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SweetVirginia's profile

4 Messages

Friday, May 10th, 2024 9:30 AM

avoiding charges when traveling internationally

I'm trying to avoid disconnecting my At&T service. I have an AT&T eSIM card, but am traveling abroad for 4 months. I have a physical international SIM card here in France and use that cellular data for all my calls and internet business. However, I DO want to be able to use iMessage on wifi, as that is how several people at home communicate with me. Meaning, I want to keep iMessage connecting to my  I had my AT&T line shut completely off, and was not getting iMessages, so I turned it on last night. I thought this would be ok because my roaming is off. However, this morning I woke to a message from AT&T saying I was charged for an international day pass. I'm trying to figure out how to use my AT&T number for wifi iMessage without tapping into cellular data. I cannot keep my phone in airplane mode (which I've seen suggested here) because I make and receive calls/texts on my French number every day. If I turn my AT&T SIM card off, my American number doesn't appear as a choice for iMessage.  Do I have any alternatives aside from cancelling my account?

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ACE - Sage

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118.2K Messages

1 month ago

Since you're going to be out of the country for 4 months you're not going to be able to completely avoid charges on your AT&T number and keep iMessage registered to your at&t number.   

I'm an Android user, I did not understand until recently that your Apple iMessage function has to be connected with your phone number or Apple will disassociate your Apple ID and iMessage from your AT&T phone number.

You can continually turn off your AT&T SIM in order to avoid triggering charges.  Connecting to Wi-Fi is not guaranteed that you will not also connect to cellular unless you control your phone/SIM. I don't know what your accommodations are, but every time I stay in a hotel, my phone will disconnect from Wi-Fi overnight. 

I don't know how often you will have to allow iMessage to function with your AT&T SIM in order to keep it registered with Apple.  That's something you might have to Google.  

You do not need iMessage to use Wi-Fi call and text with your AT&T phone number to US numbers and your contacts back in the United States. Your phone is capable of Wi-Fi call and text without iMessage.  It will just revert to SMS 

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New Member

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31 Messages

1 month ago

Hey @SweetVirginia ,

So if I’m understanding correctly. 

  • You’re in France, using a French SIM as your day to day sim
  • You’re wanting to be able to keep sending / receiving iMessages to your US number
  • When you toggle your US line to OFF in the phone settings. It removes your US number from the iMessage option.

I’ve been in the same situation myself and it’s irritating. There’s also a quirk where iMessage will sometimes give a 30 day grace period where the number continues to be linked to your Apple ID before its removed (but thats hit and miss in my experience).

So in your scenario, in order to keep your US number linked to your iMessage. You’ll need to keep the line toggled on in your phone. Be aware, when do you toggle it on, you get the pop up to activate iMessage (you need to accept this in order for Apple to send a text to their activation server for it to then associate your number). The annoying part about this is that this outgoing text message (to the Apple activation service) is an outgoing text so be aware, this will trigger the daily charge for the day you do it on. 

The activation text is a once only activity so long as the line remains switched on. In your post, you mention you woke up to a text saying the daily charge has been activated, it will be that activation text that did it.

From that point on, ensure your cellular settings in your device have Cellular Data and Default Voice Line pointing to the French sim. You can also go into your US sim in that menu and ensure your data roaming is set to off (so it doesn’t trigger any charges).

The reason I’m saying leave it ON after that is due to the fact that the moment you switch that line off. It’ll then remove again from iMessage (as it assumes you’re not using it) and then when you toggle it back on at any point, it’ll send the activation message as an outgoing text and trigger the charge (again).

But do that once, take the hit on the daily charge to activate iMessage. Then don’t put any traffic through that sim (with the exception of WiFi Calling when you’re hooked up to WiFi), you’ll get your desired outcome.

Bon journee  

(Basically what you’re looking to achieve if I’ve understood correctly is the same as what I have on my phone  - see pic below)

(edited)

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New Member

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31 Messages

1 month ago

Thinking about it, if the above seems like a lot of hassle then my question would be, if iMessage is the only reason you’re wanting your US number linked, would it be difficult to message from your French number whilst in France?

The reason for asking is your original solution (sim off) would mean no standard text messages would be sent or received. It was only iMessage that you wanted to keep. As in the ability to send and receive messages over your data connection. Not as SMS.

Assuming you got a regular sim in France then you should have a +33 number that could be activated with iMessage and then you continue as normal. You already have your contacts in your phone (assume they’re all in the +1 (xxx) format) so you’d be good to go. 

