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A Cellular Data Trap

Unexpected dangers of data plan extension


In Hungary Telekom (formerly T-Mobile) offers a variety of iPhone specific plans, they are called “Ikon”. The smallest of them is Ikon 200, which has 2GB of data.

It happened a few month ago, that I run out of my 2GB. Telekom sent me a helpful message that I can extend my plan with additional 1GB for 1000 HUF (roughly $4.00) right away.

This extension is called Net&Roll LTE 1GB. You can activate it with an SMS (+NRLTE), and it will be billed at the end of the month along with your regular subscription fee. The trick is, that it stays active until you deactivate it, renewing itself every month. Of course you can deactivate it any time (-NRLTE), but you are charged for every activation, even in the same month.

So I extended my plan — I can’t exist offline! — and at the end of the month wanted to deactivate it, but somehow after sending the message, my entire data service vanished. Panicking a bit, I acted like the usual client, and reactivated the extension which (of course) solved the problem. It wasn’t right, but then I had no time for debugging the system, and hoped for it to be solved until next time.

A month later I tried again, with the same result, but this time I was keen to solve the problem. So I called support and, after listening a few minutes of music, I was able to explain my situation to the operator. She was helpful, and told me in amazement, that along with the extension the system deactivated my whole data plan. It happens…
O RLY? Never mind, she reactivated it and after a restart, my net was back.

For me it was only some frustration and an extra month of unused subscription fee, but I wonder if this is a common problem and people get trapped the same way, and wondering what could’ve possibly gone wrong, while the carrier keeps counting it’s money.

Be careful, and don’t let yourself be charged for stupidity!

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