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Thread: Forwarding? to VM while roaming

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    Question Forwarding? to VM while roaming

    My June bill looked higher than I was expecting so I downloaded the detailed bill. On a day that I was on a cruise the bill shows a 1 minute call to (805) 637-7249, which I understand is the number for T-Mobile voicemail. Since I was in a ship the call was billed at T-Mobile's cruise rate of $5.99 per minute. My phone's call log doesn't show any calls for several days before or after the date and time that the bill shows the call, nor does the bill show any incoming calls in this period.

    I'm trying to figure out what could have caused this. Other VM retrievals on the bill show as calls to 123 rather than the full number.

    I remember being charged for forwarding to voicemail while roaming many years ago. Does this still happen? Wouldn't my bill show an incoming call just before the forwarding?

    Any relatively simple way to avoid this charge in the future?

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    Typically.. One would have to make sure to NEVER connect to a cruise ship cellular service. I would recommend connecting to sone form of land based cellular service ... Then turn your phone to airplane mode before you leave shore. TMobile can disable international roaming, but that may kill your service when in another country. E.g. When I went to Europe, had no issues roaming in Italy, but I made sure to select LTE only on my phone so that I couldn't connect to the ships service... Which was 2g/3g at the time. When going across the Pacific... Just turn your phone off while connected to a land service

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    I had spent the previous week in Germany so blocking international roaming would have been a non-starter. I can see the profile setting to do it - maybe set it when leaving land-based networks and enable it when getting back close to land.
    I checked my phone's log more closely and VM retrieval calls have been going to (805) 637-7243 not 7249, which suggest that the 7249 call was a network VM forward. But no associated incoming call on the bill, just the outbound call to 7249.

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    Have you checked your usage online to look for any incoming calls? (Just out of curiosity!)

    Call customer service and they'll likely remove the charge in any case.

    Sent from my moto x4 using Tapatalk
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    Todd Allcock, Microsoft MVP: Mobile Devices 2007-2011

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    Quote Originally Posted by pdhenry View Post
    My June bill looked higher than I was expecting so I downloaded the detailed bill. On a day that I was on a cruise the bill shows a 1 minute call to (805) 637-7249, which I understand is the number for T-Mobile voicemail. Since I was in a ship the call was billed at T-Mobile's cruise rate of $5.99 per minute. My phone's call log doesn't show any calls for several days before or after the date and time that the bill shows the call, nor does the bill show any incoming calls in this period.
    I've always understood that it's best to turn on unconditional call forwarding if one didn't want to get dinged for calls to voice mails. I believe, the roaming carrier can charge for passing back an unanswered call back to T-mobile's voice mail. Whereas if you have unconditional call forwarding, the calls never hit the place you're roaming. They just go straight to voice mail and then you see that someone left you a voice mail and you can retrieve it at your leisure.

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    Cruise ships go out of their way to generate roaming revenue. Your phone could be out of reach or off and they will still forward the call and charge you round-trip tolls. Best to activate unconditional forwarding to VM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DRNewcomb View Post
    Cruise ships go out of their way to generate roaming revenue. Your phone could be out of reach or off and they will still forward the call and charge you round-trip tolls. Best to activate unconditional forwarding to VM.
    I agree. Cruise ship roaming may not even be seen as international roaming, depending on where you are. Eg. Taking a cruise from L.A. to Hawaii may be different than going from Italy to Spain. Different countries may have different rules. That being said, 'in theory' cruise ship networks are supposed to be disabled until ~12 miles from land. http://www.cellularatsea.com
    If you can disable your cellular service (i.e. Airplane mode) before you get on the ship, and definitely before it connects to a ship network... do it. If you happen to connect to a ship network and there's nothing else (i.e. you turned it on at sea and it did connect), you will get hit with those VM charges if someone dials you and it goes to VM. Not horrible, but not great, especially if you get a LOT of calls daily, and are out to sea for days. If you are somewhere like Italy... you can always attempt (often successfully) to shore based service. Note: This can require some technical skill to do this and not connect to ship systems. Eg. I could force my phone to LTE only (ship was UMTS/WCDMA and GSM). Similarly, I could 'band select' to force my phone to connect only to certain LTE bands ... shore bands are/were different than ship bands. This was easy on an LG G series phone, but not so easy on an iPhone.

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    This has happened to several lines on my account while on cruise ships. They seem to typically get charged as a call to the Bahamas, which is the place many ships are registered, so it's also likely that's where their cellular service is based. Call Customer Service and explain you were never within hundreds of miles of there and they will reverse the charges and you will not have to pay for their scheme. It has even happened when a ship is in port and you are connected and roaming with a local carrier. CS is probably pretty used to hearing about these BS charges and seems to have no problem with a chargeback to the cruise line.

