80,000 Dollars Verizon Phone Bill is a Bizarre End to my Review of BlackBerry

Warning: Please read this with caution, I am in a semi-war zone in the country of Ivory Coast, West Africa and under great stress.

Ivory Coast girl using BlackBerry Bold with "online" BBTran Language Translator (10 Dollars?)

Verizon Wireless has provided me free of charge, Andy Graham of HoboTraveler.com a global travel Blog writer, three Smartphone’s to review in the last couple of years. I have used them in East Africa, Central America, South America, Asia and presently in West Africa. I am for sure a global traveler, I call myself a perpetual traveler, I manage two large websites completely location independent, by using Mobile Office skills.

1. BlackBerry Storm
2. HTC Touch Pro II
3. BlackBerry Bold - I have this one in my possession.

I loved these Verizon Smartphone’s; I was happy; overwhelming elated to recommend this service, that cost approximately 100 USD per month, that included the "Unlimited Global Email Access Plan for $64.99 monthly access." - (Press Release - Dec 08, 2010 (Close-Up Media via COMTEX) -- Verizon Wireless has been selected as the world's best wireless service provider in the 2010 Global Traveler's Tested Reader Survey awards.)

The global service cost $64.99, however, if I used the same today it would cost between $30,000 and $60,000 US Dollars per month,

Ivory Coast, West Africa --- Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Verizon Stops Service for BlackBerry Bold
Verizon did not contact me; therefore, I have been assuming I was using an Unlimited Global Email or Data plan. My free-for-me account was migrated over to the 2 cents per kilobyte, or 20 Dollars per Meg, and when the shared bills between Verizon and "West African" cellular providers arrived at Verizon, the Public Relations person for Verizon wrote me e-mail:

" BlackBerry usage. Month-to-date, your usage is at $21,913. In January, usage was at $61,000."

"I’ve asked for a 24-hour notice for you so we don’t leave you in a lurch. The device will be shut off at 5 p.m. EST on 2/23,"

I am here in Ivory Coast; I am in hiding, and will make an emergency escape soon from Cote d‘Ivoire, a.k.a. Ivory Coast where small civil war is in the process of ramping up. I cannot explain my exact location, when I will leave, I cannot explain, I am in the danger zone.

Seen with Computer
Because I started walking to an Internet Café with my computer daily, a few of the locals in Grand Bassam became suspicious and now believe I am a spy. I needed to leave Grand Bassam immediately and now am in an anonymous location until I can arrange for transportation out of the country.

I Learned the Unlimited Program Ended
I thought maybe I had used the Smartphone wrong, and then with great luck here in Ivory Coast I found an Internet connection yesterday while in hiding. I called Wade Shepard who used a BlackBerry Smartphone after my recommendations to try to understand what happened. Wade signed up and actually paid Verizon for the BlackBerry Smartphone in the past. We both looked at the Verizon internet pages together while talking on a Skype.com voice over IP connection call, and we both said together.
"Wow, there is no longer a Unlimited Global Email."
"They want 20 Dollars per MEG!"

Wade quickly wrote a great article today explaining his view:
28 Thousand Dollar Per Month Phone Bill

I said,
"All Verizon would have needed to say, was Andy the cost is now 2 cents per kilobyte, and I would have stopped using it, as this prices is not even a little feasible for me, and I would never recommend."
(I only review travel gear, services, and products that I would consider buying or using.)

I thought that one day when the review ended; I would sign up, pay the approximately 100 Dollars per month; however, it looks like the cost is now right at 60,000 Dollars per month. I never suspected the cost would increase, I truly thought services would improve as they rolled out 4G - Fourth Generation.

Mobile Office Portal by Andy Graham:
Mobile Office

Adventure Travel Portal by Andy Graham:

In a funny twist, when I first came to West Africa, I wrote this:
Verizon Blackberry Bold Made Ivory Coast Trip Feasible

80,000 Dollars Verizon Phone Bill is a Bizarre End to my Review of BlackBerry


By clicking on the "Subscribe to Comments" you will receive an email when members post new comments on this page

Saw a few Twitter tweets about civil unrest in your part of the world. Stay safe!

Thanks Andy, I can hear you now. Some of us were wondering how the Global plan you quoted were so cheap--ah yes, more bait and switch from Verizon. Some of us will just stick with the SIM card/ local telco USB with prepaid service switchroo when travelling about.

In a lot of countries, deregulation/privatization of the telcoms has not occurred, and they continue to get monopoly pricing in international transactions, with the U.S. side receives market pricing. Investing in such companies is often profitable during crisis situations. SK Mobile/Telcom, INDOSAT, Telkom INA, Philippines long distance made great earnings when demonstrations, riots, and non-HR "headhunting" was occurring in these countries. Everybody is calling back and forth to check on loved ones and foreign branches. Too bad I can't seem to find any issues in Cote d'Ivoire, and exchange is closed. C'est temps pis pour moi.

hi andy, glad your leaving, hope all goes well .

