What a great idea. Let international travelers have an option that saves them money when roaming outside the USA. That's the premise behind Verizon's new TravelPass.
Unfortunately, as with any new product offering, there's always some teething pain it seems. In this case it's a clear lack of communications between marketing who told us all about it, the notification team, roaming team and billing team. Here's the scenario and the outcome, which was good in the end, but may serve as a warning to others who want to use it.
- Problem One-TravelPass isn't Automatic. You have to opt-in by checking a box on the VZW web site or contacting customer support to make it active. If you think it does without opting in, expect a big roaming bill.
- Once you activate it, it will work when you are in the countries it works in. It doesn't work everywhere in the world so it's important to check the country list. If you don't check, you can expect a big roaming bill.
- Once you start using it, after you land in the foreign country you will get an alert to opt into some roaming plan. You don't want to because you're already registered for TravelPass, but if you're not in one and think you are, you can expect a big roaming bill if you don't buy the other package. This is where Verizon's billing and notifications teams need to get their act together. Conflicts between what plan is active when, where you are, what countries are in all will cause confusion.
- Once you pass 50MB of use you're going to receive another false positive alert by SMS, then about 15 minutes later you'll receive an email telling you the same thing. Once again if you've got TravelPass active, and you find yourself in a TravelPass country, it won't matter. But the real problem arises when you've grown comfortable with TravelPass and don't realize you're not in a TP country and you end up with a big roaming bill.
These are all easily fixed, but at Verizon Marketing, Billing, Roaming and Notifications may all need to get on a call and sort out what they're doing, because as of day four of this service being available, it's sure confusing.