning of Billing Cycle and also inserted a Termination Date. This was a huge benefit that AT&T didn't previously provide, I no longer had to  remember to cancel the plan after the trip. In addition, see the example from a older blog below on how AT&T calculates the Data Plan Charges.  
  • Here's an Example: AT&T takes your total MB per month and divides by the number of days until the next billing period. If you travel started 1-day before your new billing period, then you would have 1.67 MB and $5.00 per MB for any overage. So if you used 3.67 MB the first day of your trip, you would be charged $59.99 / 30 days or $2.00 per day + $10.24 (2MB overage @ $5.12 per MB ) = $12.24. The second billing period you will be billed at $59.99 under the same formula. (Yes, it sounds complicated but worst case if you you pay$119.98 for two months for 50 MB iPhone data usage. (more later on data usage) In my case, the Rep back dated my contract 30 days so I had 7 days to use 50 MB which was more than enough.
2. Forwarding -- Before leaving the United States, I recommend forwarding calls to a Free Google Voice number. When someone leaves a voice mail message and you are Forwarding your calls to Google Voice, you receive a text message with a text transcript to your iPhone. This is a great feature.

3. iPhone Usage Reset Statistics - Before your plane takes off from the United States, Reset the iPhone Usage Statistics Settings: Settings > General > Usage > Cellular Usage: Reset Statistics

4. Location Services - Settings > Privacy > Location Services -- Before leaving, I would recommend disabling all Apps with Location Services using this setting. You can individually turn them on as you need them.

I would recommend turning off Location Services and Keep it Turned Off.

5. General Tips for Using your iPhone while Traveling Abroad

  • Use +1 or 001 when dialing U.S. Phone Numbers if the 10-digit phone number does not work from your iPhone Address book. 
  • +19168434685 is the phone number for AT&T International Care when you are abroad. There is no fee for this call. 
  • iPhone vs iPad -- During my last trip, I enabled a Data Plan for my iPad. With the larger Screen Size, the Data used was exponential more and I went through my Megabytes in several days. I would suggest enabling your iPhone instead. 
  • Wi-Fi - In your Hotel, make sure you get the user name and password for Complimentary Access during your check-in. 
  • Email - Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Fetch New Data Fetch: Manually - Make sure Fetch New Data is set to manual. Retrieve your Email in the Hotel Room using your Wi-Fi connection as often as you can. Use this time to send email with Photos or Video.  
  • Call Forwarding - Settings > Phone > Call Forwarding: On - Forward your Calls when you are traveling Internationally until you need use your phone. 
  • Text Messaging - Use text messaging. 
  • Friends - Notify your friends that like frequently call you or that Group Text Videos or Photos that you will be traveling abroad. 
  • Facetime - Skype or Google Voice - If you have a Wi-Fi connection, use one of these to call back to the States. For Skype and Google Voice, you will need a separate account. 
  • Location Services -- Turn off Location Services on each App before you leave the country.  

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

AT&T LTE on iPhone 5 - How to Disable, if you have poor coverage.

I ended up upgrading to the iPhone 5 and discovered that with the upgrade, AT&T will switch you to their new AT&T LTE or "Long Term Evolution" Cellular Service. This service is being currently being aggressively rolled out to new Cities in the U.S. The first thing I noticed that the Cellular service is much better than the 4G, except in some areas such as inside certain building. In one particular case, I was unable to call from a Conference Room where I had previously made many phone calls. So in this case, the only way I could make a phone call (I had only 1 bar using the AT&T LTE Service) was to use the manual procedures below to disable AT&T. Apparently, there are some phone using other services that don't allow this option, but the iPhone 5 with iOS 6 has this option. Below are those instructions. Unfortunately, to re-enable LTE, you need to power off and power on your iPhone.

Finally, for those non-techies, AT&T LTE is not "Lite".  AT&T says that it is 10X Faster than 3G.

Instructions to Disable AT&T LTE

1. Setting -> General -> Cellular -> Enable LTE: Off

2. Your phone should switch to 4G

Instructions to Re-enable AT&T LTE

1. Settings -> General -> Cellular -> Enable LTE: On

2. Power your iPhone Off, then Power On

(otherwise, your the data only will switch to LTE, your cellular connection will not change back to LTE)

AT&T LTE Coverage

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Installing iOS 5.1.1 on my iPhone & iPad

Apple released iOS 5.1.1 today this morning and I installed this release on both my iPhone and iPad in about 15 minutes. Here are some observations:
  • Wi-Fi - You can install this release over your Wi-Fi connection, you do not have to be connected to your computer.
  • Power Source - You do not have to be connected to a Power Source, although Apple warns you that it will save you device battery life. 
  •  Here's the Link to Apple's iOS 5.1.1 Support Article with a list of the bug fixes and security updates.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ticketmaster is Blocking IPs - 403 Forbidden Error

When you try and access the website and receive the error message:


You don't have permission to access / on this server.

If this occurs, it is likely that has blocked your IP Address. This can happen since Ticketmaster the IP Address every time a user makes a request to buy tickets. The problem is that in many large Condo Buildings, the IP Address for the High Speed Internet Connection is shared. Therefore, if one user in the Condo Building makes too many Ticketmaster requests, the IP Address rather than just that registered users account is banned automatically by their system after 24 hours.

After this occurred to me, I tried calling Ticketmaster Customer Service at 800-653-8000. Of course the Rep was aware of the situation and was able to lookup my IP Address and tell me it was blocked for 24 hours. He said there was nothing that could be done, assuming that I was the one that was submitting numerous ticket requests to their system. I was thinking to myself, the idiot that did this must have been on their computer for 3 or more hours considering how long it takes to get past the Captcha characters. I told the Rep. The Rep told me there was nothing that could be done and he refused to escalate my request. He said I could send a letter to

Instead of sending the letter that probably wouldn't get responded to in the next week or so, I decided to send a Tweet to @Ticketmaster. After 3 hours, still no reply which was irritating, since I noticed they must have read the message. I followed it up with a second tweet, this time including the Ticketmaster CEO @nathanchubbard who as before been accused of blocking the IP of ticket brokers.

What I simply don't understand is with all that technology at Ticketmaster, why would you prevent your good customers from downloading their season tickets. Instead, why don't you find a better business process for addressing those that hit their site too many times for new tickets or different seats. Why don't you base your system on the registered account user and ban him or her rather than the entire IP Address?

If I were the professional Sports Teams, I wouldn't use Ticketmaster for managing the ticketing process. They should either build their own or ensure a more customer friendly system is in place so that there is 0% downtime for printing and accessing tickets. They certainly do not understand their customer.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Text Message Spam Beta Test iPhone 5

This message is spam to sell insurance 646-330-1276.