Word to the wise and well-heeled traveler, next time you find yourself in the Maldives, resist the urge to turn on your data roaming. Use your time away as an opportunity to “disconnect,” or risk falling victim to a prohibitively expensive phone bill when you get home.
Or just stick to Wi-Fi spots, too. That works.
Oriental Daily reports of a 48-year-old Malaysian lawyer named Lim, who went to the Maldives three months ago on what was supposed to be a relaxing family holiday. Upon arriving, he activated his mobile data roaming briefly, for less than an hour according to the lawyer, and was met with an RM5,000 (US$1,200) bill upon return to Malaysia.
Lim claims to have set his credit limit to RM1,200 (US$280); however, his phone company allowed him to go quadruple over that. Having surpassed his credit limit, Lim then found that the phone company had blocked his access to his phone, and its numbers.
Having traveled abroad frequently, Lim was used to paying the standard roaming charges that hover between RM38-RM58/day (US$9-US$13/day). That usually includes all the data that you can shake a stick at. Apparently, this isn’t the case in the Maldives.
In the Maldives, you will pay RM38/MB. Yes. Per mega bite. And Lim made the unfortunate mistake of sending his loved ones a video that ended up in itself costing a few hundred Ringgit.
Makes you think twice about downloading that 15MB clip your auntie just sent you of traffic on the LDP, right?
Lim’s carrier is refusing to budge on the bill, despite the lawyer having imposed a credit cap on his usage. They have said that the terms and conditions of use were clear. It’s not their fault he didn’t read carefully.
Snap, but y’all already know mobile operators aren’t exactly known for their generosity.
I bet you’re wondering WHO! Which Telco! Well, a quick look at the Malaysia Mobile and Communication Association’s list of charges by country shows that only two operators have an RM38/MB charge: Maxis and Digi.
Taking bets now as to who it is. (editor: RM50 says it’s Maxis. Just a feeling.)
A guide to carrier roaming charges: yeah, use Wi-Fi in the Maldives