It’d just be a case of messaging your iMessage contacts to say this is my number whilst in France (and it’s free to do so as IMessage is free) and they too can reply to your French number for free (again as it’s iMessage).

Assume you also have other messaging apps (e.g. WhatsApp) that can continue to be linked to your US number without the sim being on so you could still send/recieve from there to anyone who doesn’t use iMessage. 

4 Messages

1 month ago

Thank you so much for your thorough response. So very helpful. If you are not a librarian you should be!

Cordialement, 

Kathleen

4 Messages

1 month ago

Hey @DonnyGuy 

Honestly, it wouldn't be that difficult. That was my initial suggestion to my husband:  send out a group text to important contacts with new number or tell them to swerve over to Messenger. He had some concerns that people with US #s might be charged for international texts. Legit concern, as last year every time we called home (which was 100% free for us with our French service) AT&T charged the recipients. I don't know if this happened on other carriers, but my daughter and her father were both surprised by big bills from my calls to them. Like, hundreds of dollars. I felt terrible and we made sure all future phone correspondence was through Facetime or WhatsApp. I ported my own number off of our account to Google Voice, which works great for my legion of authentication requests. I miss emojis, but am happy to still be in robust conversation with my gaming group and work colleagues. The only reason we didn't shut down AT&T altogether (which we did when we were here for 16 months) was the thought of having to get service reinstated upon our return. Getting his military discount up and running, setting up direct bank payments and paperless billing, then waiting 4 payment cycles for anything to take effect? My eye starts twitching just thinking about it. We've had really terrible luck with AT&T customer service and want to minimize our time on the phone with them for our own sanity's sake. So I just ported out, we put his service down to a minimum, and we agreed to split the remaining monthly charges so nobody has to yell at a poor AT&T customer service representative in August. MONEY WELL SPENT! lol

I really appreciate your help here. You're awesome!

New Member

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31 Messages

1 month ago

Hey @SweetVirginia ,

Oh wow, it sounds like you’ve certainly had a great amount of “fun” with this in the past. I feel for you. 

Your husband is right as in people in the US who sent a standard text message to your +33 French number could be charged for an international text if they don’t have a plan that allows them to text overseas.

However people who are using iMessage to message your +33 number (so the blue messages rather than green on Apple) will be free. You then have all the other apps, WhatsApp, Viber, Messenger and the loads of other apps that you can keep linked to whatever number you like that will also continue to be free. 

You’ve then got FaceTime, WhatsApp and the like to make and receive calls.

The bit that jumps out (and that I’d be getting people to query) is how they were charged for receiving an incoming call. They shouldn’t have been charged for receiving an incoming call (unless they were roaming overseas when you called them). But sounds like you’ve got the workarounds I suggested above in place to prevent a repeat. 

It does sound like you’ve had such a nightmare with this in the past, I hope things are a lot more smooth for you this time around. 

ACE - Sage

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118.2K Messages

1 month ago

@SweetVirginia 

Recipients of long-distance phone calls should never be charged..  no US carrier does that.  Anyone that gets charged for an incoming long-distance phone call, should check their usage report and dispute it with their service provider.  

If you were calling from a French number to a US number, you are the one who should have been charged, or should have had a long distance plan to cover the cost. 

Wish you asked before you left... My recommendation would have been to Port your phone numbers to Google voice. That would terminate your AT&T service and allow you to keep and use your USA phone number for calls and texts while abroad and it would use data rather than traditional phone calls or SMS.  

Then when you return to the USA, you just port your number back from Google voice to a physical carrier 

4 Messages

1 month ago

I did port my number to Google Voice, but my husband kept his to avoid living thru the (Edited per community guidelines) of hooking back up to AT&T and waiting their (Edited per community guidelines) "up to four billing cycles" for our little lineup of discounts.  He gets a pretty good discount as a veteran, and he dropped down to basic service for the four months. As the person in the household who has to call and deal with customer service, I volunteered to pay half the remaining bill if I didn't have to spend time in August on the phone with AT&T. Time and sanity worth so much more than money at this point in my life. FOR REALS. Google Voice is awesome. I used it when we lived in France for 16 months and I'm using it now. Never a problem authenticating, and you don't even want to know how much of my life seems to be spent authenticating.

(edited)

ACE - Professor

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3.1K Messages

1 month ago

Postpaid and prepaid plans usually have free texting from the US to overseas. 

I usually purchase a local SIM when traveling overseas and use WiFi calling and texting  back to the US. Turn off my AT&T line until I use WiFi calling or text back to the US. So far have not incurred the IDP daily charge. 

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