That there is sarcasm in the headline. Ray Cromwell, a Google employee, recently took a trip to Mexico only to return to a $8500 bill from AT&T. He calls the carrier’s attempt to settle the debt with a $120 fee a “shakedown.” The full story:
“AT&T just called me a [sic] told me I had $8500 worth of data charges! Last week I was in Mexico, and I had international roaming plans for our phones, but not the iPads, but it didn’t matter, since both iPads never got a signal, and both had international roaming off, or so I thought. (pretty much said “no signal” every day)
At some point, one of the iPads must have locked onto a carrier in Mexico and started downloading something. They said it only downloaded like 300Mb, which came out to $8500!”
300MB for $8500 is quite a bit, so naturally Cromwell intended to argue the charges after which AT&T agreed to wipe the slate clean and retroactively charge $120 for an international roaming plan covering the trip. To Cromwell, that sounded a lot like threatening a customer into spending more money than intended one way or the other. We tend to agree.
Oh, and Cromwell’s real solution? Google’s Project Loon, a plan to use high-altitude weather balloons to deliver a connected network for cheap to rural and remote areas around the globe.