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    Quote Originally Posted by daleraver View Post
    This has happened to several lines on my account while on cruise ships. They seem to typically get charged as a call to the Bahamas, which is the place many ships are registered, so it's also likely that's where their cellular service is based. Call Customer Service and explain you were never within hundreds of miles of there and they will reverse the charges and you will not have to pay for their scheme. It has even happened when a ship is in port and you are connected and roaming with a local carrier. CS is probably pretty used to hearing about these BS charges and seems to have no problem with a chargeback to the cruise line.
    I've been fortunate to not have this happen (yet). In fact, I have taken cruise ships to get away from work, as they will not pay for roaming service on my work phone. 4 days each way into the Pacific to get to Hawaii and back on a 14 day cruise makes for some quiet time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by formercanuck View Post
    ..... I could force my phone to LTE only (ship was UMTS/WCDMA and GSM). Similarly, I could 'band select' to force my phone to connect only to certain LTE bands ......
    It would be nice to be able to simply block your phone from attempting to connect to a given MNC. Some old phones I've used allowed me to set up the roaming preference for various MNCs.

    In theory, you should be able to disable data roaming and forward all incoming calls to voicemail (at any time) and avoid getting any billable activity on the shipboard network. You can receive incoming texts and not be billed.

    The worst thing one can do is to reject calls or let them roll over to voicemail.
    Donald Newcomb

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    One theory I have entertained is that the ship will keep your line as active in the system even if you only momentarily turn on cellular. Then if a call comes in for your line, They try and connect you, but when you don't answer it still is charged as an incomplete call that they processed, so they enable a charge to your carrier. Some of the charged calls were for very strange hours, like 3:30AM when none of my lines would have been in use, and certainly not out of Airplane Mode.

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    Unconditional call forwarding is like **21*1 212 555 1212# right?

    Can I dial that from anywhere, on any network?

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    Quote Originally Posted by daleraver View Post
    One theory I have entertained is that the ship will keep your line as active in the system even if you only momentarily turn on cellular. Then if a call comes in for your line, They try and connect you, but when you don't answer it still is charged as an incomplete call that they processed, so they enable a charge to your carrier. Some of the charged calls were for very strange hours, like 3:30AM when none of my lines would have been in use, and certainly not out of Airplane Mode.
    Unless things have changed in recent years, it really isn't the "ship" doing that to you- it's just how roaming works. For incoming calls to reach you, your home network records the last network your device registered on, and sends all incoming calls there until your phone registers on a different network. You get dinged for the network's minimum roaming charge (1 minute) as soon as any call comes in, whether you answer it or not, (or your phone received it or not!)

    Once you've registered on an expensive roaming network, you really only have two options- forward your calls (guaranteeing at least one expensive outgoing call to set the forwarding!) or pray nobody calls you until you get to a cheaper network, because even if you turn your phone off, incoming calls get sent to the network you last registered on (incurring a charge). If you don't answer, they get forwarded back to your home carrier for voicemail, but the "damage" is already done at that point.

    Again, that's how it used to work in the "old days" (first time I roamed internationally was about 15 years ago) so I got into the habit of forwarding my cell to a VoIP number (these days I use Google Voice) before I left the US, guaranteeing my phone never gets an incoming call abroad. (I'm not as anal about it now thanks to T-Mo's lower international rates, and actually forgot to forward last month before a trip to Europe and was charged for a few unanswered calls at $0.25 each. I tried to set the forwarding in France over WiFi calling after the first call rang in, but apparently you can't change forwarding settings on WiFi calling, at least on T-Mo.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by elecconnec View Post
    Unless things have changed in recent years, it really isn't the "ship" doing that to you- it's just how roaming works. .......
    Things have changed in recent years. Cellular companies have implemented various dodgy "revenue enhancement" systems that modify the standard system. First, they are supposed to poll registered phones at random intervals to see if they are still reachable. By extending the polling interval they can keep a phone registered after it has wandered into an unreachable location. They may avoid sending a deregestratrion notification when a phone is turned off. The goal is to keep a roaming registration active after it should have been deactivated to generate income by forwarding calls to voicemail.

    What I used to do to avoid these charges is to turn off conditional forwarding but then T-Mobile (a pox upon them) implemented DCF (Default Conditional Forwarding) which resets conditional forwards to voicemail if you attempt to deactivate them. I used to be able to get Tech Support to deactivate DCF on my account but they can't do that any more.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DRNewcomb View Post
    Things have changed in recent years. Cellular companies have implemented various dodgy "revenue enhancement" systems that modify the standard system. First, they are supposed to poll registered phones at random intervals to see if they are still reachable. By extending the polling interval they can keep a phone registered after it has wandered into an unreachable location. They may avoid sending a deregestratrion notification when a phone is turned off. The goal is to keep a roaming registration active after it should have been deactivated to generate income by forwarding calls to voicemail.
    This seems the most probable scenario for some incidents on trips. You could be walking back to the ship from a day trip in port with roaming service, and get within a few hundred yards of your ship and that signal becomes stronger than the local carrier and you are registered. Or, you flip off Airplane Mode momentarily to adjust some settings, and you immediately get registered to the ships' service. I doubt they are in any hurry to drop your device as registered from their "Active" list by a frequent poll. If a call comes in while you are showing active, Bada Bing, that's $5.99 to the ships' bottom line.

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