If at any point over the past six months you've used your AT&T phone anywhere along the coast or in the Gulf of Mexico you'll be receiving a letter from AT&T reminding you about service on the Gulf of Mexico and notifying you of a rate changes while roaming in the Gulf.

"Because you've recently used wireless voice, data or sms messaging services in the Gulf of Mexico, it's important for you to know that the Gulf of Mexico area is not serviced as a part of our national coverage footprint and is covered by a neighboring wireless provider with associated roaming rates."

"Effective July 10, 2009 there will be billing changes that may affect your monthly statement."

"Please take note that your device display will change to "AT&T Extend" or "Off Network" instead of "AT&T" when you leave our home network. This will alert you that roaming rates are in effect".

The rate changes were listed as follows:

  • Data and MMS services will no longer be accessible without a special Gulf of Mexico Data Roaming feature on your device.
  • Data transmission rate: $.01 per KB
  • MMS Picture and Video Messaging: $1.30 per outbound device originated message (incoming charged at the domestic rate).

If you receive this letter and haven't gone offshore, it is likely that you used your AT&T phone in a location where signals overlapped and your phone was picked up by a non-AT&T provider.

It is our understanding that these notifications went out to prevent customers from unpleasant surprises if they used voice or data offshore in the Gulf of Mexico.  The Gulf of Mexico Data feature doesn't cost anything to activate and if your visits to the Gulf Coast take you off-shore it might be a good idea to contact AT&T and have them flip the switch on the feature.