Feeds

Chicago Bears fan hit for thirty grand for a bit of Slingbox

And you thought your roaming charges were high

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

A hapless Slingbox user managed to run up a data bill of $28,067.31 watching a game of American football, despite being aboard a docked cruise liner and having an unlimited data tariff, thanks to a technical hitch or two.

The story comes from the Chicago Sun-Times, who have managed to get AT&T to credit Wayne Burdick with most of the bill despite his own failure to make the network understand that he should never have been able to run up international roaming charges, of two cents per kilobyte, without leaving the USA.

A Slingbox grabs video from the user's home and streams it over the internet, in this case to a laptop over Burdick's cellular connection which he thought was connected (though a datacard) to AT&T's network. Unfortunately for Burdick he was actually connected to the ship's onboard network, which accounts for the international roaming, and his datacard was unable to display the repeated warnings that AT&T kept sending him over SMS.

Less clear is why the onboard network was operational - ships often offer cellular access, using a microcell connected to a satellite link and billed at international roaming rages. But they are supposed to be switched off when nearing port to prevent interfering with local networks. In fact most ship-based GSM equipment is fitted with GPS to prevent it being used within range of a land network, so the onboard network shouldn't have been in operation at all.

When Burdick received the bill he complained to AT&T, who eventually offered to reduce the bill down to $6,000 - hardly comparable to the $220 he reckons is average. Luckily the chaps over at the Sun-Times were able to argue his case, and AT&T has credited Wayne with $27,776.66, though really it shouldn't have taken media involvement to fix a case like this.

Roaming rates like that, without even leaving the country, make the EU look like a haven for the international traveler - perhaps once Ms Reding has battered EU operators for unreasonable behaviour, we can ship her over the pond to sort out the septics. ®

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
GoTenna: How does this 'magic' work?
An ideal product if you believe the Earth is flat
Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016
GSM now stands for Grave-Seeking-Mobile network
Seeking LTE expert to insert small cells into BT customers' places
Is this the first step to a FON-a-like 4G network?
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
BlackBerry: Toss the server, mate... BES is in the CLOUD now
BlackBerry Enterprise Services takes aim at SMEs - but there's a catch
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.