I learned something useful about the iPhone when I was out of the country recently. I wanted to use the phone’s wifi Internet, but I didn’t want to make or receive calls on it, and get charged the ridiculous per-minute rates. AT&T tried to sell me the $6/month “World Traveler” plan, in which your international roaming rates are simply somewhat less appalling. (I learned, also, that I would have paid even for incoming calls that I didn’t accept, and data rates for voicemails that I didn’t listen to. Stinkers!)
Anyway, here’s what I did:
1) Upon boarding your plane, ship, hovercanoe, what-have-you, turn on Airplane mode: Home > Settings > set Airplane Mode to ON.
2) Then, when you get to a wifi connection (and your vessel is increasingly likely to have one), go back to Home > Settings > Wi-Fi, and turn on Wi-Fi, then choose whatever network is available, for which you either have or don’t need a password.
This worked like a charm to get me email, surfing, local restaurant reviews, etc. I was only surprised that GPS didn’t work. The major BONUS was that, the day I arrived in the other country, Skype released it’s free iPhone app, so I was able to make calls back to the States really cheaply, whenever I had Internet. ¡Que suave!