A Japanese Gymnast Learned About Roaming Charges The Hard Way While Playing ‘Pokemon Go’ At The Rio Olympics

Contributing Writer
08.02.16 3 Comments

If you think sticking your head under water at the Rio Olympics is dangerous, wait until you get a look at how bad the roaming charges can be. Anyone surfing the internet in Brazil without a decent roaming plan in place is liable to suffer from a kind of heart or brain inflammation. Much like Japanese Olympian Kohei Uchimura, a five-time gymnastics medalist, who after playing Pokemon Go in Rio for a month leading up to the games received a ¥500,000 bill from his mobile company. That works out to roughly $5,000.

Or as one of Uchimura’s teammates described him after the financial discovery, “He looked dead at the team meal that day.”

Turns out the gymnast was being charged a “very reasonable” rate of ¥3,000 ($30) a day per network to use data. Unfortunately, all the running around and egg-hatching related to Pokemon Go saw him regularly connect to several different Brazilian cell networks in a 24-hour period. Fortunately his mobile provider gave him a break and wiped out the roaming charges after he called to explain his situation. (Meanwhile, I’m still $400 in the roaming hole after a couple of auto-play videos obliterated my 10-megabyte daily data allowance. Sadly, I have no Olympic medals to help me catch a break. Why do these Olympians get it so easy?)

So let this be a lesson to everyone: roaming charges are for chumps. Buy yourself a local SIM card the second you land anywhere exotic so you can get all the data you want for $30, rather than receiving a $3,000 bill at the end of your trip.

(Via the Hollywood Reporter)

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