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!"
"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.
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.
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?