T-Mobile Int’l Plan

January 23, 2017

Before traveling to Spain, I originally intended get a local sim card. I never thought I would leave AT&T again, but T-Mobile offered such a great international plan I had to give it a try.  Update: After 87 days in Europe, it worked perfectly for international travel with my U.S. number, but I didn’t keep it when I returned.

Basically, I can keep my U.S. number and use my phone almost anywhere in the world.  Voice, text and data are unlimited for $70/mo. When out of the U.S., the data is reduced to 2G speed.  CORRECTION: I was told incorrectly – only text and data are unlimited for the international plan. Use something like Skype on wi-fi if you need to make a voice call.

I added the Plus option for an extra $25/mo for high speed data out of U.S./GoGo in-flight perks/video streaming and hot spot usage.  I was willing to wait for the slower speeds, but the websites actually kept timing out.  Note: The Plus option can only be added/removed on the same billing cycle as the T-Mobile One plan and is not pro-rated.

This plan required a credit check. They used Transunion for my application.

On my layover through London Heathrow, I had service through EE, and in Spain I’ve had service through Movistar, Vodafone and Orange.  There were no connectivity issues at all and as much as I hate this word – it really has been seamless.

Keeping my U.S. number has also been handy for websites that want to text a dual authentication code.  And of course, easy for friends and business associates to keep in touch.  Just don’t forget to set your privacy hours if on a different time zone!

I already owned an unlocked iPhone, so all I had to do was change the sim card.  Also, I saved $160 the first week with T-Mobile through a $150 special for changing carriers, and a Tuesday special for a $2 movie ticket through Fandango.

I had some trepidation about how this would work, but T-Mobile is a great solution for the international traveler.

Update: Although T-Mobile is untouchable for their international plan, their domestic U.S. plans are significantly higher than AT&T.  So depending on your travel habits, this will probably be the deciding factor for your carrier choice.

Additional info for Alaska residents:

  • There are no T-Mobile stores or re-sellers in Alaska
  • T-Mobile cannot issue new phone numbers with the Alaska 907 area code.
  • T-Mobile cannot issue new numbers with any other area code to Alaska residents.
  • The ONLY way an Alaska resident can get T-Mobile service is to transfer their current number from another carrier.
  • If you grab a sim card from a store in the lower 48 while you research the T-Mobile plans, know that they recycle the sim numbers after 30 days if not activated.  (Mine was a bit over 30 days but thankfully was still available.)
  • T-Mobile will mail a sim card to Alaska residents for an additional charge.
  • T-Mobile’s cellular partner in Alaska is GCI.

Graphic: courtesy of T-Mobile.

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