Talk about the sh... hitting the fan all at one time.

First I hope you get out Ivory Coast safely, and then I hope you're able to find something comparable to Verizon.

Much of the arab world is in a state of flux at this moment. Is the Ivory Coast mostly arab?

I'm wishing for you the best Andy, and to be honest, I'm glad you're finally leaving Ivory Coast.

The USB Wireless Internet Modem is almost standard in every country now. I had a WIMAX one but it is expired in Cote d'Ivoire. The Verizon unlimited was a way to fill in the gaps between high speed wireless modems.

The fear of not being in contact with family is a huge problem for travelers, I am not sure what happened with Verizon. It has as fishy smell, this is strange that a 65 dollar service could now be 30 - 60,000 dollars.

My friend Mark says this is just funny money, and a way for the telecoms to make money.

It is amazing to be in a country where everyone could be a spy, then could attack in a superstitious way. They are tribal thinking, they take idle gossip and turn it into a reason to protest, and then something random happens and people die.

Today, Bah's uncle was killed driving a car through Abobo, he was a civilian just going home. It is complicated.

Good Luck with your situation! I have been in those small African towns (especially ones with Muslim influence) where it feels like the whole town is out to get you :/<

If you feel danger, which you do, there is nothing wrong with calling Big Brother.
(225) 22 49 40 00
The location is:
This is the emergency phone number.
(+225 22 49 44 50)

I hope that you make it out of there!

I always thought it was odd that you had an affinity for Verizon. Aside from operating on a CDMA network, and so having very technically complex global phones, I knew that Verizon was going to be borrowing GSM-networks in whatever country you are in. Those networks charge Verizon a usage fee for allowing you to use your Verizon services over them. I'd imagine those telecoms had outlandish fees associated to data usage, which caused Verizon to take a loss on the $65/month charge they were asking of clients. Only a matter of time ...

I prefer to have a GSM world phone (Nokia E71) and just put in and take out SIM cards as needed. I can tether my phone via Bluetooth to my computer, so can use it as a wireless modem, so long as my pre-pay credit lasts.

Perhaps you may wish to do something like this in the future?

I have found that unlimited data plans in most countries to be vastly cheaper than what I once paid for the Global Data. I used the Verizon plan as a convenience, but not as a way to save money. If I wanted to save money I would just use an unlocked device and get a SIM card and pay by the month plan for each country I go to. So it does not seem like it was the bill from the countries which Verizon used to offer this service that was the cause of upping the price, but it had to be something?

Hey Andy
The African trip was great to read about but I am glad to hear you have taken hold of your senses and are leaving. I imagine that other readers have felt the same in noticing that maybe you were letting your guard down in falling for Bah and West Africa. Just because a place exotic and not frequented by other travelers does not make it a paradise.
Please don't take this the wrong way and if I am wrong then I apologize.
I'm looking forward to many more adventures from you in places that maybe I would visit with the wife. Someplace more practical, stable, safe, and cheap. See what you could do with a budget in a more developed country. I think that would be a real challenge for you. After all almost anyone can stay in the 3rd world, live like a 3rd world person and pay next to nothing for food and shelter though 99.9 of us choose not to.
Also in regards to being thought of as a spy. Consider that many of these villages have only word of mouth, grapevine type ways of keeping tabs on neighbors and when a strikingly different person enters their world the talk really ramps up. Imagine what all is being said about you, your relationship with Bah, and your business being in such a remote and untraveled area of the world.
Get home safe, spring is beautiful in Indiana.

Hey, I hope you aren't going to humor them by actually attempting to pay that ridiculous phone bill they propose to stick you with. Those people at Verizon are quite insane.

I, personally, am fortunately to be on an unlimited data plan, though not outside the U.S., and I'm not sure how long my luck will last. I'm "grandfathered in" with a plan from Sprint, which if I were to purchase under current plan stipulations would limit me to 5 GB per month (I personally can burn through 5 GB of data in just a few days, easily, since i upload a lot of high-def video, and also watch movies and tv programs online thru sites like hulu). I know that no doubt one of these days I'm going to lose this option - hopefully later, not sooner! My hope is that 4G coverage will reach my are sometime soon, and that Sprint leaves their 4G plans as uncapped/unlimited, as is currently the case with them (and with Clear, also).

Hey, I hope you're successfully out of Ivory Coast by now... and tell those Verizon yo yo's to stick their $80,000 phone bill where the sun doesn't shine!!!

I'm planning soon to leave the U.S. and head "south of the border" (possibly somewhere in Mexico, or maybe Costa Rica, Panama, or Colombia), so I'll probably be discovering the world of internet limitations that exist outside the U.S. too.

My Account