An Olympic gymnast could have avoided his $5,000 cell bill for playing Pokémon in Rio

An Olympic gymnast could have avoided his $5,000 cell bill for playing Pokémon in Rio


We all know Pokémon Go can be addicting. Well, it was apparently so addicting for Japanese gymnast Kohei Uchimura that he has already racked up a 50,000 yen (nearly $5,000) cellphone bill traveling in Rio.

Uchimura may be a gold-medal favorite at the Olympics, but he clearly has a lot to learn when it comes to tech. As savvy global travelers are aware, there are a bunch of ways to avoid big overage charges when traveling overseas.

For the novices out there, here are three recommendations: One, of course, is to swap out one’s home country SIM card for a local option. That’s the cheapest, but it involves some effort and means forgoing your traditional phone number.

Second, you can rent a hotspot from companies like Xcom Global and use your phone in airplane mode. Xcom, for example, offers unlimited 3G roaming for about $8 per day.

Third, some carriers have their own options for people traveling abroad.

For U.S. travelers, T-Mobile offers free, unlimited roaming in many countries (including Brazil) though speeds are typically capped at decidedly un-Olympic 2G speeds. Sprint has a similar approach, though it offers it in fewer countries. Verizon, meanwhile, offers high-speed international roaming for $10 per day as part of its TravelPass program (Brazil is currently listed for just $5 per day from Verizon).

Uchimura did eventually get his bill reduced by his carrier to $30 per day for flat-rate usage, according to Japanese news service Kyodo. That’s pricey, but not $5,000 pricey.

“I really lucked out,” Uchimura told Kyodo.

Original Article

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