I was curious to see how Windows Phone responded to the data roaming needs we’re going to have in Germany over the next three weeks. For the previous three years, of course, we’ve had an iPhone of some kind with us, and AT&T/Apple’s handling of this kind of thing improved dramatically over time. Today, from the (iPhone) device or on the web, we can add and remove features on the fly. So right before we left, I added the following two international features:
- AT&T World Traveler $5.99 – Slightly discounted international calling (99 cents vs. $1.29 per minute)
- 200 MB Data Global Add-On $199.99
I disable these when I get home.
When the iPhone first came out, the device was on EDGE, and there were no international data options. I wrote about bringing the original iPhone to France in 2007 on my old Nexus blog.
Today, there are data plans, and you can make changes to your phone features on the device (using AT&T’s iPhone app) or on the web. You don’t have to call AT&T anymore.
These are pretty huge improvements.
Anyway, when I got the Windows Phone prototype, I popped my iPhone’s AT&T SIM in and rebooted and have been using it exclusively since. I intend to do so in Europe this month as well.
Upon arriving in Germany, I was greeted by a lock screen like this (I changed the photo to a shot from our previous trip here, in 2003):
The new bit, so to speak, is that triangle at the top. That indicates you’re roaming. So the phone’s status bar now looks like so:
Intelligently, and unlike the iPhone 3G originally (I forget how it works now), Windows Phone automatically disables data access while roaming. So if you want to access data over the cellular connection, you need to navigate to All Programs, Settings, Cellular. There’s an option called “Data roaming options” which is set to “Don’t roam.” Just change that to “Roam” and you’re good to go.
Because Windows Phone isn’t even out yet, there’s no custom AT&T app for monitoring data/voice/messaging usage. (The one for iPhone is excellent.) However, you can use the AT&T Wireless web site for that, or just check from time to time on the PC.
I’m curious to see how the data usage adds up. I picked the most expensive option for data based on my usage on previous trips to Europe, and compared to the bills I’ve had after some of those trips, $200 is a (comparative) bargain.